Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Musings: A Matter of Conscience

The wheezing, beeping and squeezing of the garbage truck gave way to a peaceful interlude of crickets and cooing doves this quiet holiday morning — that is, until the chickens started in with a particular kind of honking and squawking that gets Koko all excited, whining and barking and eager to join the chase.

It seems failed Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had the same effect on some people, according to a report yesterday on Democracy Now! that stated:

The Secret Service has disclosed Republican attacks led to a spike in death threats against Barack Obama during the final weeks of the presidential campaign. According to Newsweek magazine, threats on Obama’s life peaked after then-Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin accused him of “palling around with terrorists.” Palin was referring to Obama’s tenuous ties to William Ayers, who once hosted a gathering for Obama during his first run for office.

Gee, how’d you like to have that on your conscience? But then, conscience hasn’t seemed to be a particular hallmark of some within the GOP. Just look at how the Bush Administration is pushing through deregulations during its waning days, “many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment,” according to The Washington Post.

Then there’s the recent Treasury Department’s tax policy change that gives banks a giant windfall “of as much as $140 billion,” according to The Washington Post, in addition to the $700 billion bailout. And let’s not forget the Bush and his buddies embraced torture.

As a friend wrote in an email:

I can't believe that it was so bad, and also that we all did little or nothing to protest it. Me included. All we did was rant and rave to our friends. It is sobering.

Yes, it is sobering how the American populace and the world — aside, ironically, from terrorists — was cowed into submission. In the end, though, it did vote, although not unanimously, or even by a landslide, for a man who promised something different.

And I’m glad that Obama is moving right away to shut down one of the most shameful legacies of the Bush Administration: the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Speaking of bays, as in Nawiliwili, the scene of last year’s Superferry showdown, I received a preview copy of “The Superferry Chronicles, Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth,” written by Koohan “Camera” Paik and Jerry Mander.

I was especially curious to see how it turned out because I contributed some of the blogging I did on the military link and I'm always nervous about my name being associated with a larger product over which I have no control. But I'm in good company with contributors attorney Dan Hempey, Kyle Kajihiro, Haunani-Kay Trask, Hannah Bernard and even Sen. Gary Hooser, in the form of his floor remarks on Act 2.

While I haven’t had a chance to look at it, the first line on the back cover did catch my eye: “Fifteen hundred protestors line Kauai’s pier.” Hmmm. I’d never heard the figure pegged anywhere that high.

One friend noted: “I think it was closer to 500. The legend grows.”

Another friend said: “I actually counted the individuals, twice. I think I came up in the 300-plus range. That was still the biggest protest in the Island's history. It denigrates the importance of the event to hyperinflate the numbers and creates a target for detractors. And that's unfortunate, because the plain truth is a hell of a good story.”

Meanwhile, Steven Valiere, one of those arrested in the protest, expressed his views upon receiving a e-flyer about the book. Since his story apparently wasn’t told in the book, and it’s an interesting one, I thought I’d share it here:

“i am looking forward to seeing your book and see if it represents the sentiment i have and the feelings my son and i shared sitting in a cold damp jail cell. are there any photos of me. i was the one sitting right in front of that toxic waste dump the first night. was consequently run over by the coast guard which back its twin props into my surfboard, leaving me floating alone deep water Nawiliwili harbor near dark with the return of the ferry eminant. i was picked up by the guard but jumped overboard near shore then joined the nighttime protest in the streets, the next evening on another surfboard i was singaled out and basically attacked by the guard in the water with all the others around. On the six o'clock news it was broadcast. i was pulled aboard put in cuffs and had someone sit on me til we got to the docks where the cops took me in booked, still wet and cold. several hour later my son came in along with robert pa and a couple other friends ,all arrested somewhere on land , a friend bailed me out and i proceeded to scramble around until well after midnight scrounging bail for the other four including my son shane. i went to the cops and tryed to press charges of false arrest against just about everyone i could think of involved but the police never looked into it. of course. it took nearly eight months for me to retrieve my confiscated and damaged surfboards even after all charges against me were dropped!

Anyway, I hope to check out the book soon, and I’ll let you know what I think.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

False arrest?

Anonymous said...

There was nothing wrong with pointing out the link between Obama and Ayers, and Ayers' terrorist past. But it was ineffective. They should have spent more time linking Obama with Pelosi and Reed. America hates those jokers even more than they hate Bush.

Katy Rose said...

Joan, was it the largest mass act of resistance on Kaua'i?

