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

July 6, 2016

Why Governor Ige Should Have Vetoed SB2501. Why He Didn’t

HB2501, as indicated by the Conference Committee report is meant to “to allow the Board of Land and Natural Resources to authorize the holder over of a previously authorized water rights lease during the pendency of an application to renew the lease.” The situation which the bill seeks to remedy exists in only one instance, which the O‘ahu First Circuit Court addressed in its ruling earlier this year. In fact, even the Deputy Attorney General arguing the case said, “This is a unique situation.”

The Conference Committee, in an attempt to lend further reasoning in support of the bill, raised, in its report, the specter of losing Important Agricultural Lands (IAL) to reclassification should a minimum of 3,500 gallons per acre per day (GAD) not be readily available and the bill fail to become law. While the However, before any of the 27,000 IAL acres might be reclassified, there would certainly be contested case hearings to determine the validity of such a petition. What’s more, the Waiahole Decision set the minimum GAD for diversified agriculture at a minimum of 2,500 GAD, or an average of 3,500 GAD, set by the Department of Agriculture. So, while the Conference Committee attempts in its report to scare the bejesus out of anyone who cares about the lost of IAL, their claim only helps to make transparent their real intent of giving Alexander and Baldwin (A&B) pretty much whatever they want.

What’s more, way back in 2000, A&B filed an application for a 30-year long-term lease to access 33,000 acres of public land for the purpose of diverting an unspecified amount of water from public lands. A year later, with approval still pending from the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR), taro farmers on Maui filed for a contested case hearing on A&B’s long-term lease application. In June, 2003 BLNR finally approved the long-term lease application, at which point the taro farmers appealed the decision to the courts, as no Environmental Impact Statement was completed, as required by HRS 343.

Had A&B and BLNR followed the law more than a decade ago, we might not be talking about this right now.

Still, despite panic raised by A&B and DLNR that other revocable permit holders could find themselves in a similar predicament, there’s no evidence or reason to believe that would actually happen. The ongoing struggle and litigation against A&B is a unique situation where they are diverting large amounts of water, for arguably unknown reasons, and in the process harming farmers downstream. DLNR admits no other litigation is pending other than the ongoing cause against A&B. It’s also important to point out that there are other remedies that could address this issue, without this legislation:

  • Seeking a stay of enforcement from the court while the decision is on appeal,
  • BLNR could issue a new very limited revokable permit to A&B (such as only for upcountry residents and with specific GAD figures for diversified agriculture with directions to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for those uses (which DLNR had previously directed A&B to do), possibly to include water diversion until Dec. 2016,
  • DLNR contacts all other revokable permit holders to outline the future implementation so that they have certainty about what to expect,
  • DLNR sets regulations to address the concerns of transparency, public trust resources, and the needs of the other revokable permit holders, such as the Ka‘u ranchers, for example,
  • Separately, the Water Commission could immediately set interim in-stream flow standards for East Maui streams that are in place while the larger decision about the future of agriculture in central Maui is decided.

It’s also important to note that, even without a revokable permit, or this bill, A&B can still divert significant amounts of water from watersheds it owns: as much as 55 million gallons a day. It also has access to well water that can pump more than 83 million gallons a day.

Additionally, the public display over A&B’s announcement in April to restore flows was arguably disingenuous. In 2008, BLNR ruled that 12 million gallons per day of water should be restored among 8 streams in East Maui. Despite this order, A&B released minimal amounts of water to these streams, until their announcement in April. The public “stunt,” lent further credibility by the legislators on hand for the press conference, should serve as a reminder that A&B consistently flaunts the law, until it serves their purposes not to.

Ultimately, the situation which A&B and DLNR say this bill will address, is a result of a combination of foot dragging by the DLNR and A&B’s refusal to play by the same rules as everyone else. Had DLNR (or A&B) completed an Environmental Assessment or Impact Statement in conjunction with their initial 30-year lease application in 2003, this situation might not exist at all.

