Browsing articles in "Politics"
Dec 17, 2012

Statement on the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye from his office…

United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye, World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and Hawaii’s senior Senator, passed away from respiratory complications at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

His wife Irene and his son Ken were at his side. Last rites were performed by Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black.

He is survived by his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, his son Daniel Ken Inouye Jr., Ken’s wife Jessica, and granddaughter Maggie and step-daughter Jennifer Hirano. He was preceded in death his first wife, Maggie Awamura.

Senator Inouye’s family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the extraordinary care he received.

The story of Dan Inouye is the story of modern Hawaii. During his eight decades of public service, Dan Inouye helped build and shape Hawaii.

Senator Inouye began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He served with ‘E’ company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, a group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Senator Inouye lost his arm charging a series of machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy on April 21, 1945. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.

Following the war he returned to Hawaii and married Margaret “Maggie” Awamura, and graduated from the University of Hawaii and the George Washington University School of Law.

After receiving his law degree, Dan Inouye, returned to Hawaii and worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. He recognized the social and racial inequities of post-war Hawaii, and in 1954 was part of a Democratic revolution that took control of the Territorial Legislature.

Following statehood in 1959, Dan Inouye was privileged to serve as Hawaii’s first Congressman. He ran for the Senate in 1962 where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

Dan Inouye spent his career building an enduring federal presence in Hawaii to ensure that the state would receive its fair share of federal resources. He worked to expand the military’s presence on all major islands, stabilizing Pearl Harbor, building up the Pacific Missile Range and constructing a headquarters for the United States Pacific Command.

He has worked to build critical roads, expanded bus services statewide and secured the federal funds for the Honolulu Rail Transit project. He championed the indigenous rights of Native Hawaiians and the return of Kahoolawe.

He fought for the rights and benefits for veterans. Senator Inouye has left an indelible mark at the University of Hawaii, including support for major facilities and research assets. He has long supported local agriculture and alternative energy initiatives.

Dan Inouye was always among the first to speak out against injustice whether interned Japanese Americans, Filipino World War II veterans, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.

A prominent player on the national stage, Senator Inouye served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Commerce Committee and was the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

After developing a reputation as a bipartisan workhorse, who always would put country above party, he was asked by the Senate leadership to chair the special committee investigating the Iran Contra Affair. This was after a successful tenure as a member of the Watergate Committee.

When asked in recent days how he wanted to be remembered, Dan said, very simply, “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK.”

His last words were, “Aloha.”

Dec 1, 2012

America: Community by Disaster

from the Foundation for Community Encouragement website

There is a talking head (actually it is Martin Bashir) who exclaims that Americans come together as community when a disaster hits, and return to individuality otherwise.  He says this is what makes our country great.

In disaster, we do mobilize ourselves and reach out.  We want to help each other.  In some ways, perpetual war also contributes to holding America together.  Otherwise, our survival as a country is questionable.

Although we talk about “the center,” and “center left” and “center right” politicians we no longer have a center. We have two increasingly different body politics and both believe they are America and the other is not.   The only thing we agree on is that our troops deserve respect from us.  Again, community, however small, by disaster.

The United States of America will not stand if we do not agree to disagree, and then get to work on what we can abide.

In his book The Different Drum, M.Scott Peck talks about community building  — he and others built the Foundation for Community Encouragement.  As a member of an adult Sunday school class I studied The Different Drum and participated in a 3-Day community building workshop run by Peck’s Foundation.

The experience of the workshop is something I will never forget.  Over three days,without knowing what was “expected of us,” without knowing what “to do”  our group reached community, as Peck’s facilitator called it —  in just enough time to savor about two or three hours of what those in attendance knew to be community.

I can’t tell you what the feeling was — if I could, I would.   But I can tell you what values it rested on:  respect for others, genuine care for others, a willingness (no –a drive) to cooperate.  There is aboslutely no way one could go around with that feeling for long and get anything done.  But there are lessons to be had from the experience.

First, we don’t need a disaster to create community.  Second, no one needs to hear our opinions, unless they ask (this is where I get disqualified).  Third, when someone does express an opinion, to respect it and not challenge it (unless invited to).

Our country is so far from being able to function in community.  We have devolved into being rude and petty people.  We allow our personal airspace to be filled with lies. We want to tell others how to live their lives, not concentrating on how we live our own.

If everyone would mind their own belief systems and also look out for others, then we would be the America our forefathers envisioned.

Nov 29, 2012

A Man of the Peeps

Man of the Peeps

Barack, “I am the President” Obama is not a regular guy, but he grew up with them.  He knows how to talk to people and he knows what is important to them.  So taking to the hustings and getting America on board regarding what’s up makes a lot of sense.  Not just that he has the bully pulpit and might as well use it ~ getting Americans involved in what affects their lives is really important.

We have had a national conversation about the difficulty of connecting with our warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no sacrifice has been asked of us.  In his tract on Self-Reliance, Emerson decries the effects which society has upon the individual. He says that when people are overly  influenced by society they will compromise their values in order to retain a foolish character to the world. He states, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” When a man forms a pattern within his life, Emerson argues that he violates his nature.

We have, as a nation, gotten into a habit of irresponsibility towards our duties as citizens.  Some of us are really crazy, some are cyncial, some are bored ~ but most of us have our heads down, doing what we can do to make our own lives.

Obama’s idea of making his case to the public is exactly what he needs to be doing and paying attention is exactly what we need to be doing.  We need to “straighten up and fly right” (as my Dad would say) where our personal investment in our values and our country is concerned.  Yates said it about World War I and it is ever more true with each passing dysfunctional congress:  “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Because he is a man of the peeps, President Obama is the one to take the if-you-believe-in-democracy charge to the people Congress is supposed to be working for.   The database the Democrats have built up is the perfect tool for mobilizing the citizenry when something is important to theirs, and our nation’s future.  And Obama’s periodic barn storming is the juice that we need to keep us alert.

