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NY Times Writes Misinformed Editorial on Sou Brothers

Alec and Mike Sou, owners of Aloun Farms, have been vilified in the press and by the public. But to read the following New York Times editorial, the Hawaii public consists of a bunch of brain-dead amoral cretins who don't give a damn about the suffering of incredibly abused immigrant farm workers right in their midst.

The writer is obviously misinformed and brings discredit to the credibility of The New York Times with his editorial. First of all, he's convicted the brothers before their trial. Secondly, he doesn't know that the Sou brothers have been subject to almost universal condemnation here locally. Many of the brothers' comparatively few previous supporters seem to have lost their nerve or their convictions in the face of strong and numerous moral condemnations and haven't been heard from in months.

There's more that can be said on Downes' cluelessness, but more on that later.

See what you think after reading the editorial.
---
The New York Times

by Lawrence Downes

September 20, 2010

In an Ugly Human-Trafficking Case, Hawaii Forgets Itself

This is a story of two farmers, Laotian immigrant brothers who grow vegetables in Hawaii. People love their onions, melons, Asian cabbage, herbs and sweet corn, and their Halloween pumpkin patch is a popular field trip for schoolchildren all over Oahu. They count local politicians and community leaders among their many friends, and run a charitable foundation.

Though they are relative newcomers, their adopted home is a state that honors its agricultural history, where most longtime locals are descendants of immigrant plantation workers. The brothers fit right in.

Read more . . . Then when you're done, read the response below. It was sent to the NY Times, which didn't publish it.

Links:

Response to New York Times Editorial on Human Trafficking [HPI]

Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (book) [Amazon.com]

Response to New York Times Editorial on Human Trafficking

Kioni Dudley

by Dr. Kioni Dudley

Dr. Kioni Dudley is a retired educator and community activist. He can be reached by email.

The editorial "In an Ugly Human-Trafficking Case, Hawaii Forgets Itself" is an amazing example of how juicy an untrue story can get. Based entirely on sensationalized news articles written by others, this "creatively-written" article has little connection with reality.

There are two brothers here in Hawai'i who are Loatian immigrant farmers. They did hire 44 Thai workers through a Thai recruiter who did charge the workers $16,000 - $20,000 in recruitment fees. The brothers, however, believed the recruitment fee would be $8000--certainly an exorbitant price, ten times the amount allowed by Thai law, but an average fee among Thai recruiters in the huge Thai Work Abroad program. The brothers took no part of any recruitment fees.

The workers signed contracts renewable for three years. They knew that, working for one year, they could pay off their recruitment loans, and that because of the exchange rate of 1 US dollar to 32 Thai baht, over the next two years they could make a half million dollars in Thai purchasing power before returning home.

Once in Hawaii, the workers generally found the farm situation satisfactory. After only five months, however, the US government, unexpectedly, and offering no reason, refused to extend their work visas. Rather than send the workers back to Thailand and to certain financial ruin, the brothers released them from the farm. The workers stayed in touch with each other. Most of them had worked abroad before, many had two or three previous tours. And some knew that if they claimed abuse on the farm, they could get work permits and visas to stay in the US until their claims came to trial, and beyond. Twenty-four filed complaints.

When investigating their claims, the FBI asked questions that addressed typical trafficking charges: confiscated passports, workers held captive in squalid conditions, beaten, given poor food and little or no pay, and their families threatened with financial ruin if they did not work satisfactorily. Initially some workers stated that they had endured all of these things. But questioned separately, at different times, over a year, a third of them stated that the charges were not true.

While withholding the eight, contradictory, worker interviews from the brothers' lawyers, and threatening the brothers with a super-indictment of five additional secret charges, the US prosecutor pressured them into accepting a non-negotiable guilty plea agreement, and barreled ahead pursuing the case. The shock value of the charges made wonderful headlines and great material for stories, and the press jumped on it.

However, after carefully studying the case, on September 9, the judge laid aside the plea agreement. The brothers have now pleaded innocent and will be tried on November 9.

