If Hobby Lobby can deny women healthcare coverage based on their religious beliefs, we should certainly be allowed to stop paying taxes that go to killing people in violation of our religious beliefs.
Watch live now GMO moratorium Maui Council meeting: http://akaku.org/akaku-channel-53-live-streaming/ Read BAB Pres. comments sent to Maui Council this morning:
Aloha Honorable Chair Hokama and Distinguished Maui Councilmembers,
I confirmed this morning again that the HDOA has only 5 pesticide inspectors statewide. This year in the legislature, we added 3 and we lost 4, despite promises of HDOA, the Governor and Kauai legislative delegates to address pesticide failures at the state level as a method to avoid the passage of Bill 2491. Just 7 of 72 cases on Kauai alone in 2011 and 2012 have been completed as only one person is assigned to process complaints. Our HDOA is absolutely not doing its’ job and has not been for years, hence the major pushes for protections at the home rule County level in order to protect citizens’ “life and health.” The state regulations should be a floor, not a ceiling for the Counties and the federal regulations are supposed to follow the same model. Please read the full articles linked.
Furthermore, the HDOA actions and leadership relies almost entirely on the opinion of the Hawaii Attorney General, who defers to the Federal government on nearly everything regarding GE and pesticides. Therefore, it is almost as if, we are missing our entire state-level regulation of agricultural GMOs and pesticides as our HDOA literally defers nearly all of their decision making to the positions of the federal government. The federal government, which as you can see, performs absolutely zero testing on pesticides, GMO crops or human safety studies in regards to both. Instead federal agencies rely primarily on studies performed by the companies applying for approval which a major conflict of interest and prime example of the highly concerning and numerous chemical+GMO company executives and lobbyists in key regulatory positions of the FDA, EPA and USDA.
Hawaii Department of Agriculture pesticide branch WOEFULLY UNDERSTAFFED and has been since budget cuts in 2008 and 2010.
“The state Department of Agriculture in Hawaii has only one employee assigned to review pesticide inspection reports and follow up on possible violations. And she says she hasn’t gotten around to reviewing most reports in several years so there’s been little if any action against pesticide misuse.
Since 2009, the department has suffered budget cuts that have stretched its pesticide oversight to the limit, its director says. There are only six pesticide inspectors in the state, including one on Kauai, where local officials are moving to take pesticide oversight into their own hands.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health has no program in place to regularly test for pesticide contamination in the soil, air, or water. The sole position on Kauai that is supposed to monitor dust under pesticide regulations has been vacant for more than a year.
The state Department of Agriculture in Hawaii has only one employee assigned to review pesticide inspection reports and follow up on possible violations. And she says she hasn’t gotten around to reviewing most reports in several years so there’s been little if any action against pesticide misuse.
Since 2009, the department has suffered budget cuts that have stretched its pesticide oversight to the limit, its director says. There are only six pesticide inspectors in the state, including one on Kauai, where local officials are moving to take pesticide oversight into their own hands.”
Really appreciated your intelligent questions today and am pleased to see that the clarification has been made, that the EPA does not only perform NO testing of pesticides, but uses the industries’ own studies and studies of companies applying for registration to “register,” not “approve.” The same is true with the USDA in regards to GMO foods, where approval for US food supply is founded on studies funded and provided by the companies applying for approval. This is done under the understanding that the USDA cannot afford to test GE crops, cannot possibly assess all the risks and are relying on the industry public relations success of assuring the public that GE crops are “substantially equivalent” to conventional crops despite their contradicting methodology of applying for and receiving patents for GE crops as entirely unique and clearly, substantially different and new life forms thus justifying the grant of patents for GE crops. Basically the companies talk out of both sides of their mouths, one to the public, one to the patent office.
Furthermore, “Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011, according to the report by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-usa-study-pesticides-idUSBRE89100X20121002
Essentially, the Bt GMO crops provide minimal decrease in sprayed pesticides (while assuring EPA pesticide registered Bt GMO crops produce pesticides leading to human consumption of genetically engineered Bt toxin,) while the majority of GE crops are engineered to promote the sale of pesticides by chemical companies producing patented GE crops, thus increasing the amount of pesticides used overall. For the record’s sake, Dow Agroscience, parent company of Mycogen, is currently nearing final approval for 2,4-D herbicide resistant corn, which is an ingredient of the infamous Agent Orange. Already, at least 46 millions of 2,4-d herbicide is sprayed in the United States on an annual basis. Where do you think Dow was testing 2,4-d resistant corn? Their open air laboratory in the Hawaiian islands perhaps? We already know that Agent Orange was field tested in Kauai prior to use, and suspect that the islands have been used to prepare 2,4-d resistant corn but can not confirm many of the chem+GMO activities due to corporate resistance to public disclosure.
