Sunday, June 3, 2012

Musings: On Perceptions

The silver-green light exuded by a big moon that is headed toward full — and a partial eclipse just after midnight tonight — gave way to the faint first light of dawn, which gave way to bold shafts of light from the rising sun that pierced a bank of gray-white clouds, setting them afire and turning the sea into a shimmery mass of sparkle.

An awful lot happens before 6 a.m. these days.

I've been reflecting on the nature of perceptions, a frequent musing that has found new expression since I became a beekeeper. For example, I was never happy to see the horribly invasive albezzia trees come into bloom — until I began viewing them as a welcome food source for hungry bees, some of which are trying to mob and rob my bees of their own scant honey supply. Suddenly, my thinking shifted from all bees are marvelous to there are good bees and bad bees. Problem is, it's hard to tell them apart in the heat of battle, so I can't wage war against bees that would in all likelihood be good if they weren't so ravenous, possibly because humans are screwing up the climate.

Now extrapolate that to global economies and politics and it's easy to see how we get involved in all sorts of murky, ill-conceived wars and policies. 

Interestingly, just as I was writing about perceptions, someone left a comment on the last post with a link to a film from North Korea — currently America's most reviled enemy, aside perhaps from Iran — that uses propaganda to expose Western propaganda. As it notes, public relations professionals now greatly outnumber journalists in the West, which means that our “news” is:

“Written by professional liars, whose job it is to keep people in front of their televisions, reading gossip magazines, eating vast amounts of toxic foods and shopping, always shopping.”

Sounds about right. Seriously, check it out when you're done reading this post. Who really can argue that advertising doesn't turn us into consumer debt slaves working to benefit our owners, the 1 percent? Who can truly claim that the new word for empire-building isn't “globalization” — the acquisition of other's people's resources at any cost and the procurement of unlimited slave labor to produce stuff we don't really need? Who can pretend that our endless wars don't use the poorest people's children to solidify wealth and power for the 1 percent?

The film keeps asking, “Is this democracy?” before it answers, “no, democracy is when the majority of people make a decision and it's upheld.”

So when, really, was the last time you saw that happen? I mean, we've got polls that show a majority of Americans want to end the war in Afghanistan, legalize marijuana, enact term limits on Congress, reduce corporate funding of elections, reverse the Supreme Court decision that made corporations people, have universal health insurance — the list goes on and on.

Yet we accept less, because that's what we're given, along with endless opportunities to shop and distract ourselves, and all the while we claim we're free, the luckiest people in the world, because we can watch youtube videos like this one and vote in elections where we don't really want any of the candidates, but no one else is running.

Which leads to a comment that someone else left about Justin Kollar, wondering how people can support him for prosecutor, since he's inexperienced and — my favorite — “has no cultural comprehension of Hawaii/Kauai.”

True, his level of cultural comprehension may not compare with that of Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalo, who reportedly advised a young female haole attorney that she wouldn't get far unless she dumped her haole boyfriend and took up with a local guy. Yes, he lacks the political acumen so evident in Shaynanigans like going after Councilman Tim Bynum for a now-dismissed offense that has already wasted a shitload of taxpayer time and money, and is likely to consume much more when Tim sues over her vendetta. Granted, Justin may not be any match for her fine managerial skills, which resulted in hordes of talented attorneys fleeing her clutches, chronic OPA understaffing and at least one successful EEOC claim — more on that in days to come.

And I'm quite sure he doesn't have her penchant for self-promotion and drama. No, you likely won't see Justin asking for special counsel, shouting from the audience in Council meetings or being scolded by Circuit Court judges for having a first deputy who conspired to secretly tape record crime victims so as to gather dirt for a bogus prosecution.

So no, Justin is not all that Shay is, and frankly, I'm glad. 

Though I'm sure some folks have personal axes to grind against Shay, perhaps because they've suffered at her hands, I don't believe the so-called “attacks” against her are driven by personal hatred, a desire to replace her with a haole or resentment toward a powerful woman. They stem from legitimate concerns about a politician who has given every indication that she has abused the power of her office, is costing the county significant sums of money and is frankly not up to the job.

Yes, Shay has every right to claim the fifth and ask for a county-funded special attorney to cover her ass. But ya know, that's just not something I want to see in a prosecutor. The person who holds that position should be totally above reproach and held to an even higher standard than the cops. 

