I Hope They Said: “Adiós, Suckers!”

There was the Outrigger Canoe Club, and then there was the Women’s Auxiliary of the OCC. That was the early 20th Century. The woman did much of the club organization and the books and the “women’s stuff.” The men drank, played cards, surfed and canoed, and had a helluva good time. The women kept their swimsuits inconspicuous and knew their place.

But the times they were a-changing and in 1926 some women split from the OCC and became the Uluniu Women’s Swimming Club with about 600 members, next to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Members still wore very conservative swimsuits but they were now running their own “business”, not the men’s business.

I’m now a member. Well, it no longer has the word Women’s in its title. And it has moved to an oceanfront location in Laie, keeps membership at 100 and I’d guess half are male. On workdays at the cottage that once belonged to the Latter-Day Saints church president, most men do the heavy yard work, but some of us take on housework, like dusting, windows, toilet cleaning and lemonade making.

We’ve all come a long way, baby!

I’m thinking about that because the cottage has been closed and workdays have been cancelled by the virus threat. We’d all be in close quarters and handling the same items and the food, too, that makes up our bring-along breakfast and lunch for member-workers. Or some user might leave a still-living coronavirus behind on a counter on checking out at noon so a new “renter” can move right in.

The cottage will reopen next month but with strict cleaning rules for members who reserve stays and maybe one day left open for cleaning between one check-out and the next check-in.

The cottage only got wifi a short time ago. No TV or radio. It’s meant as a getaway and sometimes early beach walkers are lucky enough to find an authentic, old glass ball.

The back yard is so large that climate change and ocean rise won’t eat up much of it or threaten the two-bedroom cottage and caretaker’s house.

It was built by and for the early president, and has been much overhauled. The club brought it for $125,000 after it had become the beach estate of Princess Liliuokalani Kawananakoa Morris.  It’s now a modernized but tastefully simple jewel, roughly halfway between the Laie Shopping Center and the Polynesian Cultural Center. A true getaway.

One wall is filled with photos of those early 1900s women who got tired of being “auxiliary” members in Waikiki and struck out on their own and became a force in local  and national AAU swimming circles. It was generous and thoughtful of them to eventually admit men — as full members and not just handlers of the barbecue grill..

Women are still the presidents. I don’t think that’s discrimination. It’s more that member women seem to take on more club responsibilities than many of the men. Maile Ostrem is the current president. She walked into the job right as there was  the virus, which means the clubhouse, closed,  is not making any money ($20 per member per overnight) for the upgrading and repairs reserve.

This place is so wonderful and so tied in with the Laie/Kahuku communities and their people that I sometimes wonder why anyone would chose the OCC or the Elks Club, except that our 100-member limit means a waiting list until somebody quits or dies. Our dues are just over $300 a year. No financial penalties if you don’t use the club for a period of time. Cook your own dinners ( indoor table for 8, outdoor one can handle 10) or bring in take-out. Showers  inside and out. Foodland a hundred yards one direction. Tamura’s two miles the other.

Anyway, as I miss it this week I’ll pause a moment and thank those early “auxiliary” women and hope they walked away from the men at the OCC bar with a loud “Adiós, suckers!”

Solid Journalists Need Not Apply

John Nolte is a very bizarre journalism editor and writer; Breitbart News, his employer, is a very bizarre news website. Fortunately, fans are noticing that and the online news site has lost about 75% of its earlier enthusiastic readers who also hung out with Matt Drudge.

Nolte, a Breitbart News senior editor, is way, way out there on a right wing limb without much factual support. He sees conspiracies galore and liberals who want to terminate Americans’ constitutional freedoms.

His current campaign is against lockdowns and shutdowns and various emergency acts taken by government in the fight against the coronavirus causing COVID-19 infections and death (about 70,000 of the latter in the U.S.)

He writes (and I presume believes) “The most useless metric in America today is ‘new coronavirus cases.’ Nevertheless, the fake news media are using this useless metric to spread panic, intimidate states into keeping us locked down, and destroy the economy in the hopes that destruction will also damage President Trump’s reelection chances.”

John Nolte, Bretbart News

Here’s the truth as Nolte sees it:

“The primary reasons we are seeing such a huge spike in reported cases is because the United States is performing millions — literally, millions — of tests. Per capita, according to the White House, we are testing more than any other country by far. We have also tested more total people than the rest of the world combined, and we are testing more people every day.”

Does the man mean that if we didn’t have all that testing we could report fewer cases if infection? Yeah, I guess that’s true. But we’d still have those 80,000 deaths to answer for.

He’s got answers for anything Gov. Ige might impose on us in the COVID fight.

“One thing the media don’t want you to know is how low America’s per capita death rate is when compared to comparable countries.

“Another thing the media won’t tell you is that, without a vaccine, it makes no scientific or moral sense not to reopen right now. Waiting a week or two weeks or two months in no safer than opening today when there’s no cure.”

His conclusion (I guess this is the same one those protestors recently at our state capital use as they edge on defying the government orders):

“The virus is out there. The health system is in no danger of being overrun. The curve has been bent, probably for good, so panic and fake news are the only things to justify keeping us at home.”

I couldn’t find much biographical info on Nolte but I don’t think he’s an epidemiologist or even an M.D. The bio on the Muck Rack site has him saying “Opinions are mine and my stash of lesbian porn proves I’m not homophobic.”

Another says his nickname is Dirty Harry.