Meanwhile, the US prosecutor has rewarded the workers for their false charges with T (trafficking) visas which will allow them to bring their families here, and to apply for permanent status.
It is not at all true that the people of Hawai'i rallied around the defendants. Just the opposite. The community has accepted as true the unending barrage of ever uglier news stories. And the reputations of Alec and Mike Sou have been so completely destroyed that they won't ever regain the respect of the people. How terribly, terribly unjust!

A fascinating, easy to read, in-depth study of this case, based primarily on court documents, and written by this author, is published at http://hawaiipoliticalinfo.org/node/3319

Links:

NY Times Writes Misinformed Editorial on Sou Brothers [HPI]

Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (book) [Amazon.com]

Prosecutor Misconduct Exposed

Unfortunately, the U.S. "justice" system is all too often a mockery.

In the case covered in the following video, USA Today writes,

For more than a week in 2001, the jurors listened to one witness after another, almost all of them prison inmates, describe how Lyons had sold them packages of cocaine.

Convinced, the jury convicted. But the federal prosecutors had withheld key evidence.


Link:

Prosecutors' conduct can tip justice scales [USA Today]

The Interview that Got Rick Sanchez Fired

Part 1 of 2


Part 2 of 2


Link:

CNN Proves Rick Sanchez's Point [Henry Makow]

OHA Report Alleging Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice

On September 28, 2010 the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs issued a press release about a new report it created entitled "The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System." The Honolulu Star-Advertiser published an article about it the following day. The complete report, filled with many beautiful photos of taro, is at
http://tinyurl.com/2aweono

There are important scholarly/statistical issues raised by the report, and equally important political issues. It's clear that the OHA report is an exercise in political propaganda rather than a serious scholarly analysis or civil rights inquiry. The present essay is an effort to counteract the propaganda in the report and to identify serious scientific issues that need further study.

The OHA report is part of a long-term political strategy attacking the very existence of the State of Hawaii by undermining our confidence in equality under the law and our unity as a multiracial society under the sovereignty of the United States. That long-term strategy will not be further discussed in the present rebuttal, but readers who want to understand it should read the book "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State." Twenty-seven copies are available in the Hawaii Public Library system. Portions are free on the internet, with a link to the publisher's website where the print-on-demand book can be ordered; see
http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa

The OHA report alleging disparate treatment of ethnic Hawaiians by the judiciary and criminal justice system appears to describe a rigorous scientific analysis of data. But in fact the data were collected and analyzed by a small group of project insiders who worked in secret, in a locked room at the University of Hawaii, always under direct supervision by their OHA sponsors, and who later destroyed their collected data to protect the privacy rights of the criminals. Real scientific studies are peer-reviewed before publication to make sure the data are reliable, the analysis is done in accord with generally accepted scientific standards, and the conclusions are valid. But in this case the data were collected and interpreted in secret, and then destroyed. The report was rushed into publication without peer review in a splashy format designed for propaganda value. Publication was timed to coincide with the political effort to pass the Akaka bill whose purpose is to create a government for ethnic Hawaiians including jurisdiction over their own criminal justice system. OHA and the group who produced this "study" should be embarrassed if their methods are compared with legitimate work done by scientists developing new drugs or reporting experiments in physics, biology, etc.

One major concern for analyzing a claim of disparate outcomes for ethnic Hawaiians is the fact that their median age is only 25, which is 14 years younger than the median age of 39 for the rest of the population. Of course people who are younger have lower incomes, and are more likely to engage in drug abuse which is a crime in itself and also leads to more crime. Young men's higher testosterone levels are likely to make their crimes not only more frequent but far more violent than the older criminal population. Women's young ages make them more likely to be unwed mothers, while the teenage children spawned by unwed mothers and living in unstable families are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. Ethnic Hawaiians have the highest rate of illegitimacy, perhaps because they have racial partisans, most notably Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, calling upon them to make babies as fast as possible to accelerate acquisition of majority status. Ethnic Hawaiian girls might also feel encouraged to make illegitimate babies more than other racial groups do on account of numerous government health programs and welfare handouts that are racially exclusive to ethnic Hawaiians.

