SUMMARY OF CONTENTS, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER FOR JANUARY 1, 2006 THROUGH APRIL 30, 2006 (approximately 100 pages)
January 4, 2006: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will meet in Washington D.C. on January 20 to hear various views on the Akaka bill.
January 7: Star-Bulletin editorial says the Forbes Cave controversy "amplifies the fact that there is no established Hawaiian entity through which claims under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act can be resolved other than the federal court. Passage of the Akaka bill, which would recognize a legal and political governing unit for Hawaiians, could move Hawaiians toward a policy for repatriation. However, the bill has stalled in Congress, and even though Hawaii's leaders in the U.S. Senate are optimistic about its approval this year, the conflict about the artifacts could raise concerns in Washington."
January 9: "Abramoff Implications for the Akaka bill" article in Hawaii Reporter (on-line) explains that the Akaka bill would virtually guarantee huge scandals in Hawai'i over campaign financing because a federally recognized Akaka tribe would not be subject to campaign spending limitations imposed by either the federal or state governments.
January 12: Honolulu Advertiser article: "Conference helps soften opposition to Akaka bill" -- A conference sponsored by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, brought together American Indians, Native Alaskans, and ethnic Hawaiians at Hilton Hawaiian Village for three days to share cultural and political information.
January 15: "Morgan Report is public at long last" (808-page report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, of 1894, shows the U.S. neither caused nor assisted in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. The Morgan Report discredits the Apology Resolution of 1959 which is at the core of the Akaka bill).
January 18: Hawaiian independence actvist says the Advertiser article of November 12 was mistaken in saying "Conference helps soften opposition to Akaka bill"
January 19: "Morgan Report Has Implications for Akaka Bill and Hawaiian Sovereignty" article in Hawaii Reporter by Jere Krischel and Kenneth R. Conklin.
January 20-21: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights holds a forum at its Washington D.C. headquarters about the Akaka bill, hearing from supporters and opponents of the bill.
January 25: Senator Akaka, running for re-election, says if he loses to Congressman Ed Case the Akaka bill will be in trouble (even though Case is also a strong supporter of the bill). That's because Akaka says some commitments by other Senators to support the bill are personal commitments to Akaka that would not transfer to Case [perhaps Case opposition to oil drilling in ANWR is what Akaka has in mind?]
January 25 article inHawaii Reporter containing the testimony of H. William Burgess before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in opposition to the Akaka bill.
Honolulu Advertiser editorial cartoon shows Senator Akaka referring to his dog labeled "Akaka bill" and saying "He answers to me!"
January 26: Honolulu Advertiser editorial "Akaka bill needs push in House and Senate" says bill is languishing; Akaka and Case should compete to pass it in their respective playing fields (Senate and House). Hawaii Reporter Grassroot Perspective essay discusses Indian tribal sovereignty as fostering balkanization and racial conflict over taxation, regulation, and so-called "sacred plance."
January 27: Hawaii Reporter article containing the testimony of Robert Fukuda regarding the Akaka bill, delivered to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
January 29: Akaka vs. Case in U.S. Senate Democrat Primary: Newspaper articles review candidates' positions on the Akaka bill, oil drilling in ANWR, and other issues. Richard Rowland of the Grassroot Institute once again points out Congress will be deciding whether to carve up Hawai'i even though nobody is asking Hawaii voters to vote on the Akaka bill
February 1: OHA Trustee Oswald Stender gives reasons for supporting the Akaka bill, and attacks Robert Fukuda's essay of January 27.
February 6: Letter to editor: "Sen. Akaka suggests his controversial federal recognition bill won't pass if he is not re-elected. Sounds like a great reason to vote him out of office."
February 14: American Bar Association passes a resolution supporting the Akaka bill
February 16: Robert Fukuda, "Taking Issue With the Race-Based Direction of the Akaka Bill" replies to Oswald Stender's article of February 1.
February 18: Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial: ABA resolution gives boost to Akaka bill; need to bring it to the floor in Senate; Akaka's failure to do so despite his seniority is legitimate political issue
February 21: Letter to editor aserts that the ABA resolution favoring the Akaka bill should put to rest any claims that the bill is unconstitutional.
February 22: Two letters to editor have interesting juxtaposition: one cites ABA resolution supporting support for Akaka bill as federal recognition of an "indigenous" people; other (by an "indigenous" ethnic Hawaiian) warns that claims to racial supremacy and communal rights based on alleged indigeneity is harmful to society and reminiscent of Hitler and Stalin.
February 25: Honolulu Star-Bulletin article praises 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to hold an en banc review (15 judges) of its 3-judge decision regarding the kamehameha Schools case, because now there is less worry that the Akaka bill might not pass in time to save the segregated admissions policy.
March 7: Commentary in the student newspaper of the University of Hawai'i says the Akaka bill is bad for people who are not ethnic Hawaiians because it discriminated against them; and bad for ethnic Hawaiians who would like Hawai'i to be restored to independence. Cartoon shows both groups beating up on Akaka bill.
March 9: Washington D.C. reporter says Hawaii Congressman Ed Case held a "talk story" informational briefing in Washington for people from Hawaii who are living there. But only 6 people came, in addition to Representative Case and 5 of his aides! Case said Senate majority leader Frist has given a pledge there will be consideration of the Akaka bill early in 2006, but no firm date has been set. Case also expressed concern about the House Republicans trying to cut back racially exclusionary programs benefitting ethnic Hawaiians.
March 11: Letter to editor says the American Bar Association support for the Akaka bill is misguided. "In 1920, Congress did exercise plenary power over Native Hawaiians when it set the blood quantum rule recognizing the nearest kinship group having 50 percent and more aboriginal blood. Congress does not recognize immigrants as Native Americans or Native Hawaiians. An immigrant cannot be native. ... The most unjust, despicable lies imaginable are being promoted in an unethical lobbying effort seeking to gain undeserved sympathy for lineal descendants of immigrants."
MARCH 17, 2006 -- RESOLUTION INTRODUCED IN THE HAWAII LEGISLATURE ASKING CONGRESS TO AMEND THE AKAKA BILL TO REQUIRE THAT IT MUST BE APPROVED BY A VOTE OF ALL HAWAII'S PEOPLE BEFORE IT CAN BE ENACTED, AND ALSO ASKING THAT THE AKAKA BILL BE REJECTED BECAUSE IT IS BAD PUBLIC POLICY.
March 22: Honolulu Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro notes that Senator Akaka has claimed ownership of the Akaka bill as a reason why he should be re-elected; but that his claim could backfire because the bill has been stalled in the Senate for several years. Shapiro says using the Akaka bill as a campaign issue might backfire against Akaka due to his poor performance in getting it passed. [But Shapiro is assuming Hawai'i's people support the bill. What Shapiro ignores is that the majority of Hawai'i's people probably oppose the bill and might therefore vote against the Senator precisely because he claims ownership of it!]
March 23: Earl Arakaki (lead plaintiff in the Arakaki#2 lawsuit to dismantle OHA and DHHL) has a letter to editor thanking state Senators Slom and Trimble for introducing legislation to ask voters on the ballot whether they support or oppose the Akaka bill.
March 31: Cliff Slater, occasional columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser, risks that relationship by publishing an article in Hawaii Reporter criticizing the Akaka bill (perhaps the Advertiser, a strong supporter of the Akaka bill, rejected Slater's article). "Akaka Bill Will Negatively Impact Hawaii's People --
U.S. Civil Rights Commission Should Recommend its Defeat in Congress"
April 9: John Dendahl of New Mexico describes the Akaka bill as a contributor to the balkanization of America, illustrating by giving details of the negotiations between the Navajo tribe and the natural gas company for royalties for renewal of the agreement that allows a 50-year-old pipeline to travel across Navajo lands.
April 12: Congressman Ed Case, running against Senator Akaka, campaigned on Maui at a convention of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. He reaffirmed his support for the Akaka bill, but said it will be very hard to get time on the calendar in the Senate. He described various kinds of opposition to the bill, and the huge amounts of money Congress has sent to Native Hawaiians over the years.
Mid-April: Time Magazine identifies Senator Akaka as one of the five worst Senators, and tells why.
April 20: Honolulu Star-Bulletin humor columnist Charles Memminger cites the Time Magazine article about Senator Akaka, and further lampoons him.
[no further items for April]
DETAILS OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARY FOR JANUARY 1, 2006 THROUGH APRIL 30, 2006
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Civil rights panel sets briefing on Akaka bill
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will delve into the Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill at a Washington briefing on Jan. 20.
Few details were available yesterday, but the commission's minutes indicate they were seeking experts to brief them on the constitutional, legal and civil rights policy aspects of the bill introduced by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i.
The bill, which is being blocked by a group of conservative Senate Republicans, would allow Native Hawaiians to form their own government.
Opponents say such an idea is unconstitutional because it would create a race-based government.
Patricia Zell, a former chief counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said she was among those invited to speak to the commission, but a scheduling conflict may prevent it.
The commission, whose members are appointed by the president and Congress, has subpoena power. It studies and investigates civil rights issues and complaints. Because it doesn't have enforcement powers, it refers complaints to government agencies for action.
Last month, Akaka said Senate leaders assured him they would work to get a vote on the bill when the session resumes this month. The Senate was scheduled to vote on a procedural motion related to the bill on Sept. 6, but that was delayed when the chamber had to deal with hurricane relief efforts and a U.S. Supreme Court nomination.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 7, 2006, EDITORIAL
Hawaiian groups should seek resolution
Federal Judge David Ezra has instructed parties in a lawsuit to come up with a way to settle their differences.
A FEDERAL judge's order that claimants of Hawaiian artifacts seek resolution outside the courtroom might be the best course of action in the bitter dispute.
That some members of the groups appear willing to settle disagreements among themselves is a big step forward in the conflict, one that could evolve into a model for reconciling other claims.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra has given parties in a lawsuit until Monday to come up with a way to work out their differences. At issue is the final disposition of 83 Hawaiian artifacts, removed from their original sites 100 years ago, which were reburied in caves on the Big Island by Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei.
Two other Hawaiian organizations filed suit against Hui Malama, wanting the artifacts retrieved so that they and other claimants could examine them and decide on proper disposition. Despite the court ruling in their favor, however, Hui Malama has refused to disclose specifically the location of the artifacts, resulting in the jailing of one of its leaders for contempt of court.
Ezra has been especially accommodating of Hui Malama, but correctly notes that he cannot allow the group to defy the court. His order for the groups to find a compromise is fitting and would allow them to work within the framework of Hawaiian traditions.
The dispute amplifies the fact that there is no established Hawaiian entity through which claims under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act can be resolved other than the federal court.
Passage of the Akaka bill, which would recognize a legal and political governing unit for Hawaiians, could move Hawaiians toward a policy for repatriation. However, the bill has stalled in Congress, and even though Hawaii's leaders in the U.S. Senate are optimistic about its approval this year, the conflict about the artifacts could raise concerns in Washington.
One of the claimants challenging Hui Malama says the suit was a last resort, filed because Hui Malama would not compromise. Now, all parties should take this opportunity to find common ground.
Hawaii Reporter, January 9, 2006
Abramoff Implications for the Akaka bill
By Don Newman
Senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
The editorial in The Honolulu Advertiser on Monday Jan. 9, 2006, concerning the Abramoff scandal misses the point. It notes that Hawaii elected officials Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Neil Abercrombie both received campaign contributions from Native American tribes. The Advertiser states "The contributions came before the tribes were affiliated with Abramoff. And they were legal, both in amount and in timing."
