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Informing Hawaii's voters

Abercrombie Refuses to Debate Aiona

Neil Abercrombie, Democratic candidate for governor, has flat-out refused to debate Duke Aiona, the Republican candidate and present lieutenant governor.

Referring to Aiona's lack of participation in the primary election debates, Abercrombie said, "It's not my job to make up for the time he's missed. That's not my fault." — West Hawaii Today

Duke Aiona

Abercrombie, an excellent speaker, seems to feel that he will not gain from any debates with Aiona. Last time around, in 2008, he said he would be willing to debate his Republican opponent for Congress Steve Tataii, but in reality ducked him. Possibly the consequences of the debate would have been devastating to Neil and he knew it.

Having successfully avoided a debate for his last election and still been elected into Congress, this time Abercrombie is being up front with not only Aiona but the citizens of Hawaii in stating that he's not going to debate the lieutenant governor.

Voters would almost certainly benefit from seeing what the candidates have to say on the following subjects which Aiona proposed for the following dates, but informed voters are obviously not at the top of Neil's priorities.

Friday, September 24
Jobs and the Economy

Week of September 27

Week of October 4
State Budget and Spending

Week of October 11
Native Hawaiian Issues

Week of October 18
Health and Human Services

Week of October 25

Apparently Abercrombie feels that informed voters wouldn't work in his favor?

Prepare to Be Betrayed

Ever wonder what happens to those politicians who sound pretty decent when they're campaigning and then almost inevitably change their stripes once they're elected?

Lew Rockwell tells us.

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

It's another revolutionary season in American politics, with voters preparing to do everything they can within the structure of the law to throw out the bad guys and the bad system they represent. The focus is on this amorphous thing called the Tea Party, which embodies a huge range of political impulses from libertarian to authoritarian, united under the common belief that everything is going wrong in Washington, with a common goal of upending the status quo.

Candidates that the Republican Party doesn't like are making big inroads into the party structure and, quite possibly, the election itself. That is fun to watch. The wind at their backs is the spectacular – but wholly predictable – failure of the Obama administration's economic witchcraft. Trillions and trillions created and spent and yet the suffering endures.

The health-care bill is also a source of American public anger. People are not deceived into believing that whatever reforms we are getting are going to fix the problems of the current system; they will make them worse. As it is, the freedom remaining in the system is the only reason that the system serves us at all. Take that away, and you take away a lifeline.

The revolt, then, is in high gear. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last. The governed have long been very unhappy about the government, and they periodically wake up and seek to change it. It's been some 18 years since the last go-round of such revolutionary sentiment. It is arguably stronger today than it was back in 1994.

The good aspects of this have nothing to do with political outcomes, despite what people believe. The political environment focuses the mind on important issues like freedom, economics, culture, power and its uses, and the role of the state. As they debate with their neighbors, follow election coverage, listen to the candidates, and watch the process, people learn and study and, most importantly, think and rethink.

If you begin with a skeptical attitude toward the government, watching and thinking can lead to a radicalization and ultimate embrace of a consistent opposition to government involvement. This is why election season always ends up creating a huge flood of new libertarians who buy books, feel the inspiration to get active (perhaps for the first time), and dedicate themselves to reducing the power of the state in whatever way they can.

If American politics can be said to contribute anything to American culture, it is this educational aspect that stands out. The elections focus the mind and lead people to a new consciousness. Ideally, that consciousness would dawn without politicians and elections and all the apparatus of the season. And yet people are busy in normal times, dealing with regular life; it is the very urgency of the election that gives rise to the concern in the first place.

You might as well know right now, however, that the Tea Party, no matter how successful it is at the polls in November, will certainly betray the party of liberty. There are several reasons for this, but the fundamental one is intellectual. The Tea Party does not have a coherent view of liberty. Its activists tend to be good on specific economic issues like taxes, spending, stimulus, and health care. They worry about government intervention in these areas and can talk a good game.

