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Brian Schatz Appointed Hawaii’s Senator

By: Mauimom Thursday December 27, 2012 1:31 am

Brian Schatz

Today Hawaii’s governor Neil Abercrombie appointed his Lt. Governor, Brian Schatz, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye.

In his press release, Abercrombie said

“As Lieutenant Governor, Brian has demonstrated all of the qualities Hawaii could ask for in a Senator: respect for our traditions and a strong sense of values, remarkably strong character and problem-solving capacities, and above all an abiding love for and commitment to the people of our state. Brian Schatz will do us proud.”

As provided by Hawaii law, Abercrombie chose from a list of three nominees provided by the Democratic Party:  Colleen Hanabusa [currently a Congresswoman, and "named" by Inouye as his choice]; Esther Kiaaina, the deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Schatz.

Schatz is only 40 — perhaps a factor in Abercrombie’s chosing him over Hanabusa, who is 61 — and is a former state lawmaker and Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman.  He was elected lieutenant governor in 2010 with Abercrombie.

Another factor in Schatz’s favor over Hanabusa may be that there would have to be an expensive special election to fill her House seat.  The state recently — and grumpily — held a special election to fill Abercrombie’s House seat, when he resigned before the end of its term to jump-start his campaign for governor.  Complaints still linger about the cost.

There’s also some griping by the Hanabusa camp and Inouye loyalists, whining that the Senator’s preferences should have been honored — i.e., that he should get to pick his own successor.  It should be an interesting few months in the islands.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Schatz will fly to Washington on Air Force One with Obama tonight [Wednesday] and reportedly will be sworn in in the next few days, making him Hawaii’s “senior” Senator, outranking Mazie Hirono, who was elected in November to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka.  Obama is clearly anxious to have the seat filled for the “fiscal speedbump” debate and possible action that will continue over the next week.

More on Schatz, from Abercrombie’s press release:

Before being elected Lieutenant Governor, [Schatz] served for eight years as the CEO of Helping Hands Hawai’i, one of Hawaii’s largest non-profit community social services organizations.From 2008 to 2010, Schatz was the chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. He also chaired President Barack Obama’s campaign in Hawaii in 2008.

From 1998 to 2006, Schatz was a member of the State House of Representatives, representing the state’s 25th district. During this time, he served as the House Majority Whip, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Vice-Chair of Water, Land and Ocean Resources, Vice-Chair of Consumer Protection and Commerce, and as a member of the Hawaiian Affairs, Higher Education, Energy and Environmental Protection, and Agriculture Committees.

Schatz was raised in Hawaii, and graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. He is married to Linda Kwok Schatz, an architect. They have a son and daughter.

Personally, I laughed wryly upon reading that Schatz graduated from Pomona, which Obama attended. Both also went to Punahou School. Given a number of  elements of Schatz’s history, I don’t think there’s much chance of his standing up to Obama as he careens towards the Grand Betrayal.

 

What the Washington Post doesn’t know about Hawaii

By: Mauimom Thursday December 20, 2012 10:57 am

Gov. Neil Abercrombie gets to decide

The Washington Post has come up with one of its usual inside-the-Beltway, “we asked everyone at our cocktail party” articles about who will take Senator Daniel Inouye’s place.

Of course, it’s in their typical “we know this person, and we want to protect our access” form. It doesn’t provide an accurate run-down of potential candidates, a view of Hawaii Democratic politics, or much of anything of value, other than the usual mutual back-scratching.

This is not to say that Hanabusa wouldn’t be an okay candidate, but I think readers of the Post deserve better.

First, a bit of history. Daniel Inouye has been Hawaii’s Senator FOREVER [see his interesting biography] and is of course being lauded from here to Sunday. He ran the state as his own fiefdom. One reason Ed Case [see below] is in such disfavor as a possible replacement is that Case angered Inouye by daring to challenge Sen. Daniel Akaka, prior to Akaka’s retirement this year. No, no, Case, Inouye gets to pick the next Senator!