This is misleading because Native American tribes are not limited in the amount and timing of campaign contributions specifically because they are tribes. As Native American tribes they are sovereign governments not subject to the same federal campaign financing laws as the rest of the citizens of the United States of America. That is the nature of the problem.
One has to wonder why Hawaiian politicians would be taking campaign contributions from Native American tribes in the first place. Of course, the reason would be the, questionably, analogous relationship of Native Hawaiians to the Native American status. For decades the effort has been underway to create the same sort of tribal status for Native Hawaiians as Native Americans. That is the whole point of the Akaka bill.
This does raise the question though, should the Akaka bill pass will Native Hawaiian groups be able to provide unlimited contributions political campaigns and lobbyists as Native Americans currently can? Will the Office of Hawaiians Affairs be able to use the millions of dollars that it gets in state money from ceded lands to influence state and national elections?
The passage of the Akaka bill and the creation of a sovereign Native Hawaiian government will create the same sort of scenario as that which led to the Abramoff debacle. As a sovereign government it will not be subject to the same laws as apply to you and me. It will be in the position to contribute to politicians and campaigns on an unlimited basis. Will this be good for the state of Hawaii as a whole?
The title of the Advertiser editorial read "Abramoff leaves cloud all must work to clear." This begs the question that if the system is a good one then why is there a cloud at all? In fact the system is grossly unfair and the Abramoff scandal only serves to illuminate that fact. Native American tribes have garnered far more influence in the halls of Congress of late than they rightly deserve. The Abramoff scandal is just the tip of that ice burg.
The Akaka bill will have endless ramifications that advocates and just-plain-citizens cannot contemplate. The consequences of the creation of a separate, sovereign government in the state of Hawaii is something that no one can predict. One thing is for certain, given the past history of Hawaii the Abramoff scandal will seem like child's play compared to what is possible here. With millions of dollars available to the new sovereign government it should be quite a show.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, January 12, 2006
Conference helps soften opposition to Akaka bill
By Will Hoover
A leadership forum that brought together members of indigenous groups ended yesterday with a sense of softening in the resistance among some Hawaiians to the Akaka bill.
The shift was due in part to a strong feeling of unity in self-determination and self-governance among the groups represented at the three-day forum held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Groups included Native Americans, Native Alaskans, Maori and Native Hawaiians.
"I still have reservations about the Akaka bill because I think we should have more," said Ho'oipo Kalaena'auao Pa, president of the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council. "I'm personally in favor of independence. But I'm hoping that at least it will open a door."
The proposed legislation is officially known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. It would establish a process for the 400,000 Native Hawaiians in the United States to be formally recognized by the federal government as an indigenous people. Native Hawaiians could then decide to pursue a sovereign government that could negotiate with the federal government over land use and other rights.
William Aila, a Hawaiian activist who has opposed the Akaka bill, said, "I think more Hawaiians are looking at this from a practical standpoint. As a practical matter, what other alternatives are there?"
Aila was encouraged by the commitment from Native Americans and Native Alaskans to offer legal and political assistance to Native Hawaiians.
"Our Native Alaskan brothers and Native American brothers have emphasized the need for us to get together and to speak with a unified voice," he said.
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i, the bill's sponsor, yesterday told the forum that the bill aims to clarify the legal and political relationship between the U.S. government and Native Hawaiians and offers federal recognition similar to that of Native Americans and Native Alaskans.
Akaka said he is confident that the bill will reach the floor of the Senate during the upcoming legislative session. The bill was expected to be aired on the Senate floor last summer but stalled when Congress diverted its attention to Hurricane Katrina.
"Native Hawaiians continue to look at our Native American and Alaskan Native brethren ... as examples of what can be achieved for our people," Akaka said. "As it has done for our other native peoples, I really believe the United States must fulfill its responsibility to Native Hawaiians."
The Native Leadership Forum, sponsored by the California-based American Indian Resources Institute, was held in conjunction with the Native Hawaiian Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. To allow people to attend both events, forum meetings were held during mornings and conference meetings in afternoons.
William Souza, of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, echoed the sentiment of many Hawaiians who attended the events.
"There are a lot of things we can learn from their progress," Souza said of the Native Americans and Native Alaskans. "We're looking at how they have successfully moved into an area where we are trying to find our way into."
One forum speaker, Charles Wilkinson, professor of law at the University of Colorado, has been a consultant for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He maintains that Native Hawaiians would be in a position to make important strides if the Akaka bill becomes law.
Wilkinson, who groups Native Hawaiians with "modern Indian nations," noted that while Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians all have different histories, "the commonality is unbelievable."
He added, "The shared sense of the love of the land, of the culture, of sovereignty, is very powerful in Hawaiians."
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, January 15, 2006
Morgan Report is public at long last
By Jere Krischel
The Morgan Report of 1894 regarding the Hawaiian Islands — 808 pages of sworn testimony, exhibits and findings — is finally available through a Web site for reasonable men and women to review.
The site is
It was the U.S. Senate's response to the Blount Report of 1893, which up to now has been the primary source of information on the revolution of 1893 readily available to students of Hawaiian history.
Although many believe it was repudiated by the findings of the Morgan Report, the Blount Report was the primary basis for the U.S. Apology Resolution of 1993, which in turn is the primary basis for both the Akaka bill and claims that Hawaiians have a right of independence under international law.
Sen. John Tyler Morgan, D-Ala., was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time of the hearings on Hawai'i.
As a notorious racist ideologue, his paternalistic bigotry was undeniable, and shamefully common at the time. Despite his anachronistic opinions about race, the former Confederate brigadier general's investigation was thorough and "done by the book."
James Henderson Blount, a Georgia Democrat, the post-revolution U.S. minister to Hawai'i, was the former chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Blount held secret, informal conversations with royalists and annexationists in Honolulu, and only presented testimony favorable to the queen's cause in his report to the president.
After receiving Blount's report, President Grover Cleveland ordered Hawai'i President Sanford Dole to dissolve the provisional government and restore the queen to her throne, but Dole refused.
Cleveland then made his often-quoted message to Congress, declaring the revolution improper, decrying the U.S. involvement in it, and referring the matter to the "broader authority and discretion of Congress" for a solution.
In response, the Senate passed a resolution empowering its Foreign Relations Committee to hold public hearings under oath, and cross-examine witnesses, to investigate U.S. involvement in the revolution and also to investigate whether it had been proper for Cleveland to appoint Blount and give him extraordinary powers to represent the U.S. and intervene in Hawai'i without Senate confirmation.
That committee, five Democrats and four Republicans, cleared the U.S. of having led the revolution and approved of the president's questionable appointment of Blount to investigate the revolution.
In response to the findings of the Morgan Report, Cleveland rebuffed further entreaties by the queen for intervention and recognized the Republic of Hawai'i as the legitimate successor to the kingdom.
Modern students of Hawaiian history have not had an opportunity to explore the full story of the Hawaiian revolution, its causes and its effects. The Morgan Report, with its sworn testimony and the final official contemporary findings of Congress, has been largely omitted from the discourse.
With its rediscovery, we all now have the opportunity to learn more about the events surrounding the overthrow, and can understand more fully the role played by U.S. peacekeepers.
Sovereignty activists have had the entire Blount Report on the Internet since 2002. With grants from the University of Hawai'i to digitize all the important documents related to annexation, they managed to finish everything except for the Morgan Report. Without the Morgan Report, however, there cannot be a fair and balanced view of history. The time has come to set the record straight.
Today's decisions about Hawai'i's future should be made in view of the complete historical record. The facts really do matter.
Before today, it was extremely difficult for scholars and students to study the Morgan Report, available only in the rare-books sections of a few libraries.
Now, thanks to volunteers collaborating with open-source software over the Internet, it is easily available to anyone.
The editors of this project hope this will lead to a fuller discussion of Hawaiian history and a more thorough understanding of the journey taken by the people of Hawai'i culminating in the vibrant, diverse democracy it is today.
** The following bio was published at the end of the article in the physical newspaper, but was NOT included in the internet version of the article. **
Jere Krischel was born and raised in Hawaii. He is of mixed ancestry, including: Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Spanish, German and Irish. A student of history, he describes himself as "an activist created by the activists." His great uncle, Kiyoshi Masunaga, was killed in WWII while serving with the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team. Jere attended Punahou School from kindergarten until 11th grade, when he left for early admission to USC in a resident honors program, graduating in 1995 with a degree in computer engineering/computer science. He is married with two children and lives in California. Reach him at
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Letters to the Editor
AKAKA BILL FORUM WAS JUST ANOTHER PR PLOY
The Jan. 12 article "Unity has Hawaiians hopeful on Akaka bill" ignores the reality of the ever-expanding, overwhelming opposition to the Akaka bill.
The recent $595-a-head "leadership forum" was yet another public relations ploy to foment the illusion of "a sense of softening in the resistance" against federal recognition of Hawaiians.
Was there "a shift"? No, just the same groups eternally hopeful of perpetuating their heavy funding from U.S. grants. Who else could afford to participate for three days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village?
Was there a "strong feeling of unity?" Perhaps, but once again, who was there? The article said: Native Americans and Alaskans; those already locked in the federal recognition dead end; and Maori, who accepted the guardianship of the British crown when the sovereign constitutional monarchy of Hawai'i was already internationally recognized.
The most important questions are, who wasn't there and why?
Director, The Koani Foundation
Hawaii Reporter, January 19, 2006
Morgan Report Has Implications for Akaka Bill and Hawaiian Sovereignty
By Jere Krischel and Kenneth R. Conklin
The Morgan Report has been known to historians for 112 years, but was only available to the public in dusty archives of a few libraries. It was treated as a rare book not for borrowing. This 808 page report is now easily available on the Internet, along with outlines and summaries that will be helpful to historians and students. It is the official 1894 report of the U.S. Senate regarding the U.S. role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.
To clearly understand how important the Morgan Report is to the current debates about the Akaka bill and Hawaiian sovereignty, we must "nana i ke kumu" ("look to the source").
The source of the Akaka bill and impetus for the Hawaiian sovereignty movement is the 1993 Apology Resolution. It is heavily cited by the Akaka Bill as the main justification for claiming the U.S. has an obligation to help create a racially exclusionary Native Hawaiian government to negotiate for money, land, and political power as reparations for U.S. alleged misbehavior in 1893. Independence activists cite the Apology Resolution as a U.S. confession of a crime it committed against the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 -- a crime whose remedy would be for the U.S. to get out of Hawaii and restore independence.
The source of the 1993 Apology Resolution is the Blount Report of July 17, 1893, and President Cleveland's message to Congress of Dec. 12, 1893. Both were highly critical of the U.S. landing of troops and the actions of U.S. Minister Stevens; both challenged the legitimacy of the Provisional Government. It is the words of Cleveland and Blount we hear when people claim that the U.S. engaged in an "act of war" against the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Apology Resolution, and the Blount Report which spawned it, are the sources used to promote the view that the Kingdom of Hawaii was victimized by the U.S. government.
The Morgan Report directly contradicts the Blount Report and Cleveland's assertions in his message to Congress. It was submitted on Feb. 26, 1894, after months of testimony and investigation.
