An Idea Whose Time Has NOT Come.

Everybody seems to be trying to crowd into the Time Machine and go back and fix the past: slavery, displaced Jews’ takeover of Palestine, the American Indian Trail of Tears, the Armenian genocide of 1914, the annexation of Hawaii.

Now there’s a hue and cry among various activists to have U.S. House Resolution 40 passed. You may not have heard of it.

The news media tend to refer to it as a reparations bill to pay something — the figure $14 trillion is tossed around — to undefined Black people as a monetary apology for slavery.

First of all it’s not a bill. It’s only a resolution and only in the U.S. House and if it were to become a bill and then an act or law, all it would authorize is a study about reparations. That’s one helluva long way from $14 trillion dollars flowing out of the U.S. Treasury.

It would establish a study commission, and you know how those things go. Ten years from now…

But before you laugh, a recent poll found that a majority of Americans — 56% — support the creation of the HR 40 study commission.

I suspect this is mostly about politics because by far the most supporters of the resolution are Democrats in control of the House.

California, a heavily Democratic state, now has a new law creating a nine-member “Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, with a Special Consideration for African Americans Who are Descendants of Persons Enslaved in the United States,” according to the text of the bill. Odd, this law, because California was admitted to the Union in 1850 as a free state and has no history of legal slavery.

Public interest in the topic was kick-started by the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose 2014 cover story “The Case for Reparations” was in The Atlantic magazine. It argued that “it is impossible to imagine America without the inheritance of slavery.”

The “40” in that resolution is a reference to the 40 acres of land promised but never delivered to former slaves by Union Army Gen. William Sherman in 1865. The theory is that if they had gotten that land they would not have been so poverty-stricken after the Civil War. And not so second-class today.

That land offer was overturned by President Andrew Johnson. But obviously it was never meant to be. Only 40,000 of approximately 4 million of the formerly enslaved were settled on just 400,000 acres of land before Johnson reversed the order.

New Orleans had ignored Sherman’s order on its own. It erected a Canal Street monument which declared on a plaque that the 1896 election of President McKinley was the establishment of “white privilege” and Blacks had no land or even residence claims. That was only removed in 2017.

Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, proposes that Under H.R. 40 about 40 million African-Americans would get $350,000 in direct cash payments over 30 years, costing the average taxpayer roughly $2,900 a year. The $350,000 would signify the wealth disparity between African-Americans and white Americans.

But that poll I mentioned earlier was done before the Covid crisis and out $25 trillion national debt. We don’t have any money for reparations at the moment and opposition to the idea is growing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says “I think we’re always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that [slavery], and I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it.”

Weeks after George Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, the California State Assembly passed a bill to establish a task force to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans.

But since then, nothing.

I predict that the whole matter will be one of those things that pop up with crowd popularity for the moment and then fade into the woodwork.

In the 2021 Congress session, somebody will ask “whatever happened to H.R.40”?


Talent To Spare

Unlike the Honolulu mayoral race in which neither candidate has ever worked a city budget, drafted a city ordinance or served even one term as a city council member, the prosecutor race this year offers us two candidates with a surplus of legal talent and ideas for the job.

I’ve left my mayor ballot blank as my way of saying “neither of you is competent for the work ahead as we deal with tax revenue loss, city services needed more than ever, and rail.

I won’t tell you who I voted for as prosecutor or suggest who you should vote for. You must come to that choice on your own.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. Both have been prosecutors. Taking them alphabetically:

Steve Alm, in addition to his time as a deputy prosecutor, has been a state judge and a deputy U.S. Attorney.

He may be best known as the instigator of our HOPE probation program — Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement. It handles offenders, including violent ones, who are likely to violate the conditions of probation. They get random drug tests and any misbehavior and they get a swift hearing and prison.

“We have to do justice, not just win cases,” Alm said in a Civil Beat interview. “We have to bring in the right supervisors, be an experienced leader of an office — I can hit the ground running.”

Kau has been both a civil litigator and a criminal attorney. She worked with federal prosecutors in the Katherine and Louis Kealoha probes. She claims there are still four deputy prosecutors at the office who helped  Katherine Kealoha and sidelined city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro in their misconduct.

“One of the main reasons why I ran is to end that corruption, and have those people terminated,” she said.

She’s represented criminals against prosecution, but that’s what lawyers are supposed to do — guarantee a fair trial. She’s been in the news as the lawyer for housekeepers in that Abigail Kawananakoa money mess.

Alm was born in Honolulu and raised in Manoa and Kaimuki. His law degree is from the University of the Pacific. He worked at the Dole Cannery and Charlie’s Taxi in his youth.

Kau was born on Oahu, raised in Kaneohe and her degree is from Santa Clara University Law. She says at age 15 she was living “on the streets” here with “no one to take care of my twin sister and me.”