Second, the Post fails to mention one quirky detail about a possible Hanabusa candidacy: she’s a House member, and a special election would have to be held to replace her. Special elections cost $$$$$$$$. Hawaii’s governor Abercrombie should know: he retired from his House seat in 2010 to get a jump on starting his campaign for governor. Hawaii had to hold a special election to replace him. It cost boatloads of money, and there’s a lot of lingering resentment over that. The special election also gave Hawaii the incredibly feeble Republican Represenative Charles Djou. What an embarrassment. [In the quirks of a special election, all can run. Two Dems split the vote, so Djou snuck in.]

Third, Hawaii law provides that a Senate vacancy such as this shall be filled by the governor, from a list of three names submitted by the prior Senator’s party. [Don't know why they didn't get smart enough to make such a provision for House seats, and avoid that messy special election situation.] This introduces two variables: who’s going to be on the list [what sort of in-fighting is going on among Dems?] and whom will Abercrombie choose — or more likely, whom does he hate so much that there’s not a chance in hell he’d choose them?

And another wrinkle: Abercrombie could choose himself, or create some “I’ll resign and then you’ll appoint me” charade. Word on the street has always been that Abercrombie didn’t like DC and his House seat. He might be more inclined to make those long plane trips for the prestige of being a US Senator. That’s a rumbling I’m hearing among those more in the know re Hawaii politics than I am.

Which Democrat is closest to your values

By: Mauimom Thursday June 7, 2012 12:35 pm

Okay, so we know what a rotten bunch of losers Democrats are, but let’s put that aside for a minute, and just take a look at this contrast.

Yesterday, courtesy of one of my friends, I received the following from the Obama campaign [I am no longer on their mailing list; I wonder why??]:

 

Friend –Yesterday, a terrifying experiment played out in Wisconsin. 

Republican Governor Scott Walker, one of the least popular governors in the country, managed to hold on against challenger Tom Barrett in the statewide recall election.

After outspending his opponent nearly EIGHT to ONE.

Walker was challenged because he’s spent the last year and a half promoting special interests and Republican ideologues, while taking away a seat at the table for middle-class families. But when his job was on the line, those same groups repaid the favors — and were willing to spend nearly eight times as much money as the Democratic candidate and his allies raised.

That swung this election. This kind of corporate and special-interest spending is exactly what we could be up against this fall. Outside groups have already poured $75 million into ads attacking the President in key states — and they’ve pledged to spend an unprecedented $1 billion. You can help close the gap.

Please donate $3 or more to support President Obama and make sure people, not special interests, decide this election.

Scott Walker’s strategy in Wisconsin is straight out of Mitt Romney’s playbook: In primary after primary against Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, he and his backers poured millions into negative ads until they got the result they wanted.

Last night, that strategy swung the election for Walker.

Now, imagine this same scenario playing out again in Wisconsin in November — or in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, and the rest of the battleground states.

The other side has the money. They know they can swing the election if they spend it.

And they are being told every day by Mitt Romney that he will do exactly what they want him to.

What are you going to do about it? Please donate today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Wisconsin

Thanks,

Messina

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Condensed version: “Me, me, me.  It’s all about ME.  And send me money.  I need money.”

Please note: there’s no mention of the fact that Obama refused to give ANY support — personal, financial or “surrogate” — to the recall troops.

OTOH, say what you will about Kucinich and his various issues, look what he sent out [condensed version]:

Last night, the result of the Wisconsin recall was not what we wanted. This movement will lose elections and we’ll lose political battles. That’s democracy. But what makes last night especially difficult is how we lost. This wasn’t a debate over ideas or even a test of political skill. It was a corruption of our democracy, when unregulated and shadowy corporate money drowned out everything. Corporate money once again prevailed in its takeover of our democracy.

We have had too many nights like last night since the Supreme Court, in the Citizens United decision, opened the doors to undisclosed, unlimited corporate spending in our elections. As we have come to know too well, the funding of our electoral contests has a direct effect on who controls our political process — and the legislation that comes out of it.