As a result of the Morgan Report, President Cleveland, the most stalwart proponent of the Queen, abandoned his earlier views of the revolution as stated in his strongly worded message to Congress, and subsequently acknowledged the Republic of Hawaii as the legitimate successor government to the Kingdom of Hawaii. As a result of the Morgan Report, the world discovered in 1894 that Blount and Cleveland were wrong on the facts surrounding the overthrow.
As a result of the Morgan Report, we now know the Apology Bill and the Akaka bill are also wrong on the facts.
The Morgan Report contains 808 pages of historical documents, affidavits from eyewitnesses, and lengthy testimony given in 1894 under oath and subjected to cross examination in open hearings of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, whose chairman was John T. Morgan, Democrat of Alabama. By contrast the Blount Report contained only unsworn statements gathered by Blount in secret with only himself and his stenographer present.
The Morgan Report includes historical documents showing the long-term close relationship between the Kingdom of Hawai'i and the U.S., and previous efforts by the Kingdom seeking to be annexed to the U.S., including full text of a detailed treaty of annexation written by Kamehameha III in 1854 but unsigned because of his untimely death. It documents the fact that the economy of the Kingdom was dominated by trade with the U.S.; and that most of the Kingdom's government leaders and bureaucrats, and many of its appointed and elected legislators, were American immigrants or their native-born descendants. It also contains detailed information about Hawaii geography, natural features, place names, the public school system, the economy, prices and production levels of sugar, etc.
The Morgan Report includes eyewitness testimony and documents showing that the U.S. did not encourage the Committee of Safety to overthrow the monarchy, did not pledge any support ahead of time, and did not give any assistance to the revolution as it was unfolding. The Report explains that the purpose of the U.S. landing armed sailors, done after the Provisional Government had already disarmed the Royal Militia and taken over government buildings, was to protect the lives and property of Americans. Those U.S. peace keepers were also deployed to maintain order in the streets at the request of foreign nations' diplomats in the face of chaos and threatened violence against innocent civilians under circumstances where the monarchy had neither strength nor inclination to maintain order, and the other nations' diplomats had no forces available to protect their own citizens.
So why haven't we seen the Morgan Report before? What has kept this source in the dark for so long? The University of Hawaii Library has a web page containing historical documents from the 1890s including the entire 1397-page Blount Report and all the 660 photographed pages containing 21,269 signatures on an 1897 petition opposing annexation. The project that made those documents available on that Web page was funded by two grants totaling $5,500 during a two-year period from U.H. agencies. The grants were based on the pledge, stated in the grant applications, that the Morgan Report would be included. However, the project stopped short. A footnote currently there says the Morgan Report will eventually be posted, but since 2002, no further grants have been pursued.
Perhaps the intent really was to digitize the Morgan Report. Perhaps it was not excluded on purpose in order to prevent the dissemination of information contrary to the current belief structure of the students, faculty and staff of UH. But now the point is moot -- the job unfinished by the University of Hawaii has been picked up by volunteers.
The http://morganreport.org Web site has been developed without any financial support, in the spirit of volunteerism. The editors have independently paid minor expenses for Web-hosting and for secure mailing of the original book, and have spent their time fixing and formatting the digitized text without any compensation. Those who participated in the U.H. Library project, or anyone else, are welcome and encouraged to help finish editing Morgan in that same spirit (see below for more information). Morgan project editors believe scholars, students, and everyone interested in historical accuracy should be proud to spend time on projects like these, especially given their relevance to the politics of today.
Of course, there are detractors who dismiss the Morgan Report as racist, and seek to deny its consideration by anyone involved in the debates over sovereignty and the overthrow. But when reading the Morgan report we must remember that the year was 1894. White people in America did not hesitate to express racial prejudice toward "Negroes" and others with dark skin. White politicians sometimes regarded them as less than fully human, or childlike; or treated them with arrogance and condescension. Slavery had ended only 39 years previously; Negroes were not allowed to vote in the Southern states; and Jim Crow laws were in effect. Some of the U.S. Senators had fought for the Confederate States in the Civil War, including Brigadier General Morgan himself. Some readers may be offended by some of the racial prejudice and condescension contained in some of the testimonies. Some of the Senators also asked witnesses questions about life in Hawaii indicating those Senators had a woeful lack of knowledge about Hawaii's high degree of civilization. Today's readers must try to put aside our own prejudice against anyone who spoke in such a way "back in the day." The historical documents and factual eyewitness accounts must be judged on their merits rather than merely dismissing them in the same ad-hominem way that some witnesses dismissed non-whites.
In the interest of making the Morgan Report available as soon as possible, we are releasing it to the public even though substantial portions of it have not yet been given a pretty appearance. The entire report is on the Internet and searchable. Hundreds of pages have been made easy to read. Other hundreds of pages are still in the raw form produced by an optical character reader, which delivers the contents of each double-page in the hard-to-read form of continuous text all run together with no paragraph breaks. About 5 percent of the content, scattered unpredictably throughout every page, is incorrect digitization of letters or numbers the machine "saw" in a photographed page from the original book. A capital "F" might be interpreted by the machine as an "R," especially if there's a fly speck or discoloration on the original document. Editing the individual pages is time-consuming, tedious, and also subject to occasional errors made by exhausted editors. We welcome help in completing this important job. Please contact the editor at mailto:email@example.com if you'd like to volunteer for this project or similar ones in the future.
Jere Krischel, editor-in-chief,
and Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., is assistant editor.
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, January 20, 2006
Akaka bill put to test on civil rights
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will consider opposing arguments today on a bill to allow Hawaiians to form their own government. Opponents say the measure could have wide-ranging implications for state governments across the nation.
The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i, is opposed by some conservative Republicans in the Senate. Opponents say the measure is unconstitutional because it would create a race-based government.
"The supporters consider it to be a potential fundamental breakthrough. The opponents have described it as a form of racial balkanization," said Kenneth L. Marcus, staff director for the civil rights commission.
The commission, which has no enforcement powers, could make a recommendation to Congress after the hearing, making it the latest in a long line of governmental groups trying to deal with Hawaiian issues.
"We're going to be commissioned to death," said Frederick Holck of Kailua, a retired Army colonel who is of Hawaiian ancestry. "It should be an open and shut case for federal recognition."
But opponents see the issue differently, said Ken Conklin of Kane'ohe, a retired teacher and longtime critic of the so-called Akaka bill.
If successful, "then the way I see it, the state of Hawai'i enters an apartheid sort of system" since it would create a tribal organization with about 20 percent of the state's population, said Conklin, one of 13 people who won a court case eliminating the Hawaiians-only restriction for election as an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee. "That new tribe would be authorized to negotiate for land and money and political power. It will affect all of us."
Noe Kalipi, counsel for Akaka, and Viet Dinh, a professor at Georgetown Law Center and former assistant attorney general at the Justice Department under President Bush, will support the Native Hawaiian bill before the commission.
Dinh co-wrote a paper in 2005 that argued Congress has both the moral and legal authority to enact the bill.
"The Supreme Court has confirmed that Congress has broad ... constitutional authority (to) recognize indigenous governments and to help restore and restructure indigenous governments overtly terminated or effectively decimated in earlier eras," he wrote in the paper, prepared for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. "That authority extends to the Native Hawaiian people and permits Congress to adopt the (Native Hawaiian bill)."
Kalipi said she plans to show the commission why Hawaiians are an indigenous people and not a racial class under federal policies and should be recognized by the government.
Of the five groups of indigenous people in the United States, Hawaiians are the only ones who do not have a political mechanism to deal with the federal government, Kalipi said. The other groups are American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Chamarros on Guam and American Samoans.
"The bill provides parity with respect to this federal policy and in respect to the other groups," she said. "It brings Native Hawaiians up to a level playing field ... where everybody else is right now. It doesn't even give (them) any special rights."
But H. William Burgess, a Honolulu attorney and strong opponent of the Native Hawaiian bill said he will urge the commission to reject the bill as having "terrible" consequences for the country because it would recognize a new privileged class consisting of anyone with an indigenous ancestor.
"It would give them political status and power and entitlements and privileges that are denied to all other citizens of the United States," he said. "It would assist and enable and aid and abet people of one racial group.
"It would have within it the germ of eventually breaking up every state into separate sovereign governments."
Gail Heriot, a professor at the San Diego University School of Law, also will oppose the bill before the civil rights commission, arguing that it is unconstitutional on due process and equal protection grounds.
The Supreme Court bolstered that idea in 2000 when it ruled Hawai'i could not discriminate and prevent nonethnic Hawaiians from voting in state elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees.
"With the bill, they (supporters) are trying to do indirectly what they can't do directly," she said.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, January 21, 2006
Hawaiian rights bill gets mixed reviews
By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Experts on both sides of the controversy over the federal recognition of Hawaiians laid out their cases yesterday before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, whose members also held varying opinions about the idea.
The debate centers on Senate legislation, sponsored by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i, that would set up a process for the federal government to grant formal recognition to Hawaiians. Some conservative Senate Republicans have blocked the bill, saying it would create a race-based government.
The commission, made up of four Republicans, two Democrats and an independent, could make a recommendation to Congress in several months about the legislation but it would take a majority vote, its chairman said. The commission has no enforcement power.
Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, a Republican and attorney for Kansas City Power & Light in Missouri, said after the briefing that he was skeptical about the bill but would not make a final decision until more information was collected.
"My ultimate vote will be based on the entire record, which we don't have yet," he said.
Commissioner Arlan D. Melendez, a Democrat and chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Reno, Nev., said he believed Hawaiians needed federal recognition to help them protect federal programs, ranging from housing to education.
"They're really receiving those things so I think by furthering that, you will give them some stability in self-determination over those things they already have," he said.
But commission Vice Chairwoman Abigail Thernstrom, an Independent and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York, said she was "very unhappy about what I regard as proposals for race-based governments."
"This is not the way I want this country to go, and I would like to see some acknowledgement that the story of governance of Indian tribes in this country has not worked out well," Thernstrom said.
Noe Kalipi, counsel for Akaka, and H. Christopher Bartolomucci, an attorney with the Hogan & Hartson law firm in Washington, laid out the case for federal recognition.
Kalipi said Hawaiians are an indigenous people like American Indians and Alaskan Natives and not a racial class. She said the U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that the federal government's dealings with Indian tribes are not based on race but on political status.
"It is also clear that Native Hawaiians are 'native' in the same sense as American Indians — aboriginal," she said. "When Congress deals with Native Hawaiians as an aboriginal people, it legislates on the basis as it does with American Indians."
But H. William Burgess, a Honolulu attorney and opponent of the bill, said the bill would unconstitutionally recognize a new privileged class consisting of anyone with an indigenous ancestor.
"Anyone who had an indigenous status would have a claim to create a separate government," he said. "Ultimately, that would lead to the breaking up of states."
Gail Heriot, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, said transforming Hawaii-ans into a tribe "is an act performed on a racial group, not a tribal group." She added, "It is an act of race discrimination subject to strict scrutiny — scrutiny that it likely cannot survive."
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Akaka bill could falter, senator warns
By Derrick DePledge and Gordon Y.K. Pang
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka said yesterday he would continue to ask for a Senate vote on a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill this year, but if there is no vote soon and he is not re-elected, he believes the bill's chances of passage could be in doubt.
The state's congressional delegation and Gov. Linda Lingle have united behind the bill, known as the Akaka bill, which would recognize Hawaiians as an indigenous people with the right to form their own government.
