Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Representing Yourself

We’re still meeting on the 4th Thursdays, starting at 7pm now, at the Hawaii Republican Headquarters, Kapiolani & Cooke, so the next meeting (all welcome) will be this Thursday, September 27, with special guest speaker, Council member Charles Djou providing his insights on government in Hawaii (Honolulu). Additionally, Senator Trimble attends whenever he is in town, and other party leaders, if they have any information they want to pass on directly.

As you all may already be aware, participation in the elections as well as the political process is falling -- because we live in unprecedented times of diverse interests and activities. In the old days, there was political involvement and little else -- but now, increasingly many, feel that politics is irrelevant to their lives, and seems to offer little else but putting one into contact with argumentative, petty and difficult people, who have unfortunately, been the ones who have remained politically involved, and that’s why “normal” citizens, more than ever, need to make their presence felt -- or the elected officials will think, there is nobody else out there who cares what they do. And so we get the government we get.

For my part, I thought the most significant election of my lifetime, was the election and re-election of President George W. Bush nationally, and in Hawaii, the election of Governor Linda Lingle, as the campaigns one needed to get involved with if we were to change the course of history. They have fulfilled that trust and confidence -- in representing a breed of public officials seldom seen anymore, who attempt to rise above the partisanship that is often misrepresented as “politics”.

But “politics” is largely what we make of it, and unfortunately for much of the last several decades, it is to make it something people want to avoid -- rather than the honor and living symbol it should be. However, the media, schools and universities seem determined to undermine that trust and confidence, and install themselves as those who “speak” exclusively for the people, which is usually to say, that they alone should get all the government money and power -- and what little is left, they will return for next year.

That’s what happens when there is no presence and representation otherwise -- as much as people will complain bitterly to themselves, that there is no fairness and justice in society -- because they don’t make it known, that they know what that is. And that is the real shame of life in these times -- of unlimited opportunities to do so, which lately, only the fringe elements of society, have co-opted, because nobody else cares or shows up.

While some still continue to write letters to their “representatives” and editors of the local newspapers as thheir marginal participation, those voices are likely to be suppressed -- by these self-appointed censors of public opinion and will. So one has to find ways to work around them -- if they are not fulfilling their responsibility to represent all the diverse viewpoints but rather only those of the self-interests that paid to get them elected, or as many do, simply numb themselves to these abuses.
Way before one can hope to change those abuses of power, one has to first be aware of those actualities, rather than deluding themselves, that things will work out because that’s what one merely “wishes” will happen. Those desires have to be manifested in some tangible way -- or there is no way of knowing what matters, and if anybody notices any difference. That is unfortunately what many have deliberately been indoctrinated (educated) to believe -- that nothing makes a difference, and nothing matters, and so they are easily deceived and manipulated by those who do know better -- and they can not tell the difference.

The surprising thing is that it really doesn’t take much to make a difference -- but they have convinced us that we have to first change the world, before we can make that difference -- in just noticing these things, and letting others know that. That is the most powerful action of these times -- even more so than marching in the streets with signs and expressing our disgust, anger, and outrage. Those are largely the demonstrations of “caring” of the past -- which were mostly manipulated and contrived with the help of the mass media.

Mass media made it possible for the rise of totalitarian societies on an unprecedented level -- as the work of George Orwell depicts so well in “1984”. In this writing, as a journalist himself, he masterfully provides insight into all the strategies and techniques for getting people to believe precisely the opposite of what is true -- or for that matter, anything the source wants us to believe -- and very few of us will stop to question the trustworthiness of our sources, beyond their insistence and demands that they are “objective,” and nothing else is possible.

Such people have a predilection for fear- and hate-mongering, of which they will insist, they are just telling it like it is. The nature of hatred, bigotry and prejudice, is that those most afflicted, can never see it as that but will ennoble such attitudes and actions in the noblest-sounding sentiments, convincing themselves, if nobody else can tell them better. Having discriminating people who can tell the difference and don’t allow the hysteria and delusions of mobs to gather momentum, are the heroes of any age and circumstances.

