PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

November 26, 2006

The primary that isn’t.

Filed under: HI Politics — stevelaudig @ 9:37 am

I’ve have preliminarily researched a U.S. constitutional challenge to the present deceptively named “open” primary in Hawaii that allows members of one political party e.g. republican to participate in the candidate selection process [i.e. the primary] of another political party e.g. democrat.

There is clear legal authority that this is a First Amendment violation.

If anyone is interested in copies of the pertinent pleadings/decisons, email me at stevelaudig@aol.com.

I’m suggesting that we, as progressives, look at taking this on as an issue if the state central committee is unable to gather the political will or blanches in the face of possible adverse publicity.

The cost of litigation i.e. out of pocket costs is nominal, filing fee, postage, xeroxing. It is a “paper” case in the sense that the juridical and legally significant facts are undisputed and no factual investigation is needed, only legal research and writing.

November 24, 2006

Federal court ruling contains grounds for impeachment

Filed under: Impeach — BobSchacht @ 1:44 pm

Over at DailyKos, Crazed Weasel has been browsing through Court decisions that would put many of us to sleep, and finding eye-popping nuggets buried under the cobwebs. His article begins like this:

Fri Nov 24, 2006 at 12:12:45 PM PST

The community is discussing impeachment proceedings against the president and possibly vice president, and it has become evident to me that the full text of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor’s ruling from this summer is not widely known. I believe it is important to the community to have this information. Geek that I am, I believe the full decision is breathtaking reading. I quote the decision here, and encourage Kossacks to read it in full from the pdf link at the ACLU’s site:
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/26477lgl20060817.html

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney or a judge. I just like reading momentous court decisions.Judge Taylor’s reasoning looks to my untrained eye ironclad in most particulars, with the exception of the discussion of standing to bring suit. This is the one point on which the court’s reasoning appears to be a bit of a stretch, and may be the point on which the Bush administration has based its appeal. God knows, they’d have to appeal something, because if this decision stands, it in effect lays out articles of impeachment, and does so almost entirely based on the texts of the applicable laws and the administration’s public statements.

“Crazed Weasel” then provides four “money” quotes, each of which he thinks might serve as grounds for an article of impeachment.

There are books aplenty written about the grounds for impeaching the President, but many people worry that impeaching Bush will just give us President Cheney, a scary potentiality. But Bob Fertik’s Impeachment FAQ website suggests this about VEEP Cheney:

Q. If we impeach Bush, wouldn’t President Cheney be worse?

A. We believe they must be impeached together, because they were full partners in every impeachable offense.

Therefore, let’s not allow Cheney-phobia to deter us!

Bob Schacht

November 23, 2006

Impeachment: What you can do #1

Filed under: Impeach — BobSchacht @ 6:58 pm

Here begins the first in a series of things you can do to advance the cause of the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

The first, and easiest thing you can do, is sign the petition:

Ten Reasons to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney

The petition begins,

I ask Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the following reasons:

You can find the petition here. And these are the reasons:

1. Violating the United Nations Charter by launching an illegal “War of Aggression” against Iraq without cause, using fraud to sell the war to Congress and the public, misusing government funds to begin bombing without Congressional authorization, and subjecting our military personnel to unnecessary harm, debilitating injuries, and deaths.

2. Violating U.S. and international law by authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, resulting in dozens of deaths, and keeping prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3. Violating the Constitution by arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans, without due process, without charge, and without access to counsel.

4. Violating the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.

5. Violating U.S. law and the Constitution through widespread wiretapping of the phone calls and emails of Americans without a warrant.

6. Violating the Constitution by using “signing statements” to defy hundreds of laws passed by Congress.

7. Violating U.S. and state law by obstructing honest elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

8. Violating U.S. law by using paid propaganda and disinformation, selectively and misleadingly leaking classified information, and exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation for political retribution.

9. Subverting the Constitution and abusing Presidential power by asserting a “Unitary Executive Theory” giving unlimited powers to the President, by obstructing efforts by Congress and the Courts to review and restrict Presidential actions, and by promoting and signing legislation negating the Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

10. Gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina, in ignoring urgent warnings of an Al Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and in increasing air pollution causing global warming.

A whole series of books have been written, detailing what the articles of impeachment should be. You just don’t get that many publishers publishing that many books if there’s no substance to the charges. You can see many of the books on the left sidebar of websites such as this. You may have to scroll down a screen or two, but they’re there.
They have a goal of 100,000 “signatures.” So far, they’ve gotten 30,801. So now, go do it, and then we’ll talk some more, OK? (grin).
Bob Schacht

November 19, 2006

Impeachment By Spring: We’re Off and Running!