In addition, Sri Lanka and Argentina studies regarding the toxicity of glyphosate have led to major legal restrictions and prohibitions of Roundup citing renal toxicity and numerous health maladies including widespread birth defects in residents abutting or engaging in GMO Roundup Ready soy production in Argentina and for farmers using Roundup in Sri Lanka. A recent University of Caen study linked the inert (inactive) ingredients of Roundup to. Excerpts from the Scientific American coverage include:
“But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.
The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.”
“…But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.
One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself – a finding the researchers call “astonishing.”
“One label requirement for Roundup is that it should not be used in or near freshwater to protect amphibians and other wildlife.”
Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling (Argentina study) http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx1001749
I am including a study showing the transfer of Bt toxins from GMO foods to the majority of blood of pregnant women, umbilical blood and non-pregnant women. It does not break down in the human body as suggested by the manufacturers of GMO Bt crops, which are registered as pesticides with the EPA but fed to US citizens without any type of labeling. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670
Furthermore, it should be noted that regardless of starvation problems in Africa, an proposed industry candidate for GMO crops allegedly “feeding the world,” has experienced a mixed rejection of GE crops due to health and environmental risks and that: “From 2002, GM crops have been offered as food aid. In Southern Africa, several countries have expressed concern about the use of GM crops as food aid, given the lack of clarity about their potential impacts. During the drought of 2002-03, several countries opted to reject GM food aid. In making their decisions, countries considered not only the immediate issue of food shortages and the overall implications of GM crops for human and environmental health, but also future directions in agriculture, the implications of private sector-led research, livelihood and development options, ethical issues and rights concerns (Mohamed- Katerere 2003). Similarly, public concerns are raised about the relationship between GM crops and sustainable agriculture. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM-Tanzania, PELUM-Kenya, and PELUM-Zimbabwe), Biowatch South Africa, and national consumer councils have all been key players.” http://www.unep.org/dewa/Africa/publications/AEO-2/content/154.htm
GMO crops do not “feed the world,” and to date in the US there are no commercially approved drought-resistant or yield increasing GMO crops. GE crops are primarily used for fuel and livestock feed.
A recent report in Cascadia Times suggested that GMO testing sites have made parts of Hawaii into some of the most toxic chemical environments in a comparison between all United States agriculture. Data suggests that use of some of the most toxic pesticides, are ten times the national average. It’s the multiple growing seasons. That’s why other communities can pass GMO and pesticide regulations without getting sued but they don’t want to let Hawaii go. Just like the sugar and the pineapple corporations. Medical doctors treating communities near fields are concerned that they are seeing elevated rates of serious illness, possibly including rare birth defects ten times the national average. http://times.org/2014/06/16/kauai-cocktail/
Fiji’s organic islands have business booming, and I propose this is the agricultural industry most residents would support, that would seriously boost our economy, provide stable, sustainable and safe jobs. I also believe that the pure and pristine environment visitors expect of Hawaii, would be best preserved heading in this direction: http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/06/22/organic-farming-culture-brings-burgeonin?videoId=316512653&feedType=VideoRSS&feedName=Business&videoChannel=5&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FUSVideoBusiness+%28Video+%2F+US+%2F+Business%29
Risk-benefit analysis v. precautionary principle. Europe is not willing to risk the health of their children, the stability of their agricultural crops, and the safety of their environment for Monsanto and Mycogen. The United States use the risk-benefit analysis which seems to assume the “risks” associated with GMO farming, underweight the benefits. For who? The US is one of the last several countries in the world allowing GMO crop production. It is on it’s way out because it’s not working and industry claims have already been disproven. This is one of the last places in the world allowing these companies to do this. The risks are on our communities and the benefits are for the minority population profiting through the chemical companies, and commercial enterprises such as Monsanto and Mycogen.
