The Politics of History

Before 1990 in Estonia, the Soviet system made the discussion of Estonian history, while not necessarily criminal, essentially impossible. In the 1980s, under Gorbachev’s Glasnost program, Estonians tentatively began to discuss their own history, rather than the red-washed Soviet propaganda that passed for “history.” While the two cases are different in many ways, there are shades of this sense of censorship in Hawaiʻi. I began noticing first on Facebook pages related to the Occupy movement, posts that can only be described as “beyond pornographic,” and certainly not related to the content of the page. Then on my Facebook page “Mooolelo: Hawaiian History” pornographic posts began to appear – because I have to approve all posts, these were in the comments section and were not from members of the group.


I always try to avoid conspiratorial views, but it seems clear that efforts to discredit radical groups are under way. A recent article stated that the very sense that there is surveillance leads many to self-censor. If our work is in fact under attack, this means that despite the uncontroversial nature of much of it,  teaching ourselves our own history is seen as political and likely, radical. We cannot let ourselves be silenced – or shamed by hackers.

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The Age of Hubris


  1. excessive pride or self-confidence.
    synonyms arroganceconceithaughtinesshauteurprideself-importanceegotismpomposity, superciliousness, superiority;

    • (in Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

One thing that has struck me recently is the utterly casual way in which many of the central tenets of American (and increasingly other developed countries’) democracy are being undermined and abandoned. As I wrote in “Reason’s End:”

In his 2007 book The Assault on Reason, former Vice President Al Gore saw the same alarming trend. Gore held that reasoned discourse, the “central premise of American democracy” was imperiled by changes in the media and the politics of wealth. Supporting this contention, Princeton University released a report claiming America was no longer a democracy at all, but an oligarchy. When the Citizens United decision, SuperPACs, blows to the Voting Rights Act and the end of internet neutrality are taken into account, the veracity of these claims is hard to deny. So the real question is: what caused this fundamental shift in the American consciousness?


It is the hubris and bluster seen on the Republican side of the presidential race in particular that show these trends most clearly: a casual move toward blatantly racist rhetoric of a kind that was still intolerable as late as 2007! Trent Lott’s mere tone of nostalgia over Strom Thurmond’s (racist) past – at Thurmond’s funeral no less, where his shortcomings might be overlooked – lost him his spot in the Senate (where he was the number 2 Republican).

As NBC News reported on Nov. 16, 2007:

The smooth-spoken Lott found himself in hot water in December 2002 after Thurmond’s party.   Lott said Mississippi voters were proud to have supported Thurmond when he ran for president on a segregationist platform in 1948, and added: “If the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years either.”

A few days later, Lott issued a statement saying he had made “a poor choice of words” that “conveyed to some the impression that I embraced the discarded policies of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement.”

But the damage was done. President Bush distanced himself from Lott’s remarks, telling an audience the comments “do not reflect the spirit of our country.”

But Trump gets away almost daily with statements that far outstrip Lott’s. Suggesting going after the families of suspected terrorists met with silence (admittedly an awkward one) and left Trump time to repeat it (this was “light” morning television!).

We may just be seeing the death-throes of the Right, and with Bernie Sanders, the resurgence of a solidly left consciousness after the years of the Clintons’ “New Democrats” (which are, in many ways,  similar to old Republicans). As I said in “Why I am a Leftist:”

… pendulums always swing back, and this happened with Obama and the Occupy movement, where leaderless revolution seemed to almost spontaneously emerge. There seems to be a progressive ground swell, with even fairly mainstream media like Salon and the Huffington Post making progressive arguments and even cogently showing their practicality (something the left wasnʻt quite so good at previously).