Since the Koch brothers initiated their nasty little plans, and the Supreme Court forgot that we are a government of the people, for the people and by the people we need to be reminded that our voices do make a difference and what we want really matters.  It isn’t just a fiscal cliff we are facing, it is a cliff period.  And to keep us from going over, we need to help the first peep: POTUS himself.

Get on your phones to your congresspeople — as the President has said, tweet, facebook, fax— send a carrier pigeon. We are the last Whos down in Whoville and we need to shout!

Nov 16, 2012

Republicans, Read This (Please).

THE RABBI’S GIFT The Different Drum Version by Dr. M. Scott Peck
The story concerns a monastery that had fallen upon hard times. Once a great order, as a result of waves of antimonastic persecution in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the rise of secularism in the nineteenth, all its branch houses were lost and it had become decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the decaying mother house: the abbot and four others, all over seventy in age. Clearly it was a dying order.

In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a rabbi from a nearby town occasionally used for a hermitage. Through their many years of prayer and contemplation the old monks had become a bit psychic, so they could always sense when the rabbi was in his hermitage. “The rabbi is in the woods, the rabbi is in the woods again ” they would whisper to each other. As he agonized over the imminent death of his order, it occurred to the abbot at one such time to visit the hermitage and ask the rabbi if by some possible chance he could offer any advice that might save the monastery.

The rabbi welcomed the abbot at his hut. But when the abbot explained the purpose of his visit, the rabbi could only commiserate with him. “I know how it is,” he exclaimed. “The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore.” So the old abbot and the old rabbi wept together. Then they read parts of the Torah and quietly spoke of deep things. The time came when the abbot had to leave. They embraced each other. “It has been a wonderful thing that we should meet after all these years, “the abbot said, “but I have still failed in my purpose for coming here. Is there nothing you can tell me, no piece of advice you can give me that would help me save my dying order?”

“No, I am sorry,” the rabbi responded. “I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.”

When the abbot returned to the monastery his fellow monks gathered around him to ask, “Well what did the rabbi say?” “He couldn’t help,” the abbot answered. “We just wept and read the Torah together. The only thing he did say, just as I was leaving –it was something cryptic– was that the Messiah is one of us. I don’t know what he meant.”

In the days and weeks and months that followed, the old monks pondered this and wondered whether there was any possible significance to the rabbi’s words. The Messiah is one of us? Could he possibly have meant one of us monks here at the monastery? If that’s the case, which one? Do you suppose he meant the abbot? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant Father Abbot. He has been our leader for more than a generation. On the other hand, he might have meant Brother Thomas. Certainly Brother Thomas is a holy man. Everyone knows that Thomas is a man of light. Certainly he could not have meant Brother Elred! Elred gets crotchety at times. But come to think of it, even though he is a thorn in people’s sides, when you look back on it, Elred is virtually always right. Often very right. Maybe the rabbi did mean Brother Elred. But surely not Brother Phillip. Phillip is so passive, a real nobody. But then, almost mysteriously, he has a gift for somehow always being there when you need him. He just magically appears by your side. Maybe Phillip is the Messiah. Of course the rabbi didn’t mean me. He couldn’t possibly have meant me. I’m just an ordinary person. Yet supposing he did? Suppose I am the Messiah? O God, not me. I couldn’t be that much for You, could I?
As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off off chance that each monk himself might be the Messiah, they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect.
Because the forest in which it was situated was beautiful, it so happened that people still occasionally came to visit the monastery to picnic on its tiny lawn, to wander along some of its paths, even now and then to go into the dilapidated chapel to meditate. As they did so, without even being conscious of it, they sensed the aura of extraordinary respect that now began to surround the five old monks and seemed to radiate out from them and permeate the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely attractive, even compelling, about it. Hardly knowing why, they began to come back to the monastery more frequently to picnic, to play, to pray. They began to bring their friends to show them this special place. And their friends brought their friends.

Then it happened that some of the younger men who came to visit the monastery started to talk more and more with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them. Then another. And another. So within a few years the monastery had once again become a thriving order and, thanks to the rabbi’s gift, a vibrant center of light and spirituality in the realm.

Nov 15, 2012

Whiner and PTSD Sufferer Piss Off President

Road blocking the American people

Testosterone is alive and evil (as always) in Washington.  And the President is ready for a beef.  And former dignified, funny and intelligent PTSD sufferer John McCain and Lindsey-the-whiner Graham are up for a smack down.

I’m betting on the President.  In the same way that he did not sacrifice Elizabeth Warren to the bought-and-paid-for Republicans by naming her to head the consumer protection agency she created, he won’t sacrifice Susan Rice to a filibuster and a couple of real buttheads.

McCain and Graham must have overdosed on Viagra.  Their childish back-at-you tweets and Senate-floor-BS are proof that for some reason, they are more interested in making the President look bad than in helping the country.  Having embarrassed himself by choosing Sarah Palin as his VP, McCain has lost his credibility in the area of judging intelligence.  Susan Rice not very bright?  John McCain, come into the light.

Barack Obama is THE PRESIDENT.   Stop acting like you are in some high school debate and get with the program.  John McCain…you coulda become one of those rare elder statesmen.  What has gotten into you?  And you, Lindsey Graham, as my Dad would say:  straighten up and fly right.  You guys have really lost it.

The country is sick of this.   That’s but one reason that Romney and Ryan did not win the White House.   Start treating the President with the respect he deserves.  Start treating yourselves with some respect, too.


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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