I'm sure Justin has his warts and his foibles, like everyone else, and initially, I didn't think I liked the guy. But after getting to know him a bit more, and watching his opponent in action, my perception of him has changed. I believe he'll at least bring fairness and integrity to the position, and given where the OPA is right now, that's saying a lot. 

Meanwhile, a friend sent this email:

I got a call the other day requesting I do a political survey with options to press 1 if I thought Jimmy Tokioka was a dirt bag, and 2 if I thought he should be king. It also asked about Derek [Kawakami] and Ron [Kouchi], but not Dee Morikawa. 

The call started at the top asking my feelings of the Guv, then the Mufi [Hanneman Congressional] race... but then quickly started asking about Gary H. [Hooser]  and [former County Councilwoman] Lani [Kawahara], and how I felt about Tim. 

I just read your post on free ride, and I thought there might be a last minute run to the elections office (Tuesday at 4). I could see Gary and Tim, arm and arm (as I heard Tim did not pull council papers yet). 

Hmmm, who knows? Maybe it will be a more interesting race than we thought....


Anonymous said...

Quite astute. Now, how do these truths make it from your blog the average voter's databank?
Even if Shay is totally innocent and blameless in all of these unending scandals - she should not be prosecutor just for alienating 3/4 of her peers, at least. You don't want murderers being prosecuted by someone that everyone in the courtroom hates. It gives them an unfair advantage. The employee turnover thing speaks volumes too.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Gary because I like his political views but he keeps shooting for higher office. Too ambitious.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with ambition, especially if it's to serve the public.

Anonymous said...

I think it is good he is coming home. We could use him. Suspect his ambition is tempering with age and loss of prior elections. But whatever, while far from perfect he is basically a good guy.

Anonymous said...

How can you serve the public if you don't stay in office? Gary was moving up the leadership ranks in the senate when he bailed to run for lieutenant governor.

Anonymous said...

No win situation for those guys. If they stay their accused of being good ole boys, if they leave their accused of bailing out on their supporters. Plus having to deal with wingnuts on both sides of aisle. Geezloueeze who would want the job since most of us think they are all a bunch of corrupt and stupid self serving politicians anyway.

Anonymous said...

"at least one successful EEOC claim"
One that we know about, these Guys keep secrets and two Council members are pulling every trick in the book to protect Shay.

Anonymous said...

There's something to be said for finishing what you start. It's a commitment to the people that supported and voted for you. If I knew that he was going to bail half way through his term, I'm not sure that I would have voted for him.

Anonymous said...

"Even if Shay is totally innocent and blameless..."

Totally guilty in the Bynum thing. Hempey laid it out. Watanabe kicked her off and was pissed, Minatoya found: 1. Manufactured crime. 2. Illegal trespass and search. 4. Lies and incompetence 5. No case.

Anonymous said...

We will all pay for Shay.

Anonymous said...

Hooser should stay on Oahu. He I famously known as being a liar and arrogant SOB. The only reason why some people worship him is because he loves taking making local people look ignorant and stupid. I as well as many other supporters who once put on a bumper sticker or campaigned for him wishes he would never return. Mahalo for lying to my face Gary. But instead of your nose growing your whole headi is growing.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! That is some load of anger you carrying around my friend. Need to learn to breathe and let go. This kind of anger sounds like Hooser said he would try to help you and he didn't so therefore he is a lying SOB! What, did you get fired from your Cushy state job and Hooser did not keep that from happening? Or did he fail to find a job for your son or daughter? Suck it up dude.

Anonymous said...

You could also suck it up instead of assuming stupid petty crap. Hooser is a liar. Suck that up. Dude

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha that anonymous poster saying to suck it up cause you couldn't get a cushy state job. That sounds like Gary Hooser. That guy is arrogant. Bynum is better.

Anonymous said...

Gary filed his papers today!

Anonymous said...

Hooray. Another self righteous all for himself egomaniac that takes credit for things he didn't do.

Anonymous said...

I really don't give a fuck about any of this. I have so goddamn much money that I'm above all this political shit and live a very wonderful life in my north shore "mansion".

As long as there are the "little people" out there providing the services I need, I'm OK.

Other than that, go fuck yourselves. If this implodes, I can merely jet away to another of my residences about the globe.

Being in the top 2% is very, very good.

Anonymous said...

Papers for what? Council or Senate?

Anonymous said...

Funny how when others say that the local pols are incompetent hacks and maybe we should vote for a haole outsider, we're racist....

Replacing incompetence and dishonesty with a new broom should be a color blind decision. Voting for the "local" for that reason alone is borderline insanity.