Citizens United invalidated a century old law in Wisconsin banning independent expenditures. Governor Walker and his allies spent over $45 million dollars – 3 out of every 4 dollars spent on the race. Citizens United allowed more money to be spent in 2010 than any prior midterm election, and will allow even more money to be spent in 2012 than any prior presidential election. Corporations are buying our elections and buying our government, while the rest of us — the poor, the middle class and main street — get left behind.

Never has it been more necessary to overturn Citizens United and restore our democracy. Earlier this year, I introduced a Constitutional Amendment which would require that all federal campaigns be financed exclusively by public funds and prohibit expenditures from every other source. My amendment, H.J. Res. 100, would change the way we finance the elections of our Presidents, Senators and Representatives, and return control of the political system to the people.

Please join me today in signing the petition today to support H.J. Res 100 and overturn Citizens United.

 

If we were to set about rebuilding the Democratic party,  which of these represents the values YOU’D like to be associated with?

 

PS – For an excellent analysis of what Dems now face, thanks to Obama, see the following Matt Stoller piece in Naked Capitalism:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/06/wisconsin-recap-thanks-to-obama-american-left-lies-in-smoldering-wreckage.html

 

His conclusion:

At this point, the Democratic Party is hopelessly broken and overrun by the same interests that are running the Republican Party.

I.e., we’re back to the “rotten bunch of losers” meme.

 

Update on the Hawaii Senate Race

By: Mauimom Saturday December 31, 2011 7:50 pm

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (photo: madmarv00)

A week or so ago I wrote a diary in response to Adam Nagourney’s puff piece in the NYT cautioning that Dems could lose a Senate seat in Hawaii, with the retirement of Democrat Daniel Akaka.

As frequently happens, those who commented on that diary brought insight and additional information — far beyond what I’d initially included.  One commenter, “Paiagirl,” was especially good. Unfortunately her remarks occurred late in the thread, after the diary was moved off the front page.  In order to bring her comments the attention they deserve, I’m cutting & pasting here. [Paia is a funky town on Maui, not too far from where I live, but I don't know Paiagirl.]

On Linda Lingle, retired governor and likely Republican nominee for Akaka’s seat:

Linda Lingle also is a very vindictive woman. She got mad at Maui County because after having her as mayor, a majority in our county voted for her opponent. She took it out on us.

She also invested $3 billion in some junk bonds, leaving our subsequent Gov Abercrombie unable to access the money during this economic downturn. She left the accounts in shambles as though no one was DOING the finances for the state.

And more on Lingle:

She doesn’t keep her word in negotiations. We’ve gone in, negotiated, come to an agreement, given up substantial concessions, and 2 hours later Lingle completely abrogates the agreement.

Unfortunately, she is a pretty smart cookie and good at presenting herself publicly, which makes her extremely dangerous because behind that public face is a voraciously ambitious woman who will do anything to advance her career and has absolutely no ethics.

In November, this year’s voters will be reminded about one of Lingle’s “achievements, ”  the “Superferry” .  [As a favor to her business friends, Lingle rammed through an inter-island "Superferry," without environmental impact studies. The project later cratered, resulting in  a massive loss of money]:

[In conjunction with the Superferry] she spent $40million on Chinese-made barges in an attempt to circumvent environmental law. The effect of her ignoring environmental law was that the Superferry took over our interisland freight dock and they tore down the shed that kept our partial loads out of the rain. Virtually EVERYTHING comes into Maui via interisland barge. (food goods, building materials, etc) Those tax-payer funded barges are still taking up space at our docks – where berths are at a premium since we are constrained on expanding our docs.

As an ironic note, yesterday’s paper featured a story about new proposals to re-establish a Superferry, done right this time, I assume. I’ll look forward to Paiagirl’s comments on this matter.

As to the current crop of Hawaii Democrats:  Mazie Hirono, our present Congresswoman, is running in the Democratic primary for Akaka’s seat. Our senior Senator, Daniel Inouye, basically runs the state.

Mazie Hirono is a really progressive candidate. She’s Buddhist, anti-war, consistently votes progressively. Mazie is da bomb!

Inouye wields a lot of behind the scenes power as far as determining who gets National DCCC money and so on. But at the state level, he can’t do much because our State democratic party has no money and is filled with progressives who aren’t going to go for someone just because Inouye picks them.

