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

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…)

April 29, 2010

Rafael del Castillo Completes PDH 1st Congressional Survey

Filed under: 5Economics,Elections,HI Politics,National Politics — Tags: , — frosty @ 8:44 am


The U.S. is in the midst of a prolonged economic crisis. Globally, we are also facing a long-term environmental crisis. In recent campaigns, there has been talk of creating “green collar” jobs and reducing our carbon footprint.

1. What steps do you think Congress should take to rebuild our economy on a more sustainable, yet economically viable basis?

As outlined in my subsequent remarks, we must eliminate from national economic policy the trickle-down theory at transferred from the Bush Administration to President Obama’s Administration in the bailout elements of the stimulus. Our policy must be recommitted to ameliorating the maldistribution of income. We must undertake tax reforms that eliminate regressive policies from taxation of the vast majority of Americans, as discussed below and on my website. Those policies will stimulate savings and investment and increase income and wealth in the middle and working classes, which is the best policy for moderating the effects of future economic variations. We must be vigilant in eliminating the type of profiteering that turned our financial sector into a free for all, instead of a reliable national partner for economic safety and stability. We the need creativity that resides there to meet the needs of broadening wealth, but we must insist that all financial instruments are regulated and protected by adequate reserves, among other things. (more…)

March 30, 2010

Local Agriculture

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,General,SHAPES platform — rachel @ 3:46 pm

In our sub-group at the LG speed dating event on Saturday, one of the topics we asked most candidates about was supporting quality agriculture land. In that group, the focus was largely about the Ho‘opili development that may displace an existing farm if allowed to go forward. The concept of “food sustainability” has come up in conversations a lot lately. It seems to be on off-shoot of the standard “sustainability” buzz word that many people profess to support, yet few seem to take many tangible steps to make it a way of life.

Along those lines, for many months (years?) I have been thinking about signing up for one of those weekly vegetable boxes that some local farms offer. It is an idea that I have always liked, but never got around to implementing in my own life. Until now. A friend of mine recently used his status post on facebook to comment about his CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegie box that he just got from MA‘O organic farms. Since I had been thinking about it already, that prompted to me to look into it once again. This time I followed through and purchased a subscription, so will now be receiving weekly boxes of fresh produce. 😀

According to CSAfarming.com, “At its heart Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) connects local farmers with local consumers.  These consumers help cover the farmer’s operating expenses in exchange for shares of produce grown or raised.  Shares are usually purchased via varying types of memberships or subscriptions.” I chose to go with MA‘O, partly because of the facebook-friend connection, but also because I know about their work in the community and have always admired what they do. There are other local farms that have this type of set up as well. Some are listed at this link, http://csafarming.com/hawaii-csa

If each of us does our part to support local agriculture, perhaps food sustainability can become more than just a concept in Hawai‘i. We need to push our elected officials to support saving quality agriculture land, but we also need to support those farmers ourselves as directly as possible.

February 4, 2010

Afghanistan Resolution

Filed under: 1Stop War,National Politics,SHAPES platform — rachel @ 3:56 pm

At our January general membership meeting, we discussed and passed a resolution regarding the situation in Afghanistan. It is now a month later and I am getting ready to go to our Feb general membership meeting… but I figured this was worth posting for people to see anyway.

If you agree with the sentiment, call your Congressional Representatives and let them know!

Afghanistan Resolution:

The dispatch of thirty thousand additional troops to Afghanistan is a profound mistake that is likely to undermine the credibility of the Obama administration and any of the progressive reforms it is trying to enact. Our soldiers will be used to prop up one of the world’s most corrupt regimes, one that has recently “won” a fraudulent election and has little if any appeal to the people of the country. In fact, its power does not extend outside of Kabul. American soldiers and firepower will alienate Afghans and drive them to support the Taliban.

The scenario we are following is familiar from Vietnam. As Under Secretary of State George Ball (the one senior advisor to advise Lyndon Johnson to withdraw) later recalled: “Nobody was prepared to concede that any particular step would require any further step.” We will send more and more troops under the guise that “progress” is being made. The casualties we take and treasure we expend will become justifications for deeper and deeper involvement. President Obama’s decision is sending us into a new quagmire which will split the Democratic Party and sabotage hope for genuine “change.” We urge the Hawaii Democratic Party to insist on withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan.

January 3, 2010

Progressives Come Out Asking Obama To Do Better

Filed under: 2Healthcare,5Economics,Barack Obama,General,National Politics — frosty @ 4:15 pm

This past Saturday, a number of progressive activists, including a number of PDHers come out to Kailua to urge President Obama to do more, to do better.