Akaka acknowledged that U.S. Rep. Ed Case, his opponent in the Democratic primary for the Senate, also supports the bill. But the senator, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry, said many of the personal commitments are to him.
"I would think that the bill would not go," Akaka said in response to a question during an interview with The Advertiser's editorial board and reporters. "It has been my bill. I've been the one that has been pushing it. Also, all the commitments, well, many commitments that have been made have been made to me. And so when I go what happens to those commitments? That's what I see as something that we would lose a lot in. Also commitments from Hawaiian organizations, as well. As you know, not all of them support the bill, but most of them do and are really supporting it heavily. But I would think that we would lose all of that."
Case strongly disagreed with Akaka's assessment. "I believe federal recognition is vital, not only for Native Hawaiians, but for all of Hawai'i," the Case said.
Case said the future of the bill in the Senate, where it has been stalled for six years, rests more with the power of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who is third in seniority. He said he would work with Inouye if elected to the Senate and back the bill aggressively.
"I'm going to bring the same energy to it that I brought to it in the House," Case said.
Akaka's comments yesterday are the first indication that the Senate campaign may crack some of the unity within the delegation. Akaka, Case, Inouye and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie may differ on national issues but usually function as a team for Hawai'i to maximize their power in Washington, D.C.
In the three years Case has been in the House, there has been only one public disagreement among the delegation on a significant Hawai'i issue. In July 2003, Case proposed legislation to exempt Hawai'i from the federal Jones Act, which requires ships operating between U.S. ports to be U.S. flagged and crewed. The congressman argues that it discourages competition and has led to higher costs for consumers, but the rest of the delegation believes the act ensures the reliable shipping of goods to the Islands.
Both Akaka and Case have said over the past few days that they would continue to be cordial toward each other and work together for Hawai'i in Congress during the campaign. But Akaka's belief that Hawaiian recognition could depend on his re-election could add more tension to what already is a sensitive issue in the Islands and Washington.
A Senate vote on the Akaka bill was expected in September but was delayed so senators could respond to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast. Akaka said he would ask the Senate's Republican leaders to schedule a vote as soon as possible. The bill would create a process for Hawaiians to form their own government, similar to American Indians and Alaska Natives. But the bill has been opposed by conservatives who believe it is unconstitutional because it would give privileges to people based on race.
Abercrombie has said he is waiting for Senate action before asking the House's Republican leaders to hear the bill again. The House approved an earlier version of the bill in 2000.
Haunani Apoliona, the chairwoman of the board of trustees for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said she hopes the bill does not become a campaign issue. "It's a vote in the Senate that we hope to have soon," she said. "We would hope that the bill is done and finished by the 2006 elections."
Although it is known as the Akaka bill, the lobbying in Washington has been a collaborative effort between the delegation, the Lingle administration and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Akaka has helped secure commitments from several senators and is the face of the bill nationally, yet many believe it will not advance without a combination of Inouye's clout in the Senate and the Republican governor's influence with the Bush administration.
But as the only Hawaiian in the delegation, Akaka is seen as more culturally and symbolically attached to the bill's success.
Tony Sang, chairman of the State Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, said he recognizes that Case has been a supporter of the bill. "But this brings on a different light, now, since he's announced his candidacy for the Senate," he said.
Dexter Ka'iama, a member of Hui Pu, an umbrella group for organizations that oppose the Akaka bill, said a Case victory might hurt the bill's chances. Akaka "is the one who actually proposed the bill and is the originator of the bill, even though from my perspective, Dan Inouye had quite a bit to do with this bill," he said. "To that extent, it might seem that it might lose a little bit of its momentum because both Akaka and Inouye are senior senators."
Jon Osorio, director of the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, also has opposed the Akaka bill but does not believe the Senate campaign will have much of an influence. "I don't think Case's entry into (a race against Akaka) changes anything," Osorio said. "I don't think it makes federal recognition more likely or less likely."
But Osorio, like several other Hawaiians interviewed over the past few days, believes the Hawaiian community will support Akaka over Case. Several Hawaiians have said they are heartbroken and disappointed by Case's challenge.
"If he thought one of our senior senators was going to die, he could have stayed in the House of Representatives, and ran for (Senate) when one of them did. He, himself, could be hit by a bus tomorrow and to focus on their age as the reason for his ambition — I'm just so disappointed," said Beadie Kanahele Dawson, an attorney.
** Note from Ken Conklin: Senator Akaka thinks the Akaka bill is his ticket to re-election, because it is the "Akaka bill" and because he claims to have commitments from other Senators that are personal to him and not transferreble to Ed Case. What's not mentioned in the newspaper article is that those personal commitments are vote-trading whereby Akaka (and Inouye) agreed to vote in favor of oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge in return for a pledge from the Alaska Senators and some other Republicans to support the Akaka bill. Anyway, the Advertiser published a cartoon showing Senator Akaka claiming that his dog, labeled "Akaka bill", answers (only) to Senator Akaka. That would be funny, except that Senator Inouye is really the main force behind the bill. And anyway, it should be noted that "this dog won't hunt." This cartoon in the Advertiser has the original URL:
Hawaii Reporter, January 25, 2006
Akaka Bill Not Fair to All People of Hawaii
Jan. 2006 Testimony Presented to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission
By H. William Burgess
I've lived in Hawaii for 50 years: The first 2 years as a Marine Corps legal officer and fighter pilot; the rest of the years as an attorney in private practice.
For the last 28 years I've been married to a lovely lady of Chinese, Filipino and Hawaiian ancestry. And for the last 8 years she and I have been litigating pro bono to reinstate in Hawaii the idea that everybody should play by the same rules. My wife puts it this way: She asks, Why should I get more rights and privileges than my Chinese cousins or my Filipino cousins or my Irish-English husband just because I have some Hawaiian ancestry and they do not? She deplores the effect of entitlements and the victimhood mentality on young Hawaiians. Based on her own life and family experience, she knows that waiting for free homesteads or handouts is not the way to get ahead or better your condition; hard work is.
From my perspective as a lawyer, I'm amazed that the Hawaiian entitlement programs have lasted so long. Hawaii is the only state in the Nation which gives free homestead leases ($1 per year for 99 years, renewable for another 100 years) only to persons defined explicitly by race (descendants of not less than one half pert of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778")
And the State also gives to OHA ("Office of Hawaiian Affairs") for the exclusive benefit of that small racial group, annual cash distributions of public land trust revenues. 20% of gross revenues before expenses. The State makes no cash distributions of revenues for any other beneficiaries of the public land trust.
As taxpayers, we are appalled at the waste. By the end of the Waihee administration in 1994, when our public schools were crumbling and we couldn't even buy books for the students, money and public resources were, and still are, gushing from the State fisc to benefit this small group but the demands for more and more for anyone with even a drop of Hawaiian ancestry escalated. And now the Akaka bill would push Hawaii over the cliff. It would permanently segregate Hawaii and its people on grounds the Supreme Court called "odious to a free people." Even Senator Akaka acknowledges the bill could lead to secession.
Here are 3 reasons I think it would be just plain nuts for Congress to go into the most integrated state and reverse course:
* 1. Kamehameha united us and treated us equally; Akaka would divide us forever;
* 2. The Indian tribe analogy does not work. There is no Native Hawaiian tribe to be recognized and never has been since the Kingdom of Hawaii was created;
* 3. The U.S. did not overthrow the Queen. When you look at the history of Hawaii wearing blinders you see a distorted picture.
Unity and Equality
The Supreme Court has explained that our Constitution contemplates an indivisible nation composed of indestructible states. And the first of America's self-evident truths is that all men are created equal: that every citizen of the United States, whatever her or his ancestry, is entitled to the equal protection of the laws.
Those 2 basic rules of American democracy, unity and equality, were embraced early on by Kamehameha the Great.
Long before he unified the islands and created the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810, K brought non-natives on to his team and into his family. Ever since then, non-natives have continued to intermarry, assimilate and contribute to the social, economic and political life of Hawaii, both as leaders of high position and as ordinary citizens with equal rights.
The crux of the Akaka bill is that it breaks up the state and discriminates between citizens of the United States based solely on their ancestry. Merely having a drop of the favored blood would make some people superior to all others forever.
That violates the US Constitution and defies the law of the Kingdom of Hawaii which united natives and non-natives and treated them equally and made Hawaii a model for the world.
Indian Tribe Analogy
The Akaka bill supporters say: All we want is parity. American Indians and Alaska Natives get all these benefits. It's not fair for Native Hawaiians not to get them too.
But the Akaka bill would not just give Native Hawaiians parity, it would give them supremacy.
No group of Native Americans has the right, merely because of their ancestry, to be recognized as a tribe. A long-standing political entity, functioning in a separate community, is required. Without an existing tribe or polity there is nothing to be recognized. Congress cannot create tribes out of thin air. It can only recognize those historic tribes that still exist and function.
There has never been in Hawaii, even during the years of the Kingdom, a "tribe" or government of any kind for Native Hawaiians, separate from the government of the rest of the citizens of Hawaii. Census 2000 showed 400,000 who identified themselves as having some Hawaiian ancestry. They reside throughout all the 48 census districts of the state of Hawaii and in all 50 states. There is no way, under Indian law that such a group could qualify for recognition as a tribe.
The Rest of the Story About the Overthrow
A headline in last Sunday's The Honolulu Advertiser announced "Morgan report is public at long last."
The Morgan Report of February 26, 1894, is the final report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigating the overthrow. 808 pages of sworn testimony, exhibits and findings. The Committee was composed of 6 Democrats, including the Committee Chairman, Senator John Morgan, and 5 Republicans.
The Morgan report concludes that, despite Cleveland's assertion, based on the earlier Blount report, that the overthrow was instigated and aided by the U.S., in fact, the U.S. troops had remained completely neutral.
On May 31, 1894, despite President Cleveland's earlier demand to the Provisional government to reinstate the Queen, the Senate finally closed the door on the issue by resolving that "the United States ought in no wise to interfere" with the form of government and domestic policy of Hawaii.
The supporters of the Akaka bill never mention that President Cleveland accepted this "verdict" of Congress and thereafter treated the Provisional Government and later the Republic of Hawaii as the lawful successors of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He never again questioned the legitimacy of the overthrow or the respectful conduct of the U.S. troops during that time.
And it undercuts any historical justification for the Akaka bill. I commend you Morganreport.org the new and easily readable and accessible website by Jere Krischel.
So, to summarize, The arguments for the Akaka bill are the same old make-believe tribe and paste-on victimhood, dressed up in nicer language, but with no shred of better logic or law than they had six, or 46, years ago.
* 1. Kamehameha united us and treated natives and non-natives alike; Akaka would divide us and our state forever;
* 2. The Indian tribe analogy does not work. There is no Native Hawaiian tribe to be recognized and never has been since the Kingdom of Hawaii was created. The U.S. can't give rights to groups of people just because they share an ancestry. If there was no tribal government continuing to the present day, there's no basis for special treatment; and
* 3. The U.S. did not overthrow the Queen. Both the Queen and the Committee of Safety sought the help of the U.S. But the U.S. remained scrupulously neutral.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, January 26, 2006
Akaka bill needs push in House and Senate
Politics makes the rules in the lawmaking game, and this truism is about to play out between Honolulu and Washington as a contentious election season dawns in Hawai'i.
Voters only need to sit back and watch as the Akaka bill, the hotly debated measure to grant Hawaiians federal recognition as a political class, becomes the latest political football.