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The Best Films about Hawaiʻi

I show my students the 1966 film Hawaii, based on James Michener’s book, partly so that we can deconstruct it. Students can see that it demeans Hawaiian culture, but then I ask them if things are any better today. Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture continue to be misrepresented in mainstream media. Exhibit A: Aloha the film about how everyone in Hawaiʻi is white (except Bumpy). I reviewed The Descendents and Princess Kaʻiulani when they were released. There isnʻt exactly a deep reservoir of films to choose from for this list, but as Puhipau and Joan Lander are being honored this week in the ʻOiwi Film Festival, here are some gems of the Hawaiian silver screen:

A Mau a Mau: While some may dispute John Kaʻimikaua’s oral histories, it’s hard to deny the quality of the filmmaking. Nalani Minton’s film captures the Hawaiian sense of connection with the most subtle aspects of the natural world: the wind, the sea, the sea spray.


Hoʻokūʻikahi: To Unify as One – This telling of the events of Puʻukoholā heiau, both historically and today (beginning with the 1991 ceremony of rekindling the ties between Kaʻu and Kohala after 200 years of bitterness) is one of the films that shows Hawaiian culture as living and vibrant – not museum culture. John Keola Lake says in the film: “we don’t want to use [Puʻukoholā] as a memorial, let’s use it as a living place.”


Puʻukoholā heiau (photo: wikimedia commons)

O Hawaiʻi: Of Hawaiʻi from Settlement to Unification – an invaluable curriculum resource for teaching traditional Hawaiian society, Iʻm not sure whether the film was ever released on DVD. Tom Coffman’s film shows the renewal of the field of Hawaiian history itself  (with the help of archaeology and linguistics), from something static, relegated to “the mists of time” to a vibrant, dynamic era, full of change.

Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation – What is there to say about what is almost certainly the most watched film on Hawaiian history, it is also the only film Iʻm aware of that has a footnoted script!

Stolen Waters – While Puhipau and Joan Lander were clearly on the side of Windward farmers (as the title implies), they do a fine job of showing the arguments of the Leeward (Big 5) interests and their pawns. Another version, Kalo Paʻa o Waiahole, can be use alternately to emphasize the hearings or the more esoteric meaning of wai for Hawaiians.

Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawaiʻi – Keala Kelly attempted something very difficult with her film; to have a story without a narrator. The characters, interviewees and events themselves tell the story, and few films are more brutally powerful. While not as aesthetic as the first two films in this list, Noho Hewa is nevertheless a must see (leave the kids at home).


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Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Röcken, Germany in 1844 the son of a Lutheran clergyman. Precocious as a student, he attended the Universities of Bonn and Leipzig, where he read and was deeply influenced by the work of the pessimistic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Nietzsche once claimed that he felt Schopenhauer was writing directly to him. Nietzsche was made professor of Philology at the University of Basel at the incredibly young age of 24 (he had not yet completed his dissertation). It is unclear exactly when Nietzsche lost faith – his gymnasium (high school) teachers describe him as devout and highly engaged with the topic of religion – but the break would come.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.04.21 AMWithin a decade of teaching, Nietzsche became disillusioned with academia, which he saw as pedantic, and began to conceive of himself as the harbinger of a new consciousness – one that was unfettered from the constraints of religion, one that was “beyond good and evil.” What may have seemed sheer arrogance at the time proved to be prophetic in its significance, because Nietzsche ushered in, or at least saw the emergence of, an atheistic era. In fact, Americans today likely donʻt realize just how atheist (or agnostic) the rest of the developed world is. In Britain, only six percent of citizens attend religious services and the majority of those are Muslim. But unlike most contemporary atheism which trusts science to guide us, Nietzsche’s put its faith in the arts, and in particular that of the  great German composer Richard Wagner.

His close, but later strained, relationship with Wagner seemed to encourage this sense of superiority, and coincided with a campaign to unify the German identity and national consciousness. This superhuman self-concept was expressed most clearly in his work Thus Spake Zarathustra, in which the prophet Zoroaster or Zarathustra (chosen because he represents the beginning of the monotheistic religions he saw as glorifying the weak) proclaims the true doctrines of the death of God and the rise of the übermench  – the “superman” or “overman:”

Zarathustra spoke thus to the people:

I teach you the superman. Man is something to be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? … What is the ape to men? A laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. So shall man be to the superman: a laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment.

