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

May 17, 2007

Breaking developments!

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 10:47 pm

So much has been happening recently!

  • Two hearings featuring Attorney General Gonzales before two different congressional committees
  • Two hearings featuring James Comey, the former Deputy Attorney General to John Ashcroft who appointed Patrick Fitzgerald;
  • Other investigations by the committees led by Waxman, Leahy, and Conyers, generating headlines virtually every day.
  • Frontline has aired a report on the Bush Administration’s domestic spying activities

The most stunning of all was the testimony by Comey, a few days ago, on a subject that Sen. Schumer has apparently been trying to arrange for more than a year, in which Comey describes the night-time race to the hospital bedside of John Ashcroft, heavily sedated for surgery, to get there before then-Counsel to the President Gonzales and Andrew Card, who apparently were going to try to get Ashcroft to sign off on a secret intelligence plan that Comey thought was illegal. Steven Bochko could not have come up with a better script! Unfortunately, this was not on CSPAN, but it was televised online by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and you can see the most dramatic 20 minutes of the testimony at Politics TV! [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxHjWYA50Ds] This video already has had almost 30,000 viewers!

You can get the complete 57 page pdf transcript of Comey’s testimony .

Or you can just listen to the audio (scroll down to #6 on the list).
Comey’s testimony has opened up a whole pandora’s box, because even though he said nothing about what the secret intelligence plan was, it was clear that it was (a) illegal, and (b) approved anyway by President Bush the next day, apparently with the enthusiastic approval of VP Cheney and Gonzales. For this act alone, the three of them should be impeached and removed from office!!!

To get more commentary on this, you can read the live blogging of the hearing by FireDogLake, with all the hundreds of comments on what was happening in real time.

Or you can read Marcy Wheeler’s excellent analysis of the illegal spying programs.

DailyKos is now on fire with impeachment talk.

But will it happen? I don’t think we can afford to content ourselves with being spectators. Here’s what we need to do:

  • Share this information with your family and friends– not just here in Hawaii, but on the mainland. Encourage them to watch the Comey testimony at the Politics TV link above.
  • Write letters to the editor
  • Write your congress-persons, including senators. If you’ve written before, write again.

We need to do more. Write a comment with your ideas (click on the “>>” after the word “Comments” at the end of this post, and then scroll down to the window where you can enter your comments.)

For the sake of our country and our children, we need to get these crooks out of office before they pull even more crazy stunts. And you can bet they’re busy with their schemes.
These are the times that define the future.

Bob Schacht

May 9, 2007

local haole

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 12:39 pm

I think the recent exchange between Senator Hooser and Larry Price (HA, SB) brings to light something most of us know, but don’t usually say out loud. No matter how long a white person has lived in Hawai‘i he/she will never be considered “local” by a large segment of the population here. I think that is relatively unique to Hawai‘i… are there other places where that is the case as well? What does it mean to be “local”? Most places it simply means that you live in the area on a permanent basis. In Hawai‘i that is a loaded term. White people simply will never understand what it is like. Right?

My family moved to Hawai‘i Island when I was 18mos old. I have lived here my entire life but was not born here (my sister and brothers were). I went to an elementary school dominated by children whose parents worked for the Hamakua sugar plantation. I have been called a F**kin’ Haole more times than I can remember. I normally brush off any disparaging haole references or even joke about them myself. In conversations with people from the mainland, I often have to remind them that I am not “Hawaiian” since there is an indigenous people here and the term does not apply as it does for other states where one may be referred to as “Californian,” “Texan,” etc. I even cringe when referred to as “local” and often joke that if you call me that loud enough in the wrong company, I may get beat up.

When trying to explain the unique culture in Hawai‘i to others, I often refer to the plantation culture that separated whites from all others. I relate how although I felt discrimination as a child, it was character building and largely dissipates as you move into the adult world where we become more aware that Hawai‘i is a part of America where whites are still a majority. More aware that (some) whites still hold advantages here that were gained with the overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani. Does it matter that I realize these things? Does it matter that my Korean friend who grew up in Minnesota is treated as “local” but I will never be? Is this just another price of living in paradise?