What makes GMOs seem “cheap” in the US is federal subsidies. Without them, there would be likely be no GMO industry in the US because it is not cost-effective or affordable. Patented seeds which must be re-purchased each growing season, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and the inability to save seed to re-plant remove while some crops require twice the water as conventional versions. It is easy to understand how the profits for farmers are redirected to GMO companies and place them in a dependent cycle with chemical corporations. In 2010 70% the US soy bean value was subdized by US tax dollars and 40% of the value paid, was from federal crop insurance subsidies. If 94% of US soy is GMO, and 40% of US soy had to be subsidized with crop insurance due to crop failure, how efficient is this and what does this say for the reality of GE crops? If you kicked out all of the federal subsidy crutches for GMO crops, this industry in the US would collapse on itself.
Councilmember Couch and I discussed the Russian government’s rejection of GE crops briefly last night and here is the bill which considers GMO crop production by companies, elected officials allowing GE crops and individual disciplinary actions for illegal GMO usage or imporation, to be considered as terrorist threat in Russia. This bill is still being considered while a moratorium on GMO food imports, approvals and planting has already been established. The proposed penalties include a minimum 15 year prison sentence and a maximum of life in prison. Here are some news releases from a major news agency, the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia, ITAR-TASS: http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/731689
“The bill also provides for fines for concealing or deliberate distortion of information about environmental impacts of GMOs. Thus, individuals will be punished by a fine ranging from 500 to 1,000 roubles (14.5-29 U.S. dollars), government officials – by a fine of 1,000-2,000 roubles, and legal entities – by a fine of 10,000-20,000 roubels.”
“We do not want to develop the production of genetically modified foods or to import them from other countries,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a congress of legislators from Russia’s rural communities on Saturday. “We are capable of feeding ourselves with normal, ordinary foods, and not genetically modified foodstuffs. If the Americans like to feed themselves with such foods, they are free to do so. We should not do that. We have enough arable land and opportunities to consume normal products.”
Russia’s national association of genetic security last year came out with a demand for banning the use of transgenic cultures in Russia’s territory for a period of ten years. Fundamental GMO studies will be carried out during that period and the effects on the human body established.
For your information, your Mayor Alan Arakawa just happened to publicly receive $1100 from Monsanto lobbyist Carol Reimann and Monsanto just weeks before signing that memorandum with them. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlMuG7w978-pdDBQMjdPQjJCMWZ5U0ZvemlsV1dfZ2c&usp=sharing
You are the last governing body in the state clear of Chemical and GMO funding from 2007-2013 and I have hope and faith in your integrity. Here are the Council analyses, I will leave it up to you to guess why the Honolulu City Council removed GMO labeling from the HSAC package despite unanimous support from neighbor island Councils (two years in a row): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlMuG7w978-pdFNxd3Rxb2tud3YwMkk1d0EzaC1LTkE&usp=sharing
Here are the chemical and GMO campaign contributions to the Hawaii state legislature form 2007-2013. You can draw your own conclusions as to why the Senate Agriculture Chair Nishihara, (who believes DDT is still safe and who taught Special Education for twenty years and does not believe in any link between pesticides and birth defects,) and our Senate Chair of Consumer Protection Rosalyn Baker, has fundraisers thrown for them by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA) lobbyist, Alicia Maluafiti. No increase in pesticide inspectors, regulation, disclosure, or GE food labeling has been able to get past the Senate Ag and CPN committees for years. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlMuG7w978-pdGwyNkZBbjRQc3ZMVnRNdjctTE9nVkE&usp=sharing
I urge you to read the United Nations 2013 Trade and Environment Review entitled, Wake up Before It is Too Late. It essentially states that if we do not immediately depart from high-external-input, petrochemical and heavy pesticide use monocultures such as the GMO farming methods, for small, “mosaic-like,” bio-diverse, sustainable, low-input, organic and natural farming methods, that the problems associated with pesticide/monoculture/GE farming (such as pesticide resistant “superweeds,” and “superbugs,”) will lead to massive global food shortages causing trade and economic disruption and even civil war over food: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf
(Wall Street Journal) China already has rejected billions of dollars of US corn due to GMO contamination: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304483804579283790519804928
Hundreds of millions lost for US farmers due to GMO contaminated soy and corn rejection by China: http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/04/11/how-much-of-u-s-crops-are-gmos/
Lending evidence to the prohibition of open air GE experimentation, even unapproved GM crops such as GM wheat field testing, has led to wheat contamination and cancellation of imports of US wheat: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2333381/GM-wheat-crops-America-facing-wheat-export-crisis-Europe-Japan-lead-way-rejecting-genetically-modified-crops.html
Should you be interested in reading over 1500 studies regarding GE and related pesticides:http://gmofreeusa.org/gmos-are-top/gmo-science/
Colonel Dr. Don Huber of the Army Medical Intelligence Center and former consultant for Dow Chemical said, “Future historians may well look back and write about our time, not about how many pounds of pesticide we did or did not apply; but by how willing we were to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations based on false promises and flawed science, just to benefit the “bottom line” of a commercial enterprise.” Here are his expansive credentials: http://www.nvlv.nl/downloads/Dr_Huber_bio.pdf
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I will continue to provide you with critical information we believe is relevant to your decision making. Thank you for your time.