Nietzsche left Germany and travelled, in particular Italy and Switzerland held appeal for him. He spent many summers in a small Swiss hamlet hiking the peaks of Sils-Maria. The walks kept him relatively vigorous (his health was in a constant fragile state), but climbing the peaks was a metaphor for his transcending of normal human consciousness.


Caspar David Friedrich – Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog

Perhaps unknowingly, Nietzsche became a pioneer in the field of methodology, developing a view later carried on by Michel Foucault called “genealogy.”

Nietzsche had a nervous breakdown in 1889 in Turin, Italy, likely the result of syphilis he contracted in his youth. He was said to have reacted to the beating of a horse in the street and never recovered. He lived 11 more years as a catatonic invalid and died in 1900. Some of his collected works were published as The Will to Power in 1901 and Ecce Homo was published in 1908.

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Thinking like a State

At a bookstore in Massachusetts I had a conversation with the owner and told him I teach Hawaiian history. He said, “So itʻs a kind of local history?” Often, when discussing courses on Hawaiian history, comparisons are made with “other state histories,” i.e., California, New York. This is even done when the course is called “History of the Hawaiian Kingdom” – how is this comparable to a state or local history? Is this not a national history? There seems to be a mental block in many people when thinking about Hawaiʻi as a country, even when looking at the nineteenth century. Simple pronouns like “we” become problematic – who are “we?” The United States? In the nineteenth century? I call this process of retraining thinking like a state.

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I have had college students who are skeptical that such a concept as sovereignty even exists. (See my post “What is Sovereignty?”) What they think happens with passports at international boarders I’m not sure. To think this way requires an extreme form of provincialism – ask most Americans how many countries there are and they have absolutely no idea (it’s 196, and Hawaiʻi as a country would rank 66th in terms of the size of its economy currently – 50% larger than New Zealand!).* American innumeracy and ignorance is well-known and staggering. According to the UK’s Independent:

* 41 per cent of Americans believe China is the world’s leading economic power, according to a 2012 Pew poll (the correct answer is the United States, which 40 percent of respondents in the Pew poll selected).

* 73 per cent of Americans could not identify communism as America’s main concern during the Cold War, according to Newsweek, which administered an official citizenship test in 2011.

* 9 per cent of Americans frequently worry about becoming victims of terrorism, according to a 2011 AP-GfK poll (Reason magazine has calculated that the chances of being killed by a terrorist are roughly one in 20 million, and that “in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist”).

* Nearly 25 per cent of Americans don’t know that the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, according to a 2011 Marist poll.

* 71 per cent of Americans believe Iran already has nuclear weapons, according to a 2010 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll (Israel, the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency would beg to differ).

* The average American thinks that the United States spends 27 per cent of the federal budget on foreign aid, according to a 2010 World Public Opinion poll (the figure is more like 1 percent).

* 33 per cent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11 as late as 2007, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll (it’s worth noting that the number was down from 53 per cent in 2003, and that more recent polls suggest the percentage has continued to decline since 2007).

* 88 per cent of young Americans couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map, 75 per cent couldn’t locate Iran or Israel, and 63 per cent couldn’t identify Iraq, according to a 2006 Roper Public Affairs/National Geographic Society poll.

Note: the survey in the video above was conducted at Texas Tech. Not the best university you say? It was repeated with nearly identical results at George Mason in Washington DC!

Studs Terkel wrote in the 1970s and 80s not about ignorance among American students, but about the acceptance of ignorance. In many ways, this ignorance serves the ruling elite. Being part of this wallowing sloth of the mind certainly does not serve Hawaiians. Think about what happened upon “annexation:” Hawaiians went from the highest literacy rate in the world to the lowest performing group educationally in the “dumbest” state in the US, measured by SAT, ACT scores and college completion. Itʻs time we deconstructed American exceptionalism.

  • Hawaiʻi’s economy is $76 billion, New Zealand’s is $50 billion.


