Sunday, March 22, 2009

Musings: Facing Failure

It seems that feelings are running high regarding Hawaii Superferry’s departure from the Islands, prompting even usually circumspect people like Richard Borreca, the Star-Bulletin’s veteran political reporter, to succumb to the urge to rant. However, in doing so he threw accuracy by the wayside and revealed some eyebrow-raising personal opinions that reporters in the mainstream media typically strive to keep secret in the pretext of maintaining their “objectivity.”

I’m referring to an editorial he penned in today’s edition, entitled “No Sale! Hawaii continues to slam door on business.”

In it, Richard aligns himself with Sen. Sam Slom in bemoaning the departure of HSF as “the last in a list of businesses pecked to death by Hawaii's anti-business ducks.”

He goes on to state:

But thanks to the need for an EIS, the Superferry debate was transformed into a raging, foaming-at-the-mouth storm that even had bloggers like Kauai's Joan Conrow call Lingle "the devil, the personification of evil." Lingle tried to talk to Kauai residents and was booed and cursed, while Kauai farmers, contractors and residents who wanted to travel among the islands were silenced.

Whoa, Richard, hold on a minute. I would have thought a reporter with your skill and experience would have taken a moment to do some actual research before flinging out a statement like that, which is not only flat-out wrong, but could be damaging to me professionally. I never called Lingle "the devil, the personification of evil."

What I actually wrote, in a blog post referencing the build up to Lingle’s now infamous visit to Kauai, where she threatened those who continued to protest the illegal operations of the ferry with federal jail terms and even the possible loss of their children, was:

After announcing Thursday's 6 p.m. meeting at the Convention Hall, a DJ on KKCR suggested listeners might think about what sort of comment they'd like to make to the governor about "her imposition of martial law at Nawiliwili Harbor." He then played a song that conveyed his comment, and its chorus went like this: "shout, shout, shout at the devil."

Is Lingle the devil, the personification of evil?

The question intrigued me, because it just so happens I'm reading M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie," which delves into the psychology of evil. In it, he defines evil as "opposition to life, that which opposes the life force" and "that force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness." Evil people, he says, are those "who attack or scapegoat others, instead of facing their own failures."


How fascinating that this issue is again raised, as HSF and the Lingle Administration — and now their mouthpieces in the media — seek to attack and scapegoat others rather than face their own failures. And their failure is simple and clear: choosing to bypass the legally mandated environmental review process.

After bashing me and other Kauai residents, Richard goes on to slap the folks on Molokai who dared to speak out against plans to build luxury homes at Laau Point before tarnishing GMO opponents with unsubstantiated speculation:

This year also marked the end of Monsanto Hawaii on Kauai, ostensibly because of a desire to concentrate its efforts on Oahu.

Others speculate that the international firm has only so much patience with the constant protests and belaboring of the perceived evil of genetically modified plants before it says "Puerto Rico and the Philippines like us, Hawaii doesn't, so good-bye and let us know how everything works out with all the empty acres."

Richard wraps up by repeating the “whispering” among businesses that Lingle also will fail to have an undersea cable built to deliver electricity from windfarms on Molokai and Lanai to power-hungry Honolulu, implying that these same “anti-business ducks” will again be to blame. What's more likely is that it will fail because it's not financially viable, which is why, given its dismal passenger counts, Superferry was sinking.

From his editorial, it seems that Richard believes Neighbor Islanders and naysayers should just shut up, bend over and let business and development interests do what they will — especially if it benefits Oahu in the process.

By his reasoning, or lack thereof, if it’s good for business, well heck, then it must be good for Hawaii.


Anonymous said...

"Lingle tried to talk to Kauai residents and was booed and cursed, while Kauai farmers, contractors and residents who wanted to travel among the islands were silenced."

-- that is correct, and those latter groups should have piped up more (if it was that important to them)

"And their failure is simple and clear: choosing to bypass the legally mandated environmental review process."

-- or, "bad SF lawyers, bad HI st gov lawyers, and poor st leg statute drafting"...trifecta


remember mcains concession speech? it was fairly honorable and gentlemenly. remember the reaction of his live audience? pretty shabby. how a losing side acts often reflects somthin

Anonymous said...

Iʻve been amazed at the crap people that have crawled out of the woodwork because of HSF. I will be less trusting from now on.

Including so-called journalists like this Richard Barreca character; never heard of him. Now I know why: he couldnʻt make the grade.