Mazie’s just one of those people, who everyone likes – progressives, unions, even Inouye. (Here in Hawaii, the ILWU HATES progressives, so this is 2 very different constituencies)

But true dat, that Inouye will support ABC (anyone but case) Case was so arrogant as to run against a well-loved incumbent, Akaka. In fact, I’ve seen Inouye support a REPUBLICAN county councilmember because he still held a grudge against the guy running against the Republican. And Inouye managed not to get kicked out of the Democratic pary even though we have a rule against endorsing people from other parties.

Anyway that’s the latest from this end of the country.  Thank you, Paiagirl, for all the info you provided.

Happy 2012, everyone.

In which the NYT attempts to “call” Hawaii

By: Mauimom Thursday December 22, 2011 9:11 pm
AdNags Blogs In Isolated Splendor (photo: bgjohnson/flickr)

AdNags Blogs In Isolated Splendor (photo: bgjohnson/flickr)

I grew up regarding the New York Times as the “paper of record,” so it surprised me both as it slid into the sewer and as I discovered that, if it was covering a story I actually knew anything about, it was frequently, well, shall we say, “less than accurate.”

The latest: a story by Adam Nagourney with the breathless prediction that the Republicans might pick up a Senate seat in Hawaii.

As one of my friends remarked, “AdNags never gets anything right when he writes about the Mainland.  We can hardly expect him to improve when reporting on things 5000 miles away.”

A short summary:  Hawaii’s junior senator, Daniel Akaka, is retiring.  Linda Lingle, who was the REPUBLICAN [I know, ??????] governor here for two terms, has announced her candidacy.

There are two Democrats vying for the nomination: perennial candidate and faux Democrat Ed Case [cousin of AOL founder Steve Case, thus lots of $$$$] and Mazie Hirono, current Congresswoman and previous Lt. Governor.

Before gazing into his political crystal ball,  AdNags should have paid a visit to Wikipedia.  There he would have discovered a number of things:

Lingle’s election as a Republican governor - Lingle ran for governor in 1998 and lost to the Democratic incumbent, Benjamin Cayetano.  When 2002 rolled around, Cayetano was prevented by term limits from running again, so the Dems nominated the Lt. Governor, the much-less-well-known Mazie Hirono.  Lingle, having spent the past 4 years “beefing up” the HI Republican party, ran on a “change” platform [kick out the Dems who've been running the state] and won.  [So one must admit that Lingle has beaten Hirono previously.]  In 2006, when Lingle ran again, the Dems could barely scare up a candidate, and when they did, he spent only $340,000 to Lingle’s $6 million.  The Dem was soundly defeated.

So, while unusual for a “traditionally Democratic” state to twice elect a Republican, the circumstances were unique, and don’t foretell a “switch to the Republican side.”

Look at the numbers - In early 2010, Neil Abercrombie resigned from his Congressional seat to pursue his quest for governor. The election to replace him was a no-primary, winner-take-all affair, and the Democrats, true to their usual bumbling and stupidity, fielded two candidates: Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case.  The DCCC refused to pressure Case to withdraw, probably because he was a Blue Dog near and dear to their heart, and the DCCC financially abandoned the race.  The Republican candidate, nut-case Charles Djou, won, with 39.4% of the vote (67,610 votes).  [Hanabusa got 30.8 % (52,802 votes) and Case got 27.6% (47,391 votes) ].  When Djou ran for re-election in November, 2010, he was stomped by Hanabusa.

AdNags is now prognosticating on a state-wide Senate race, rather than this House one.  Perhaps he thinks lightning’s going to strike twice in the form of a divisive, 2-Dems-in-the-general race, but if you extrapolate from the House race,  100,000 Dem ballots  are going to beat 67,610 Republican ones, so I don’t know what he’s smoking.

Lingle’s got a record – Perhaps most laughable about AdNag’s story — other than his quoting a “prediction” from the HI Republican chairman re Lingle’s future success —  is the fact that Lingle now has a record of her “leadership” in Hawaii, and that record’s not good.