One can often get too hung up on the numbers, as though democratic republics, are simply the tyranny of the majority. Those are just tyrannies -- no matter how they represent themselves. Demagogues invariably call themselves “democrats,” and demand that we believe they are so, despite their behaviors to the contrary. The “actual” rather than just the words, is what one should be guided by in determining these truths. Thus, the important part of the political process, is meeting the principals in person, and deciding for oneself, the actuality and the words -- rather than letting the media (or anybody else) decide for you -- as they will gladly do.

5 Comments:

At September 29, 2007 8:15 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Usually the newspapers are running interference for the public worker unions. It doesn’t take much reading between lines to see where all the money and “work” is going -- just like the legislature or any other bureaucratic (union) institution -- to cancel out each other in endless arguments to determine, “Who is the Boss!?”

It seems to be the ONLY work being done in Hawaii: Me


http://honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070929/NEWS03/709290327/1007/NEWS03

Posted on: Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dysfunction at bureau detailed

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer

The registrar at the state Bureau of Conveyances acknowledged yesterday that the bureau is so dysfunctional and riven by factionalism that he claimed it has been impossible for him to make improvements.

Carl Watanabe, the bureau's registrar, told a state House and Senate investigatory committee that his leadership has been challenged at every turn by disgruntled workers who either file union grievances or simply refuse to help while the bureau falls months and, in some instances, years behind in recording land documents.

Watanabe also blamed bureau workers backed by the Hawai'i Government Employees Association for three ongoing investigations. Along with the committee, the state attorney general's office and the state Ethics Commission have been looking into bureau practices.

"If we don't share the urgency of what we're supposed to do, then we're just spinning our wheels," Watanabe said of the lack of teamwork at the bureau.

Watanabe, testifying under subpoena, said he is ultimately responsible for the bureau's management. But he described his workers as obstacles and conceded he often gives up rather than pursue personnel or policy changes.

In one effort to ease personality conflicts, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the bureau, relegated Watanabe to a special project to reduce a backlog in recordings in the bureau's land court branch and ordered him not to talk to certain bureau workers or the public.

Watanabe, who resumed his duties as registrar in July, acknowledged that administrative rules that detail fee structures for access to bureau documents by title insurance companies and others have not been updated since 1999. He said he could not locate subscription contracts for document access or explain inconsistencies in the amounts title companies and others are charged to view documents via computer.

Watanabe acknowledged there are no written policies at the bureau for fee waivers or for handling cash or checks. He also said there was no written contract or diagnostic test done on donated computer software from Title Guaranty of Hawai'i that gave title companies and others faster access to documents recorded at the bureau each day.

Watanabe explained that he agreed to allow the software — and not charge any additional cost for document access — because the bureau had fallen three months behind in indexing the documents for the title industry and the public. Title Guaranty and other title companies have their own or shared indexing systems so they can process the documents without waiting for the bureau to index.

Watanabe also said he was not aware that bureau workers call a Title Guaranty executive — a former bureau registrar — weekly for advice about documents, including some from other title companies. He said protocol would be for the workers to consult their branch chief and then him with questions about documents. He said it was not proper for workers to share documents from rival title companies with Title Guaranty.

State Rep. Joseph Souki, D-8th (Wailuku, Waihe'e, Waiehu), the committee's co-chair, advised Watanabe at the end of the meeting that the bureau is his responsibility and that he could not blame bureau workers for its shortcomings. He also urged some of the bureau workers who were in the audience at the meeting to work together.

"As long as you're the registrar, it's always your kuleana," Souki told Watanabe.

Informed afterward about Watanabe's comments, Randy Perreira, the HGEA's deputy executive director, said many of the grievances stemmed from Watanabe's violation of the union's contract with the state. He said Watanabe's poor leadership has led to many of the personnel problems.

"I think a leadership change would do the department good," Perreira said.

But state Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawai'i Kai), said the committee's focus on bureau management is a "coverup of the incompetency of the HGEA."

"The hearings are a very well-orchestrated show to divert attention from HGEA-induced problems and the senators' lynching of (former DLNR director) Peter Young," Hemmings said, adding that previous state audits have already documented bureau weaknesses and recommended solutions. Young was not confirmed by the Senate last session for a second term in part because of problems at the bureau.