But just as with old-time conservatives, there are many issues on which the Tea Party tends toward inconsistency. The military and the issue of war is a major one. Many have bought into the line that the greatest threat this country faces domestically is the influx of adherents of Islam; in international politics, they tend to favor belligerence toward any regime that is not a captive of U.S. political control.

On immigration, the Tea Party ethos favors national IDs and draconian impositions on businesses rather than market solutions like cutting welfare. On social and cultural issues, they can be as confused as the Christian right, believing that it is the job of government to right all wrongs and punish sin.

This doesn't describe them all. A poll taken last spring divides the activists into two camps: Palin and Paul. Both groups are mad as heck at the mainstream Republican party, but only the Paul camp has broadened that anger to the government generally.

Such are the philosophical problems. Just as telling are the structural problems in politics that lead all political candidates toward the center as a matter of maximizing votes. It's always the same. They count on their base to show up and vote for them, however reluctantly. It's the voters in the middle who get their attention. This is why all candidates tend to water down their positions after the primaries, that, and to get funding from the corporatists allied with both parties.

The larger problem occurs once they take office. Here is where the serious problems begin. They are leaned on by their new colleagues, the party elites, related financial interests, the press, and the entire system of which they are now part. Are they going to make themselves enemies of that system, or are they going to work within the system in order to achieve reform, and not just for one term but more terms down the line? Doing a good job means being part of the structure; doing a bad job means being an enemy of the very system that they now serve.

Which choice do they make? The same choice that everyone else in office makes (Ron Paul being the lone exception in all of human history). It is for this reason that newly seated "revolutionary" politicians will betray those who put them in power. It happens like clockwork, same as day turns to night.

Some good can still come out of the results, if only because former ideologues can serve as some resistance to really bad policy. The new Congress that was seated after the 1994 election certainly curbed the ambitions of the Clinton administration for a time. But avoiding greater evil is not the same as doing good. We can state with confidence, all else being equal, that even the best electoral outcome will not lead to actual cuts in the power of government over our lives.

That doesn't mean that all is for naught. What will change the prospects for freedom in this country is a growing and society-wide awareness of the issue of freedom and the role of the state in wrecking that freedom, and the civilization to which it gives rise.

September 22, 2010

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of See his books.

Copyright © 2010 by

Illegal Alien Amnesty and Repeal of Military Gay Policy Fail in Senate

The DREAM Act, granting young illegal aliens amnesty so that they can remain in the U.S. legally, and the lifting of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals in the military were dealt a significant setback this afternoon in a vote in the U.S. Senate. Senate telephones were inundated with calls from the public on these two issues, which were attached as amendments to the 2011 defense authorization bill.

Hawaii Senators Daniel Inouye (D) and Daniel Akaka (D) voted with the losing side, but in line with the vast majority of Democrats.

Illegal aliens and their advocates are passionate about unlimited numbers of them gaining the right to stay here legally and the homosexual crowd is passionate about being able to join the military openly, so the issues will keep returning again and again as long as Democrats, their chief advocates, are willing to keep trying to get these two groups what they want. With Democrats in the majority, the votes are very close. It's obviously within the realm of possibility that illegal aliens will be granted amnesty and that gays will be happily serving openly and intimately with young, attractive military members of their own sex.
The Hill

by Roxana Tiron and J. Taylor Rushing

The Senate on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

In a 56-43 vote, Senate Democratic leaders fell short of the 60 votes they needed to proceed to the 2011 defense authorization bill, which included language to repeal the Clinton-era “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law. Every Senate Republican present and three Democrats voted to block debate on the bill.

Republicans objected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plan to hold votes on several amendments to the bill that reflected Democratic priorities, including an immigration measure seen as boosting Reid’s own reelection campaign. Reid also would have limited amendments offered by the GOP.

Read more . . .