It's been lying untouched on the gridiron lately, buried far beneath heftier concerns, including hurricane relief, assorted ethics scandals and battles over judicial appointments. Hawaiian affairs constitute a pretty small matter in the Washington scheme of things at the best of times, and ordinarily would occupy the far-back burners during an election year.
Last week's unprovocative exposition of the bill before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights seemed to confirm that, with discussion settling into the usual superficial, partisan lines of argument. The measure had the sickly pallor of someone in need of CPR and unlikely to get it.
But in politics, you never know.
Following Congressman Ed Case's plan to challenge U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka for his seat this fall, there are signs of quickening in the bill that bears the incumbent's name. As part of his claim to having the superior record of experience on the Hill, Akaka said the support he has drawn for the measure could evaporate should he not be re-elected.
That's hard to confirm, but what's crystal-clear is that Akaka certainly would like to see progress on his bill before the primary election. And whether or not voters support the legislation, the measure deserves a substantive debate on the Senate floor.
His supportive Democratic colleague, Hawai'i senior Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, is sure to be calling in his favors to get the Akaka bill its elusive approval by the U.S. Senate.
Even if he succeeds, however, there's still the trek through the House. There, the conservative leadership still backs a Bush administration that has not given the bill thunderous applause.
That's really where the bill will face its most tortuous uphill climb, and where proponents have done little to pierce the armor of resistance to this point. The time to push this bill in the House is long overdue.
If Case wants to bolster his leadership credentials, he needs to make sure he stakes out some of that turf. Watching the interplay between the junior congressman and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who openly supports Sen. Akaka, will be fascinating. Both congressmen say they back the Akaka bill.
The measure missed its easiest shot at passage during the Clinton administration. A political shift after the November elections could change the omens, but the bill now faces extremely long odds.
Whatever ultimately happens, neither Akaka nor Case wants to be the bearer of bad news about Hawaiian federal recognition. We can all expect to see the political football kicked around in coming months.
Hawaii Reporter, January 26, 2006
Indian Sovereignty Has Outlived Its Usefulness
By John Dendahl
GRIH Comment: The following gives an indication of some of what Hawaii can expect if the Akaka bill passes. This article is the first in a series. (dn)
A Sept. 1, 2005, Associated Press article included this statement: "[My] people have lived through natural and human-created disasters, and now with a stroke of a pen the future of a people is at risk."
No, this isn't about political leaders and Hurricane Katrina. It is Pueblo of Tesuque governor Mark Mitchell's description of a U.S. Forest Service decision to permit a new chairlift in a ski area that commenced operations 57 years ago. Mitchell's tribal government has sued to have the Forest Service decision on the proposed Ski Santa Fe lift reversed.
The issue is "sacred sites," without access to which Mitchell claims his tribe's culture and way of life would fade. Never mind that Ski Santa Fe operators permit access on the mountain to anyone, anywhere, except for skier safety closures. And never mind that Mitchell's tribe has apparently been able to adjust its culture and way of life to operating a decidedly nontraditional casino, not miles away up in the mountains but right on the pueblo grounds.
Why do Indians have any standing whatsoever to deny on religious grounds others' use of public lands when public practice of religion by the rest of us is thoroughly circumscribed? (Answer: according to a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a similar case, they don't.)
Even if there were an answer in the general case, I am deeply skeptical of Mitchell's claim. I have enjoyed Ski Santa Fe since its first, rustic year of operation and can find no one who has ever seen an Indian anywhere in the ski area vicinity seeking spiritual nourishment other than what we all enjoy from recreation there.
Going further into politically incorrect inquiry, consider the Pueblo of Jemez and gambling. Jemez, whose reservation is poorly located for a casino, is attempting to move Indian gambling off the rez and onto a site about 290 miles south, near El Paso and Las Cruces.
The pueblo's money man is Jerry Peters, a non-Indian Santa Fe businessman. If Peters wants to be in the gambling business in a gambling state, why should he need an Indian partner? Conversely, why should the Indians' gambling near-monopoly now leapfrog into non-reservation lands in the state? And why should Indians have a monopoly on most gambling anyway?
State and local governments are short about $10 million a year in taxes that should, but aren't, being collected from motor fuel sales on Indian reservations. Tobacco tax loss from Indian reservation sales may be even higher.
Not all the questions applicable to this unsatisfactory tiered-citizenship arrangement put Indians under the hot light. Federal Judge Royce Lamberth has held two secretaries of interior and one treasury secretary in contempt of court because they haven't come up quickly enough with accounting for possibly billions of dollars in mineral royalties thought to be owed to Indians but dropped between the cracks by the U.S. government.
Add that to the overwhelming list of evidence that the Indians' status as wards of the federal government, but "sovereign" as against the states, is not in anyone's best interests.
There wouldn't be space in 10 columns for a detailed examination of all the mischief created by the bizarre and antiquated citizenship status of Indians in the United States. Yet, believe it or not, Congress has under serious consideration legislation to create a similar caste problem in Hawaii.
That's just flat backward. This is a time for making rational what it means to be American, not playing footsie with those who seek national weakness through divisive schemes leading straight toward Balkanization.
There is no time better than the present to commence an earnest discussion as to how we achieve equal standing among all American citizens, none superior, none inferior, and all celebrated as individuals.
Dendahl is retired from business where he held chief executive positions in high tech, banking and real estate development. He was chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico for more than eight years. His regular columns are syndicated in New Mexico. He appears on a weekly public affairs program produced by the University of New Mexico's PBS station, KNME-TV.
Hawaii Reporter, January 27, 2006
The Akaka Bill Would Legalize Racial Segregation
January 2006 Testimony Presented to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission
By Robert K. Fukuda
This testimony was presented in Washington DC last week to the U.S. Commission On Civil Rights regarding the proposed Akaka Bill now up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.
I was Deputy Attorney General of the Territory Of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959. During that time, I was the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission, an agency that managed and supervised the use of lands allocated to native Hawaiians for residential and agricultural uses. The agency survives as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands of the State of Hawaii. I was elected to the first Hawaii State Legislature, serving as a Representative from 1959 to 1962. In addition, I served as the United States Attorney for the State of Hawaii from 1969 to 1973, and was in the United States Army in World War II working as a Japanese Language interpreter and translator.
So I believe I have sufficient legal experience and personal understanding of the issues to submit these statements as testimony regarding S 147, otherwise known as the Akaka Bill, which is intended to create a race-based Hawaiian nation within the State of Hawaii.
This Akaka Bill proposes to create a government whose citizens would be restricted to persons whose ancestry includes any amount, however small, of blood quantum of natives who lived in the Hawaiian Islands before the discovery of the Islands by English explorer Captain James Cook in 1778. This is beyond any serious debate an attempt to create a race-based nation and government.
An appropriate analogy would be an attempt to create a foreign nation within California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas whose citizens would be limited to descendants of persons of Hispanic blood who lived there before they became American Territories and States, because the lands belonged to Mexico before they were stolen by America.
This is similar to the argument being used by the proponents of S 147 to create a new Hawaiian nation.
The initial argument against the Akaka Bill is one of simple historical fact. From the time of its discovery, the Hawaiian Kingdom allowed the free immigration of people of all races and all nations of the world, initially from Europe and America, and later from Asia.
Hawaii is the most racially integrated State in America, and its population includes descendants of people who came from England, France, Germany, Russia, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, other Pacific islands, and the progeny of mixed marriages of all of these racial and ethnic groups.
The Hawaiians may be the most racially mixed group in Hawaii because they have been here the longest with the most opportunities to marry people of other races. The number of persons of pure Hawaiian ancestry is now less than one percent of the population. Throughout the history of the Hawaiian Kingdom, there was never any constitutional or Legislative restriction of Hawaiian citizenship to persons of Hawaiian descent.
This is a historical fact, which the backers of S 147 do not publicly acknowledge, but cannot truthfully deny. To create a new Hawaiian nation whose citizenship is based on race, where no racial restriction existed in the preceding Hawaiian Kingdom is simply a political attempt to disregard history and create an unacceptable racial discrimination and segregation in an American State, where the U.S. Constitution and laws against racial discrimination must remain paramount.
This bill will result in severe and permanent damage to existing race relations in Hawaii. A true example would be my own extended family. We have lived in Hawaii continuously for five generations and 120 years.
My grandparents and many thousands of other immigrants of all races came here to work on the sugar plantations at the invitation of the Hawaiian King Kalakaua. They were invited because there were not enough native Hawaiians who were able or willing to do the work to assist the economy of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The immigration of the Japanese followed a formal treaty between the King and the Japanese Emperor Meiji in 1885. My father and his three sisters were born in Hawaii. My mother was also Japanese, so I am pure Japanese in ancestry. However, one of my aunts married a man who was one-half native Hawaiian and therefore my cousin was one-fourth Hawaiian.
If the Akaka Bill becomes law, my cousin's children and descendants will be entitled to all the economic and legal benefits that will be given to Hawaiians while my children and descendants will get nothing, simply because of an accident of birth. This is precisely why the Constitution and laws of the United States prohibit discrimination on the basis of race or color.
Nobody in my family had anything to do with the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy. Both my cousin and I were born long after Hawaii became an American Territory, yet the Akaka Bill will reward my cousin's children and descendants for "injuries" they never suffered, while my children and descendants will be punished by denying them the same benefits for "crimes" they never committed.
It is ironic that one of the supporters of this Bill is Senator Daniel Inouye who fought with great valor and distinction in World War II against foreign enemies and against racial discrimination and segregation in America. However, this Bill will affect not only Japanese Americans, but people of all races living in Hawaii.
Because of the inter-marriage of the races, there is no racial majority in the population of Hawaii. This Bill is not about a white supremacy over a colored minority. It is an attempt to legalize racial segregation and create special privileges and benefits for one racial minority over all other minorities. It is also an attempt to secede from the United States by a partition of a State and the creation of a foreign nation.
In addition to the arguments against this Bill of historical precedent and racial discrimination, there are other equally important Constitutional and legal questions which must be considered and resolved before this Bill should be brought to the floor of Congress:
* 1) Does the Congress have any power to create a foreign nation within a State and cede Federal and State lands and make appropriations to that nation;
* 2) How to foresee, prevent or resolve the multitude of problems which will arise from dual citizenship, conflicts of laws and privileges and immunities which will be inescapable if two nations occupy and exist in the same land, sea and airspace;
* 3) The right of the Hawaiian nation to secede from the United States Of America;
* 4) The power or right of the Hawaiian nation to become a member of the United Nations, with all attendant powers, privileges and authority. It is imperative that all these questions be brought to light and to the attention of the Congress before any vote should be taken on this Bill.
The underlying purpose of this Bill, in addition to the secession goal, is to circumvent and frustrate judicial scrutiny of existing and future Federal and State programs, which are designated by race only for Hawaiians.
By creating a new Hawaiian nation and a pseudo-diplomatic relationship with the United States, the promoters of S 147 would secure continued grants of Federal and State lands and money for the exclusive use and benefit of one race of people to the exclusion of all other people living in Hawaii. Presumably, the exclusive benefits would be considered as a form of "foreign aid".