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The Government’s Private Lands

On Tuesday, a bill will be voted on and probably pass, that changes the regulations for trespassing on State lands. With this bill, a sign will be all thatʻs required to criminalize trespass on improved state land – currently a warning is needed to receive a petty misdemeanor. The problem with this bill, SB2816 “Relating to Criminal Trespass” is that it is merely a modified version of the existing law on trespass, but with the addition of public lands “or highways” (like the one on Mauna Kea?). One portion reads:

A person commits criminal trespass in the second degree if … the person enters or remains unlawfully on agricultural lands without the permission of the owner of the land … and the agricultural lands … have a sign or signs displayed .. .sufficient to give notice and reading as follows “Private Property” or “Government Property – No Trespassing”

The problem here is that by merely adding “or Government Property” (underlined text denotes the text to be added to the law), the State of Hawaiʻi is treating public land as if it were its own private lands. In American law, this is indeed the case – the government has no special rights over its lands, but is like any other private owner (aside from eminent domain). But Hawaiʻiʻs land system comes from the Kingdom, and thus has embedded in it kuleana, or native tenant rights, which William Little Lee (one of its architects) said “cannot be conveyed away, not even by Royalty itself.” If the King could not abridge these rights, then how can the State of Hawaiʻi, which is not even their owner, but more like their thief? As the 1993 Apology Resolution provides:

Whereas, the Republic of Hawaii also ceded 1,800,000 acres of crown, government and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii, without the consent of or compensation to the Native Hawaiian people of Hawaii or their sovereign government (Public Law 103-150, 1993)

The Sierra Club had this to say of SB2816:

This bill seeks to allow the government to bar the public from accessing public land, similar to how a private land owner can bar people from entering private land. This is no good. It criminalizes homelessness, hiking, gathering, fishing… and protesting.



I heard about the bill in the Star-Advertiser – which sited Igeʻs camp as authors – too late to attend any hearings or give testimony, but legislators can still be called and possibly be persuaded to change their votes and prevent the creation of a kind of open prison in which we are restricted to our own private properties, commercial lands on which we are mere consumers and those public lands of which the state sees fit to allow our use.

The Sierra Club provided this list of contacts for state legislators:

Here is a link to the bills status page:…

Here is a list of House Reps and contact info:
2016 Representatives

Aquino , Henry J.C. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 419
Phone 808-586-6520
Fax 808-586-6521
H District 38 Waipahu

Belatti , Della Au (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 426
Phone 808-586-9425
Fax 808-586-9431
H District 24 Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa

Brower , Tom (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 315
Phone 808-586-8520
Fax 808-586-8524
H District 22 Waikiki, Ala Moana

Cachola , Romy M. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 435
Phone 808-586-6010
Fax 808-586-6011
H District 30 Kalihi Kai, Sand Island, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Halawa Valley Estate

Choy , Isaac W. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 404
Phone 808-586-8475
Fax n/a
H District 23 Manoa, Punahou, University, Moiliili

Creagan , Richard P. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 331
Phone 808-586-9605
Fax 808-586-9608
H District 5 Na’alehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona

Cullen , Ty J.K. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 316
Phone 808-586-8490
Fax 808-586-8494
H District 39
Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo, West Loch

DeCoite , Lynn (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 405
Phone 808-586-6790
Fax 808-586-6779
H District 13 Haiku, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Moloka’i, Molokini

Evans , Cindy (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 438
Phone 808-586-8510
Fax 808-586-8514
H District 7 North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala

Fukumoto Chang , Beth (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 333
Phone 808-586-9460
Fax n/a
H District 36 Mililani Mauka, Mililani

Har , Sharon E. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 418
Phone 808-586-8500
Fax 808-586-8504
H District 42 Kapolei, Makakilo

Hashem , Mark J. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 326
Phone 808-586-6510
Fax 808-586-6511
H District 18 Hahaione, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Waialae, Kahala

Ichiyama , Linda (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 327
Phone 808-586-6220
Fax 808-586-6221
H District 32 Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, Aliamanu

Ing , Kaniela (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 311
Phone 808-586-8525
Fax 808-586-8529
H District 11 Kihei, Wailea, Makena

Ito , Ken (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 432
Phone 808-586-8470
Fax 808-586-8474
H District 49 Kaneohe, Maunawili, Olomana