Despite all this, Governor Ige chose to sign the bill. He said, “We have a water permit process that has not been working.” This is fundamentally untrue and incorrect. Permit process WORKS for everyone except A&B, who DLNR has been giving everything they ask for… for decades, in clear and repeated violation of the law. Governor Ige goes on, “While I have major reservations about HB2501, it does provide time to transition to a press that ensures water is distributed fairly in accordance with the public trust doctrine and that decisions are made in a timely matter.”

Unfortunately, flawed reasoning and a willingness to be swept up in fears of who else might be affected, he signed the bill. While disappointing and frustrating, opponents of the bill should draw the conclusion that the Governor is just another corrupt politician, bought off by powerful and moneyed interests. Certainly there are criticisms that can be laid on the Governor, but there isn’t any evidence that he’s corrupt. Rather Ige, earned whatever political chops he may have over decades working with many politicians who ARE corrupt and in a system that is corrupt.

A&B didn’t need to sell the legislature a bill of goods about how others might be negatively affected by a failure to pass HB2501, they would have gone along willingly. The Governor, on the other hand, inevitably listened to those for whom A&B’s fear tactics were effective. Rather than risk hurting farmers, HELCO, and KIUC, Governor chose to sign the bill. He should definitely be made to feel our frustration and disappointment, but he should not be painted with the same brush as those legislators who stood shoulder to shoulder with A&B executives at the April press conference.

June 19, 2012

Ed Case Completes PDH Survey

What, in your view, are the reasons preventing the U.S. Senate from passing legislation that better serves the American people?

The main reason is that most of the American people are currently disenfranchised inside the Beltway. The inside crowd is dominated by political action committees and other special interests dedicated solely to the maintenance of their own interests at all costs to the exclusion of everyone else, and Congress is dominated additionally by the mindset that every debate and policy issue presents a stark choice between political extremes.

All of this results in hyperpartisan, my-way-or-the-highway, take-no-prisoners gridlock, and classic alamihi crab syndrome reactions to any attempt to find a better way forward. None of this is representative of the mainstream of the American people. No wonder that, in the most recent poll taken on the subject (Rasmussen, June 2012), only 7% of Americans, crossing all party and other lines, believe Congress is doing an excellent or good job. Please see my Issues Agenda: Fixing Washington.

(more…)

December 3, 2010

Disappointment in Obama

Filed under: 3Accountability,National Politics,SHAPES platform — rachel @ 1:26 pm

An article I just read on Truthout.org made me think about a spirited conversation we had at our monthly general meeting last night. We were talking about President Obama’s upcoming holiday visit to Hawai‘i, when he is expected to stay in Kailua, O‘ahu again, as an opportunity to express our disappointment in his performance so far. Just as that one woman said so eloquently to the President at a fairly recent town hall meeting, “I am tired of sticking up for you,” we have the opportunity to tell him how we feel about what is going on in our country. While  most of us were realistic enough not to expect things to change dramatically overnight, we certainly hoped that a this President with a Democrat controlled congress might at least stand up for some of what those of us on the left have been fighting for rather than starting negotiations in the middle and then conceding further to the right.

William Rivers Pitt’s article “On the subject of quitting” compares his symptoms of withdrawal from quitting cigarettes to the physical pain he feels from “having to witness a Democratic presidential administration fly apart at the seams.” (more…)

March 14, 2009

Accountability and Justice Working Group

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics,SHAPES platform — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 7:49 pm

The “A” in the PDH S.H.A.P.E.S. platform stands for Accountability and Justice for the Bush and Cheney administration. The national Progressive Democrats of America considers this part of their “Stop the War” priority, since most of the Constitutional excesses of the Bush & Cheney regime are related to the so-called “Global War on Terrorism.” That first priority begins:

End the War, Redirect Funding

PDA wants all troops withdrawn promptly, and war funds redirected toward social needs at home and humanitarian aid in Iraq. Toward that end, we call on the Democratic-led Congress to use its powers to 1) cut off funding that prolongs the military occupation of Iraq, and 2) fully investigate false White House claims justifying the invasion and occupation of Iraq. If such investigations lead to moves toward impeachment, so be it.