I think it’s a smear on my sensible, fact-based colleagues if we call him Journalist John.

Pull Those Combat Troops Back

Whomever you vote for as the next White House occupant, I hope you’ll first ask if he & he, or he & she, will get our soldiers, Marines and airmen/women out of Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Those complicated sandboxes present problems that cannot be “won” or even brought to a draw. There’s too much permanent hatred on the part of Sunnis, Shia, Kurds, Hezbullahs, Houthis, Palestinians and Lebanese Christians.

We’ve been send out combat forces at an alarming rate ever since the Korean War. Grenada, Panama, Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan (for 19 years), Iraq, Libya.

I don’t have any problem with our combat forces training with troops in Poland, Taiwan or South Korea. That helps hold Moscow, Beijing and Pyongyang in check.

It’s the fighting kind of missions that should alarm us all. We’ve used ground troops and aerial bombardment, which sometimes kills civilians as well as enemy soldiers.

Even our non-fighting presence in foreign countries can present problems. The Philippines didn’t want us any more and we pulled out. The Okinawans don’t want us but we stay. We’re now on tenterhooks with the Turks. Would we tolerate a foreign army on American soil, even as an ally, say, during that Cuban missile crisis with the Russians? No.

We rightly patrol the world’s seas to enforce the international agreements about freedom of navigation there, and the same with international air lanes. That’s fine and dandy. Only China objects.

But why are we still in Afghanistan? Why are we still in Iraq? Why did we ever set foot in Syria or bomb Libya?

The writer with Kaneohe Marines in Saudi Arabia in 1991

I’m not a pacifist, far from it. I’m an Air Force veteran who worked in both the U-2 spy plane and Eastern Europe nuclear-bombing-planning projects. Those had very permissible objectives. We were saying: don’t attack us because we’ll attack you worse!

It’s why we station troops in South Korea, Japan, and sometimes in Poland. They are tripwires. Don’t attack us.

The Middle East?  Bin Laden’s people in Afghanistan attacked us. We cleaned them out. Now we seem to feel we have to clean out the Taliban, who’ve only attacked us because we stayed on there rather than leaving Afghanis to settle their own differences. We had absolutely no rationale for sending combat forces to Iraq or Syria. Those were other people’s wars. Not our.

So this election, don’t assume. Ask. Demand an answer.

Will you bring the combat troops home?

When Elephants Fight

It’s been hilarious for me and embarrassing for the Hawaii Republican Party to observe the brash, uncivil, email slugfest between factions of the local establishment GOP and those outliers who call themselves the Hawaii Republican Assembly (HIRA).

The latter was started by Eric Ryan, who seems to have disappeared off the stage. But HIRA is still very active. It claims to promote conservative GOP solutions to the state’s problems but then adds: “We are not an official arm of the disastrously mismanaged and RINO —hijacked Republican Party.”  RINO stands for Republican in name only.

Back almost five years ago, the State GOP tried to threaten HIRA into stopping use of the word “Republican.” The pre-lawsuit letter from the GOP’s attorney said:

“Recently, the Hawaii Republican Party became aware of your unauthorized use of the names “Republican Wing of the Republican Party”, “Hawaii Republican Assembly”, “Hawaii Republican Action” and the Republican Party “Elephant”. Your use of these names/marks — which clearly mimic the established names/marks of the Hawaii Republican Party — creates a likelihood of confusion in the minds of the public. Under both federal and Hawaii state law, trademark infringement occurs when someone utilizes a trade name or mark that creates a likelihood of consumer confusion.

“Your activities appear to be taking place in the same public sphere or “market” as those of the Hawaii Republican Party. Indeed, your activities appear to not only be competing for economic benefits including donations, in some cases they attempt to actively obstruct contributions to the Hawaii Republican Party.”

But the party’s national committee took a hands-off approach. It said “The RNC does not intend to bring any legal action against the Hawaii Republican Assembly.”

And added this: “The Hawaii Republican Party does not represent the Republican National Committee.” 

HIRA was ecstatic and sent out an email blast:


Republican National Committee (RNC)

Throws Hawaii GOP Under the Bus

Now, there’s a new fight in full mud-slinging development between party backer Mark Blackburn, who has supported Shirlene Ostrov as the state party chairwoman, and local Republicans who’ve been spearheading those “Open Hawaii Now!” protests against mandated closures due to COVID-19.

Blackburn sees HIRA behind the protests and posted this email summary:

“Their diatribes are filled with blasphemy, hate and vicious personal attacks denigrating everyone especially women, with hater in chief Eric Ryan and the likes of Anita, Brett, Steve [Hinton, GOP chairman for House District 45] and others calling our men and women in blue Nazi’s and worse by being supporters of this hate group.”

Hinton fired back: “Blasphemy you say? Congratulations, Mark. You have met the summit of Mount Hypocrisy, and it is yours.”

State Sen. Laura Thielen has had more than enough of the Blackburn-Hinton emails showering her computer — she’s a Democrat.

She emailed: “Can you guys please stop. You have gone way beyond humiliating yourselves. No one else is interested in your squabble. If you must continue, take the rest of us off this thread.”

This all puts heft behind a recent cartoon by John Pritchett somebody sent me. A reporter is asking a man on the street “what do you think of the Hawaii Republican Party” and the citizen replies “Never heard of it.”

People here have heard of it. They just don’t vote for it and the Blackburn-Hinton spat is another reason why.

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