Johanson , Aaron Ling (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 427
Phone 808-586-9470
Fax 808-586-9476
H District 31 Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge

Jordan , Jo (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 323
Phone 808-586-8460
Fax 808-586-8464
H District 44 Waianae, Makaha, Makua, Maili

Kawakami , Derek S.K. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 314
Phone 808-586-8435
Fax 808-586-8437
H District 14 Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa, Wailua

Keohokalole , Jarrett (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 310
Phone 808-586-8540
Fax 808-586-8544
H District 48 Kaneohe, Kahalu’u, Waiahole

Kobayashi , Bertrand (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 403
Phone 808-586-6310
Fax 808-586-6311
H District 19 Waialae, Kahala, Diamond Head, Kaimuki, Kapahulu

Kong , Sam Satoru (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 313
Phone 808-586-8455
Fax 808-586-8459
H District 33 Aiea

Lee , Chris (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 436
Phone 808-586-9450
Fax 808-586-9456
H District 51 Kailua, Waimanalo

LoPresti , Matthew S. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 328
Phone 808-586-6080
Fax 808-586-6081
H District 41 Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe

Lowen , Nicole E. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 425
Phone 808-586-8400
Fax 808-586-8404
H District 6 Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau

Luke , Sylvia (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 306
Phone 808-586-6200
Fax n/a
H District 25 Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa

Matsumoto , Lauren Kealohilani (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 303
Phone 808-586-9490
Fax 808-586-9496
H District 45 Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani

McDermott , Bob (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 330
Phone 808-586-9730
Fax 808-586-9738
H District 40 Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Iroquois Point

McKelvey , Angus L.K. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 320
Phone 808-586-6160
Fax 808-586-6161
H District 10 West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei

Mizuno , John M. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 439
Phone 808-586-6050
Fax 808-586-6051
H District 28 Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi

Morikawa , Dee (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 442
Phone 808-586-6280
Fax 808-586-6281
H District 16 Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea

Nakashima , Mark M. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 406
Phone 808-586-6680
Fax 808-586-6684
H District 1 Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo

Nishimoto , Scott Y. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 421
Phone 808-586-8515
Fax 808-586-8519
H District 21 Kapahulu, McCully, Moiliili

Ohno , Takashi (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 332
Phone 808-586-9415
Fax 808-586-9421
H District 27 Nuuanu, Liliha, Puunui, Alewa Heights

Onishi , Richard H.K. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 441
Phone 808-586-6120
Fax 808-586-6121
H District 3 Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano

Oshiro , Marcus R. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 424
Phone 808-586-6700
Fax 808-586-6702
H District 46 Wahiawa, Whitmore Village

Pouha , Feki (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 319
Phone 808-586-6380
Fax 808-586-6381
H District 47 Waialua, Haleiwa, Pupukea, Kahuku, Laie, Hauula, Waiahole, Waikane, Sunset Beach, Punaluu, Kaaawa

Rhoads , Karl (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 302
Phone 808-586-6180
Fax 808-586-6189
H District 29: Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei, Chinatown

Saiki , Scott K. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 434
Phone 808-586-8485
Fax 808-586-8489
H District 26 McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako, Downtown

San Buenaventura , Joy A. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 305
Phone 808-586-6530
Fax 808-586-6531
H District 4 Puna

Say , Calvin K.Y. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 433
Phone 808-586-6900
Fax 808-586-6910
H District 20 St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki

Souki , Joseph M. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 431
Phone 808-586-6100
Fax 808-586-6101
H District 8 Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu

Takayama , Gregg (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 324
Phone 808-586-6340
Fax 808-586-6341
H District 34 Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades

Takumi , Roy M. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 444
Phone 808-586-6170
Fax 808-586-6171
H District 35 Pearl City, Manana, Waipio

Thielen , Cynthia (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 443
Phone 808-586-6480
Fax 808-586-6481
H District 50 Kailua, Kaneohe Bay

Tokioka , James Kunane (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 322
Phone 808-586-6270
Fax 808-586-6271
H District 15 Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao

