Yesterday, the King of Hawaii and his followers seized Iolani palace and occupied it in Honolulu. I’m not joking. First though, you need some background in Hawaiian History.
Alright, for those of you who don’t know about Hawaiian History, here it is in a nutshell. I’ve developed this shortcut method of telling people the entire history of Hawaii on my tours, then I focus on what interests them.
70 million years ago a thin spot on the earths crust forms and begins melting the basalt of the pacific plate, since hot rock rises just like hot air does it radiates upward and forms piles on the surface (ocean floor) that get big enough to actually rise quite high above sea level.
3.5-1 million years ago. That’s when this island I live on, Oahu formed from two giant shield volcanoes. With erosion over time and a further volcanic series about 100k-300k years ago, this island moves off the hot spot and after some massive erosion is more or less geologically
About 400 AD the first humans arrive in Hawaii from the Marquessas. They find the most diverse examples of speciation and evolution on the planet. They eat the three foot turtle billed ducks into extinction.
About 700 AD the next wave of humans arrive. They eat more birds into extinction and the Marqeussans (called Menehune) also disappear.
From 700-1778, Hawaiian culture blossoms and becomes a complex, advanced social structure. Various strongmen on the different islands are vying for control. A nation-state is imminent.
1778- Captain Cook comes and throws the future of Hawaii a big left turn. Shortly after contact, one man, Kamehameha, manages to get western weapons, learn western tactics, and unite the entire chain under himself as King. He kidnaps a couple of smart Englishmen, marries them to his daughters and turns Hawaii into a very modern Kingdom.
1893- The monarchy is overthrown by mostly United States business interests. A cabal of military desiring a U.S. base at Pearl Harbor, pro-American businessmen wanting to stop paying tariffs, and greedy children of missionaries overthrow Queen Liliuokalani. Without asking the Hawaiian people, the Hawaiian Republic is born after the illegal overthrow of the Queen. Not long after this, without asking the Hawaiians, the republic decides to be annexed by the United States.
1941 – Pearl Harbor gets bombed. Hawaii starts to feel very American to those not here.
August 15, 1959- Again, without asking the Hawaiians, Hawaii is made a state. Hawaiians are so outnumbered by this point that their votes count for only a small percentage.
August 15, 2008 – A group of pro sovereignty Hawaiians under His Majesty Akahi Nui, the King of Hawaii, occupy the palace and are arrested.
The pro-sovereignty group identified its leader as King Akahi Nui, who was among those arrested. An “occupation public information bulletin” distributed by a member of the group began: “Majesty Akahi Nui, the King of Hawaii, has now reoccupied the throne of Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii is now re-enacted.”
Akahi Nui claims to have been coronated in 1998.
The takeover of the palace — built in 1882 when the islands were ruled by a monarchy — came on Admission Day, a state holiday marking Hawaii’s admission to the United States on Aug. 21, 1959.
Several Native Hawaiian organizations have rival claims to sovereignty over the islands. Another group calling itself the Hawaiian Kingdom Government occupied the palace grounds April 30 and has been getting permits to set up on the grounds each week since then. That group claims to be operating a functioning government from the palace grounds.
The ornate palace is operated as a museum of Hawaiian royalty. King Kalakaua built it, and it also served as the residence for his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, the islands’ last ruling monarch. Liliuokalani was imprisoned in the palace after the 1893 U.S.-supported overthrow of the monarchy.
After falling into disrepair, the palace was restored in the 1970s as a National Historic Landmark. It now includes a gift shop and is open for school groups and offers tours.
Hawaiian activists have long used the site for protests against the U.S. occupation of the islands.
Letter from the acting government of the Hawaiian Kingdom here.
The economy continues to slide as auto repossessions reach their highest level in the United States since the beginning of the 1980’s. Now we can see that the banks not only are taking houses but also cars. I would guess that they are also taking furniture and plasma televisions too. Today, U.S. regulators took over two banks too and sold them to Mutual of Omaha Bank, the sixth and seventh bank failures this year as financial institutions struggle with a housing bust and credit crunch. Ouch…tough times in America and the world.