If it is the purpose of the Congress to make amends for the annexation of Hawaii, then the appropriate action would be to kill this Bill and enact a reparations Bill with programs and benefits for descendants of all the people who were living in Hawaii at the time of annexation. This would benefit all Hawaiians as well as all other races who were affected by the annexation, and achieve the goal of assisting the Hawaiians without violating the proscription against racial discrimination. If, as many Hawaiians claim, they are on the bottom of the economic ladder, and the benefits are allocated on the basis of financial need, then assuredly most, if not all the program benefits will go to Hawaiians, and there would be no reason to create a Hawaiian nation with al the attendant constitutional and legal problems.
Despite large amounts of inspired hyperbole the supporters of this Bill, the Hawaiians are not an oppressed race. Since the time of the Hawaiian Kingdom and Territory and State, Hawaiians have thrived and succeeded professionally, politically and economically. The sponsor of S 147 is U.S. Senator Akaka, a Hawaiian. There have been thousands of Hawaiian doctors, lawyers, politicians, judges, professors, teachers, Olympic medallists, NFL football players, grand champion sumo wrestlers, singers, dancers, and other professionals. A former Territorial Governor and State Governor, a former Chief Justice and several Associate Justices of the Appellate and Supreme Courts of the Hawaii have been Hawaiians. The present Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii is a Hawaiian. There are pockets of poverty and cultural challenges in various areas of Hawaii, but these are problems that affect every race, and not just Hawaiians. The Hawaiian language, history and culture are thriving and being taught in public and private schools and the University Of Hawaii, and not in any danger of being lost or extinguished.
Americans did not steal the property of Hawaiians. In fact many Americans helped the Hawaiians. One of the best examples is the Bishop Estate, a private charitable trust, which owns thousands of acres of prime land in Hawaii. The assets of this trust are estimated to value more than eight billion dollars, with an annual income of several hundred million dollars, which is entirely dedicated to the education of Hawaiian children. The founders of this Trust were Bernice Pauahi, a member of the Hawaiian royal family, and her husband who was a white American who donated his own personal fortune to the trust, and took no benefits in return.
If the Akaka Bill succeeds in creating a race-based nation with segregation and discrimination where none existed before, it will be a social and political disaster for Hawaii and the United States. It will officially create and support a form of Apartheid in America, while we continue to publicly denounce racism. It will also approve the partition of a State and the creation of a foreign nation within the borders of the United States in violation of the Constitutional plan of a single nation composed of sovereign States.
The design and purposes of the Akaka Bill are in direct conflict with the Constitution and laws of the United States and must be defeated in the Congress.
Robert K. Fukuda was Deputy Attorney General of the Territory Of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959, and the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission, an agency that managed and supervised the use of lands allocated to native Hawaiians for residential and agricultural uses. He was elected to the first Hawaii State Legislature, serving as a Representative from 1959 to 1962, served as the United States Attorney for the State of Hawaii from 1969 to 1973, and was in the United States Army in World War II working as a Japanese Language interpreter and translator.
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, January 29, 2006
Seniority or issues; which is it?
By Jerry Burris
You don't have to look too far under the surface to figure out that the congenial primary contest between incumbent Sen. Dan Akaka and his challenger, Rep. Ed Case, will be a tougher fight than it appears.
Akaka fired one of the first salvos last week in a meeting with Advertiser editors in which he put quite a bit of distance between himself and Case on an issue they presumably have no disagreement over.
How could that be?
That issue, naturally enough, is the Hawaiian recognition or Akaka bill which the senator has been pushing for years. Case is firmly on record as supporting the bill, so what could possibly be the issue?
Here's how Akaka framed it: If the bill is pushed over until next year (certainly a possibility) and he is not in the Senate, "I would think the bill would not go."
In other words, without Akaka, the Akaka bill is dead.
That puts the stakes rather high, and one has to think the senator has made something of a gamble.
After all, the Akaka bill — even though it has broad bipartisan support in the Islands — is not universally popular. Some folks might take Akaka's comment as reason enough not to return him to office.
Akaka's comment relates to seniority in the Senate, always an important matter, but not quite in the way one ordinarily thinks of it. Akaka's supporters will note that his rank (currently 34th overall in seniority; 20th in the Democratic caucus) gives him status on committees and even in choice of seat on the Senate floor.
Case would come in as a raw freshman.
Case's basic point is that while seniority matters, it is time to put someone in place to begin earning seniority against the day when Akaka and senior Sen. Daniel Inouye are no longer there (Inouye is No. 3 in the Senate).
You might call it the orderly-succession argument.
But Akaka wishes to make the point that his importance is not so much a fact of where he sits on the Senate pecking order as it is the relationships, friendships and political chits he has collected over the years.
Many of the votes for the Akaka bill, he said, represent personal commitments to him, not generalized support for the bill itself. Without Akaka, the votes vaporize.
As the campaign unfolds, there will be other issues that occupy the minds of voters trying to make a distinction between Akaka and Case.
A classic example is the Jones Act, which protects domestic shipping by reserving it for American companies.
Akaka supports it, Case opposes, which is a good take on their political philosophies. Case is a determined moderate while Akaka has one of the strongest pro-labor, liberal voting records in the Senate.
So which will it be: issues or who best knows how to navigate the corridors of power on Capitol Hill?
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 29, 2006
Case's challenge of Akaka rocks the Democratic Party boat
By Richard Borreca
Seniority and experience versus the ability to do the job not just today but for the next two decades is the first big issue in the Democratic Primary race between Sen. Dan Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case.
By raising the issue, Case says he is running against Akaka and Hawaii's political culture of not making waves. The culture is stifling the next generation, Case claims.
Since declaring to run against Akaka -- a 30-year congressional veteran, Case reports people telling him, "This is not the way it is done."
U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case will appear in separate half-hour interviews in a PBS Island Insights special tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.
The interviews will be rebroadcast at 3: 30 p.m. next Sunday on PBS (Oceanic Channel 10, KHET Channel 10, KMEB Channel 11).
Island Insights is co-sponsored by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Dan Boylan, a University of Hawaii history professor and MidWeek columnist, interviewed Akaka, and Richard Borreca, Star-Bulletin political writer, interviewed Case.
"I have done something here that is against the political culture of Hawaii. Maybe that is not the right way for us to continue to do things," said Case, who has four years' experience in Congress.
The 53-year old Democrat, along with his 81-year old opponent, taped separate interviews for PBS Hawaii that will be broadcast tomorrow evening.
During his interview, Case said his campaign "is not just about the transition in the U.S. Senate. This is not just about an orderly transition, or me saying I can do this job. It is about changing a political culture that voters don't like."
"I don't particularly think that the political culture in Hawaii has produced in and of itself the next generation. It has tended to stifle it and hold them back because we have been micro-managers and control freaks," Case complained.
In contrast, Akaka had no complaints about the local Democratic party, which has already had many of its most powerful members, including U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, endorse him.
"I feel the traditional people of Hawaii will be backing me. When I say traditional I also mean the people who have been in politics before and who have been very concerned about Hawaii's future," Akaka said.
Akaka said he has much more to contribute to Hawaii and that is why he is running for re-election.
"I have the experience, I have the seniority, I have the relationships and I have the influence to move things in the Senate. That makes a huge difference," Akaka said.
Case, however, sees himself as someone who can represent the state for several decades.
Asked why he didn't run for governor this year instead of the Senate, Case said it was all about how long he could serve.
"If I have my way I will go on for a couple of decades in elective public office. You compare four or eight years in the governorship versus a clear position happening now in Congress.
"Both senators are, realistically, nearing some end to their careers. Rep. Abercrombie is in his late 60s. I am 53.
"It is obvious to me that I am responsible for that next generation of leadership. It is a no-brainer as how I should serve Hawaii," Case said.
Both men were asked if they would appear together in a debate and Case said yes, while Akaka would not commit.
"I think voters are entitled to compare us," Case said.
Akaka said he felt his responsibility in the campaign was to let his voters know about him and that could be handled in several ways.
"We will see how things go down the line and when the time comes we will consider that," Akaka said about a possible debate. "I feel my responsibility in the campaign is to inform my constituents about how I am doing, what I want to do and what I can do.
"If I can do it by myself, I feel that is sufficient," Akaka said.
Case called Akaka a liberal and reliable vote for the Democratic minority in the Senate. In contrast, Case says he is a moderate and isn't afraid to vote against Democrats.
"I think Sen. Akaka has tended to be more to the extremes of the party philosophy," Case said during the television interview. "He has definitely followed the party line kind of vote.
"I have demonstrated a much more moderate, middle-of-the-road, independent voting pattern than did Sen. Akaka.
"Clearly, if I don't think my party is going in the right direction, I won't provide support," Case said.
Akaka answered, saying "being a liberal is in the eyes of the beholder."
"I am not liberal when it comes to the armed services. I am not liberal when it comes to the Akaka Bill (native Hawaii sovereignty and recognition legislation)," Akaka said.
ON HAWAIIAN RECOGNITION AND ARCTIC OIL
Here are the opinions of U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka and his challenger U.S. Rep. Ed Case on two major issues that have come before Congress:
Native Hawaiian Sovereignty and Recognition (Akaka Bill):
» Case: "I would be a partner with Sen. (Dan) Inouye, who really has the relationships, seniority and experience to drive federal recognition and has been driving it.
"It would still be called the 'Akaka Bill' and I think it should be called the 'Akaka Bill,' but the fact that the senator is replaced with another senator is not going to make a difference."
» Akaka: "I see my age and experience as being very important to Hawaii. I look forward to continue to press for some of the causes we have. I will be pressing the majority leader (Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn.) to set a date for the bill. When this bill is done, it is not the end ... there will still be a need for more federal legislation to take care of the concerns of Hawaiians."
Permit oil drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
» Case: "We shouldn't drill in a wildlife refuge. We set it aside because it was incredibly vital not just to Alaska or our country, but to the world. You have to protect the few remaining special places in the world."
» Akaka: "I am an environmentalist, but this is an issue I differ with them, because my vote is for the indigenous people of Alaska. They asked me to help them. They said one way they could get resources and improvements to their quality of life was to drill for oil. The moment they come to me and say they don't want it, I am out."
Hawaii Reporter, January 30, 2006
Will Akaka Bill Be Voted On Without Asking Hawaii's People?
By Richard O. Rowland
The Honolulu Advertiser lead editorial on Jan. 26, 2006, "Akaka Bill needs push in House and Senate," was a great example of superficial blather.
Your obvious support for the Akaka bill was combined with not a mention of the most important pivotal issue to the people of Hawaii: Should the bill pass, what will be the effect on each person in this state?
That's the key question and it is unanswerable because the bill says nothing about end results.
But it does make clear that a bunch of appointed government bureaucrats representing the new governing entity, the state and the federal government will be negotiating to fill the new government with people, land and other goodies. Whatever that is will be taken from the hide of current state residents and corporations.
Statehood was approved by a vote of Hawaii's people (94 percent) in 1959. Now we are to have the state ripped asunder by a vote of the U.S. Senate and House.
Perhaps each appointed bureaucrat will wear a sign saying "I am from the government and I am here to help you."
Richard O. Rowland is president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy institute focused on promoting the free-market, individual freedom and liberty.
Hawaii Reporter, February 1, 2006
Akaka Bill Corrects Injustices of Past and Accounts for Present
By Oswald K. Stender
Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs (formerly Trustee of Kamehameha Schools)
On Friday, Jan. 20, 2006, the United States Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, better known as the "Akaka Bill." Although the Commission is tasked with monitoring and protecting civil rights, they may have had preconceived ideas as shown through their media advisory entitled "USCCR to examine Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act Proposed legislation described by critics as ‘racial balkanization.'"