Tsuji , Clift (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 402
Phone 808-586-8480
Fax 808-586-8484
H District 2 Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea

Tupola , Andria P.L. (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 317
Phone 808-586-8465
Fax 808-586-8469
H District 43 Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei, Maili

Ward , Gene (R)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 318
Phone 808-586-6420
Fax 808-586-6421
H District 17 Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley

Woodson , Justin H. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 304
Phone 808-586-6210
Fax 808-586-6211
H District 9 Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani

Yamane , Ryan I. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 420
Phone 808-586-6150
Fax 808-586-6151
H District 37 Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele

Yamashita , Kyle T. (D)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 422
Phone 808-586-6330
Fax 808-586-6331
H District 12 Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului

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Hawaiians in Trump’s America

Probably The New Yorkerʻs David Remnick said it best:

…no detestable remark, no flagrant display of ignorance, no scummy business deal has dissuaded his followers … Quote his most hateful eruptions – about Mexicans [so the majority of California are rapists? Think about that…]*, about Muslims [even the Machiavellian Dick Cheney was appalled at the idea of banning entire religions], about women [again, the majority], about African Americans – and the next day will still bring an arena filled with voters who find him incorruptible precisely because he is rich, and who vibrate to his blunt assessments of the American condition.

… and who want to give this man[iac] the nuclear codes. Like many, I didnʻt take Trump seriously because, ironically, I thought he wasn’t rich enough to win the election! Sure he may be worth $3.5 billion (or $4.5 billion as Forbes estimates), but itʻs all tied up in real estate and other ventures, so unless he starts selling off Trump Towers and his 50 golf courses, he won’t have the $1 – 2 billion it now costs to win the Presidency. Or so I thought. I’d underestimated the power of the free ride being given him by the media. Now the Republican Party wants to deny him the nomination through a brokered convention, which could be good news for most, but it’s bad news for democracy. (As is Clinton’s monopoly on Superdelegates).


Photo: M. Puleloa

And now we have the Naʻi Aupuni constitution, so obviously forged from a template with its “Native Hawaiian sovereignty” – the sovereignty of Hawaiʻi lies in the country, not the federally-defined “natives.” Kaʻiulani Milham’s article on “What Really Happened” at the convention caustically states that one Fed Rec supporter was “crying like a little b****” when the constitution came out with support for independence. So now one must ask: is this the country Hawaiians want to be part of? Trump’s America? The one thatʻs the laughingstock of the developed world? The one thatʻs no longer a democracy (see the Princeton report)? The one thatʻs systematically dismantling its own – once envied – education system? The one that was to choose between electing Bush III, Clinton II, or Trump, who at his mansion in Palm Beach is called “The King?” Ask yourself: which is the hereditary monarchy?

One nightmare scenario that’s looking more and more likely is that Clinton beats Sanders on Superdelegates alone, then she canʻt beat Trump in the general election. Some predictions are looking this way, hence Sanders’s statements that only he can beat Trump and Cruz. With his positions on minorities, I think it’s safe to say that Hawaiians would not fare well in Trump’s America.

The US is now about $19 trillion in debt, which is over ten years’ tax revenue, and continuing to borrow about a trillion and a half each year. Much of this goes to the military-industrial complex, which has a budget of about a trillion. They say itʻs $600 billion, but thatʻs just the Department of Defense – much of what is spent on military operations is in other departments: Energy (nukes), Homeland Security (war on terror), CIA (which has a black – i.e., unknown – budget), etc. This is to maintain a network of 700 military bases in 130 countries (there are only 196 or so countries). All the while, about $17 – $24 trillion (its hard to estimate) in US assets is held in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, etc. This amounts to one year of the US GDP. Ask yourself: which is unsustainable – the madness described above or a Hawaiian economy?

Iʻm not even anti-American – just concerned about what America is doing to itself through hubris and the calculated cultivation of ignorance, and about those who would willingly choose this path when they have other options.

  • According to Trump, of course. The majority of California is Latino, not necessarily Mexican, but most are.

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