Thursday, July 9, 2009

Musings: Power Struggles

The sun had not yet risen when Koko and I arrived at the beach this morning, and even when it did, it never fully showed itself, hiding instead behind the clouds it tinted first orange, then salmon-pink, then finally silver as it climbed higher over a sea that appeared steel gray, until I got in it and saw that it was clear green.

Boobies flew south overhead and Koko raced about on the sand, doing the 360-spins that characterize her joy at being free. Ahhh. I know the feeling.

Before we went down, I noticed a new pile of broken car window glass in the parking lot. The other evening, when a friend and I went to that same beach, I saw a car with a big puka in the passenger side window, a pile of broken glass on the seat and a glove box that had been opened and rifled.

We went in search of the owners, but saw no one, and when we returned from our swim, three adults and a couple of kids were giving a report to two cops. We told what we’d seen, with my friend adding that my glove box had been rifled there, too, not long ago, but since I leave my car unlocked, they hadn’t broken the window.

“That’s what the rental car companies say, leave your car unlocked,” one of the cops said. “But then, if you’ve got valuables in there, you want to lock it.”

Oh, really? Brilliant, officer. Now we know why you’re not a sergeant.

Meanwhile, in a land far away — Afghanistan — U.S. Predator drones keep up a steady pace of killing, with 45 reported dead yesterday. At least Democracy Now! is keeping count, while sharing the news that the U.S. is settling in for a nice, long, expensive occupation, awarding five-year contracts worth up to $7.5 BILLION to DynCorp and Fluor Corp for “support and logistics" at U.S. military bases in that unfortunate nation. KBR, accustomed to feeding heavily at the trough in Iraq, “says it may challenge its exclusion from the deal.”

While we pour billions down a rat hole, computer hackers are waging their own quiet, inexpensive, but nonetheless damaging, war on computer systems in South Korea and the U.S. — including the White House, Treasury and Transportation departments, Secret Service and Federal Trade Commission. The Globe and Mail reports that the usual suspects — China, Iran and North Korea — are, well, the usual suspects. And even though the attacks began on the Fourth of July and were still disrupting American systems four days later, the Department of Homeland Security downplayed their severity. The Globe notes:

Countries like Iran and North Korea, as well as terrorist groups, are devoting increasing amounts of resources to cyber and electronic warfare, said Andrew Brookes, a defence analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

“They can't take the West on with conventional tactics like big armies, big air forces or big navies. Instead, they are trying to look to cheaper activities – ballistic missiles, work in space or cyber attacks,” he said.


Well, that’s one way to even the playing field. It’s pretty obvious that the U.S. would be totally paralyzed and useless if its computers went down.

The blog USMilitary.com agrees:

I believe that this is where the future of battles will be conducted. Bringing down another nations computer networks could give the attacking nation intel and control. As we move forward, it is important that American continues to provide funds for the protection of our governmental computer networks. If we fail to do this, other nations will develop technologies and methods of infiltration that we will not be able to combat.

Oh joy. Now we can engage in not only an arms race, but an IT race.

Back at home, The Advertiser won the slow race with its front page report today on the Naue burials issue. Usurping even The Garden Island in the better late than never category, it finally gives some serious coverage to a story that’s, gee, only two years old.

Unfortunately, despite its length, it’s a rehash of stuff that I, at least, have already covered, and doesn’t manage to break any new ground. But perhaps it will bring the matter into the consciousness of Honolulu residents.

My favorite comment on the story was from Jonny Zahaby, who wrote:

Why do ANY houses need to be built on Kauai? There are plenty of new houses for sale.

He’s got a point. Of course, the construction industry thinks otherwise. But if you look in the Kauai Business Report, you’ll see that most of the building permits are for solar panels and small kine projects. Seems like the days of the multi-million-dollar mansions are pau. Meanwhile, the legal section is filled with foreclosure notices, something you never used to see on Kauai.