Babes Against Biotech
Reprinted from DailyKos
The Hawai’i Congressional 1 race has several good candidates and a leading candidate who is so bad that progressives are saying they’ll vote the Republican candidate if she wins the primary.
Despite being a deep blue state, (or maybe because it is) Republican candidates often join the Hawai’i Democratic party. You folks may talk about the “Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party” but here we talk about the “Republican wing of the Democratic Party” and we’re dead serious.
One of the most egregiously unprogressive candidates is Donna Mercado Kim who is leading the HI-01 race both in the polls and in the money.
The Civil Beat poll (margin of error 6%) showed “…it clearly looks like a race between state Sen. Kim and state Rep. Takai”.
And Open Secrets shows that only three candidates are competitive:
Kim: Cash on Hand:$534,893, Total Raised: $582,775
Chang: Cash on Hand: $331,213, Total Raised: $557,748
Takai: Cash on Hand: $322,026, Total Raised: $453,919
Takai and Chang are both espousing progressive positions. In the Hawaii Legislature, Takai has been a reliable vote in favor of the environment. His lead in the polls and consistently good votes on environmental issues led the Sierra Club to endorse him and urge folks to consolidate around a single Not-Kim candidate.
If there is no consolidation Kim will win.
Kim not only has a checkered past when it comes to ethics but she’s being supported by the Pat Roberts Christian Coalition for her anti-abortion, anti-gay, and pro-school-prayer positions. Kim recently voted no on marriage equality (which passed anyway).
She’s made it clear that she supports corporations over the environment by appointing a Monsanto lobbyist to the Water Commission nominating committee right after Monsanto was twice turned down by the Water Commission.
In contrast, the Sierra Club endorsee Mark Takai, has expressed progressive positions. He’s always been excellent on renewable energy, supporting programs for low income people to install PV, credits for solar, and walking the walk by converting his own home to solar.
He voted in favor of Marriage Equality and received the Equality Hawaii endorsement. (Equality Hawai’i is another progressive organization which is extremely worried that folks won’t rally around a single Not-Kim candidate)
Mark Takai is advocating for rebuilding our transportation and communication infrastrucucture. He says, “At a time of unprecedented onslaughts and attacks against unions and working families across the country, I will continue to be a champion for organized labor and working families.” On women’s issues he supports choice, equal pay and has worked hard on the military sexual assault issue.
Takai supports Brian Schatz and Elizabeth Warren in the “Strengthening Social Security Act” which will raise or eliminate the cap on FICA taxable income. That cap means that the poor and the middle class pay 6.5% FICA tax on everything they earn but that someone making a million dollars per year pays less than 1% on their earnings.
Takai, a member of the Hawaii National Guard, was deployed to the Middle East and, as is often the case, this has reinforced his resolve to prevent us from engaging in unnecessary wars. He opposed entering the Iraq war and continues to oppose more involvement in Iraq.
Takai’s military experience will help him in HI-01 where there are substantial military votes and will also position him to compete head to head with the Republican Charles Djou who is in the Army Reserves. (We’re talking about the registered Republican – not Donna Kim who is the stealth Republican.)
Progressive Caucus members Mike Honda and Mark Takano have both endorsed Mark Takai.
The Civil Beat poll showed that Takai is within striking distance of Donna Kim and two progressive organizations are urging us to consolidate support around this progressive Not-Kim candidate. Whatever we do, we cannot allow the Republican-registered-as-a-Democrat, Donna Kim win. It will take all of us getting behind one of the progressive alternatives to beat her.