A major difficulty in analyzing claims of racially disparate outcomes is to correctly identify a person's race in the data when he has two or more racial heritages. Nearly all ethnic Hawaiians are of mixed race. Many have three or more races. Perhaps 3/4 of all so-called "Native Hawaiians" have more than 3/4 of their ancestry being other than Hawaiian -- nobody knows because nobody wants to collect such data. Yet anyone with one drop of native blood is labeled "Native Hawaiian" not only in this new OHA report but also in hundreds of racial disparity victimhood "studies" (i.e., data-mining analyses of reports from the Census Bureau, National Institutes of Health, etc.) done by Kamehameha Schools over a period of many years and widely publicized in the media to solicit public sympathy and political support. Classifying anyone with one drop of native blood as "Native Hawaiian" is clearly a very bad way to analyze data when studying alleged racial disparity. This report made absolutely no effort to identify the percentage of native blood quantum for each criminal; and of course there was also no desire to allocate only a fraction of a tally mark to "Native Hawaiian" corresponding to each criminal's fraction of native blood.

The report appears to champion civil rights for a racial minority and for incarcerated criminals. But in fact the report is politically motivated for the purpose of justifying proposed legislation that would violate the civil rights of all Hawaii's people. The report tries to portray a racial group as a victim of injustice in order to spur public support for creating a full-blown government for that racial group through the Akaka bill soon to be taken up in a crucial lame-duck session of Congress. It's wonderful for a group to be portrayed as a victim group when it is seeking public sympathy or race-specific government handouts. The worse the victimhood, the more public sympathy and the greater the handouts from government and philanthropic institutions.

The specific nature of the victimhood alleged in this new report concerns the criminal justice system. The reason for selecting the criminal justice system rather than heart disease, diabetes, or poverty as the focus of grievance at this particular time is to undercut a demand to amend the Akaka bill in order to deny to the Akaka tribe the immediate full-blown sovereignty OHA wants it to have without any need for negotiations with the State. Jurisdiction by the Akaka tribe over the criminal justice system was the main focus of Governor Lingle's objections to the most radical bill and was the focus of an amendment promised by Hawaii's two senators in order to secure her support. Thus this new OHA report comes at a convenient time to undercut public sympathy for Lingle's amendment and might also serve to pressure Lingle to acquiesce in a secretive legislative process during a crowded lame duck session where things would go much more smoothly if Lingle's pesky amendment could simply be set aside with no last-minute outcry from her to her fellow Republicans in Congress.

The report says that $181,440 in taxpayer dollars appropriated by the Legislature was spent to create this report. Perhaps additional money could be attributed to staff time for regular employees of OHA, some university professors, etc. Money and political backing are readily available to create victimhood "studies" like the OHA report alleging racial disparities in the criminal justice system and hundreds of previous studies alleging racial disparities in heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, etc.; but there is neither money nor glory for debunking them.

Ordinary citizens do not have the money, time, or training to thoroughly investigate the credibility of such massive projects. So how can the public and our political leaders make a good decision whether to believe what's in the report?

There is hope. Ordinary citizens serve on juries. Some of the civil and criminal cases decided by juries include crucial testimony about complex scientific or technical matters; yet jurors somehow are able to reach unanimous decisions, even "beyond a reasonable doubt." How do they do it?

Judges instruct jurors that one way to decide whether to believe a witness is to consider the motives of that witness as shown through evidence or testimony.

As discussed above, OHA has clear motives to portray ethnic Hawaiians as victims of injustice, not only to get sympathy for them in general, but also to get sympathy for immediate granting of full sovereignty over criminal justice for the anticipated Akaka tribe.

A further attribution of motive to the creation of this report comes from checking the background of the Washington D.C. think-tank that gave a veneer of respectability to the report by allowing its name to be used as co-author. The Justice Policy Institute is not a politically neutral academic or research group. JPI's own website makes clear that its main purpose is to urge the dismantling of America's punishment-focused prison system in favor of awarding custody of criminals to their own ethnic groups in the local community who can use the principles of "restorative justice" and communal responsibility to rehabilitate them. The Hawaiian sovereignty movement in general, and OHA in particular, like this concept because it would empower ethnic Hawaiian political leaders and community organizers to "re-educate" (i.e., brainwash) their fellow ethnic Hawaiians to live according to a set of "Hawaiian values" and be liberated from the value system imposed upon them by their colonial oppressors (i.e., the American government and the Christian missionaries). Thus the political agenda of JPI is aligned with the political agenda of OHA to immediately empower a newly created Akaka tribe with the jurisdictional authority to manage its own criminal justice system.