(emphasis added.)

(more…)

November 10, 2007

National Lawyers Guild Votes for Impeachment

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,SHAPES platform — BobSchacht @ 2:08 pm

On the same day as Kucinich was shaking things up on the floor of the house, the National Lawyers Guild held its national convention in Washington, D.C., and voted unanimously and enthusiastically for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney! Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.

At their national convention, they voted unanimously and enthusiastically for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney! Their resolution lists more than a dozen high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush and Cheney administration and “calls upon the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately initiate impeachment proceedings, to investigate the charges, and if the investigation supports the charges, to vote to impeach George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney as provided in the Constitution of the United States of America.” According to their press release,

The resolution provides for an NLG Impeachment Committee open to all members that will help organize and coordinate events at the local, state, and national level to build public participation in the campaign to initiate impeachment investigation, impeachment, and removal of Bush and Cheney from office without further delay.

The resolution calls on all other state and national bar associations, state and local government bodies, community organizations, labor unions, and all other citizen associations to adopt similar resolutions and to use all their resources to build the campaign demanding that Congress initiate impeachment investigation, impeach, and remove Bush and Cheney from office.

National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn said, “The war of aggression, the secret prisons, the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the use of evidence obtained by torture, and the surveillance of citizens without warrants, all initiated and carried out under the tenure of Bush and Cheney, are illegal under the U.S. Constitution and international law.

The full text of the resolution (.pdf file) includes proposed articles of impeachment.

Bob

November 6, 2007

Showdown on House Floor

Filed under: 08 Presidential Hopefuls,Dennis Kucinich,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 12:53 pm

Dennis Kucinich today introduced a new resolution on the House Floor today, H.Res. 799, that was the same, in substance, as his previously submitted H.Res.333 to impeach VP Cheney, as previously planned (see previous posts on this thread.) Shortly afterwards, as anticipated, someone (in this case, Steny Hoyer) moved to table Kucinich’s resolution. Kucinich guessed that his resolution would be tabled, but thought it would be meaningful to see who voted which way.

At first, the voting rolled out as expected, with a majority in favor of tabling the motion. It seemed certain that the motion to table would succeed, as expected.
But then something odd started happening: a few Republicans started voting against tabling the resolution. Then the fog rolled in as Republicans who had voted for tabling started flipping their votes to against. A bunch of us were watching this happen, and couldn’t believe our eyes. You can see the play-by-play over at FireDogLake in the comments to Jane Hamsher’s blog, I’m With Donna Edwards, beginning at comment #24.

After five minutes or so, the Republican majority in favor of tabling dwindled down to 50/50, and then started to reverse! Then some Democratic votes started fllipping, too! Then, wonder of wonders, the “Nays” caught up to the “Ayes”, and the vote-flipping continued. Much to our surprise, the motion to Table, which would essentially have killed it, was defeated in a landslide! 78 Democrats voted against tabling the motion.
This unexpected victory for Kucinich was a mixed blessing, because it obscured his original objective of seeing who might vote against tabling as a clue to who might vote in favor of impeachment: With more than 90% of Republicans voting against tabling, there was obviously some other scheme afoot.

Hoyer then moved to refer Kucinich’s motion to the House Judiciary Committee, where Kucinich’s other bill, H. Res. 333, is currently languishing. Kucinich insisted on a recorded vote for that, too. Almost all Democrats voted in favor of referral, and almost all Republicans voted against referral. The Democrats won the vote to refer. This will probably kill it, as the Democrats don’t want impeachment proceedings to distract them from other Important Business. As for myself, I wonder what could be more important than impeaching a war-monger VEEP who wants to bomb the heck out of Iran because… well, the reasons change on a weekly basis, but the Bush-Cheney administration has portrayed Iran as a member of the “Axis of Evil”. There are also a bunch of other high crimes and misdemeanors to choose from.
Kucinich has also announced plans to introduce a resolution of impeachment of President Bush. Some of the charges to choose from can be found here, to which we can probably add his illegal orders authorizing water-boarding.

