It’s gray, cool and windy, and usually, I don’t mind this sort of weather, but today it feels gloomy, perhaps because I’m confronted with the specter of the state Legislature approving the utterly disturbing bailout bill for Hawaii Superferry.
Or maybe it’s the lingering odor of a decaying rat, snuffed out under the house during the termite tenting, that has me slightly on edge and off kilter.
Either way, I smell a rat.
I don’t have a television, so I’m fortunately spared the banality of local TV news, but last night I happened to be near one, so I tuned in to see what was happening with the Superferry.
I got to see Rep. Joe Souki shut down Rep. Marcus Oshiro when his questioning of Gov. Lingle apparently got too hot to handle. Not only does the guv get her way on the Superferry, but she doesn’t have to answer any hard questions. I can’t wait to see how she stonewalls the state auditor charged with digging into how Lingle’s Administration got us into this mess.
Before he got cut off, Oshiro asked why lawmakers should pass a bill specifically to save the Superferry. The governor explained, according to a summary of the exchange in the House blog, that she doesn't believe that the purpose of the bill is to save one company; it's about saving the service that the Superferry provides for the people of Hawaii.
What kind of double-speak is that? And why didn’t the media interviewing Lingle afterward ask her to clarify that statement, press her for more details?
Instead, they let her cop out with a lame comment that Oshiro “just either has a different opinion or an ax to grind."
The blog goes on to report that Oshiro, chair of Finance, later recommended the committee vote aye with reservations, but also encouraged members to vote their conscience on the issue.
What is this aye with reservations? Some 14 senators took that mealy-mouthed position. What are they saying with such a stance? That it’s not such a good idea but they’re going to do it, anyway? In the end, it all comes out the same: an affirmative vote to benefit one corporation.
Flipping through the channels, I also got to see two stations covering the publicity stunt of Superferry employees selling tee-shirts to raise funds for “furloughed” workers. Do the employees know, or care, that they’re being used as PR pawns in this high stakes game?
And why do the TV stations play into that kind of shibai? That’s not news, any more than pro-EIS groups selling their own tee-shirts — and that certainly hasn’t gotten any coverage. Is it any wonder that the public, which gets most of its “news” from TV, has such a skewed view of the issue when it’s fed that sort of pablum?
A few nights before, again tuned in to the TV, I got to see a missile shot down over the water off Polihale, on Kauai’s Westside, during the latest war games, followed — coincidentally, I’m sure — by footage of the Superferry, whose role in furthering the militarization of the Neighbor Islands is pretty clear.
“Why do we need any of that?” my friend moaned in despair.
I couldn’t answer.