As for me personally, I just like the sound of “Moron- the Economy”, sort of like “Tarzan- the Movie” or something. I haven’t been able to figure out why I’ve been so tired lately, but I’m pretty sure it’s not because the booze I used to drink was super food of some sort, instead, now that I take a moment to think about it, it’s because I’ve been pretty exhausted. Sometimes I forget that waking up at 5 am, sprinting to work on my bicycle to avoid getting run down by impatient auto commuters, educating a dozen people in a van and driving through Waikiki traffic then climbing Diamond Head and bringing them back, grabbing a rice and sushi plate across the street and eating in fifteen minutes, then picking up a dozen more tourists and leading them on a waterfall hike or guiding them through a botanical garden for several hours, dropping them off and then biking back home (uphill, thank you very much) is work. I mean, mostly I enjoy it, but by the time I get home at 6 or 7 I’m pretty damn exhausted but I like to read and play guitar and paint so I rarely make it to bed before 10, 11, or 12 (usually closer to 12). And then I do it again. I’m signed up for something like 15 tours a week, a couple usually get cancelled (6 or 7 actually) but I never know that early enough to make solid plans more than a day in advance and that in itself is a bit exhausting too…so I guess that is why I’ve found myself feeling a little exhausted lately.
It just seems like I should have more money than I did when I wasn’t working but just wheeling and dealing online, but in fact, I don’t seem to have much more. Funny how that works. I suppose that is part of the reason I am canceling my cell phone, but mostly it’s because not having tv, internet, or cellphone contract appeals to me. At the moment, I watch the occasional movie on my laptop, use the internet at the library, and use my cell phone not much at all. We’ll see how it goes.
Contrast all of this to the Hawaiians who numbered close to a million when contact with the west occurred. They produced 100% of what they needed here in Hawaii. Currently we produce about 10% and so much garbage we have to pile it in fertile and beautiful valleys. The average Hawaiian worked about 4 hours a day for whatever they needed. That’s it. There were downsides of course, such as seeing the face of the wrong ali’i and then getting strangled or clubbed to death, but at least they never had to fear getting run over by a tour bus.
Compare the issues among candidates here.
I had been considering voting for Obama. It’s created this sort of nauseated feeling in my gut as I’ve watched him swinging to the mainstream (sic. moderate Republican) view of things lately. A few examples are his recent support of a conservative supreme court decision regarding gun ownership, his kowtowing to religious and patriotic nutters, and his statements about how withdrawing troops from Iraq would be left up to field commanders. Not to mention his abandonment of his pledge to use public financing. I’ve never been in love with candidate Obama but I was considering voting for him as the least worst of the candidates available.
Until last night that is. Luckily for my integrity and churning guts, Ralph Nader showed up and spoke at the University of Hawaii last night. I voiced my fears to Nader, told him I had voted for him twice before (once writing him in on the Hawaii ballot in 2004) and that I wanted to vote for him but I was scared by what 8 years of Republican rule have already done to our country and that I felt we might not be able to survive another four years of it.
Nader asked where I was voting this year. I told him Hawaii. Then he laughed.
“You’re actually worried about Obama losing here? As long as we are in the electoral system, your vote only counts in Hawaii.”
I was confused at first but he explained it in further detail and I realized he was right. It is virtually impossible for Obama to lose in Hawaii and besides that, I’m not convinced that Obama is as big a change as he would have us believe anyway.
So I’m voting for Ralph Nader for the third time in three elections. For the record, here is my presidential voting record. In 1992 I voted for Ross Perot, this was my first election. I was voting not so much for Perot as for change and the inclusion of more than Republicans or Democrats in U.S. politics.
In 1996, I voted for Bill Clinton, I was drinking a lot in those days and couldn’t see far enough to find a viable third party candidate. Besides, I had just read Al Gore’s book and thought it was pretty cool that a Vice President could be an environmentalist.
In 2000 I voted for Bush…haha. Just kidding, I voted for Ralph Nader of course. Having just come off the highs of the WTO protests in 1999 and then having gone to the North American Anarchist Convention in L.A. during the Democratic Nominating Convention, I was not going to back the Democrats or Republicans despite the fact that I still had a soft spot for Al Gore. It was at this time that I really fell in love with the radical idealism of Ralph Nader. I saw him speak at several venues and everything he said resonated with me. In 2000, I am proud to say I voted for Ralph Nader. My vote for Nader was for Nader and everything he stands for…I wouldn’t change it.
In 2004, I voted for Nader again even though it virutally negated my vote here in Hawaii. I wrote him on the ballot here in Hawaii where he didn’t appear on the ballot and we don’t have a write in line. It’s my vote and it went to the man who I felt (and feel) is the most likely and able to put the United States back on the track of being a country I can be proud of.
And in 2008, I almost forgot that. A vote for Nader is not a vote for McCain, nor was it ever a vote for Bush. A vote for Nader is a vote for radical change in American politics. A vote for Nader is a vote for a man who has never had a credit card, never been in a McDonalds or Walmart (really!), and a vote for a man who started his life of public service by hitchhiking to Washington D.C. and getting autos made safe because he was tired of seeing his friends die in unsafe automobiles and who has continued to fight for principle, for truth, for liberty, and for justice for all, not just the few.