Reprinted from DailyKos
“We made a mistake. Somebody didn’t double-check the numbers.” Sen. Donna Mercado Kim addresses a state budget shortfall that’s prompting Gov. Neil Abercrombie to veto up to $46 million in proposed DOE funding to balance it. [KHON]
And who was that “somebody”? Cough, cough…it was you, Ms. Kim.State senate president Donna Mercado Kim aka “Ms. Ruthless Beauty Queen” for her overweening vanity and propensity for yelling at testifiers who displease her, has capped her rein over the most dysfunctional state senate ever, by flubbing her most important job – passing a balanced budget.
Ms Ruthless is running for the U.S. House where she’ll be right at home with her friends in the GOP.
Kim voted against marriage equality and is courting the rightwing social conservatives, where she’s being lauded by the Hawai’i Christian Coalition. This is part of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition and their mission is to pass laws against abortion, marriage equality and in favor of school prayer.
Kim also appointed a Monsanto lobbyist to the Water Commission nominating committee right after Monsanto was turned down on both Oahu and Maui for more water. In Hawai’i water is a public trust and the Water Commission decides who gets it. Droughts are increasing so there is much competition for water.
This Republican candidate for Congress….WAIT!…she’s a DEMOCRAT???
Yes folks, she IS a Democrat in this state that every politician (save a handful) have joined the Democratic party or else faced a life in limbo unable to get any chairmanship or power.
On the mainland you folks have the “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party and the “Elizabeth Warren wing“. Here in Hawai’i we have those two wings and also the “Republican wing of the Democratic party“.
Now here’s the bad news. The last Civil Beat poll showed Donna Mercado Kim ahead for the CD1 Congressional seat. Here’s the breakdown:
Donna Mercado Kim 30%
Mark Takai 24%
Stanley Chang 9%
Ikaika Anderson 7%
Will Espero 6%
Joey Manahan 1%Undecided 23%
Margin of error 6.1%
As often happens in Hawai’i, there are many good candidates in this race and one really, really bad candidate. Thus the corporations pile on to the bad candidate and the many good candidates split the vote.Right now folks are deciding which candidate to get behind since the only way that Donna Kim can lose is if all the not-Donna Kim voters consolidate behind one.
It would be a real shame if a conservative like Kim were to win in a deep blue state like Hawai’i.
As the NotDonnaKim website says:
Friends don’t let friends vote for Donna Kim
Reprinted from DailyKos
Colleen Hanabusa: War games can unite countries
Swear to god, that was the headline in The Garden Isle (Kaua’i) newspaper today.
The arms dealers would like us to believe that war games serve some societally beneficial purpose – of what? Cosy fellowship and a lovefest between countries? They should better be looked at as a wonderful way to expend munitions and, hey, buy some more from the military corporations!
Hanabusa has gone whole hog in shilling for the munitions and drone suppliers. As her campaign fizzles, she’s depending more and more on her military corporate sponsors to prop it up.
After all, as the wars we’ve started wind down, we have to figure out some way to use up munitions and justify the biggest military budget in the world.
Hanabusa is a member of the China Caucus, a conservative group dedicated to the wildly improbably notion that we must prepare for a military attack by China. She is joined in this fear by such intellectional giants as Rep Joe (“you lie”) Wilson , Steve (“women can’t get pregnant from rape”) King, and Ken (“IRS is like the Cookie Monster“) Calvert
Perhaps this announcement is the way that Hanabusa celebrates the RIMPAC exercises which are being held right now. Hanabusa has been advocating the U.S. military “Pivot to the Pacific” because she feels China is such a danger that we must mass armaments in Hawai’i to fend them off. Curiously enough, China is participating in RIMPAC this year.
The RIMPAC exercise features a merry menu of activities: Torpedoing and sinking ships, deafening sea life with sonar, deploying vast quantities of chaff in order to confuse and blind our weather radar and (four years ago) allegedly cutting our undersea communications cable, thus crippling our phone and Internet service for months.
Hanabusa and Republican Randy Forbes have been pushing for increased militarization of the already over-militarized Hawaiian islands.
In fact, just recently, she along with her Republican buddies appropriated more funds for the military than the military even wanted.
Meanwhile, we invite everyone to come celebrate RIMPAC with us. Come and join the merriment as we blow up paradise!