I think those of us who are new here and have been around for the Superferry protests and not much else, could benefit greatly from an accurate "people's history" which includes Niumalu and the Nawiliwili Tenant's Association, the Nukoli'i fight, labor uprisings and other acts of resistance on Kauai.

Of course, the numbers themselves are not as important as the spirit and the effectiveness of the actions.

I've been surprised, however, by the startling lack of knowledge activist malihini (and I include myself) have about the history of struggle here.

Andy Parx said...

Not only Nawiliwili Tenants and Nukoli`i exceeded three hindered but various events during the Star Wars protests” drew more than that. The star wars council resolution meeting alone drew more people than could fit into the county building itself with TV’s set up downstairs and even outside.

But then again all those events were announced and publicized and organized.... there were more than 1200 people in the convention hall for the Lingle unified command session too.

Anonymous said...

The convention hall was not full for the Lingle thing.

Andy Parx said...

Not only was the convention hall full there were about 200 people who were turned away and waiting outside to get in- the fire marshal was standing at the door letting one person in for every one that went out.

Anonymous said...

There sure were lots of empty seats. Don't know how it could have been full.

Katy Rose said...

As I recall the Lingle meeting, Andy's description is accurate. There were people outside the building who could not get in because the hall was full. Not everyone stayed for the whole meeting, which went on for hours, so it's possible that later in the evening, there were empty seats.

Anonymous said...

I was on the pier, and I counted. There were definitely over 1000 at the Nawiliwili protests. On Sunday night, I counted a part of the total group, then extrapolated those groups of 300 which, all told, came to 1500.

Hard to believe, I know, but the sheer size of the pier had a dwarfing effect on the numbers of protestors.

koohan

Joan said...

Katy, my friend did not use the term "mass act of resistance," in which case the labor struggles likely were larger, but "biggest protest in the Island's history." He is what I consider an impeccably reliable source, so I think his comment is legit, as is his count. As Andy points out, there have been bigger crowds at public hearings, but some of those have included people in support (even if they were paid and bussed in to show it).

I've wanted for a while to put together a program featuring historians and those directly involved that details an accurate "people's history" of resistance on Kauai, so I'll see what I can do to make that happen. Many folks have been greatly amused by the malihini who think they introduced it to the island with the Superferry actions.

Anonymous said...

...not sure if it matters that there happened to be “some” seats open here and there in the convention hall...it was “full” and “well attended” by most any measure (I say this as one of about 50 that had to stand in the back...though I did not stay till the end of it). And I would agree it was too bad there were not “ushers” or like persons helping to organize the seating so all seats were utilized, as perhaps then those good number of persons who did not get in could have.

Similarly...as to persons on the pier/park...300...1000/1500...whatever...crowd sizes change as hours go on, as people get out of work, as word gets around, per dinner times and other duties, etc. It would seem difficult for a reasonable person to say it was not “well attended” or that there was not a “strong showing.”

Otherwise, I wonder to what extent the anti-superferry people have taken a gander at the thoughts of Ken Stokes on the question.

Kelly Ball said...

In retrospect it seems that there were over 1,000 people at the nights of protest. I remember the many families that brought their young children and the sub-machine gun carrying masked soldiers that gave these many children their first taste of Lingle style democracy,
I sat next to two blue shirted supporters of the ferry at the meeting with the governor at the convention center. They left within 15 minutes of its start as the tenor of the evening became quickly clear. I saw a number of other blue shirts leaving as well. This would account for the empty seats.
It is well and good to continue to report the link with the ferry and the military. If it is such a good thing why are we constantly lied to about it? We also need to focus directly and vigorously on John Lehman and his position on the 9/11 Commission. That the twin towers collapsed at free fall speed, explosions were seen out of the sides of the buildings as they came down, that eye witnesses testify to an explosion in the basement just prior to the planes hitting the buildings is cause enough to question the commissions conclusion. That a 47 story building in the middle of the nation's largest city also suddenly collapses hours later in an obvious demolition with not one word about it mentioned in this commissions report is to observe the treason inherent in its function. Where are the governors, senators and representatives of this twilight zone republic?
This mornings Garden Island has a picture of a veterans cemetery on the front page. Below it is a headline that tells us that the Hawaii State pension fund has lost a billion dollars with the irresponsible collapse of Wall St. It begs the question as to why all these people sacrificed and died for our much vaunted system. What is Secretary of the Navy John Lehman doing about this? The occasion of the Superferry in Hawaii is great opportunity to pry open the truth of one of the greatest false flag hoaxes in American history. Think the exploding of the Maine in Havana and the non-occurring Gulf of Tonkin incident in Viet Nam. When Linda Lingle and the other brown shirts on the stage that night can demonstrate a pulse or a reflection in a mirror I'm sure we'll welcome them back into the human race; until then keep a wooden stake and a mallet handy. Never give a sucker an even break is the wisdom of our forefathers.