Filed under: Impeach — BobSchacht @ 6:20 pm

1. Before proceeding, we need to review what the word “impeachment” means. Impeachment occurs so rarely that the term is often misunderstood. Impeachment is not like a trial; its more like a grand jury investigation that considers whether to produce an indictment in criminal law. This pre-trial gathering of evidence is what the U.S. House can do. If the House conducts hearings and approves “articles of impeachment,” the trial takes place in the Senate. In other words, the job of impeachment is merely to gather evidence and determine if there are sufficient grounds to charge the defendant with articles of impeachment. Unlike a grand jury, however, which is conducted in secret, an impeachment is a public event. The investigation by the U.S. House in the Watergate scandal was heavily publicized and was a wonderful exercise in civics for the entire country.

2. One of the five planks of the platform of Progressive Democrats of Hawaii is “Impeach Bush and Cheney.” PD-H has a blogspot for impeachment right here.

The purpose of this message to you is to ask you to join us in this effort! There is a lot going on, and this message will summarize a bit about the efforts that are building around impeachment.

3. At this year’s Hawaii State Democratic Convention, a resolution was passed

CALLING ON CONGRESS TO CONDUCT HEARINGS ON VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AND VICE-PRESIDENT RICHARD CHENEY

This resolution asks the Democratic Party of Hawai’i to “call upon the members of Congress to rise to their responsibilities, to conduct hearings into the allegations of constitutional abuse by George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to establish if the charges rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, and if they so find, to bring charges of impeachment against both men and others as may be appropriate; and that copies of this resolution be transmitted to Hawai`i’s Congressional delegation, and to all Hawai’i Democratic Party candidates for Congress and the U. S. Senate.

4. The Progressive Democrats of America have established an Impeachment Working Group. You can sign up there, or just stay tuned to our PD-H blogspot!

5. On November 8 this month, the day after the elections, the Hawaii Reporter breathlessly predicted that

“The House Judiciary Committee, Chaired by John Conyers, (D-MI) will vote to send articles of impeachment for both Bush and Cheney to the full House. . . .”

6. Speaker-elect Pelosi declared recently that “Impeachment is off the table.” We think that she needs a remedial class in Civics: She is, after all, a Representative, not a Duchess, so it is not up to her to tell us what is on the table, but for us to tell our representatives what is on the table. And that is what we intend to do. On November 15, Conyers, BTW, started to sing Pelosi’s tune on this matter. We hope to change his mind back to where it was when he wrote George W. Bush Versus the U.S. Constitution.

This is not about bashing Bush, or taking revenge. This is about defending our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the rule of law.

7. Last Saturday, ImpeachForChange and their progressive allies launched a nationwide grassroots mobilization for impeachment in Philadelphia near Independence Hall, where the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. It’s been just one week since they announced ImpeachForChange in Philadelphia and the response has been tremendous! I recommend following their national plan set forth at http://democrats.com/impeachforchange-plan. “Our plan is simple: we will form Impeachment Committees in all 435 Congressional Districts to persuade all of our Representatives to support impeachment. Their goal is impeachment by Spring! We’re organizing from the bottom up in pure grassroots style. Remember, our Representatives are supposed to represent us!”

8. One of the first steps ImpeachForChange suggests is to “Join (or create) an Impeachment Committee in your Congressional District.” One for Hawaii is now available at http://www.democrats.com/taxonomy/term/4776.

9. Stay tuned at our blogspot for new developments!

.

November 18, 2006

Impeachment in the works?

Filed under: Impeach — BobSchacht @ 8:45 pm

On November 8 this month, the Hawaii Reporter predicted that

The House Judiciary Committee, Chaired by John Conyers, (D-MI) will vote to send articles of impeachment for both Bush and Cheney to the full House. Conyers has been holding mock impeachment hearings for the last 2 years. At one point he had proposed articles of impeachment posted on his congressional Web site. The Democrat controlled House will vote to impeach both Bush and Cheney, but the Democrat controlled Senate will not convict. The hearings will keep the president and his appointees hamstrung. There will be no “bi-partisanship.” Democrat leaders believe the religious right targeted Clinton for impeachment over lying about sex, they will now return the favor.

Or maybe not. A week later, an e-mail from “Congressman John Conyers” dated Wed, 15 Nov 2006 09:58:56 -0500 revealed, in part, a change of mind, if not of heart (emphasis added):

. . .As many of you also know, I have agreed with Speaker-to-be Pelosi that impeachment is off the table. Instead, we agree that oversight, accountability and checks and balances – which have been sorely lacking for the last six years – must occur. I have nothing but respect for those who might disagree, but that is where I come out. . . .

I think we need to change his mind back again. You will hear more about this in this blogspot, and soon.

