Rail, Faux Democracy and Leadership

The debate and actions over Rail has exposed to its ugly core the current status of political leadership in Hawaii.

In short, there is none.

Yes, the leadership in the Senate and House came together with a funding solution for rail and I suppose in a twisted sort of way they should be commended for that.  But that solution came only after they were forced to act by overwhelming fiscal and political circumstances that left them no options.

This is not leadership.  Leadership, by definition, is proactive, not reactive.

Watch the hearings and you will see there is no vision, no high level of purpose, and certainly no bringing together the people of Hawaii in pursuit of the common good.

No.  Watch the hearings and you will see the bludgeoning of testifiers, members of the public and others, in pursuit of defending actions that were indefensible.

It is surrealistic, a bizarre theater of the absurd where everyone knows the deal has already been cut and nothing will change regardless what the public says at the microphone.  The legislators know this, the public knows this, and even the media understands and reports that the deal has been made way before the hearing has even been called or the formal vote taken.  Yet, everyone still plays their defined role, acting as if the democratic process is truly at work and justice is being served.

All in pursuit of building a train.  This is what I find indefensible.

Where is the special session to deal with affordable housing and the homeless?  Where is the outrage and commitment from our political and government leadership on issues that have tangible impacts on working people on ALL ISLANDS?

The legislature and the governor who cannot escape his responsibility on this either, are willing to spend billions on a poorly conceived and ill managed train system, while thousands of Hawaii residents can’t even afford a decent roof over their head.

Where is the special session for these folks?  Why is the legislature unwilling to raise taxes on tourists to pay for affordable housing?  Our government just committed to spending $2.4 billion more on rail.  This is enough to fully fund the construction of 10,000 new affordable homes/apartments, which would actually generate income, and, if located in existing urban areas, would do far more to alleviate traffic and help working people in Hawaii than this train will ever do.

As Civil Beat reported earlier, 4 smart and powerful guys (and one powerful woman) went into a room, discussed various options, met with the various powerful special interest groups about those options and then came out of the room announcing their solution.  They then browbeat down any resistance among individual legislators who might have wanted to “vote their conscience” (and against their proposal), rearranged any troublesome committee membership and referrals that might have got in the way of the democratic process, and last but not least held a series of faux public meetings prior to announcing their coup…err solution.

If we assume for a second that this is how government works (and I don’t believe it has to be this way), my question is why can’t the legislature do this for affordable housing?  Why can’t they find the time and make a commitment to increase the minimum wage to a true living wage?

That would be leadership. Elected leaders coming together with a common vision and proposing solutions for the problems facing real people, who are struggling every day just to survive.

In the faith community it is said that a budget is a moral document.  How the publics money is spent reflects the morality and character of a government and its leaders.  Spending even more billions on bricks and mortar in support of a train, while families across Hawaii live in poverty alongside busy roadways, with only blue tarps and wooden pallets for shelter is a travesty.

In 2018, many will be watching, and yes more than a few will be praying, that new leadership steps forward, and we can all put this sordid chapter behind us.

First published in Civil Beat on September 22, 2017 http://www.civilbeat.org/2017/09/rail-faux-democracy-and-real-leadership/

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About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person. I presently serve now as a volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org In a past life I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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7 Responses to Rail, Faux Democracy and Leadership

  1. Carol Campbell says:

    I don’t disagree with any of the comments on the Rail Debacle. The Solution come up with by Oahu Politicians with the help of a handful of votes from the outer Islands is certainly not popular on the BI.

    But I want to broach a different subject: Hawaii is run by so-called Democrats. Most of whom seem to automatically assume that defines them as “Progressives”. Yet, our two Senators – who continually have their hands out for more ‘Campaign Donations’ – both voted for the Trumpster’s Seven Billion Dollar Defense Bill!

    Seven Billion Dollars to bomb more children in Afghanistan and Syria, while our Jackass-in-Chief stands in front of the UN and threatens four Sovereign Nations, with Regime Change and War, because he dislikes their Governments. Two of those four are doing everything possible to aid victims of Hurricanes in the Caribbean, even as they suffer from arbitrary Sanctions from US, BTW.