Kelly Ball said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

hahaha re ferry protester also being 9/11 conspiracy person. that speaks volumes

Anonymous said...

The threats to Obama also increased after the Cubs were knocked out of the playoffs by the Dodgers. And I've established as much of a causal link to that as you did with Palin.

Joan said...

From my post:
The Secret Service has disclosed Republican attacks led to a spike in death threats against Barack Obama during the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

I'm not the one who established the causal link. It was the Secret Service.

Anonymous said...

It is well known that the Secret Service are not Cub fans.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"I'm not the one who established the causal link. It was the Secret Service."

NO. Democracy Now established the casual link. If you read their piece carefully, it is very, very weaselly. In fact, the Secret Service never said that anything led to a spike in death threats. Democracy Now dishonestly claims that a Newsweek story reports that the Secret Service made such a link. The Newsweek story does no such thing. Anonymous is correct. The claim is a post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy

Anonymous said...

Speaking of things the media says that aren't true, the new york times is reporting today that the widely believed claim that Sarah Palin didn't know Africa wasn't a country was a hoax.

Joan said...

I'm not sure what a "propter hoc fallacy" is, but here's the pertinent bit from the Newsweek story so folks can decide for themselves if there's a causal link:

The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. "Why would they try to make people hate us?" Michelle asked a top campaign aide.

Anonymous said...

That pretty clearly proves the Democracy Now version is dishonest.

Anonymous said...

"the widely believed claim that Sarah Palin didn't know Africa wasn't a country was a hoax"

That anyone ever swallowed that outlandish b.s. just proves what gullible simpletons people become when they just want to believe.

Anonymous said...

The Newsweek story doesn't allege a causal link: "at the same time" doesn't even imply causality.

The idea that Palin complaining about Obama's association with Ayers was not only beyond the pale but a call to violence was, by itself, objectively ludicrous. To take the next step and believe it actually caused death threats, without even a shred of evidence, just shows how much of a reason-paralyzing fetish object Palin has become for the prog community.

Katy Rose said...

Beyond the pointless argument about causality, the hopeful sign is that apparently the majority of voters are turned off by Palin-style anti-intellectualism and xenophopic bigotry.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing what good little critical readers and reasoners, even rationalizers, they can be when it's their side being criticized. But when they're doing the criticizing, their critical faculties go all flaccid on them.

Anonymous said...

"[V]oters are turned off by Palin-style anti-intellectualism"...except when it comes to the superferry on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

> That anyone ever swallowed that outlandish b.s. just proves what gullible simpletons people become when they just want to believe. <

Yer darn tootin'. Here's what Gov. Palin herself had to say about it, as noted in the New York Times:

Here’s Palin defending herself on the contention that she got confused about Africa:

“My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars.”

And, she concluded, “never, ever did I talk about, well, gee, is it a country or a continent, I just don’t know about this issue.”


Full text at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/opinion/12dowd.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Yup.

Anonymous said...

Heh, using Maureen Dowd as a primary source just proves the point of your gullible simple-mindedness. "As noted in the New York Times" indeed.

Anonymous said...

English:

Heh, using Maureen Dowd as a primary source just proves the point of your gullible simple-mindedness. "As noted in the New York Times" indeed.


Palish:

Wow in how I'm thinking that the paper lady, Maureen... um... she's the New York person you quoted and let me say talking about her saying what I''ve been saying to Africa's continental presence is sooooo rude because it tells everyone seeing us here today proving that people will believe anything one tells them in the media ESPECIALLY the New York Time Magazine.

You know?

Anonymous said...

"LOOK FAMILIAR?"

1) Of course it looks familiar; it's Austal's design and this is what they make. They have pictures of over 30 fast ferries they've made and they all look the same. What do you expect their ships to look like? They been making these since the 1990's. The design was proven a decade before Superferry and several years before the first Navy lease. The Navy insisted on that before any lease.

2) By routinely signing on to a common National Defense Naval list, Superferry Inc. got someone else to pay for a solution to their Maui barge/ramp nightmare. Everywhere except Papaya's lunch courtyard, this is considered a very good business decision not proof of a deception hiding in perfectly plain sight.