Robert K. Fukuda's statements in his article to the Hawaii Reporter reflect the same biased and misinformed viewpoint expressed by the two supposed experts opposing the Akaka bill at the USCCR briefing. See "The Akaka Bill Would Legalize Racial Segregation" Mr. Fukuda and those "experts" ignore a key fact that is well stated in the expert written testimony submitted to the USCCR by Patricia Zell, former Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs:
For nearly a century, Federal law has recognized these three groups -- American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians -- as comprising the class of people known as Native Americans. Well before the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were adopted to address the effects of historic patterns of racial discrimination, the Supreme Court had recognized the unique status of America's native peoples under the Constitution and laws of the United States.
The purpose of the Akaka Bill is not racial balkanization or anything like it. The Akaka Bill provides the next steps of a process of rectifying past wrongs and injustices done to the Hawaiian people by agents working in the name of the United States and its military.
Individuals like Mr. Fukuda would like the public to think Native Hawaiians had no rich culture including a system of commerce, governance, and self-determination prior and subsequent to the arrival of western explorers, missionaries, and those pursuing profit through commerce, trade, and control of assets and resources. They would like to convince the world that the Hawaiian Kingdom did not have over five internationally recognized treaties and compacts between the Kingdom and the U.S. Their hope is to get the public to ignore the insidious methods of those Americans, turned Kingdom subjects, to convince the Hawaiian monarchy to sell land in fee simple, relinquish control over their hereditary lineage, and, in short, cast off the glorious history and culture of their people in exchange for capitalist goals of monetary interest and dividends.
Robert Fukuda states in his article, "This bill will result in severe and permanent damage to existing race relations in Hawaii." However, Mr. Fukuda's statement is misleading. The key wording here is "existing race relations," which, at this point, are strained, restless, and generally uneasy. The existing race relations in Hawaii are a shaky house built upon the sands of a hundred years ago when Hawaiians were dispossessed of their lands and told their ways were pagan and of no good in the new world. The sugar plantations of Fukuda's grandparents' days were not good for the Hawaiian economy; they were good for the foreign sugar barons, most of whom were American. In fact, a large German sugar baron, Claus Spreckles, opposed the overthrow and annexation partly because he was content living in a Hawaiian Kingdom and didn't care for the greedy aspirations of his American counterparts. The Akaka Bill would be the first step in resolving the old prejudices and shame afflicting all peoples in Hawaii because of the underhanded methods of American interests in the past century.
Congress has the power to deal with Native Hawaiians just as it has with other indigenous peoples who had an established political entity within what is now U.S. territory. Congress has exercised this power on numerous occasions, and the federally recognized peoples in Alaska and the continental U.S., and the economies of their states, have seen the benefits of this status. Mr. Fukuda's concern of "the multitude of problems… [arising]…from dual citizenship, conflicts of laws and privileges" if two nations share the same space has already been dealt with across all the other 49 states with no worrisome consequences. As to Hawaii, these questions can be adequately dealt with during the negotiation process between the Hawaiian governing entity, the State of Hawaii, and the federal government.
The intent of the Akaka Bill is merely to express an already existing policy of the U.S. regarding its relationship with Native Hawaiians and provide a process for formal "recognition … of a Native Hawaiian Governing entity." This purpose says it all. There is currently no established process for a relationship between the United States and the reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity. The last recognized relationship between the two were the treaties between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the United States in the 1800s, all of which were broken by the U.S. in their grab for economic and military control of what might be considered the most valuable piece of real estate in the world.
Something must be done to rectify the past wrongs committed, wrongs that have been acknowledged by the U.S. Congress and President in 1993 through the passage of Public Law 103-150. These wrongs stem not just from the annexation, as Mr. Fukuda argues, but from all events leading up to annexation, including the so-called "Great Mahele," the overthrow, the bayonet constitution, taxation and "adverse possession" laws, and the subsequent decimation of the Native Hawaiian population.
Mr. Fukuda also fails to note that the Akaka Bill is supported by some of the very groups and entities with whom he purports to identify, including but not limited to:
* Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter
* Japanese American Citizens League, National
* Hawaiian Homes Commission
* Hawaii State Legislature
* All four Counties in Hawaii
* Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National
* and many more
The Akaka Bill, far from what Fukuda represents, is the perfect example of democracy in action and a clear depiction of what the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended when they wrote of justice and liberty for all. They, perhaps more so than some of our current bureaucracy, knew full well the transgressions instigated upon native peoples in the American search for the "city on the hill" and thus incorporated those ideals into their vision of America.
We can only hope the American government of today reflects those ancient values of accountability, giving justice where justice is due.
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, February 6, 2006
Letters to the Editor
GET RID OF AKAKA BILL, SENATOR AT SAME TIME
Sen. Akaka suggests his controversial federal recognition bill won't pass if he is not re-elected. Sounds like a great reason to vote him out of office.
Personal commitments? Call me idealistic, but shouldn't a bill pass on its own merit? "I'll vote for your bill if you vote for mine." Is this the kind of politician we want in office?
Then there was his loose claim that "most Hawaiian groups support this bill." I was at Sovereignty Sunday two weeks ago, and every group I came across was against it. Hurricane Katrina provided divine intervention in halting the bill's passage last session. Let's get out the vote this time and kill it with democratic intervention.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 14, 2006
ABA throws its support behind Akaka Bill
By Sally Apgar
The American Bar Association urged Congress yesterday to pass the controversial Native Hawaiian Recognition Act of 2005, known as the Akaka Bill, during this session.
At its midyear meeting in Chicago, the ABA voted to support passage of the legislation so that native Hawaiians could form a governing body "similar to American Indian and Alaska Native governments, enabling them to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their people."
The Akaka Bill, named for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who introduced it, does not create a native Hawaiian government.
The measure authorizes an unspecified process that would eventually lead to the formulation of a government with the authority to interact with the U.S. government. The bill does not give the governing native Hawaiian entity explicit powers, but instead legislates these powers to be granted in the course of future, three-way agreements approved by the federal government, the state of Hawaii and the new native Hawaiian governing body.
ABA President Michael Greco said in a news release: "American Indians and Alaskan Natives have political authority to deal with the United States on a government-to-government basis."
Greco said, "Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people in our country should be afforded the right to create their own governing body. Congress needs to approve legislation now that will establish the process for native Hawaiians to do that."
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said the support of the ABA "is further evidence that the legislation, which has bipartisan support, should be brought to the floor for debate and an up-or-down vote."
Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who has lobbied hard in Washington and here for acceptance and passage of the bill, said the ABA's support "recognizes and affirms that there's no question Congress can extend federal recognition to native Hawaiians."
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Lawyer group calls for federal recognition
Leaders of the American Bar Association are urging Congress to pass legislation establishing a process to give federal recognition to a Native Hawaiian government.
The ABA's house of delegates, which includes about 550 members, approved the resolution yesterday at its midyear meeting in Chicago.
"American Indians and Alaska Natives have political authority to deal with the United States on a government-to-government basis," ABA president Michael S. Greco said. "Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people in our country should be afforded the right to create their own governing body."
Attorney Bill Meheula, a spokesman for the Native Hawaiian Bar Association, urged his colleagues to support federal recognition. "Without it, significant governmental benefits to Native Hawaiians in the areas of health, education and housing could be lost due to pending equal protection challenges," Meheula said.
Hawai'i senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka issued releases applauding the ABA's vote of support. An expected Senate vote on the Akaka bill was delayed last fall so lawmakers could respond to Hurricane Katrina. The bill has been opposed by conservatives who believe it is unconstitutional because it would give privileges to people based on race.
Hawaii Reporter, February 16, 2006
Taking Issue With the Race-Based Direction of the Akaka Bill
By Robert K. Fukuda
This is in response to Mr. Oswald Stender’s comments concerning my opposition to S 147, the Akaka Bill.
Initially I think Mr. Stender and others should know something about the association that my family and I have had with the Hawaiian community. My grandfather was a cook for Prince Kuhio and his household. In both the Japanese and Hawaiian cultures it was a position of honor and esteem for a commoner to be a retainer of the Royal family. I have a fine walking cane made of koa wood that the Prince gave my grandfather when they parted. It is a treasured heirloom of my family. My mother knew the Prince, and said he was a friendly, kind man. My mother was also a personal friend of Princess Kawananakoa, and was a frequent guest in the Princess’ home.
As a Deputy Attorney General of the Territory of Hawaii, I was the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission, which was created by Prince Kuhio when he was the Delegate to Congress from Hawaii. The Commission could not do much to help Hawaiians because it had very little funds and poor records to work with. One of the things I did was to write an opinion stating that Hawaiian Homes lands could not be used for the expansion of the Hilo airport without the prior approval of Congress. Many years later, my opinion was proved correct in a lawsuit against the state of Hawaii for the improper use of the Hawaiian Homes lands. In 1982 I had the opportunity to help Hawaiian Homes lessees much more, when I was appointed the manager of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the state of Hawaii. During my tenure, the department initiated the Federal Housing Authority mortgage insurance program for Hawaiian Homes leaseholds. This finally opened the way for Hawaiians to get mortgage loans to build their houses.
When the Hawaii State Legislature passed the “Maryland land law,” allowing the sale of Bishop Estate residential leases, I marched in a torchlight parade around Iolani Palace, protesting the law. I was in the front row of marchers, between Speaker Kauhane and Reverend Abraham Akaka. Reverend Akaka also performed the christening ceremonies for my two fishing boats, the Kailani and the Kaimiloa. When I was elected to the House of Representatives, my strongest supporters were from Papakolea, the Hawaiian Homes subdivision. My legislative secretary and several of my law office secretaries were Hawaiian women. My wife’s long-time secretary and best friend was a Hawaiian woman. My personal friends have included my boy scout troop leader Ainsley Mahikoa, my boss Sgt. Rodenhurst of the Honolulu Police Department, Kamehameha Schools Trustee Richard Lyman, Delegate and Governor Samuel Wilder King, Mayor and Lieutenant Governor James Kealoha, Mayor Neal Blaisdell, Federal Judges C. Nils Tavares and Samuel P. King, Chief Justice William Richardson, attorneys Earl Robinson, Fred Titcomb, Arthur and Bernard Trask, Nane Aluli, Hiram Kamaka, William Amona and many other Hawaiian persons, not the least Mr. Stender’s own older brother. We were together as defense workers in 1942 and 1943.
I am not against Hawaiians. I am against the partition of Hawaii, the creation of a race-based nation, dual citizenship, the racial discrimination against all non-Hawaiians, and the secession from the United States, which are all parts of the plan of S 147. For five generations and 120 years my family has lived in Hawaii with Hawaiians and all other races here, with mutual respect and affection. It is this social harmony and love that are threatened and will be destroyed by the creation of a race-based Hawaiian nation.
Nothing good has ever come out a race-based nation. The worst examples were the Aryan nation of Nazi Germany and Yamato nation of imperialist Japan. To this day the Japanese use the epithet “Gaijin” in reference to anyone who is not considered to be Japanese in racial origin. Pride of race can be constructive in the preservation of the language, history and culture of Hawaiians. Arrogance of race in the form of a race-based Hawaiian nation will divide and destroy all the Aloha and inter-racial harmony that has made Hawaii a special place.