Daniel Ellsberg to Speak in Waikiki

Daniel Ellsberg/Click photo for enlargement & credits

by ACLU of Hawaii

The Davis Levin First Amendment Conference Presents Live:
Daniel Ellsberg – The Most Dangerous Man in America

Sat., 11/13/10, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Coral Ballroom #3, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

$5.00 entry fee (youth scholarships available)

Agenda (subject to change):
9:15 a.m.: Registration
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Screening of Ellsberg documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man in America”
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.: A conversation with Daniel Ellsberg, includes questions from the audience

HONOLULU – Can exposing government secrets to the world be an act of moral courage? Daniel Ellsberg is an economist and a former Marine who, during the Vietnam War, worked for the Pentagon, the State Department and as a RAND Corporation military analyst. Confronted with internal reports exposing four administrations’ blatant lies to Congress and the public in order to perpetuate U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, Ellsberg was faced with an unthinkable dilemma: keep quiet, and let more people die - or do something, and risk everything.

In 1969, Ellsberg made his choice. He smuggled a copy of the Pentagon’s 7,000-page secret history of the Vietnam War, which came to be known as “The Pentagon Papers,” to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1971, when it became clear that the Committee never intended to act on the Papers, leaked them to the New York Times. The firestorm that ensued galvanized the anti-war movement, shook confidence in the U.S. government, and is largely credited with driving the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Henry Kissinger proclaimed him “the most dangerous man in America.” Ellsberg, hero to some, traitor to others, faced the full ire of the Nixon Administration, including charges under the Espionage Act and threats of imprisonment. Ellsberg’s impact continues to resonate in current events where a constant struggle exists to limit government secrecy and ensure the public’s right to know what is being done in the name of national interests.

The Davis Levin First Amendment Conference is proud to present Mr. Ellsberg in his first-ever live appearance in Hawai‘i, where he will share his perspective on moral courage, the Pentagon Papers and excessive government secrecy. Moderated by Aviam Soifer, Dean of the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law, the Conference will include a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary about the Pentagon Papers, “The Most Dangerous Man in America.”

Seating is limited. RSVPs are requested by Monday, 11/1/10. Call (808)522-5906, email, fax to (808)522-5909 or mail reservations to First Amendment Conference/P.O. Box 3410, Hon., HI 96801. Be sure to include contact information in case the event is rescheduled. Parking at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with event validation (subject to change) is $8.00 for self parking, $13.00 for valet parking. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is also on many major bus lines. Please visit for more information.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is ADA-accessible. Request special accommodation no later than Friday, 10/15/10. The ACLU of Hawai‘i will always try to meet requests.

The Davis Levin First Amendment Conference is a lively discussion between prominent constitutional thinkers fostering awareness & dialogue about the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Established as a public education project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i Foundation in 1997 with grants from the Robert M. Rees Trust & the law firm of Davis Levin Livingston, the Conference is named for attorneys Mark S. Davis & Stanley E. Levin for their work defending the First Amendment in Hawai‘i.

Daniel Ellsberg's website

Daniel Ellsberg's Twitter page

Ellsberg Hawaii event page [ACLU Hawaii]

ACLU Hawaii website

Will You Eat Frankenfish? (Genetically Modified Salmon)

Global Horizons Denies Human Trafficking Allegations

The FBI calls its case against Global Horizons, a labor recruiting company that brings Thais into the U.S. to work as farmhands, the largest human-trafficking case in U.S. history. The workers labored in Hawaii and on the Mainland. Global's head, Mordechai Orian, an Israeli, is behind bars on Oahu awaiting trial.

Global Horizons says that the worker accusations are motivated by green cards and living on the government dole. The workers themselves are not interviewed, but their advocate, Chanchanit "Chancee" Martorell, executive director of the Thai Community Development Center in Los Angeles, portrays the workers, who come from a country that is corrupt from top to bottom, as ignorant naifs who had no idea that they were going to wind up with a path to U.S. citizenship and government payments because of their accusations.