If Ralph Nader can show that he has 10% support in the country, he will be included in the Google debates with the major party candidates. If you want to see the candidates shaken to their core, pray for this to happen.
The event last night made me sad in a way, sad because I look at this great man and listen to his words and realize that my country could be great again if he were able to take the helm–and I see him being ignored by the mainstream media, being marginalized, and being villainized.
At the same time I feel this stirring of fire in my belly as I recognize that Ralph Nader has not given up, that he has not lost hope, and that he never will. This feeling that I get from this man who doesn’t hide from the nasty truth of our politics and yet who refuses to compromise his own values, politics, or ideals. This feeling is hope being born again, this feeling that is replacing the nausea I’ve been experiencing as Obama becomes like Clinton who is not really all that different from Bush…not really.
I’m going to vote for Nader…again. So should you. Ralph Nader is not a spoiler. In fact, he might be the only candidate that can prevent this entire country from going sour. Find out more and look at his platform at
Nader in Hawaii- Link
On a side note, if you haven’t seen Ralph Nader speak, you need to. He is funny, inspiring, and approachable. He knows the issues, he knows the dynamics of foreign politics and policies, and he is the only guy that cares about everyone…not just the members of his party.
I came across the Junkraft.blogspot.com today as I was meandering across the internet. What an adventure! And what a cause. Did you know that most of us actually have plastic in our cells because of the proliferation of junk plastic in the oceans, land, and fresh water?
Here is their mission statement from their blog:
For over 10 years, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation has studied plastic marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. What we have found – exponential increases in the quantity of plastic debris – may have far reaching effects we are only beginning to understand.
To put a cap on it, we’re sounding the alarm, by sailing across the Pacific on 15,000 plastic bottles. Along the way, we’ll report our findings, collect ocean surface samples, and answer your questions through our blog.
I’m looking into setting up or getting involved in their arrival in Hawaii. They deserve some sort of hullaballoo when they get here, as does their cause.
Environment is a big issue in the islands further from anywhere than anywhere. We have lost more species of birds and plants to extinction than anywhere else. As a nature guide, that fact becomes painfully clear. We are also the endangered species capital of the world.
And yet we continue to produce more trash and recycle less than anywhere else in the United States. Is this what you picture when you think of Hawaii?
Which brings me to sad news at the University of Hawaii. We have lost E. Alison Kay, Professor Emiritus. Kay was an original board member of the Save Diamond Head Association, formed to protect the landmark from development, and lobbied the Legislature to make Diamond Head the first state monument, said fellow board member Luci Pfaltzgraff.
This is probably more what you think of when you think Hawaii…
Thank you Professor Kay!
I actually went up Diamond Head yesterday. I am going through the training to be a guide for Oahu Nature Tours. It’s not that I’m not already one of the best guides on Oahu, but each company has it’s own unique spin on things. I have to admit that I never bothered to learn the names of birds before and I’m finding that the bird information is interesting. Will I become a bird watcher like my new boss? He actually has written books on birds and bird watching.
After I write this it’s off to the Likeeke Trail for more training. I like getting paid…maybe there is something to this having a job stuff after all.
On day four of this fast, I admit to still being hungry. Part of it is the moderate hiking I’m doing for my work. I just don’t think Spam would taste as good as it sounds right now…despite this:
NEW YORK (AP) — Spam’s back on the menu at American homes. That says a lot about the state of the economy. … Why? Gas costs $4 a gallon nationally on average and it’s stopping people from traveling far unless they need to.
Then when they do get to the stores, a gallon of milk costs nearly $4 — or almost $6 if it is organic. Milk prices are up more than a 13 percent rise from a year ago, while the cost of bread has risen 14 percent from last spring, butter is showing nearly an 8 percent gain and coffee is up 4 percent in the last year … ..
Even Spam has seen its price jump 7 percent from a year ago to $2.62 for a 12 oz. can. But that isn’t slowing sales — Spam’s maker, Hormel Foods, said strong sales of its pork-in-a-can helped push up its second-quarter profits 14 percent.
And one last tropical treat for you, the most pierced woman in the world (a dubious title I think- think about it) Elaine Davidson:
We had an interesting speaker in one of my classes yesterday. Dr. Jess Ghannam is an American Palestinian who is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco and Adjunct Professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. Dr. Ghannam travels every three months to Palestine where, for the past 12 years, he has established clinics in Gaza City, Jabaliyah, Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah under the auspices of the Gaza Community Mental Health program. More recently, Dr. Ghannam has been working with the Ibdaa Health Committee in Deheisha refugee camp and the greater Bethlehem area. Below are some of the interesting points that came up during the presentation/discussion.