I am so grateful to the powers that be that... finally the cheap shots didnʻt get their ignorant way. They are so mired in their selfish and disgusting ways, theyʻre incapable of seeing any other reasoning. Itʻs kind of a very toxic and insatiable hunger for more. More of ANYTHING.

No wonder they hate us around the world.

Calling it as I see it.

Anonymous said...

That goes for Fargo and his opportunist wife: to sacrfice Hawaii so she could have more creature comforts.

These people ought to go back where they came from. I wouldnʻt wish them on any other country, which is usually where they end up though.

Anonymous said...

Iʻd really like to see an end to legal decisions being decided by polls.
How did that ever get started?

Anonymous said...

Now the Super Ferry is back in the news, and what are the reporters doing? They are researching Joan Conrow's blogs and published articles because she is the one who has done the reliable investigative reporting from the very beginning. She is the one who first wrote about the military connection.

So Richard Barreca has found an early blog, taken what Joan said out of context, and made her look like a fanatic. I think he needs to apologize and make it right. Joan was referring to a song that was playing and a book she was reading. Get it right, Mr. Barreca. She was talking about integrity and responsibility. If those values had been operating at the highest levels of the State government when this contract was awarded, the EIS would have been conducted and much of this drama would have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

"Iʻd really like to see an end to legal decisions being decided by polls.
How did that ever get started?"

-- id like to offer an answer of sorts: it starts and ends w/ local voters. they do not keep those elected accountable, those elected in turn are not politically brave and/or do not make sure the organs of gov are well staffed, and so in turn you get gems sliding through (unwisely) unopposed like this recent ballot initiative on kauai RE (unconstitutional, as drafted) development growth caps, which will be a mess by the time its taken down

Anonymous said...

Kids or corporations, denial of responsibility is often the first reaction when one's hand is caught in the cookie jar -- followed by anger and blaming.

It's ancient, it's not going to change, and it's why the Joan Conrows of the world need to keep writing and speaking out.

Anonymous said...

Is Conrow a cheesy sophist?

The question intrigued me, because it just so happens that when someone asks an accusatory rhetorical question about someone else, and then when confronted with it bats her eyes innocently and says, "I never called them that," she is a cheesy sophist.


Anonymous said...

The term sophism originated from Greek sophistēs, meaning "wise-ist", one who "does" wisdom, one who makes a business out of wisdom (sophós means "wise man").

Andy Parx said...

I left this comment on the article today

Boy are you out to lunch Borreca. Seems despite your infamous hatred of blogs (as expressed on “Island Insights” recently) you found time to misquote Joan’s. Why don’t you take your head out of Sam Sloam’s ass I can see your face whenever he talks. Come after me Richard- I’d be glad to verbally tear you a new one.

Joan’s too polite to tell you what an ignorant hack you are. The only reason they keep you around is because you haven’t done a researched piece in decades are so boring and bland they don’t have to worry about your offending their advertisers. Your reporting makes Jerry Burris look like Sy Hersch. And your commentary makes Lowell Kalapa look insightful.

If there is a “bad business environment” it’s because even when crooks come in intent on ramming destructive rip-off enterprises down our throats the officials they bribe either don’t stay bribed or aren’t competent enough to properly stack the deck.

I’m sure you piece brought a glee to dullards like Lingle and Bennett and their “Igor’s” like Fukunaga and Awana.

And where did this nonsense about the barge start? Oh- guess you read it somewhere the other day too. It’s quite obvious you didn’t bother to read the competition before you ranted. If you’d had read DePledge’s series last year- or god forbid read and research the actual DOT emails- you’d know the barge system was actually put in place because the DOT thought they could get around an EIS if they didn’t have a direct ramp built into the Superferry. That’s the reason the second one had one- they had already been made to do an EIS when they added it.

You’re a boil on the butt of journalism Richard. Go back to the capitol and get another good day’s sleep.

Anonymous said...

The term sophism originated from Greek sophistēs, meaning "wise-ist". In modern English it means a person who uses clever but false arguments.

Katy said...

I hope you get an apology from the Star-Bulletin, Joan.

Anonymous said...

No apology necesary from Star Bulletin. SB hit the bullseye. This blog went on such a partisan path, it threw objectivity, truth, research tenets, thoughtfulness, mediation, and any effort to compromise to the wind. By making people who were trying to make something they saw as beneficial, not destructive, evil; Joan Conrow actually became the personification of evil herself and joined the "ends justify the means" crowd. That crowd, right wing or left wing, is really the dark side of modern communication.