The above linked article says that expat executives aren't worried about the corruption in Thailand affecting them. This writer remembers back to the 1980s when a top executive of a large and prosperous American company responded to my question about expanding to other Asian countries to follow up on their outstanding success in Japan, which was experiencing a boom at the time. The executive said that the company had chosen Thailand to expand into, subsequently lost a ton of money there and withdrew from the country. He emphatically remarked, "They saw us coming! They saw us coming!" (Yes, he said it more than once, with feeling.)
The Garden Island

by Léo Azambuja

A labor-recruiting company at the heart of what the FBI calls the largest human-trafficking case in U.S. history has denied allegations of exploiting hundreds of workers imported from Thailand to work on farms on Kaua‘i, throughout the state and on the Mainland.

As the criminal case against Global Horizons Manpower Inc. heads to trial in a couple months, more lawsuits may stack up.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made a determination finding Global Horizons and farms across the U.S. guilty of violating workers’ civil rights and discriminating against them based on their nationality, said Chanchanit “Chancee” Martorell, executive director at the Thai Community Development Center, based in Los Angeles.

The Thai CDC helped 263 Thai workers file complaints with the EEOC, including several against Kaua‘i Coffee. Martorell said the EEOC will be demanding $3.5 million in compensation. If Global Horizons and the farms do not agree to pay up, the EEOC will take them to court, Martorell said.

Read more . . .

Thailand as corrupt as ever [Personal Thailand]

The road to corruption in Thailand [UPI Asia]

Thai Widespread Scams Aimed at First Time Visitors [Flickr]

Corruption in Thailand [Travelfish]

Farmers Vulnerable to False Charges of Human Trafficking [HPI]

Israeli says not guilty of 'largest human trafficking case in U.S. history' [Haaretz] (Israel publication)

An Illegal Alien Gives Her Point of View

Boston's WBZ-TV has an exclusive interview with an illegal alien: President Obama's Aunt Zeituni.

by Jonathan Elias

BOSTON — "If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." Those are the words from 58-year-old Zeituni Onyango of Kenya in a recent exclusive interview with WBZ-TV.

Onyango is the aunt of President Barack Obama. She has been living in the United States illegally for years, receiving public assistance in Boston.

Read more . . .

Primary Election Results

Carlisle, Kaneshiro triumph in Honolulu special elections

Peter Carlisle is the new Honolulu mayor, while Keith Kaneshiro won his old job back as Honolulu prosecuting attorney. Both offices are nonpartisan.

Carlisle won 38.7 percent of the vote, with Kirk Caldwell not very far behind at 34.6 percent. Panos Prevedouros was a distant third at 18.9 percent. The actual vote was fairly accurately predicted by a poll released by Honolulu Civil Beat a few days before the election.

Keith Kaneshiro

Blake Oshiro (D), with 53.7 percent of the Democratic vote, easily bested Gary Okino (D) (41.8 percent) in the closely watched Hawaii House District 33 Democratic race. Oshiro is the Hawaii house speaker and has been spotlighted in the news because of his lead in ramming the same-sex civil unions bill through the house on the last day of its session this year, while at the same time publicly confirming that he was gay. The bill was later vetoed by Governor Linda Lingle (R). Oshiro now faces Republican Sam Kong in the general election.

In the governor's race, Neil Abercrombie (D) defeated former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann (D) by a large margin, 59.4 percent to 37.8 percent. Neil will face Republican Duke Aiona in the general election.

Duke Aiona in turn bested John S. Carroll for the Republican governor's ticket.

Lynn Finnegan, Hawaii house minority leader, won the Republican race for lieutenant governor, 59.4 percent to Adrienne S. King's 27.0 percent. Finnegan's Democratic opponent in the fall election will be Brian Schatz.

Charles Djou (R), the incumbent, as expected easily won the Republican race for U.S. House, District 1 (urban Honolulu). He will face Democrat Colleen Hanabusa in the Tuesday, November 2 general election.