Despite the common knowledge that there have been conflicts between Jewish and Muslim people in the middle east for thousands of years, the truth is that serious conflict dates back just sixty years ago to May 15, 1948 when Israel became an independent Jewish only country. Prior to that Palestine (the entire area of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza) was one of the world’s best examples of multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-religion cohabitation. There was little violence and Muslims, Christians,and Jews existed relatively peacefully side by side. Older people who lived there say it was often difficult to tell what religion people were (and just as was mentioned by Omar Fakeiki in the excellent Iraq article posted yesterday, it was rude to ask). All of that changed when Israel became an official state, official even though it has no constitution, no declared borders, and allows full citizenship to only those who are Jewish. This means that anyone who cannot trace their descent through their mother’s side as Jewish, is not able to buy land, has to live in segregated communities, and is subject to racism and prejucdice that can only be compared to blacks in pre-civil rights America, blacks in South Africa during aparteid, and Jews in Germany during the time of Hitler.
Dr. Ghannam’s grandparents were forcibly removed from their homeland during the 1947-1950 period when 800,000 non jews were forcibly relocated (sic. ethnically cleansed). Worldwide there are approximately 10-million Palestinains and 74% of them are refugees. There are 1.5 million in the Gaza strip, existing in what is essentially an open air prison with a strict embargo that prevents importation of food, medicine, or water. You may recall the recent breach wehn Palestinians streamed into Egypt to get food and medical supplies to return to their loved ones with. There are 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank where the Israeli fence (30 feet high and electrified…that’s a wall by the way) encroaches well past the 1967 UN established green line and in some cases encircles whole neighborhoods.
Dr. Ghannam believes that there is only one solution, total equality. Giving each person regardless of faith full civil rights and equality. Making each human being’s vote equal to every other human beings.
The way to do this is to get the US to stop giving financial and military aid to Israel. Israel is the second largest arms dealer in the world. If one looks closely, it looks like Israel is not a state at all, it is a military posing as a state. That would explain the lack of equality, defined borders, and constitution.
Why haven’t you heard all of this before? Think about it. The powers that be in the United States, including the media conglomerates, make money from arms and arm sales. The media is doing it’s job, keeping you informed of what they want you to know…and uninformed of what they don’t want you to know.
For more information check out: www.electronicintifada.net
Free Palestine and everyone can live there in peace again eventually.
Omar Fekeiki is a 29 year old Iraqi journalist and he has a plan. This might be the only way to save Iraq, but can America listen?
Americans don’t listen to Iraqis. They never did. They listen only to Iraqis who left Iraq in the 1950s and ’60s and ’70s. Saddam Hussein was still the same when they came back, but Iraqis have changed. And this is one of the problems. If you don’t know the people, you can’t bring them what they want. So they need to listen to someone my age, someone who’s been in Iraq all the time. Because we’ve gone through the three wars and the invasion. We know what we need now. We’ve gone through the sanctions.
This is one of the best articles about Iraq and how to save the people who have suffered so much due to our ineptness. The democrat plan to just leave them is a disaster waiting to happen, the republican plan to continue with Bush’s war is another disaster…Is there anyone brave enough to listen to the Iraqi people? This is a longish article but worth the read. Bravo to Omar Fekeike and also to Gary Kamiya for writing it.
Full article at Salon.com
Click on this link to read one of the best books out there (in comic book form) about what is going on with the U.S. addiction to war, who is making money from blood, and why the war probably won’t stop anytime soon.
A great blog entry from Wiretapmag.com
Stuff White People Like…
So I picked up my morning paper this week and saw two prominent stories on the state of Black America according to white people. The first was the usual coverage of Barack Obama, in anticipation of Super Tuesday.
The second, just below the fold, was an utterly disturbing story on a low-income Black community in San Francisco. Obviously written from an ignorant ethnographers point of view, the story was filled with references to cheeto diets and chronic laziness, with the occasional vague reference to ‘peripheral’ causes like institutional racism and gentrification.
What bothered me most was the writer’s claim that “most” of San Francisco never sees this neighborhood unless they’re playing golf at the nearby golf course or if they took the wrong exist off the nearby freeway. Based on that account, the archetypal San Francisco resident is probably young, wealthy, white and works for Google. Ugh.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since people of color have been the ethnographic playground for white folks since the days of Sara Baartman. But stories like this still make me cringe, especially in places that pride themselves on being liberal utopias. Perhaps because of all of this, I thoroughly enjoy things that attempt to dissect the interests of white people privilege.