Anonymous said...

"This blog went on such a partisan path"

-- old news. plus, free country

"Joan Conrow actually became the personification of evil herself"

-- fyi that sounds weird (and bushy)

Mauibrad said...

Good post Joan. I think the hardest part about all of this for Lingle and those who were mentally invested into the HSF idea is that it is hard for them "Facing Failure," as you so appropriately titled your entry.

They would rather try to scapegoat somebody else rather than face the failure of the business to attract enough riders, face the failure of manipulation of the system, face the failure of the policy, and face the failure of the unconstitutional law.

It's easier to just cast blame on the messenger of truth.

Aloha, Brad

LoF said...

Andy Parx's angry and vitriolic comment to Borreca is hilarious. Borreca is clearly not an economist and has never run a successful business (which clearly puts him in the same category as the Superferry crew).

As we all know, when particular government officials blatantly disregard regulations on the economy, that, in the long run drives up transactional costs on businesses because it signals to business that profits must be diverted to lobbying and other irrational and risky business practices. This makes it much more difficult for businesses to enter the market and difficult for smaller business -- that can't afford to throw money at the lobby-gamble -- to remain in the market.

What our economy needs is the rule of law exercised in a rational, non-discriminatory manner. Not cronyism and the rule of man shooting out of Sam Slom's butt under the veneer of "free markets." Act 2 is the worst kind of market intervention possible that Slom always derides, but he and Hemmings were 2 of 6 to vote for Act 2 without any reservations.

Why do we listen to professional politicians and professional journalists who have no life experience or education that would warrant them as experts in any of the fields they speak so authoritatively on?

Anonymous said...

Many other articles in the past have referred to the bad biz climate here as "The People's Republic of Hawaii". There are many objective reasons why Hawaii is always at or close to the top of "bad biz" states.

In my opinion, Joan artfully did refer to Lingle as the devil, etc. She just positioned it as a question and answered it by strong implication.

No apology to Joan is necessary. If she thinks she has a libel case press it. I wouldn't take the case.

Anonymous said...

I am pro-business, pro-development, pro-HSF and do not subscribe to any opinions that position Hawaii as a "go it alone" state cut off from the mainland or, worse yet, a separate country.

I would predict that for the next 100 years at least we will remain an extension of mainland USA and all islands will grow more like Oahu/Maui.

Eventually there will be a viable HSF-like interisland people/car ferry...hopefully in my lifetime.

The "last stronghold" folks entrenched in their ways and on their (!) island will inevitably melt away as the opposing forces bear down on them. Maybe some of them will abandon HI for another south pacific island more to their "old ways" liking.

Anonymous said...

Laugh now...all you want.
A year from now, both ferries will be operating on a completed EIS. You'll find your HSF demonization going over like a lead balloon.
You'll be marginalized once more, which is what you'd be now if establishment methods hadn't succeeded, and you'll discover again that he who laughs last, laughs best.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Um. So you didn't infer that Lingle was the devil, the personification of evil then.

Instead, you're inferring it now, and now you're lumping Richard Borreca with her?

Y'know, the allegations of being misquoted might've been compelling if they were anything more than allegations. Of course, that's just a roundabout way of me saying that you weren't misquoted, so chill out.

Joan Conrow said...

No, I neither stated nor inferred that she or anyone else was/is the devil or the personification of evil. I don't believe in either concept.

And I'll take this opportunity to announce to you and all the other Anonymous bashers that there's a new Kauai Eclectic policy. If you're going to take a pot shot at me or any person here who posts under a real name, then you'd best be prepared to use your name, too. Or else your comment will be deleted like the trash that it is.

Of course, that's just my very direct way of saying I've had it with these chicken shit Anonymous attacks, so grow some balls.

John Powell said...

Joan, when you say you never "inferred" (do you mean "implied"?) that Lingle was the devil, you're simply lying. Demonization, in this case nearly literal, is your stock in trade. That's why I stopped reading your blog (& only stopped by today because Ian Lind mentioned you.)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

censorship. sweet

Anonymous said...

> censorship. sweet <

Trash cleanup. Sweeter.

LoF said...

That's hardly censorship. Get your own fucking blog! It's not like Joan is a multi billionaire manipulating the information output of her newspaper/cable-news/broadcast-news cartel to only allow for her voice to be heard.

Unknown said...
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