Reprinted from DailyKos
Bart Dame is (in my opinion and others) one of the most incisive and knowledgeable observers of the Hawai’i political scene. In comments to a Civil Beat article showing that Senator Brian Schatz (D-progressive) is polling ahead of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-ConservaDem) he responds to most of the Hanabusa Campaign talking points.
First he refutes the idea that because Abercrombie appointed Brian Schatz on Sen Inouye’s passing, Schatz is somehow connected to Abercrombie:
“I suggest the assertion Schatz is “one of Abercrombie’s guys” is not useful for analyzing what is going on. It may be useful as a weapon for attacking Schatz by trying to taint him with the faults of Abercrombie. But it does not reflect the facts. Many of us hold politicians in contempt for “spinning” the truth, playing with facts to make themselves look better and cast blame on their opponents. I suggest we are no better than that if we resort to the same tactics in our “anti-establishment” zeal.Where does this claim about Schatz come from? OK, Schatz was Neil’s LG [Lt. Gov]. Sorry. That does not provide any support for your claim against Schatz. In Hawaii, the primary voters pick the LG, not the Governor. The people of Hawaii cast almost twice as many votes for Schatz as for Bobby Bunda, his nearest rival in a crowded field.
Abercrombie did not support Schatz over his primary opponents and Schatz was very careful to steer a middle path between Neil and his opponent, Mufi Hanneman.”
He goes on to explain Hawaii’s process for appointing an office-holder when a seat becomes vacant mid-term:
“Perhaps you think Schatz is “Abercrombie’s guy” because the Governor picked him to become the US Senator? The Democratic Party’s “board of directors,” the SCC, a group of about 80 people from across the state, had the responsibility for presenting 3 names to the Governor from which to make that selection. I was part of that process and we wrestled with the question of whose names to move forward. There was no uniform set of criteria for evaluating the names. But, in broad terms, these are the kind of considerations we weighed:First, the pool was limited by law to Democratic party members. Second, we gave weight to whether the nominees would be able to mount an effective campaign in 2014, when the appointed term comes to an end. Some people suggested a “placeholder” appointment of someone who would NOT run in 2014 and those arguments were also considered.
I do not know how conversant you might be with the pool of potential Democratic US Senators from Hawaii. It is not a large group of names. We did not necessarily limit ourselves to current officeholders, but that was a good place to start. Former elected officials were also considered, including ex-governors. Shinseki’s name was floated. At least one prominent businessman. We interviewed everyone who submitted their name or whose name was submitted by others, with their approval. Some were delusional “vanity” candidates, IMO.
In the end, we came up with Schatz, Hanabusa and Esther Kiaaina. I would defend those choices. And each of them received the support of a majority of the SCC members, even though each had their own base of supporters who favored them as the first choice. There was a significant gap in support between the third and fourth place name. I am giving away no secrets in sharing this. It can be gleaned from news accounts from the time.
A strong case could be–and was–made for each of those three nominees. But it was up to the Governor to pick. I honestly could have supported whichever one he chose. Not because I support everything Abercrombie does–I clearly do not. But because each was qualified in different ways.”
Dame touches on the subject of whether the candidate had the campaign and donor base to hold on to the seat in the face of a Republican challenge. Esther Kiaania, although a well-qualified candidate had run a lackluster campaign for the House just before then finishing out of the frontrunners of the primary, so the Governor may have excluded her for that reason. (He had appointed her as deputy director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, so he clearly thought highly of her.)Had the Governor appointed Colleen Hanabusa, it would have opened her House seat to a winner-take-all special election. The last time that happened for that seat, it was captured by Republican Djou as the two Democratic candidates split the vote. That would have been a disaster for both Hawai’i and the Democratic party. When Djou was last in office, he voted against the jobs stimulus which provided $millions to employ Hawaii residents during the worst of the economic downturn.
So really his only reasonable and practical choice was Brian Schatz.
Dame goes to chastise a commentator for repeating the formerly right-wing attack on Sen Inouye as being some sort of royalty able to dictate what the Democratic party does. The Hanabusa campaign has picked up this talking point and uses it to justify her primary challenge to incumbent Brian Schatz:
“The strongest argument made against Abercrombie’s selection of Schatz–and when I say “strongest,” I mean the most politically effective argument, not the most logical– is the accusation he should have “honored” Senator Inouye’s dying request that Hanabusa be appointed. (I do not hear you making that argument).I think that argument is cheap and disingenuous. And, ironically enough, disrespectful to Senator Inouye, by suggesting he be treated as a dying king wanting to name his own heir. The insinuation Inouye saw himself as the top political boss, even as an “Emperor” of Hawaii politics was a recurring accusation coming from the political right which Democrats had fought against for years.