    So, my question is this: If our only choice politically is to vote for Democrats, hoping against all the evidence, they will indeed be “Progressive”, what is the point? I’d rather sit out the Races that present no choice, and vote 3rd Party if possible, as I’ve done for over 20 years now. Why donate or support liars and cheats?

    • garyhooser says:

      Many of us struggle with the same question. The answer is to find good people to run and then support them. Plus, be active in the Party and bring likeminded friends in, and reform the status quo DINO’s and replace them with true progressive thinkers and doers. But it takes work and a long term commitment.

      • Carol Campbell says:

        It is not only one vote. Tulsi votes against Defense Dollars at times. but the Democratic Party does not. I think this is the first time Sanders voted against a Defense Bill ever, and he claims to be an Independent!

        The Defense Budget is bankrupting our Country. The debt is gigantic, and there is no money for necessities – only Weapons and War! As for reforming the Democratic Party, it seems to be doubling down on the mistakes made in ’16. The Party is Perfect as is – If only the public and Republicans and all the other fools like Putin would get out of the way…

        I quit the Washington State Democratic Central Committee when Bill Clinton ‘Reformed’ Welfare in 1994. That still is their Progressive approach to policy. I quit after 20 years of hard work trying to shove the Dems to the Left. This time I’ll gamble on the hollow shell collapsing, and hope for better luck in my next lifetime. At 80. I am too damned old to put 20 more years into trying to reform a multitude of hardened criminals.

      • meakua2016@gmail.com says:

        http://annavonreitz.com/soyoutookanoath.pdf
        “Most of the people we talk to who say that they “took an oath to preserve and defend the
        Constitution”—-including many military officers—- : (1) don’t know what a Constitution is; (2) never seriously sat down and studied or thought about any one of the three Constitutions Americans are likely to encounter; (3) don’t know which Constitution they took an Oath to.
        This article is for all those people. The greatest enemy we face every day is ignorance. The second greatest is sloth– which leads to the careless “taking for granted” of things which should never be taken for granted.
        A “constitution” is a debt agreement. It lays out services to be provided, who is responsible for providing these services, how they will be administered, and who pays for the services.
        Even a cursory glance at any one of the three (3) Constitutions Americans are likely to see reveals that, yes, indeed, all these matters are covered–howbeit, in different forms and by different parties.
        No doubt it is a surprise to many that we have three Constitutions. Let’s start there and review the
        facts.

  2. Marsha Schweitzer says:

    I am always saddened when I see any politician pigeonholed according to one vote. If you look at the total voting records of Hirono and Schatz you can see that they are not DINOs, but true and outspoken proponents of the progressive revolution. I don’t know all the tugs and pulls that cause politicians to vote a certain way — few of us do — but looking at the big picture, I see all of our Congressional delegation coming down on the progressive side most of the time. I also bemoan the legacy of Hawaii military pork barrel that Hirono/Schatz inherited from Inouye, but I know that weaning Hawaii away from economic dependence on military funding is a complex and long-term proposition. I have asked Senator Schatz, “Can we turn Hawaii’s military pork barrel into arts and education pork barrel?” I know he would like to do that, his heart is in the right place, but there is only so much that can be done in Republican-controlled Washington.
    I also urge moderation on the rail issue. What’s done is done. Anger and bitterness does no good unless it is channeled into constructive action to bring competent implementation to the rail project, and put systems and people into place at all levels of government that will minimize and mitigate such dysfunctional situations in the future. I have spoken with a couple legislators, from Oahu districts, who agonized over the conflicting and unresolvable practical aspects around rail, not just concerning the recent taxation issue but going back to the divisive Ho’opili issue and before. There are a few responsible legislators who do hear, do care, and do understand the concerns of both sides, but must sometimes make an unpopular decision that they honestly believe is in the best interest of all the people, NOT in response to the interest of campaign contributors or moneyed lobbyists and NOT in callous disregard of anyone’s views. I am sympathetic to the difficulty that honest politicians face of finding a path of fairness and compromise in a situation in which the baby cannot be split.
    Of course, there are lots of politicians at all levels of government who are not honest and/or not competent. They should be replaced.