UPDATE: Kagro X has provided his summary of today’s Kucinich motion, OK, so did you get that?, at DailyKos.

UPDATE II: A live blog of the proceedings is posted at http://impeachcheney.org
Bob

November 5, 2007

Kucinich to take impeachment to the House Floor

Filed under: 08 Presidential Hopefuls,Dennis Kucinich,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 8:53 pm

This is a sequel to yesterday’s long blog,

Impeachment Kit for Kucinich Nov. 6 Action

David Swanson forwarded this account of Congressman Kucinich’s conference call this afternoon:

Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2007 20:25:17 -0500
From: David Swanson
Subject: [Activists] Kucinich to Move Impeachment of Bush After Cheney

Kucinich to Move Impeachment of Bush After Cheney

http://www.impeachcheney.org

By David Swanson

Congressman Dennis Kucinich said on a conference call Monday evening
that after moving to impeach Vice President Cheney on Tuesday he will
also introduce, at a future date, a resolution to impeach President
Bush. Or rather, he would have said that on the conference call if not
for several technical SNAFUs.

The call was advertised as a one-way call on which only Kucinich could
speak, but Kucinich was unable to get through because of the incredible
number of people on the call (I have no count yet, but the dings of the
new people coming on were a steady stream of noise for half an hour).

So Kucinich phoned me, and I held one of my phones up to another so that
everyone on the call could hear him. That was working fine for about 20
seconds, until the geniuses running the call chose that moment to mute
everyone except Dennis (without stopping to realize that by muting me
they were muting Dennis). So, Kucinich gave a nice speech through my
phones, but I was the only one listening.

Here’s what he said:

He is going to introduce a privileged resolution on the floor of the
U.S. House Tuesday morning to force a vote on his resolution to impeach
Cheney (H Res 333). While that bill includes offenses related to Iraq
and Iran, Kucinich plans to focus his remarks on Iran and the fact that
the current Pentagon bill includes funding to retrofit bombers to carry
15-ton bombs.

Kucinich said he would hold a press conference at 3 p.m. in 2456 Rayburn
House Office Building, Washington, D.C., and would post on his House
website and at http://impeachcheney.org an account of what transpired on
the floor.

He said that there might be an actual debate on the substance of the
charges, for which he said he was prepared, or there might be a motion
to table the matter (effectively killing it if successful), or it might
be referred to a committee. If it is sent to committee, Kucinich said,
it will be the House Judiciary Committee. I asked whether (as has been
done with impeachment resolutions in the past) he would be able to
insist on a time limit for the committee to report back. Kucinich seemed
unsure whether that could be done, but proposed that whether or not the
matter is sent to committee he might start a discharge petition as
another tool for forcing real action on the floor of the House.

Currently H Res 333 sits in the Constitution Subcommittee of the House
Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Jerrold Nadler has done nothing with
it for months.

Kucinich expressed great appreciation for what all the activist groups
and individuals on the call are doing to help promote impeachment. He
also wanted to let everyone know that he will not only continue pushing
for the impeachment of Cheney but will also take up the impeachment of
Bush with a new resolution.

This was terrific to hear. I wish I had not been the only one to hear it.

_______________________________________________

In addition to the conference call, you can read a transcript of Kucinich’s warm-up letter,

IT’S TIME TO IMPEACH CHENEY, By Congressman Dennis Kucinich, special to www.ImpeachCheney.org.

If you heard Keith Olberman’s Countdown tonight, you will welcome the idea that Kucinich will also be offering a resolution to impeach Bush, who is almost certainly guilty of the crime of authorizing torture. Bush’s nominee for AG apparently knows that, too, which led to much squirming in his seat as he was pelted with questions about waterboarding. The sophistry of his answers is revealing.