Yet here, just as Senator has died, this is how his closest operatives are insisting we should view Inouye? Forgive my French, but WTF? I had rejected that charge from the Right and was not willing to fall for it from people trying to retain control of the power which was now slipping from their grasp.
Senator Inouye DID want Hanabusa appointed. In his view, she was the one most likely to hold together the team of people he had assembled over the years, the so-called “Team Inouye,” a group of staffers, close allies, lobbyists, defense contractors, campaign contributors and political insiders who wanted to continue both his policies and the stream of “pork” he had proudly brought back to the state and had distributed with them largely determining where it went and who got it.
But Inouye was only offering HIS advice, not issuing a decree, not assuming his “dying wish” must be obeyed by the Governor. The way top banker Walter Dods and HECO chair Jeff Watanabe played up the letter to Abercrombie, with top Inouye staffers standing barely concealed in the shadows, was disrespectful to both democracy and the Senator, in my view. (I say that knowing it will anger people I would rather NOT have angry at me).”
Dame then takes on Hanabusa’s talking point claiming she’s more experienced.
“At the time, Senator Hanabusa was clearly the more experienced legislator than Schatz. I said at the time, she would probably be better equipped to “hit the ground running.” But, contrary to your impression, Schatz is no “empty suit.”If you are unaware of his qualifications and achievements, let me suggest that reflects more on your lack of familiarity with Hawaii politics, the legislative process and the world of non-profits. It is not your fault you are unfamiliar with these things. But I think you make a mistake when you rely upon your lack of knowledge to make bold statements.
The argument that Schatz is young enough to acquire significant seniority for the benefit of Hawaii may be distasteful to you. But it arises from the nature of power in the Senate and is not something invented by Brian Schatz or Neil Abercrombie.
It is ironic that Hanabusa’s campaign, which brags about her political “Real Politic”–her ability to operate in the “real world” of hard-nosed politics, should now feign indignation that “seniority” should be considered a legitimate criterion in an election.
Both Senators Inouye and Akaka remained in office, unable to retire, because they had acquired so much seniority that their loss of seniority would hurt the people of Hawaii. The decision to convince Akaka to retire was made, perhaps too late, with the hope Senator Inouye would remain in office long enough as Akaka’s replacement slowly climb the seniority ladder.
All politically astute Democrats knew this, most definitely including Team Inouye’s top operatives. So it is disingenuous for them to now act as if it is “unworthy” for Schatz supporters to point to his youth and potential seniority as one argument in his favor. “Why do you dislike older people?” (I write this as someone only two years younger than congresswoman Hanabusa).”
Reprinted from DailyKos
Latest polls show that Rep Colleen Hanabusa’s ego-driven primary challenge to progressive Sen Brain Schatz is faltering as Sen Schatz opens up a 15 point lead.
Hanabusa’s solution? To brag about what a “great legislator” she is because she – wait for it – voted with the Tea Party against the budget bill.
The last budget bill was a stinker, that’s true. But it prevented yet more Sequester cuts going into effect to programs that are important for working families. The deal was needed to avoid catastrophe, and most observers think the compromise was the best deal that could be expected when Republicans control the house.
Senator Patty Murray is credited by objective commentators for skillful negotiations. Those who supported Senator Murray’s budget deal include:
- President Obama
- Senators Mazie Hirono
- Bernie Sanders
- Brian Schatz
- Elizabeth Warren
- Tammy Duckworth
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Alan Grayson
- Mike Honda
- John Lewis
- Doris Matsui
Those who opposed Murray’s budget deal include:
- Senators Ted Cruz
- Rand Paul
- Mitch McConnell
- Representatives Michele Bachmann
- Louie Gohmert
- Trey Gowdy
- most Tea Party groups and the Koch brothers
- Rep Colleen Hanabusa (DINO-HI)
Hanabusa has chosen to ally herself with the latter group – and to base her campaign on a single vote in which she was opposed by every other member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation and the President of the United StatesWay to go, Colleen!
The primary is still months away and Sen Brian Schatz can use our help. His TV ads are working but it takes money to keep them on the air. See his assault weapon ban ad and his strengthening Social Security ad. Donate here.