Local-haole people like myself are usually given the benefit of the doubt as long as we know our place and are careful not to ever presume we might understand what it might be like to be kama‘aina. Apparently Gary Hooser over-stepped that line by presuming he could speak on behalf of his constituents on Kaua‘i. I think that the conversations (e.g., gary hooser blog, ilind, poinography1, poinography2, volcanic ash) that have been stimulated by this incident are healthy. Perhaps we should be talking about this sort of thing more often.

May 2, 2007

A28 Impeachment Day Activities

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 8:25 pm

On Saturday morning, April 28 (AKA “A28”) in Honolulu, about 50 people spelled I-M-P-E-A-C-H with large florescent poster boards at 5 city intersections, such as

  • Atkinson/Ala Moana (at the entrance to Ala Moana Park),
  • Keeaumoku/Kapiolani (at the entrance to Ala Moana Shopping Center),
  • King/University Intersection (gather at the park in front of Star Market),
  • Kalakaua/Kuhio (at the entrance to Waikiki at the Kalakaua statue)

and a freeway overpass. Response was overwhelmingly positive (running about 15 supporting for every person opposing). Lots of passers-by raised their fists, laid on their horns, shouted, or gave an enthusiastic shaka. Trolleys transporting loads of tourists from one mall to another rang their bells, and lots of city bus and truck drivers honked their horns.

At one intersection two groups holding poster boards became “cheerleaders” – enthusiastically shouting “give me in ‘I’…give me an ‘M’…and raising the appropriate letter.

The team holding their signs over a busy freeway overpass were there for an hour before police threatened arrest for “creating a traffic hazard” – finally forcing them to move to a nearby crowded intersection.

Many people stopped to give their opinions about Bush or Cheney – ranging from complete outrage to “we just gotta wait until the elections”. But the support for impeachment was obvious, with many saying Bush should have been impeached long ago. While the numbers who came out to demonstrate were smaller than we hoped for, the overwhelming support from the street kept spirits up and gave rise to suggestions as to how to continue and strengthen the demand.

Details of this report have been adapted from the World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i newsletter. A short video covering the protest at one of the corners is here. Click on “Impeachment” under Browse by Category to access it.

Thanks to all who participated!


weakling democrats

Filed under: 1Stop War,National Politics — frosty @ 2:27 pm

there is a blog post by senator russ feingold on the huffington post about today’s presidential veto of the iraq spending bill sent to him last week by the democratic congress.  he said he’d veto it before it showed up on his desk, but democrats sent it anyway, using the bill as a signal that congress was no longer bush’s lap dog.

now that bush has done exactly what he said he would, it seems some democrats have already lost their nerve, their will to do battle with the president on this issue.  well, since we couldn’t get it passed with the time line there can’t possibly be a way to force the president to end this war.  oh well, let’s just give him what he wants….


the president is completely unwilling to compromise on anything having to do with iraq, yes, but that doesn’t mean we just throw in the towel.  we keep fighting for what we think, what we know is right.  in a rare instance, democrats in congress actually have tremendous support from the public with regard to ending the war in iraq.  at the same time, the ground seems to be continually eroding from underneath this administration, so WE should be the one to back down?

to use presidential logic, let me put it another way.  for six years, this president has experienced no resistance to his policies.  he’s never heard the word no, but now the democrats are trying to teach him (granted, i’m not sure the man is intelligent enough to tie his shoes, but it’s still worth a try).  now, after their first real stand off, some democrats are ready to give him what he wants?  if we back down now, there’s no reason to think he’ll compromise with congress on anything else.

if you don’t stand up to a bully, he’ll never learn.  however thin the democratic majority is in congress, it is still enough to force this president to work with congress, to listen to the will of the people (some of whom actually voted for him).  there can be no backing down on this issue and i have to applaud senator feingold for coming out and saying it.

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