We must get our representatives to wake up, and do the right thing. If you have not already done so, review the action kit sent yesterday and do what you can. The next few days could be a critical turning point for the future of our country.

Mahalo nui loa,
Bob Schacht

November 4, 2007

Impeachment Kit for Kucinich Nov. 6 Action

Filed under: Dennis Kucinich,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 8:15 pm

The impeachment movement is about to get a majoImpeach Cheney logor jolt!

First, a little review:
On Tue, 23 Oct 2007, the national impeachment committee of Progressive Democrats of America announced that

On Tuesday, October 23rd, in a nationwide phone call to impeach organizers presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich announced he will go before the U.S. House of Representatives on a point of personal privilege to move the impeachment of Dick Cheney.

Impeachment leader David Swanson then announced when this would take place:

Impeachment is coming to House floor on November 6th. Act now!

http://impeachcheney.org

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, whose bill to impeach Cheney has 22 sponsors, will introduce a resolution on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6.

November 6th??? November 6th??? Isn’t that the date in even-numbered years that we hold elections? Hmmm. (more…)

October 12, 2007

Help Us Build a Movement for Impeachment

Filed under: HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics,SHAPES platform — BobSchacht @ 10:45 pm

The Impeachment Coalition in Hawaii is alive! link.gif
We’ve joined with AfterDowningStreet.org to help

Impeach Bush and Cheney Now!

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

Please sign and help to promote this petition:

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/petition

Join our Congressional District Impeachment Committee

by sending your request to bobschacht@infomagic.net.

Cities, Towns, States, and political parties are introducing and passing impeachment resolutions. Help us add to the growing list:

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/resolutions

Would you like help learning about the legal issues? Research assistance? Assistance in putting together a forum or other impeachment event? Go here:

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/resourcecenter

Meanwhile, you can attend the annual meeting of the Hawaii ACLU on November 3

[ph. (808) 522-5906], where there will be a breakout session on “Don’t Wait for ’08: Restoring Checks and Balances on Presidential Power”, led by attorney and ACLU board member Roger Fonseca.

Bob Schacht

September 29, 2007

War-mongers in the White House

Filed under: 1Stop War,HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 9:33 pm

I remember President Bush’s rush to war in Iraq: While proclaiming that war was the “last resort,” the President was clearly impatient. UN sanctions were actually working well. According to the Wikipedia,

The United Nations located and destroyed large quantities of Iraqi WMD throughout the 1990s in spite of persistent Iraqi obstruction. Washington withdrew weapons inspectors in 1998, resulting in Operation Desert Fox, which further degraded Iraq’s WMD capability. . . .While various leftover weapons components from the 1980s and 1990s have also been found, most weapons inspectors do not now believe that the WMD program proceeded after 2002,[1] though various theories continue to be put forward. . . . In late 2002 Saddam Hussein, in a letter to Hans Blix, invited UN weapons inspectors back into the country. Subsequently the Security Council issued Resolution 1441 authorizing new inspections in Iraq. The carefully-worded U.N. resolution put the burden on Iraq, not U.N. inspectors, to prove that they no longer had weapons of mass destruction. . . .In January 2003, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that they had found no indication that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons or an active program. . . .On March 7, 2003, Hans Blix’s last report to the UN security Council prior to the US led invasion of Iraq, described Iraq as actively and proactively cooperating with UNMOVIC, though not necessarily in all areas of relevance and had been frequently uncooperative in the past, but that it was within months of resolving key remaining disarmament tasks.[50]

But this was not good enough for Bush and Cheney, who clearly chose to believe the old intelligence reports, and other “worst case” assessments, and to disbelieve the UN reports. Or maybe they just lied. It was clear to me at the time that, shortly after the war on the Taliban in Afghanistan, and despite assurances that war was a “last resort,” Bush wanted to invade Iraq. His body language was clearer than his words. (more…)

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