Judges also instruct jurors that it is appropriate to assess the credibility of a witness on one topic according to his credibility on other topics. If a witness has lied about one thing, then jurors are allowed to take that into account to discredit his testimony on other points. That principle can be applied to this report. It might be difficult for ordinary people to decide the believability of what's in this report because they are not trained in scientific methodology and statistical analysis. But there are statements in this report about Hawaiian history that are clearly false, and interpretations that are clearly twisted. Thus it is reasonable for ordinary people to conclude that the scientific content of this report is similarly false or twisted.

Here's an outline of topics mentioned above which are explored in much greater detail on a webpage at
http://tinyurl.com/3xxc5ja

1. What the OHA report said, and how the underlying study was conducted. Data collected and analyzed in secret was then destroyed, making peer review impossible. OHA and the group who produced this "study" should be embarrassed if their methods are compared with legitimate work done by scientists developing new drugs or reporting experiments in physics, biology, etc.

2. Slick, artistically composed pages show that the purpose of the report is political propaganda rather than scientific scrutiny. Emotional appeals are made to a creation legend from the ancient Hawaiian religion, and the report is filled with emotionally rousing artistic photos of taro patches (because taro plays a key role in that creation legend). Unverifiable claims are made that ethnic Hawaiians suffer more trauma than other races when sent to prisons outside Hawaii, because their spiritual link to the land is broken. Emotional appeals are made by quoting the inspirational words of Kamehameha The Great on his deathbed, and by quoting the words of a song written by ex-queen Lili'uokalani when she was "unjustly imprisoned" (just like ethnic Hawaiians today!!). [By the way, her imprisonment was entirely justified, and was a very mild punishment for the crimes she committed. See section 6 below. Her activities after release showed she was never rehabilitated! But she did stop participating in violent activities.].

3. Youthfulness is an important factor in explaining why ethnic Hawaiians (allegedly) have higher rates of arrest and incarceration, and longer jail sentences and probation, than criminals of other races. In the last decennial census the median age for ethnic Hawaiians was 25, while the median age for everyone else was 39. Criminal behaviors -- especially violent crimes deserving lengthy prison sentences -- are the sins of youth rather than middle age. But the OHA report does not adequately examine and does not draw appropriate conclusions about age.

4. Percentage of native blood quantum must be taken into account in analyzing data alleging racial disparity. Someone who is only 1/8 Hawaiian should clearly not be counted as Hawaiian. An incarcerated criminal who is 1/2 Chinese, 1/4 Filipino, 1/8 Irish, and 1/8 Hawaiian would properly be counted as Chinese if outcomes are to be attributed to only one racial group. The best method would be to allocate fractional tally marks when attributing outcomes to racial groups. But nobody at OHA or any other racial-partisan institution bothers to collect or analyze racial data that way because the results would undoubtedly torpedo most of their racial grievance claims.

5. If the author of a so-called scientific report has a motive to tell falsehoods or skew the results, then the facts alleged in the report, and the conclusions, can be set aside as lacking credibility. In the case of OHA's report alleging disparate treatment of ethnic Hawaiians in the criminal justice system, OHA has strong motives to portray ethnic Hawaiians as victims of unequal or unfair treatment in order to spur political support for the Akaka bill now pending in Congress. OHA has especially strong motive to undermine an agreement between Governor Lingle and Hawaii's two Senators to amend the Akaka bill in such a way to deny the Akaka tribe immediate sovereign jurisdiction over the criminal justice system. Also, the Justice Policy Institute in Washington D.C., which helped write this report, has its own political motives which include dismantling America's punishment-oriented prison system.

6. If a witness in court -- even an expert witness -- says something false about one topic, then it is reasonable to doubt his credibility on other topics. This OHA report makes false and misleading statements about Hawaii's history, which ordinary people can verify are wrong. Also, the historical content is presented in a chaotic narrative which scrambles the chronology. Therefore even people lacking expertise in scientific knowledge and statistical methodology are justified in doubting what OHA's report says about technical issues, and we can wonder whether the gathering and analysis of data was as chaotic as the chronology in the history section. Some wrong statements about Hawaii's history contained in this report are described in the rebuttal, and proof is provided that they are wrong.