And Hawaiian-hater Ken Conklin apparently has some followers on this blog, judging from a comment he left on the Advertiser article that has oft been echoed here:

It’s very clear that most ethnic Hawaiians today do NOT believe that the spirit of the dead person continues to live in the bones... The fuss is being done for two main reasons: anti-development activism, and political demands for ethnic Hawaiian race-based sovereignty. Spirituality is merely being used as a pawn in their political power struggle.

Of course, Westerners, and Christian missionaries, would never resort to such a ploy…..

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

speaking of ploys, i saw where that case against dole turned out to be a big fraud...re those nicaraguans (and others?) trained to lie about toxic exposures etc. dont see such frauds on that big a scale very often. strange too as there are plenty of legit, albeit harder to work up and lesser value, foreign toxic tort cases


dwps

Katy said...

What Conklin's rhetoric purposely misses, of course, is that the struggle for Hawai'i's independence is not a racial struggle, but a national one.

It would be the same if a country like France was occupied by, say, Germany, and the French then reasserted their national sovereignty. I doubt that Conklin would call that a "race-based" sovereignty.

The racial aspect of the Hawaiian struggle is really born of the historic fact that the white-dominated US has long asserted its arrogant "right" to dominate the brown-skinned people of the world.

As far as cyber-mischief goes, I don't understand why some smart hacker out there hasn't developed a "Robin Hood virus" which would infect the computer systems of the big financial institutions and erase debts and transfer wealth from the rich to the poor.

Anonymous said...

post your bank account numbers, social security numbers and full names and addresses and I'll get to work on that right away and make sure I fill you up first.

Anonymous said...

" is that the struggle for Hawai'i's independence is not a racial struggle, but a national one,"
With ethinic cleasning a possible as a follow up after independence...

Anonymous said...

Joan said - "Well, that’s one way to even the playing field. It’s pretty obvious that the U.S. would be totally paralyzed and useless if its computers went down."

Ya `tink?

Welcome to 4GW - Fourth Generation Warfare Goals:

1 Survival
2 To convince the enemy’s political decision makers that their goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit.

Yet another factor is that centers of gravity have changed. These centers of gravity may revolve around nationalism, family or clan honor, proving one’s manhood or a belief that one is ordered to fight perceived enemies.

Not any more! Disaggregated forces, such as guerillas, terrorists, crackers, and rioters, lacking a center of gravity, deny to their enemies a focal point at which to deliver a conflict ending blow. As a result strategy becomes more problematic while combating a 4GW entity.

Let the games begin

Anonymous said...

"with ethnic cleansing to follow independence"

ya, right. talk about fear. whoa. you're out there, dude.

Anonymous said...

" Unfortunately, despite its length, it’s a rehash of stuff that I, at least, have already covered, and doesn’t manage to break any new ground."

She did a good job of unbaised reporting something we haven't seen in this space.
The kowtowing to the Atooi Citizens and the reformed(?) Hanalei criminals.

Anonymous said...

"not a racial struggle, but a national one."

-- its racial (and cultural?)


i get the part where a group wants to better its station in life, and the means and opportunities to do so. and i dont know if a 1000% accurate narrative of the last 300 years of hawaii is needed for that...tho i hope not, cuz boy i sure dont see / hear it much


"reformed(?) Hanalei criminals"

-- what, like that one family up there with the relative that sided with the japanese soldier on niihau?


dwps

MauiBrad said...

Re: "...But if you look in the Kauai Business Report, you’ll see that most of the building permits are for solar panels and small kine projects. Seems like the days of the multi-million-dollar mansions are pau. Meanwhile, the legal section is filled with foreclosure notices..."

Yes, I have noticed this. Beyond the Brescia situation people seem to be worried about development, even high-end development, I think not realizing that the global economic situation even for the high-end has changed.

Obama did not solve the economic problems with his $2 trillion stimulus plan. Here on Kaua'i a lot of large houses are on the market and many listed prices have come down as much as 50% still with few sales. Meanwhile high-end hotels around the state have occupancies at 60% or lower. The market for "development" on Kauai is going to be totally different going forward.

BTW, we need to coin a different phrase for "development." That is an intentional age old misnomer.

Brad