• as a favor to her business pals, she allowed one of her appointees to grant an exemption from environmental requirements to an $80 million inter-island “Superferry.” [Actually, the Superferry was a much-needed service, but you don't do ANYTHING in Hawaii without appeasing the environmental gods, and you particularly don't thumb your nose at them in this flagrant way.]  When protesters tried to block the ferry, she threatened them with prosecution under anti-terrorism statutes.  After years of fighting and drama, the Superferry died, a colossal waste of money.

• Lingle enacted draconian budget cuts, furloughing teachers for 17 days in one year, closing libraries and reducing other public services.  [Hawaii has the lowest number of classroom days in the nation and is near the absolute bottom in academic achievement, vying with MS, LA and AL.]  This is probably what most voters think of when they hear her name.

• Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill that had passed the legislature.  [Getting the bill re-passed and signing it was Abercrombie's first deed.]

• Lingle gave what was in effect the nominating address for Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention.  [It was rumored that Lingle herself had been considered for the post.]

So when Lingle talks about running on “my own success as a moderate Republican” and “my own record in Hawaii,” you can hear Democrats around the state saying, “bring it on.”

This is not to say that the Hawaii Democrats cannot snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Senator Daniel Inouye runs politics in the state, but pretty-boy Case has run afoul of him by challenging Akaka a few years ago.  [Why Inouye didn't elbow Case out of the way in 2010, so a Democrat could be assured of taking Abercrombie's seat (and grabbing some seniority) is a mystery, but indicates that Hawaii politics is NOT a well-oiled machine.  Maybe it's because Inouye is as much of a Blue Dog as Case.  I dunno.]

I’ll close this with what I’d intended to be my intro:  ”AdNags, you dumb fuck.”

Steal this . . . letter

By: Mauimom Monday July 25, 2011 11:11 pm

I just wrote the following to my two US Senators, Democratic tools Inouye & Akaka, via their web sites.  The site for my Dem. representative was down because of server issues.

As I’ve recommended before re writing to Congress, this is SHORT.

If anyone finds any of the language herein useful, please steal it and utilize it.  Just write in, so these fools get the message.

 

I have just listened to Obama’s feeble, horrid “speech.”  I have one message for you, my elected Senator:  NO compromise.

DO NOT agree to cut social security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
DO NOT approve of the horrid, equally benefit-cutting “chained CPI.”

End the wars, and go after the bloated Department of Defense.  That’s where the money is.

Obama has created this “deficit crisis,” primarily by refusing to negotiate a debt increase in exchange for extending the Bush tax cuts — which, BTW, increased the deficit.  Now he wants to use this purported crisis to shred the safety net that’s been in place for 70 years — even though these programs have NO EFFECT on the deficit!!!  At the same time, he bails out rich bankers and hedge fund operators, and refuses to raise taxes on them.

I have been a loyal Democratic voter since 1968.  I worked for, donated to, and voted for Obama, but I am DONE with him, and with any Democrat who supports his attack on our Democratic heritage.  Obama and anyone who votes with him should be ashamed!

Have you gotten this from the Dems yet? What will you respond?

By: Mauimom Thursday July 21, 2011 2:47 pm
"Question Mark Cloud"

"Question Mark Cloud" by Mick1.! on flickr

A “friend” just forwarded this to me. It’s clearly going out to Dems still stupid enough to still be on the mailing list. My furious reaction is printed below.


With our nation set to surpass the current debt limit in less than two weeks, we're approaching perhaps the most predictable financial crisis
ever -- but up until now our politics have been too divisive and hyper-partisan to seriously confront the problem.

I hope to change that. For several months now, I've worked with a bipartisan group of Senators, three Republicans and three Democrats, devising a plan to cut our debt by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade through a combination of spending cuts and tax and entitlement reforms.

I'm now asking for your help to turn our Gang of Six into something much larger: a grand coalition of like-minded Democrats, Independents, and Republicans with the political will to break the gridlock in Washington and fix our debt problem. It’s going to require a lot of work to pass this proposal through both Houses of Congress, and in
order to swing enough votes I need your help to apply some public pressure.