7. Are disparate bad outcomes for ethnic Hawaiians in health, economics, and the criminal justice system found only in Hawaii? A recent study shows that ethnic Hawaiians living in California are doing better than the average of all Californians. Why are Hawaiians thriving in California but not in Hawaii, despite the fact (or is it because of the fact?) that Hawaii provides a plethora of racial entitlement programs not available to them in California?

For extensive analysis and evidence regarding these seven topics, see the full rebuttal at
http://tinyurl.com/3xxc5ja

Free Markets Create Jobs

by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)

In this struggling economy it is essential for politicians to take a step back and think about what government has been doing to business in this country. In less than 200 years, the free market, property rights, and respect for the rule of law took this nation from a rough frontier to a global economic superpower. Today, however, our nation and our economy clearly are headed in the wrong direction.

Of course, America has never enjoyed absolute free-market capitalism: creeping government intrusion and special interest political patronage have existed and increased since our founding. But America historically has permitted free markets to operate with less government interference than other nations, while showing greater respect for property rights and the rule of law. Less government, respect for private property, and a relatively stable legal environment allowed America to become the wealthiest nation on earth.

By contrast, the poorest nations almost always demonstrate hostility for free markets, private property, and the rule of law. Capital formation, entrepreneurship, credit, and wealth accumulation are uniformly discouraged in poor countries. Private contracts are not reliably enforced, and private property is not secure in the hands of owners. The predictable result is widespread poverty and misery.

First and foremost, the role of government in business should be limited to resolving contractual disputes. As long as both parties of a contract enter into the arrangement willingly, without coercion, and with complete and accurate information, they should be expected to live up to their end of the deal. When a party cannot or will not honor the terms of a contract, it is acceptable for government to provide a court system to resolve disputes in a fair and impartial way.

Government should not dictate the terms of a contract to the parties involved. However, throughout the 20th century, our government became increasingly comfortable mandating terms that politicians find acceptable without regard to what businesses or their customers might want. This interference has had a chilling effect on the economy.

For example, government increases labor costs through minimum wage laws, union requirements, healthcare mandates, and various other stipulations that decrease a business’s capacity to hire as many employees as they might otherwise. And because they can only hire a few, they must reserve those spots only for top candidates. Thus, a teenager or a handicapped individual may miss out on job opportunities and work experience because of government-created job shortages. What if someone was willing to work for less than the government-mandated minimum wage, and a business was willing to give them a chance? Government makes this illegal, and both the business and the worker are worse off for it.

By contrast, business flourishes when government gets out of the way. One example is playing out in the 14th congressional district in Texas. A major multinational company, Caterpillar, is building an assembly facility in Victoria, Texas, rather than in one of the heavily unionized midwest states where it operates other plants. Texas, as a “right to work” state, offers more manageable labor costs. It also offers a more business-friendly regulatory landscape, and an overall lower tax burden with no corporate income tax. I am pleased that because of this, the people of Victoria will be rewarded with more job opportunities.

Freedom and a restrained government are what made us an economic power house. If we keep chasing businesses away with onerous taxes, mandates, and regulations, they will eventually leave. The best approach to our economic woes that will help the most people is simple: get back to the Constitution and demonstrate respect for free markets, private property, and the rule of law.

Civil Liberties Must Be Taken Away during War

Not all civil liberties should be taken away, soothes former Justice official John Yoo, " . . . there has to be a balance."

Yoo, who came to this country as an infant from South Korea, played a leading role in providing the Bush administration with legal guidance on torture techniques. He holds a bachelor's degree in American history from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. He once clerked for conservative U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

The Quagmire of Iraq

What have we accomplished in Iraq, now that our troops have supposedly been withdrawn? We've spent close to a trillion dollars while our country has gone into an economic tailspin, over 100,000 Iraqi lives have been lost, and over 4,000 American troops have been killed.


Extra: Saddam's Torture Chambers

Extra: Al Qaeda and Iraq

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