Alm says we rely too much on incarceration of criminals. Kau says no we don’t. Alm is not a fan of our cash bail requirement. Kau is.

SHOPO, the police union, has endorsed Alm. Kau’s sole union endorsement is the ILWU Local 100.

Alm has consistently led Kau in both Star-Advertiser and Civil Beat polls so far. 

There you have them in a nutshell.

The choice is yours to make.


The Concealed Carry Scam

It’s getting a little spooky out there in la-la land!

An outfit in Nevada called The Primed Patriot is mass emailing what it claims is an online video education you can get and that clears you for a certificate for concealed carry of a firearm.

Here’s the way Primed Patriot sells its service:

“Just when you thought those liberals couldn’t get any crazier … Fox News just reported on the growing number of Second Amendment sanctuaries popping up around the country — cities and counties where citizens are not allowed to bring firearms — only the police! Every day America is starting to feel more and more like disarmed Germany in 1938. So now is the time to get Concealed Carry Certified before these wacko liberals push tighter gun laws on us.”

And then this banner pops up:

Everyday Hawaii residents seeking a CCW permit start their gun permit certification process here. We have put together the simplest concealed carry online permit qualification survey. In our 6-question survey you will see if you qualify for a multi-state recognized concealed carry license. Our CHL trainer is state approved; we are not a government agency.

BUT — police in several states are warning that this is a scam. That $100 you pay to The Primed Patriot for their concealed carry permit is not valid in any state where you must have a locally issued permit or where concealed carry is not allowed.

The Primed Patriot lists Nevada as its home state but you are instructed to send your  $100 to an address in Miami Beach. All you have to do is answer “no” to six questions about your mental health, criminal background and military discharge. Plus watch a video on gun handling.

This is a part of the “patriot movement” in the U.S. that has grown by leaps and bounds in the past dozen years. Those in the movement demand that the federal government adhere to the Constitution and stop what they see as systematic abuse of land rights, gun rights, freedom of speech and other liberties.

Law enforcement officials call them dangerous, delusional and sometimes violent, and say that their numbers are growing amid a wave of anger at the government that has been gaining strength since 2008, a surge that coincided with the election of the first Black U.S. president and a crippling economic recession. And now the pandemic and the potential for Democrats to take the White House, the Senate, and keep control of the House. Democrats are seen as the gun-rights enemy.

There were about 150 such gun-rights groups in 2008 and about 1,000 now.  J.J. MacNab, a George Washington University researcher who specializes in extremism, says social media has allowed individuals or small groups of “patriots” to become far more influential than in the 1990s, when the groups would spread their message through meetings at local diners and via faxes.

But this new concealed carry permit selling on the internet is fairly new, and growing. Another outfit called claims the certificates it issues online are good in 27 states.

And then there’s U.S. Concealed Carry, which in addition to a certificate offers as included services:

If you ever have to defend yourself or your family, you’ll have access to a local attorney, the financial funding to protect against criminal charges and civil suits, and instant connection to our emergency response team. There’s nothing simple about self-defense, and with the USCCA, you’ll never have to go it alone.”

Hawaii is a state along with Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York that may issue a concealed carry permit to a resident or non-resident, but that permission is not easy to obtain here.

A mail-order or online concealed carry “certificate” is not recognized.


This Island Gets Its S**t Together!!

Why didn’t I settle into Kauai when I came here 57 years ago?

Well, because it was a backwoods county then.  A lousy newspaper, no live theater, junk restaurants and no place really attractive to live except for Hanalei.

Today it’s fixed all that (but not traffic) AND is a great place to escape the Covid (see charts below) because of a mayor who seems to be way out ahead of the others of our counties in the virus battle. I get the feeling I’d like to have him making our state-wide rules.

Gov. Ige squelched Kauai mayor Kawakami’s plan to a 2-tier system for people coming ifrom outside. Claimed he’s run out of test kits. Ridiculous, but Ige gets the final word under our state emergency proclamation.

So here’s Kawakami’s new 4-tier plan that makes Oahu mayor Caldwell’s look like amateur hour:

In “Tier One,” the pre-travel program would not be allowed if the seven-day COVID-19 case average exceeds eight.

The second tier triggers the county to opt-out of the testing program and it forces the 14-day mandatory quarantine. This tier assumes that the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases are between five and eight cases.

The third tier would have a weekly average of two to four cases. This level of cases could allow travelers to skip quarantine if their pre-test is negative.

Kauai would be in “Tier Four” under the proposal with a seven-day average of fewer than two cases.

See the big difference? Kauai proposes going from least infections at the start to more infections later.  You keep Kauai at zero at the start and you stay open for business. You slack off, business closes down. Caldwell goes the other way. Worst to least. Kauai gives people protocol incentives at the beginning, not like us on Oahu. It can do that because it’s been more diligent than us from the start.

I’ll leave you with comparative statistics.


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