    • Peter Ehrhorn says:

      I am not sure that Brian is against the Military industrial complex. Lots of money in this and sadly he is attracted to it like a moth is to a flame. I sent the following to Brian:

      Thank you for opposing the republican repeal of Obama care or what I like to refer to as Nixon care. And thank you for standing up for mother earth and the environment. But I have to say you still have an addiction that you should work on beating. I am of course referring to your addiction to the military industrial complex.

      My biggest complaint is with your vote on Sept. 13 to table — that is, kill — legislation that could have led to ending the ability of the United States to conduct endless war. I am referring to the Authorization for the use of Military Force. Over the past decade and a half, the AUMF has been invoked to justify military operations in 14 countries, “including ongoing incursions in Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia.” How many have died because of this endless war? How many more will have to die to feed the appetite of the great Military industrial Complex? Have you no feeling for the many people we have killed and the damage that we have caused?

      I notice that Mazie Hirono voted against you on this matter. She called the AUMF “exceedingly broad and over a decade old” and explained that she supported the Paul amendment “because we need a thoughtful, thorough and deliberative debate about our engagements in ongoing conflicts and to clearly define and restrain the president’s authority relative to any potential future engagements.”

      I suggest in the future you give peace a chance and just vote against the military industrial complex. Thank you for your consideration to this matter.

  3. meakua2016@gmail.com says:

    unfortunately, you all still suffer from the delusion that the demopublic parties are somehow different. They both escalate wars abroad because it’s profitable for their puppet masters. Look at history. Two sides of the same coin to give the appearance of choice. America is a REPUBLIC, where individual rights rule supreme. Democracy is mob rule, yet the sheeples continue to clamor for it because it’s been sold in a pretty package. There is no current govt in America. She’s been subverted by the shadow govt of US, Inc. a for profit, foreign corporation like Honda or Mitsubishi….much like Hawaii. Learn your history and stop playing pawn to the corpses: USAvsUS.info

    1666 – The Great Fire of London creates the occasion for the creation of individual public trusts as a means of seizing private property: The Cestui Que Vie Act of 1666.

    1702 – The British Crown and Dutch East India Company collude under Maritime Wagering Act. Living men are deemed to be “vessels” and insured. Their death/loss becomes a means of enrichment for the commercial corporations and the British Government.

    1765 – The pollution of English Common Law with Admiralty Law to create “Equity Law” granting absolute power to the judiciary to seize upon and distribute private property comes to fruition in England under Lord Mansfield.

    1776 – Partly in objection to this usurpation of power by the judicial functionaries, the American Colonists rebel.

    1819 – The American states pass the Titles of Nobility Amendment to the original Constitution, putting teeth and penalties into earlier provisions effectively prohibiting members of the Bar Associations from holding public offices.

    1822 – The then-Pope and then-British Monarch secretly collude to act in Breach of Trust against the Americans and sign the Secret Treaty of Verona.

    1837 – The British Settlement Act sets aside public wastelands as “common wealth” and paupers are said to be settled upon this land, thus becoming wards of the state. This effectively prevents the lower classes from ever being landlords and provides a basis for claiming them as chattel property.

    1858 – Benjamin Disraeli begins the push to enfranchise British laborers as properties belonging to the British Crown. They and their assets are seized upon in the process as collateral backing government debt. Their “voluntary” enslavement is used to fund the British Raj in India—though they are never told any of this.

    1860 – Abraham Lincoln, a Bar Attorney, is elected President. He can serve only in the private office of President of the United States (Trading Company), not as President of the United States of America, as a result of the Titles of Nobility Amendment. He contrives to start the Civil War, which is never declared by Congress.

    1863 – Lincoln succeeds in bankrupting the United States (Trading Company) and issues General Order 100, placing the Grand Army of the Republic in charge of the government. The entire “war” is an illegal commercial mercenary action resulting in a military dictatorship being established in the District of Columbia.