Bob Schacht

Barack Obama

Filed under: National Politics — BobSchacht @ 4:10 pm

Sen. Barack Obama was on Tim Russert today, talking about his new book, The Audacity of Hope. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Too often, especially after six years of the Bush Administration, progressive Democrats sound too much like worry-worts and nags, always talking about what is wrong. And we have plenty to talk about! Obama is too smart to be merely a pollyanna (although there’s a lot to be said for that attitude): In his book, there is no shortage of candid assessments of the way things are. But he apparently doesn’t stay stuck in that groove.

To place this book in proper perspective, I want to compare it, briefly, to two disparate points of view seldom connected. One is a book by Paolo Freire, the radical educator from South America, best known for his book, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Reading Freire is instructive, because he has lived under several regimes much more oppressive than our own, as well as participating as an official in the Brazillian State of Pernambuco in the 1940s, and again in the 1960s, when the climate was different. But it is a different book of his that I want to call attention to: The Pedagogy of Hope (1992; Eng. Trans. 1994). In this book, he emphasizes the importance of hope in ways that are politically significant. Freire wrote (p. 9) that

One of the tasks of the progressive educator, through a serious, correct political analysis, is to unveil opportunities for hope, no matter what the obstacles may be. After all, without hope there is little we can do.

The other point of comparison I have to offer is the eternal optimism of President Reagan — I am no fan of his, but he remains the most popular visionary among Republicans to this day. His lustre as leader was scarcely diminished among them by Iran Contra, which is unfortunate, because he should have been impeached for the illegal and unconstitutional activities that he authorized.
Those of us who are old enough remember his 1984 “Its Morning in America” campaign theme. The current President Bush’s optimism appears lame by comparison. Reagan’s optimism seemed a timely sequel to President Carter’s speech about a “national malaise,” and Reagan seemed adept at making all Democrats look like sour-pusses. Carter’s “serious, correct political analysis” was not balanced by an uplifting message of hope, and the public has punished Carter relentlessly for that.
The difference between Obama and Reagan is that Obama, through his book, shows signs of the “serious, correct political analysis” that Freire suggested. President Bush’s problem is that his optimism, especially about the War on Iraq, is very obviously untainted by any hint of this kind of analysis. The American people finally figured this out, and his legacy will bear this albatross. Furthermore, his so-called “war on terrorism” not only lacks such an analysis, but also emphasizes fear over hope.

This book, then, may give Obama a stronger plank to run on than most of the other political books by potential candidates on the horizon.
Bob Schacht

November 8, 2006

implications for progressives

Filed under: HI Politics,National Politics — rachel @ 3:15 pm

Election analysis
by John Bickel of ADA/HI & PDH

“All politics is local.” This quote from former Speak Tip O’Neill (who is in heaven celebrating the Pelosi victory) held true for Hawai‘i last night. The Democratic Party tried to run Randy Iwase against George Bush. The voters voted for Linda Lingle. The anti-Bush sentiment may have deterred some moderate Republicans from coming out to vote. Nationally the swing voters who usually split their votes swung Democrat for a change. Locally I am not sure. Democrat Jill Tokuda won a state Senate seat from Keoki Leong in a Republican district. Democrat Sharon Har defeated incumbent Mark Moses in a swing district. Democrat Angus McKelvey won the state House seat on Maui from a relatively Republican district. Democrat Tom Brower won a seat in Republican-leaning Waikiki against Lingle appointee Ann Stevens. Lest the Democrats feel smug, the Republicans won a state Senate seat and a few House seats in Democratic districts. Gabbard beat Yamamoto in moderately Democratic Makakilo-Kapolei. Awana unseated incumbent Democrat Michael Kahikina who had beat Neighborhood Board chair Rezentes in the primary. Republican Corinne Ching beat Sesnita Moepono. Although Ching has been the incumbent, economically the district should be Democratic. Republicans also held seats in Republican districts with good Democratic challengers: Gene Ward over AJ Halagao, Barbara Marumoto over Mike Abe, and Lynn Finnegan over Jane Sugimura.

Not only was the election a mixed bag on the partisan win-loss score, it was a mixed bag as Progressives look to the majority caucuses. The Senate and House majority caucus choose the leadership and make key decisions. In the Senate, strongly pro-labor Brian Kanno is gone. The new addition to the caucus will be a more conservative Jill Tokuda. In the House many new faces are unknown to me: Hanohano, McKelvey, Bertram, Carroll, Sagum, and Har. Two new members are known to me as solidly progressive: Belatti and Rhoads. Of course we lost two progressives to retirement: Helene Hale and Brian Schatz.

As a progressive waking up to the final numbers this morning, the greatest joy for me was seeing that Kim Coco Iwamoto had defeated Terrance Tom for the Board of Ed.