A number of us have been disappointed by his position on a number of issues, including the health care reform bill that could be much, much better, and has provisions that don’t solve the problem, but rather serve as a boondoggle for private insurance companies. While many of us strongly support a Single-Payer system of health insurance, given the political realities we’re today faced with, we were happy to settle with a ‘strong’ public option, which is in danger of being excluded from the final language.

We’re also unhappy about Obama’s decision to send more troops into Afghanistan, escalating a war that’s been waging for the better part of a decade, with no end in sight.

We also haven’t seen the financial reform he promised during the campaign. Instead, its been more of the same complicit favoritism toward the same financial firms and banks who’s irresponsible practices caused the worldwide financial meltdown and current economic crisis.

Obama can and must do better.

Here’s some pictures from the morning.

December 4, 2009

Howard Dean: Is the Current Healthcare Bill Worth Supporting?

Filed under: 2Healthcare,National Politics — Bart @ 7:09 pm

As the healthcare reform bills move through Congress, many progressives are starting to wonder if the bills are worthy of support. Former DNC Chair, Dr. Howard Dean, was a recent guest host on the Rachel Maddow Show and addressed this very question. An excerpt:

In order to have insurance reform, you need two things. The first is making sure insurance companies can‘t turn you down for any medical reason. That‘s called guaranteed issue—and that‘s in the bill. But that‘s only effective if you make sure that the coverage is affordable. And that‘s not in the bill.

As the bill is written now, the insurance companies will still be allowed to gouge their customers if they have illnesses, to charge you two or three times what your neighbor gets charged.

A lot of the insurance reform in this bill is gone. The only real reform that‘s left is the public option. If that‘s compromised away, this bill is no longer health care reform. It‘s just a huge gift to the health insurance industry from the same people who bailed AIG out, the American taxpayers.

Howard Dean discusses the bill with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt):

Dr. Dean interviews Rep. Anthony Weiner to get a perspective from the House. That video after the bump. (more…)

October 29, 2009

Special Committee Testimony Addressing Teacher Furloughs

Filed under: 5Economics,HI Politics,Legislature — frosty @ 7:51 pm

Below is testimony I’ve submitted for a special committee hearing to consider approaches to deal with the teacher furloughs.

Aloha Senators,

I am here, testifying before you today, on behalf of the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii (PDH).

Let me begin by applauding those Senators who have signed the petition to convene a Special Session of the Legislature to immediately address the financial crisis that continues to plague our state. I believe those Senators truly understand the immediate urgency resulting from the teacher furloughs and that this issue cannot wait to be addressed by the Legislature during the next regular session.

When times were good, our Department of Education (DOE) was struggling to provide a decent education for our children. Test scores in Hawaii repeatedly posted below the national average. And now (more…)

October 23, 2009

350 Rally for Climate Action

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,HI Politics,SHAPES platform — rachel @ 2:38 pm

Title: 350 Rally for Climate Action
Location: Hawaii State Capitol
Description: 350 signifies the safe upper limit of CO2 in our atmosphere. Send a firm statement to policymakers that we must act decisively on climate change. Group photo will be taken at 3:50pm.
Start Time: 2:00pm
Date: 10/24/09
End Time: 5:00pm

Click here for the event flyer.

September 7, 2009

Obama Caves to Corporate Pressure, Dumps “Green Jobs” Advocate, Van Jones: UPDATED!

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,Barack Obama,SHAPES platform — Bart @ 12:50 pm

Last week, Barack Obama caved in to pressure from corporate interests and an ongoing campaign by rightwing commentators, and fired Van Jones, the appointee in charge of overseeing the administration’s efforts to create “Green Jobs.”

From press accounts, we hear Jones had committed such unforgivable sins as signing a petition demanding answers to the US government’s response to the attacks on 9-11, and for saying Republicans are assholes at a public meeting at Berkeley several months ago.

I think the reasons Van Jones was dumped, rather than defended, by Obama are evident in this video of Van Jones’ speech at a mass environmental summit held in Washington D.C.. (more…)

June 22, 2009

Support Booming for ‘Public Option’

Filed under: National Politics,SHAPES platform — frosty @ 8:59 pm

in a recent new york times/cbs news poll, reuteres reports, 85% of respondents

wanted major healthcare reforms and most would be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure everyone had health insurance.

this is HUGE. most people usually respond to the notion of higher taxes with some level of annoyance or anger. but in this case, the opposite seems to be the case. while i don’t know that we have obama to thank for the results of this poll, though. instead, i think people understand, as some fundamental level, that real and major changes are need to fix our health care system. (more…)

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