John W. Willoughby won the Republican ticket for the U.S. House, District 2 (neighbor islands and rural Oahu) at 35.7 percent of the Republican votes versus Ramsay Puanani Wharton's 34.7 percent. Wharton beat Willoughby handily on Oahu, but the neighbor island vote put Willoughby ahead by just 1 percent. Willoughby's Democratic opponent is Mazie Hirono, the incumbent.

For the complete statewide final results of yesterday's primary election, click here.

Illegal Alien Amnesty May Pass US Senate This Week

Senators Daniel Akaka (D) and Daniel Inouye (D) strongly favor passage. They have co-sponsored the bill.
Sunday, September 19, 2010

by Michael Connelly

Mr. Connelly teaches law, including constitutional law, through Education to Go, an online company that provides courses to numerous universities. The author of three books and publisher of a website, he resides in Carrollton, Texas, and can be reached by email.

Two new things are happening in the effort by the Obama Administration to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens that have invaded our country. First, as early as Tuesday, Sep. 21st, Harry Reid is going to try and attach the so called “Dream Act” to the Defense Authorization Act which comes up every year to authorize the military to continue operations. The Dream Act is a back door amnesty plan that would legalize several million people. The version that Reid will attach will apparently grant amnesty to illegals who entered the country as minors, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, and are enrolled or plan to enroll in college.

They will be granted access to student loans from the Federal government and then be granted permanent resident status upon completing two years of college. The Act also authorizes states to grant them the right to be given the benefit of the reduced tuition to state colleges for state residents while still denying the same break to American citizens who are from a state outside of the one where they want to attend college. In other words, an illegal immigrant from Mexico or some other country who lives in California will be allowed to attend a California university for less than an American citizen who lives in Arizona. This is a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

In addition, the Act also allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive the college attendance requirement in the case of “hardship.” Once they reach the age of 21 those who have been granted amnesty under this law could petition to have their relatives enter the country. Harry Reid is counting on forcing Senators who oppose amnesty to vote in favor of this amendment or have the Defense Authorization Bill defeated and potential harm our military. Of course, since Reid is in a tight Senate race in Nevada where there are many illegal immigrants he hopes that by passing this he will influence more Hispanic voters to cast ballots for him in November, and he is willing to hold the brave men and women in the military hostage to further his own political career.

I believe this to be part of a two pronged attack by the Obama Administration. In the last few days, a memo has been leaked from the Department of Homeland Security that discusses the granting of amnesty to illegal aliens by issuing a Presidential Executive Order that would bypass Congress. The President has no Constitutional authority to do this since Congress is given the authority in the Constitution to set Federal immigration policy. It is probable that if the Dream Act is passed Obama will issue such an order to cover the millions of other illegals in the country. This will be done despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans oppose amnesty in any form.

Remember, in the last few months the Obama administration has ordered the Border Patrol not to detain anyone entering the country illegally unless they are suspected terrorists or drug smugglers, ordered thousands of deportation cases against arrested illegals dropped by the Federal government, and joined with foreign governments to block the state of Arizona from enforcing any immigration laws. All of this has resulted in parts of Arizona being almost completely under the control of Mexican drug cartels. We have a President of the United States who is openly and brazenly violating his oath of office by supporting criminals and foreign countries instead of the American people.

At this point, many Republican Senators and some Democrats have vowed to oppose the Dream Act, but not enough. There are Senators in both parties that remain uncommitted. Here is a link to the Numbers USA website where you can find out who these Senators are. I urge everyone to immediately contact both of their Senators and urge them to oppose this amnesty plan.

Hawaii's Poverty Rate Highest in 12 Years

Increase in impoverished residents rises 26 percent from 2008 to 2009
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Thousands more Hawaii residents fell into poverty last year, driving up the rate here to its highest level since 1997, Census Bureau figures released yesterday show.

The poverty rate in Hawaii rose to 12.5 percent in 2009 -- with more than 156,000 people living below the poverty line -- the third consecutive year the state saw growing numbers of impoverished people.

Read more . . .

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