Give the Washington Post an economics lesson

By: Mauimom Thursday July 7, 2011 4:37 pm

Washington Post writer Michelle Singletary has a column today that is so ridiculous it defies belief.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/delaying-retirement-might-not-improve-your-financial-prospects/2011/07/06/gIQAicNF1H_story.html

Now I should note that Michelle is not always terrible.  She usually writes with advice for the “common folk:” no impulse buying, save, don’t get into debt.  But today’s column is the far end of stupid.

Her column provides a wide range of statistics, all of which point to the conclusion that Americans “can’t afford to retire.”

So there you have it.  if you want to be secure for retirement and your savings are nonexistent or going slow just work longer into your senior years, right?

Not necessarily so, says the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).  Many baby boomers who delay their retirement past age 65 still won’t have enough income to cover their basic retirement expenses and uninsured health-care costs.

Recent research by EBRI  found that even if workers delay retirement into their 80s, there is still a chance they will not have enough money in retirement.

And Michelle’s advice on how we can save ourselves?

So folks (old and young), it always comes back to the same tired, but always prudent, advice.  Save as soon as you can and as much as you can if you want to retire with enough resources to meet your basic needs and then some.


I’d like to suggest that FDL pups write to Michelle [she lists her email, singletarym@washpost.com, at the end of her column and invites input] and point out the fallacy of her thinking.  Here’s my letter:

Dear Ms. Singletary,

While your column of July 6 provided the scary facts pointing to the conclusion that Americans can’t afford to retire — apparently ever, except those who are very rich — you recommended the wrong responses to this situation:  working into our 80s and “save as much as you can and as soon as you can.”

Ms. Singletary, this is foolish advice on a number of grounds:

1) “Work into our 80′s”?  That might be feasible for those in comfy office jobs in Washington DC, but for farmers, factory workers, waitresses, oil field workers — anyone who does hard manual labor which destroys his/her body, “working into your 80′s” — or even your 70s — is a cruel, unrealistic joke.  And age and illness are going to take a toll on even those office workers, limiting their ability to work that long.

2) “Save as much as we can.”  As Seth Meyers and Amy Pohler might say, “Really?????  Really???? Save as much as we can?  And put it in a 401(k) that gets decimated by the rich Wall Street gamblers?  Use savings to buy a house — one comfortably within our means — so that we can enter retirement “under water” on our mortgage after the NEXT housing crash?  Put our savings into a bank account paying less than .5% interest, and less than the rate of inflation?  Really???”

Let me suggest to you a few better options for people — and the country — to assure an affordable retirement:

***work ceaselessly to get single payer health care passed.  You know, Ms. Singletary, that health care costs are the greatest threat to retirement security, both because of the costs during retirement, and because a medical emergency prior to retirement can wipe out a family’s savings, and even drive it into bankruptcy.  The watered-down, dishonest “health care reform” that Obama promoted does almost nothing to contain costs, and gives the pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurance companies free rein to raise prices.

***fight tirelessly against the criminal reduction of social security benefits.  At the same time, pressure for a lifting of the “cap” — the income level at which social security taxes stop being withheld.  This simple move would make the program solvent far into the future.  And while you’re at it, resist this stupidity that “fixing social security” would have any effect on the deficit!!

***support programs that contain energy costs.  Weatherizing homes, building public transit, establishing renewable energy sources all will reduce the amount of money energy costs drain from  budgets — both the budgets of the elderly and the budgets of those trying to “save” for retirement.

***push for comprehensive regulation of all elements of the financial industry: banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, real estate.  The destruction of Glass-Steagall and wild west activities of all of these participants destroyed the assets that would have helped Americans retire comfortably.  Go after the real criminals, and quit blaming the victims.

There are many more useful suggestions that might be put forth to help people have a catfood-free retirement.  I’ll bet if you opened up your column and requested such input, you’d get some valuable advice.

Such a move would be more worthy of you that this ridiculous “work until you’re 80″ and “save a lot” advice you’re peddling now.  Really, it’s beneath you, and unfair to the readers you seek to serve.