So as we celebrate the change of power in the U.S. House and await the confirmation of victory in the U.S. Senate, we Progressives in Hawai‘i need to work a little harder. The next legislative session offers the opportunity to pass good laws on education, health care, transportation, clean elections, and the environment. Yet it will take work given the mixed bag in the legislature and the perception that Lingle has a mandate.

rummy is out

Filed under: National Politics — rachel @ 8:40 am

watching pres bush look like an idiot in front of the press corps on CNN right now… breaking news at the bottom of the screen says that Rumsfeld has stepped down!! i guess he figured he may as well quit before he was fired. hastert not running for minority leader (oh how i love how that sounds). there will be much more fallout i am sure… will be fun to watch.

is it wrong that i am getting so much pleasure from this??

local positives

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 12:29 am

great news nationally (i am giddy!), and also some good news locally. these are the ones i take note of: (full results at office of elections website)

State Representative, Dist 28
(D) RHOADS, Karl 2,393 50.1%
(R) WONG, Collin C.O. 2,179 45.7%
this is the one where lingle appointed harbin… notorious due to the fact that she joined the party at the last minute and then was found out that she had some embarrassing skeletons of her own. harbin lost the primary to rhoads; nice to see a (real) democrat keep this seat.

State Representative, Dist 23
(D) BROWER, Tom 2,319 49.6%
(R) STEVENS, Anne V. 2,127 45.5%
another seat in play with a lingle appointment; this one due to galen fox resigning after he got caught with his hands in someone else’s pants. republican seat goes to a democrat.

State Senator, Dist 24
(D) TOKUDA, Jill 8,905 55.6%
(R) LEONG, Keoki 6,629 41.4%
this was the seat vacated by bob hogue when he decided to run for US House 2nd CD. this race was touted as an interesting one since either tokuda or leong were set to be the youngest in the senate. net gain, democrat. good job jill.

State Representative, Dist 25
(D) BELATTI, Della Au 3,718 58.1%
(R) OKUBO, Tracy (Hanayo Y.L.) 2,463 38.5%
this is the seat that was vacated by brian schatz when he ran for US House 2nd CD. this was okubo’s 2nd time (if i am not mistaken) running for office so she arguably had better name recognition than 1st time belatti. i actually held signs for della yesterday and am happy to see that she pulled out a convincing victory. i hope she is as good as i think she may be.

No Departmental School District Residency
Number To Vote For: 3
IKEDA, Donna R. 115,664 17.2%
KNUDSEN, Karen 103,292 15.4%
IWAMOTO, Kim Coco 76,364 11.4%
the big one here is iwamoto, i am super stoked that she made the cut. i truly believe that she will be a wonderful fresh voice in the BOE. other notable is that darwin ching, lingle appointee, was on the bottom.

State Representative, Dist 40
(D) HAR, Sharon 3,766 51.4%
(R) MOSES, Mark 3,467 47.4%
republican incumbent out to new dem. enough said.

Honolulu Charter Amendments: (the environmental ones)
Honolulu: Land Conservation and Affordable
YES 122,231 54.8%
NO 86,067 38.6%

Honolulu: Curbside Recycling
YES 163,107 74.3%
NO 39,070 17.8%

Honolulu: Pedestrian and Bicycle Priority
YES 160,904 72.2%
NO 46,340 20.8%

all three of these are HUGE. all three were expected to be voted down due to heavy backing for the ‘no’ vote by the mayor, honolulu advertiser, and others. primary support was from sierra club and some smaller environmental groups. this is a big statement as to where the priorities of honolulu residents are in comparison to how the city has been prioritizing things. shortly after hanneman was elected, we heard that curbside recycling was off the table all of a sudden. whenever i asked about city recycling at my neighborhood board meeting i was told by my city coucil rep that they already were… with H-Power. what?? H-Power=recyling. i don’t think so! let’s hope that we see some change for the better with these charter amendments.

also some not so good news, primarily this one:

State Senator, Dist 19
(R) GABBARD, Mike 6,633 55.2%
(D) YAMAMOTO, George S. 5,136 42.7%
in case you are new to hawaii or have otherwise been under a rock for the last several years, gabbard led the ‘save traditional marriage’ fight, which brought a ton of super conservative money to hawaii. a big step back for civil rights in the state that saw the first inter-racial marriages. very sad to see him in any elected office. i hope people pay very close attention to his agenda.

those are my quick thoughts as of about mid-night election night…

November 7, 2006

yay!

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 9:20 pm

sorry not going to write much about the details… just wanted to note that it is all looking great!! got the house, and looking promising to take the senate. locally, iwase is down, but no big surprise there. last i saw, several of the open state house seats had the D ahead.

nice. =)

AND honolulu charter amendments 3, 4 & 8 are up! (those are the environmental ones… that the mayor, hon. advertiser, and others came out against.)

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