Enter: Stuff white people like, a brilliant blog that takes a witty approach to the scientific study of white people. It has an ongoing list of things that are staples of white American culture, things that include: Top 10 hip hop songs white people love, Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops, Vintage and Religions their parents don’t belong to.
As a true ode to the irony of white privilege, my white friends are obsessed with it. There were, of course, a few angry folks who were all “what if I made a blog that listed all the stuff that Black people like?!” Could it be that in this day and age people of color could still be painted as mere caricatures? Then I thought to myself, that would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.
A must see film. One might think that a group of thousands of displaced and starving boys, witnesses to brutal violence, would create a culture a la Lord of the Flies. Instead the boys bonded and supported each other and at least some of them are wise and compassionate far beyond their years. Daniel founded “Parliament” as a meeting place and distraction. John sought out the American photographers in their Kenya refugee camp, thinking they were representatives of the government, to plead that other boys be allowed to emigrate. See this film to put your own problems in perspective and learn from these wise souls.
Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, GOD GREW TIRED OF US explores the indomitable spirit of three “Lost Boys” from the Sudan who leave their homeland, triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and move to America, where they build active and fulfilling new lives but remain deeply committed to helping the friends and family they have left behind.
Orphaned by a tumultuous civil war and traveling barefoot across the sub-Saharan desert, John Bul Dau, Daniel Abol Pach and Panther Bior were among the 25,000 “Lost Boys” (ages 3 to 13) who fled villages, formed surrogate families and sought refuge from famine, disease, wild animals and attacks from rebel soldiers. Named by a journalist after Peter Pan’s posse of orphans who protected and provided for each other, the “Lost Boys” traveled together for five years and against all odds crossed into the UN’s refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. A journey’s end for some, it was only the beginning for John, Daniel and Panther, who along with 3800 other young survivors, were selected to re-settle in the United States.
This one goes into the stranger than fiction files….for 25 years this guy has been a legend…
CAIRO, Egypt – A threatening radio message at the end of a video showing Iranian patrol boats swarming near U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf may have come from a prankster rather than from the Iranian vessels, the Navy Times newspaper has reported.
A video and audio of the Jan. 6 incident in the Strait of Hormuz featured a man in accented English saying “I am coming to you. … You will explode after … minutes.”
Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, spokeswoman for the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, said the Navy was still trying to determine the source of the transmission but believed it was related to the Iranian actions.
“The Iranian boats were coming close to the ships, making aggressive maneuvers and objects were being dropped into the water,” she told The Associated Press.
However, the Navy Times, a weekly newspaper published by the Gannett company, quoted several veteran sailors as speculating the transmission could have come from a radio heckler, widely known among mariners by the ethnically insulting term “the Filipino Monkey.”
The newspaper, which serves the Navy community, said U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf have heard the prankster — possibly more than one person — transmitting “insults and jabbering vile epithets” on unencrypted frequencies.
“Navy women — a helicopter pilot hailing a tanker, for example — who are overheard on the radio are said to suffer particularly degrading treatment,” the newspaper said Sunday. “Several Navy ship drivers interviewed by Navy Times are raising the possibility that the Monkey, or an imitator, was indeed featured in that video.”
Filipino Monkey is a name used by mariners around the globe for someone who uses his radio for unnecessary or inappropriate transmissions.
It also is sometimes used by the prankster himself. Two Navy officers said they have personally been aboard ships elsewhere in the world when all of a sudden they’ve heard someone from another vessel come on the radio and say, “Filipino Monkey, Filipino Monkey” over and over again in a singsong voice.
U.S. Navy officials at Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain could not immediately be reached for comment. However, Navy officials have said they were unsure where the transmission came from.
The threat, however, ratcheted up tensions in the incident, which began when Iranian patrol boats swarmed around three U.S. Navy vessels near Iranian waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran has denied that its boats threatened the U.S. vessels and accused Washington of fabricating video and audio it released. Iran’s government has released its own video, which appeared to be shot from a small boat bobbing at least yards from the American warships.
The Navy Times quoted Rick Hoffman, a retired captain, as saying a renegade talker repeatedly harassed ships in the Gulf in the late 1980s.
“For 25 years there’s been this mythical guy out there who, hour after hour, shouts obscenities and threats,” he said. “He could be tied up pierside somewhere or he could be on the bridge of a merchant ship,” Hoffman said.