    1865 – Lee surrenders his army to Grant at Appomattox, but no official peace treaty is ever signed. The Southern States are carved up into ten military districts and all the original states are improperly subsumed into the bankruptcy of the United States (Trading Company) by a process of assumpsit.

    1868 – The Creditors of the United States (Trading Company) issue a look-alike, sound-alike corporate charter called the “Constitution of the United States of America”. This creates a commercial corporation merely calling itself the “United States of America” that then substituted itself for the actual government owed to the people and states of this country under The Constitution for the united States of America.

    1868- 1875 — This new “government” entity then forces the original unincorporated state governments to write new state constitutions and to assume new doing-business-as names in the form of: Wisconsin State, Connecticut State, and so on, while seizing upon the name of the original states and operating “Territorial franchises” for itself under their names: State of Wisconsin, State of Connecticut, and so on. All these semantic deceits are pulled off on the trusting public.

    1907 – The 1868 version of The United States of America, Inc. is bankrupted. The land of the actual states and people is unlawfully seized upon by the creditors of The United States of America, Inc., as collateral backing its debts in bankruptcy. “Title” is taken to the land and the actual patents seized upon, with the Creditors receiving the equitable title and benefit.

    1930-34 – A second corporation calling itself “the United States of America” is bankrupted. This time, FDR unlawfully converts the entire population of this country, re-interpreting our Trade Names on the land to be Foreign Situs Trusts operating in the international jurisdiction of the sea. This allows the Creditors of the bankrupt private, mostly foreign-owned “United States of America, Inc.” to seize upon the labor and other private property of Americans in gross Breach of Trust owed to us by the Popes and by the British Monarch. By this deliberate fraud, we are “presumed” to be commercial vessels belonging to the bankrupt United States of America, Inc., and by process of extortion and assumpsit, are forced to pay its debts.

    We are also considered “missing, presumed lost at sea” and Cestui Que Vie Trusts are established by the Municipal United States in our names. These things are operated under deceptive account designations that appear to be our names: JOHN MICHAEL DOE, JANET ANN WILSON, and so on.

    1953 – We finally pay off the 1907 bankruptcy of The United States of America, Inc., but instead of returning the land patents owed to the actual states and people, those responsible pretended not to know who the land belonged to, and rolled it all up in giant land trusts, which they continued to tax, lease, rent, and otherwise benefit from in our purported “absence”.

    1999 – We finally pay off the 1933 bankruptcy of the United States of America, Inc., but instead of returning all the Cestui Que Vie ESTATE trust assets owed to the living people, Bill Clinton signs Executive Order #13037, stepping up the conscription process, and again, pretending that nobody knows who these accounts belong to, hoping to seize upon all our property including our names via a claim on abandonment.

    2015 – President Obama puts the UNITED STATES, INC. and all its “Municipal Franchises” including the Cestui Que Vie ESTATES belonging to Americans into Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Liquidation. Almost as an afterthought, he puts the USA, Inc. into Chapter 11 Reorganization. This effectively bankrupts the entire world— all the Municipal Government franchises dba CHINA, FRANCE, and LOUIS ALLAN FULFORD, all the Territorial Government franchises dba Germany, United Kingdom, and Lois Lillian Hardy.
    2015 – Americans who have become aware of the fraud return to the land jurisdiction of their birth.
    The unincorporated government of the actual states and people doing business as the United States of America revives itself. The new government issues new Sovereign Letters Patent for the states (November 4) and for the Indian Nations (November 6) and also issues an Express Trust — The Declaration of Joint Sovereignty.
    2017 – After extensive Due Process given to all the Principal Parties responsible, the liens against all the Municipal and Territorial government corporations and their franchises are completed and cured, including Agricultural Liens. January 6, 2017, a Private Registered Indemnity Bond covering all the actual states and people is lodged with the United States Treasury, and a Payment Bond is lodged with the Vatican Chancery Court.
    June 29, 2017: The American states and people represented by the unincorporated United States of America visit The United States District Court for the District of Columbia and claim back their property and assets as the Paramount Security Interest Holders and Priority Creditors of the bankrupt Territorial and Municipal Government corporations and their franchises worldwide.

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