State Sen. Jill Tokuda, D-24th (Kailua, Kane'ohe), the committee's co-chair, said after the meeting that the committee would take up both bureau management and union issues when it drafts its recommendations. She also said the committee may recommend the appointment of a special master, such as the courts sometimes do, so the recommendations are followed.

"We can't have administrators giving up on a bad situation," Tokuda said.

 
At September 29, 2007 8:38 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

And so when these people do get to the top, all they know how to do is not let anybody else get ahead of them -- in an endless cycle of dysfunction they call "Mahalo."

 
At October 01, 2007 10:51 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Here's a comment I added to:
http://homespunhonolulu.com/
on the importance of independent thinking to "culture.".

Thanks for including me among the participants in your carnival of cultural highlights.

One of the major questions thoughtful visitors and newcomers seek and seldom find in “Paradise,” are signs of intellectual activity -- and when they check out the logical institutions for them, the schools and universities, the only thing they seem concerned with is that they should get “more pay,” and we read almost no other contribution to the greater wisdom or consciousness of the world.

Culture is built upon ideas -- and not just entertainment, food, and recreation -- which seems to be the only things featured in the islands as “culture.” Politics on the other hand, are usually discredited by constant arguments about every petty difference -- and especially, about who is exclusively more important than everyone else -- and for whom everybody else ought to be “sacrificed” for. These are the vestiges of the earlier tribal societies -- for which leadership is almost entirely about who gets to subjugates and dominate everybody else -- and not that “leaders” are selected to represent the entire community.

And so such “democratic” societies devolve into tyrannies of the majority and the mob -- which is noted in the schools as the bullying and intimidation that is actually an integral part of the education (indoctrination). The whole object of this education is to get people to conform -- rather than to think for themselves, which is regarded as some kind of ultimate sin, punishable by banishment to the Mainland.

The euphemism for this coercion is “political correctness,” which is pretty much like the training one receives to mark the “right” answers -- as determined by the Board of Education, rather than by those who actually discover the truth of anything.

So the important division in today’s society is not whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, but whether one can think for themselves or not -- and not just repeat what somebody has told them is the truth, as though they thought of it themselves.

 
At October 01, 2007 2:22 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I wish I could give these people the benefit of the doubt -- but they leave little doubt that their intentions are to deceive:

Here's an email forwarded to me:

From: Marty Stone
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 1:49 PM
To: 'mpoole@starbulletin.com'
Subject: Recent mis-statements about Tampa's Reversible Lane project

Mary,

I was very disappointed to read the recent editorial in your newspaper that included references to our reversible express lane project that were completely inaccurate.

Your comment that “The Tampa tollway is open only during rush hour, receives little use and is costing more than was expected” paints a picture that is not supported in any way by the facts of our project.

The Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority’s Reversible Express Lanes has just won the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s Toll Excellence Award as the Best Toll Operations Project in the World for 2007. IBTTA recognized the project because it provides one of the world’s best combinations of time savings, convenience, safety and reliability for the price.

As opposed to what you wrote in your newspaper, the lanes operate 24 hours a day (except for two ∏-hour periods when directional changes are made) and currently are running over 30% above first-year projections for traffic and more than 50% above first year projections for revenue. The project has completely eliminated peak-hour traffic congestion within the Expressway’s transportation corridor from downtown Tampa to suburban Brandon (about 10 miles).

Drivers do pay $1.50 toll for a trip on the Express Lanes which is $.50 more per trip than was contemplated when the lanes were planned in 1999. However, the increased toll cost is directly related to the higher capital cost of the project which was due entirely because of a construction accident that is presently being litigated by the Authority.

You certainly have every right to take any position you wish about projects in your community, but there is no excuse for any journalist to support their position by presenting false information about someone else’s project.

The facts about our project’s operation, traffic and revenue are documented every month by the Florida Department of Transportation and are public information available to anyone under Florida’s Sunshine Law. In other words, there is absolutely no reason for you or anyone else to ever present false data about the Reversible Express Lanes.

Martin Stone, Planning Director

The Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority is a public agency subject to Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes concerning public records.

 
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