In reading Mr. Stender’s comments, I see an anger and bitterness about the whole history of Hawaii since the arrival of Captain Cook. It is like a native American wishing Columbus had never discovered America. It is an unreasoning and irrational anger that consumes some Hawaiians and blames all misfortunes on America and Americans without regard to individual failings. I hope Mr. Stender realizes he received an American education and became personally wealthy in an American territory and state.
I have suggested a simple way to avoid all the legal challenges to assistance programs for Hawaiians. Simply define the beneficiaries as descendants of all the people who were living in Hawaii at the time of the annexation, but allocate the benefits on the basis of financial need. This would guarantee assistance to all needy Hawaiians, but would eliminate persons who are not in need like Mr. Stender and myself.
Robert K. Fukuda was Deputy Attorney General of the Territory Of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959, and the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission, an agency that managed and supervised the use of lands allocated to native Hawaiians for residential and agricultural uses. He was elected to the first Hawaii State Legislature, serving as a Representative from 1959 to 1962, served as the United States Attorney for the State of Hawaii from 1969 to 1973, and was in the United States Army in World War II working as a Japanese Language interpreter and translator.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 18, 2006, EDITORIAL
Congress should end delays in Akaka Bill
The American Bar Association has endorsed the bill to recognize Hawaiian sovereignty.
PROPONENTS of Hawaiian recognition received a boost with endorsement by the American Bar Association, but that is not likely to dissuade those who argue that the bill before Congress, if enacted, would result in racial discrimination. Hawaii's congressional delegation can cite the ABA support in continuing to press for a Senate vote after nearly six years of delay.
The lawyers association asserted that it would allow Hawaiians to form a governing body "similar to American Indian and Alaska native governments." ABA President Michael Greco said Hawaiians should be afforded the process that eventually would allow them to deal with the United States on a similar "government-to-government basis."
The legislation was augured by a 1993 congressional apology for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom. It was made necessary by a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Hawaiians lack tribal status afforded to American Indians and Alaska natives. Sponsored by Senator Akaka, the bill passed the House in 2000 but has languished in the Senate.
Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., froze the Akaka Bill in recent years with a hold permitted by the Senate's archaic rules. Akaka and Senator Inouye retaliated in 2004 with a threat to a measure sponsored by Kyl. Republican leaders agreed to send the Akaka Bill to the floor by last August, postponed it for a month and laid it aside while addressing Hurricane Katrina.
Akaka said nearly two months ago that Majority Leader Bill Frist pledged "on taking appropriate steps" to assure a Senate vote this year.
Challenged for re-election by Rep. Ed Case, Akaka claims the seniority and relationships "to move things in the Senate," but his influence has yet to bring the legislation most dear to him to the Senate floor. Case fully supports the Akaka Bill, but the effectiveness of Akaka's seniority is at issue, as it should be.
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Letters to the Editor
ABA BODY OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORTED THE AKAKA BILL
During its mid-year meetings in Chicago on Feb. 13, the policy-making body of the American Bar Association voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to urge Congress to pass legislation to establish a process to provide federal recognition for a Native Hawaiian governing entity. Such legislation, S. 147, proposed by Sen. Daniel Akaka, is currently pending in Congress.
The Native Hawaiian resolution passed by a nearly unanimous vote among the 550 delegates representing 400,000 ABA members. The ABA is composed of lawyers from all practice areas and all political persuasions. This enthusiastic vote should serve to jumpstart passage of Sen. Akaka's legislation.
The ABA's mission is to be the national representative of the legal profession, serving the public and the profession by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the law.
By passing the resolution, the delegates said yes to the establishment by Congress of a process that would provide Native Hawaiians the same status afforded to America's other indigenous groups, American Indians and Native Alaskans.
The blessing by this country's largest and most prestigious legal organization would appear to put to rest the primary legal arguments advanced by this bill's opponents.
In 1993, Congress adopted the Apology Resolution. which acknowledged that the U.S.-sponsored overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom was illegal, and issued an apology to the Native Hawaiian people. Now Congress has the opportunity to provide meat to its previous resolution.
The ABA's passage of this resolution could not be more timely. There are over 165 federal laws that bring millions of dollars worth of federal programs to assist Native Hawaiians. Yet those programs are under attack in the courts. The Akaka bill would protect these programs.
The American Bar Association's support for Hawai'i's indigenous people sends a strong message that a process for Native Hawaiian recognition follows the rule of law and provides great impetus for Congress to take immediate action to pass the Akaka bill.
Alan Van Etten
Hawai'i state delegate, American Bar Association
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 22, 2006
TWO LETTERS TO EDITOR, INTERESTING JUXTAPOSITION REGARDING "INDIGENOUS RIGHTS" AS A BASIS FOR AKAKA BILL
'Native' class will cause infringement
Proponents of racial purity should realize it is too late to jump on the Hitlerian bandwagon. That war was lost in 1945. One of the greatest cons of our generation is the movement of ethnic nationalism under the guise of indigenous or aboriginal rights. As communism of the Stalin era needed victims to succeed, so does ethnic nationalism. Instead of victimizing the wealthy on the pretense that it will benefit the poor, the non-natives are the victims and boundaries clearly marked.
In the case of aboriginal rights in the United States, the people owe the aborigines their welfare in perpetuity. Anyone in this country who is not "native" will pay for the welfare of all those who can claim "native" and the criteria to qualify if the Akaka Bill passes will be fairly simple. The people will be taxed without representation, impoverished by the burden and discriminated against for their race. It might not be evident now for many who support this movement, but eventually everyone will become a victim.
Indigenous or aboriginal rights have given racism a new name and legitimized it on a global scale, supported at the level of the United Nations. Rights are for the living and no group should have the power to infringe upon man's rights. The redefinition of aboriginal as a "right" and the legitimization of such is a crime against humanity.
ABA 's endorsement shows consistency
The American Bar Association's endorsement of the Akaka Bill last week is significant in that it dispels arguments that Congress lacks constitutional authority to provide federal recognition and self-determination to native Hawaiians or that such action was somehow erased by the overthrow of the Hawaiian government. Moreover, ABA's position that Hawaiians be granted the same rights as American Indians and native Alaskans underscored the following attributes shared by all three groups: they were here long before any European explorer ever set foot on the North American continent or the Hawaiian archipelago; they lived according to their own government structures on their homelands long before the U.S. federal government was imposed upon them; and the United States historically acknowledged their existence as distinct nations.
As a nonpartisan and highly respected organization, the ABA is in a position to help Hawaiians to obtain the same constitutional authorities given to America's other native and indigenous peoples; i.e., to govern and to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their members.
William J. Fernandez
President, Native Hawaiian Legal Defense & Education Fund
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 25, 2006, EDITORIAL
Court decision gives Akaka Bill more time
A federal appeals panel has agreed to rehear a case against Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admission policy.
KAMEHAMEHA Schools has won at least a temporary reprieve from a three-judge appellate panel that found its admission policy to be illegally discriminatory against non-Hawaiians. School officials were overjoyed by the decision granting the school's request for a rehearing before a 15-judge panel. However, congressional action remains needed, although not so urgently, for federal recognition of Hawaiians and protection of the school's policy.
In a split vote, the smaller panel ruled last August that Kamehameha's exclusion of non-Hawaiians violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a law aimed at ensuring freedom to former slaves. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law is binding on private schools and protects whites as well as minorities.
The Supreme Court has made clear that American Indian tribes can discriminate against non-Indians in school admissions, noting that "the preference is political rather than racial in nature." In the landmark Rice v. Cayetano case in 2003, the high court ruled that Hawaiians lack such political standing and that "ancestry can be a proxy for race."
A bill sponsored by Senator Akaka would fill that need by placing Hawaiians on an equal legal standing with Native Americans and Alaskan natives. Enactment of the Akaka Bill would allow the school to argue definitively that the admissions policy is political, not racial.
In the absence of such legislation, adversaries of the admissions policy will be free to argue that the opposite also is true. The Supreme Court rulings in the Civil Rights Act cases and the Rice case support their view.
Either way, the failure to gain enactment of the Akaka Bill will virtually ensure that the Kamehameha Schools case will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Ka Leo O Hawaii (University of Hawaii student newspaper)
March 7, 2006
Akaka Bill benifits no one, threatens many
By Jonathan Callahan
The Federal Recognition Bill, also known as the Akaka Bill, has grabbed more than its share of headlines over the past few years as it's threatened, annually, to be passed - inspiring heated debate at every turn. The Akaka Bill is a wretchedly-composed bill. This would-be law will provide a slight, arguably insulting gain for a small group of individuals who deserve something far greater than a pretend government constructed in their name, and may exclude some who deserve to be in this special allotment.
The reason we have laws is to intervene, at a systemic level, when hatred and divided interests propel people or groups of people into conflict. Laws are, in theory, created to suppress what history tells us is an inevitable human tendency towards oppression - in a world of limited resources, people will quarrel, and the ones with the power will push to get what they want.
Laws are not inherently just, right or moral but instead derive value from the wisdom of the people who've devised them. As such, a just, good or moral law is one that maintains the safety and freedom from oppression of citizens who come under its jurisdiction. Accordingly, an unjust law would be one that creates a negative impact upon the well-being of some or all of the citizens to whom it applies.
The problem with the Akaka Bill is that its effect would be precisely that of a bad or unjust law: it would impinge upon the well-being of a sizable portion of the citizenry. The bill intends to establish ethnic Native Hawaiians as what amounts to a federally recognized Indian tribe in order to grant them access to a slew of special racially derived privileges in the form of special welfare benefits, tax exemptions and regulatory exemptions.
Official government policy towards Native Americans is simultaneously an outrage to Native Americans and a blatant corruption of the Constitution. If the United States is seriously remorseful about its historical lack of even the most fleeting concern for the fate of the Native Americans, then it needs to cede back the lands it stole from them - all of them. If, on the other hand, the United States recognizes that, while it is founded on a history of indecency, theft and violent domination, it would not be in the present nation's best interest to attempt to rectify past wrongs, then it has no business comprising its supposed "Law of the Land" for the sake of a small group towards whom it feels a particularly acute sense of guilt.
Disregarding the United States' appalling historical record, one thing it did get right was the Fourteenth Amendment: If you're going to allow for and encourage a diverse population in your democratic, free nation, then you simply cannot institutionally discriminate against any member of that population. Regardless of past injustices (real or imagined), equal protection must be afforded to all citizens, in the present - otherwise "liberty and justice for all" is a sham. Which leads to where some Akaka Bill supporters have gotten confused.
Other claimants overlooked
The Akaka Bill would not serve as appropriate reparation for ethnic Native Hawaiians stripped of their nation by the United States in 1898 for the simple reason that the until-that-point Kingdom of Hawai'i did not comprise solely of ethnic Native Hawaiians. Europeans and Asians made up a significant portion (more than half) of the sovereign nation's population, playing essential roles in the political, economic and military affairs of the nation, according to
If Hawaiians had their kingdom taken from them with the overthrow, then these citizens did too, and if descendants of those Hawaiians deserve reparations, then descendants of these citizens do too. Therefore, the Akaka Bill not only fails to adequately address the alleged problem of an illegal annexation; it creates a new one by arbitrarily singling out a segment of the population that may have suffered from the event to the blatant exclusion of all others.
There remains the central issue of the kingdom, which, according to sovereignty apologists, has never legally stopped existing. Here I will need to make one concession: I'm simply not well-versed in international law (current, historical or retroactive, if there is such a thing) regarding annexation, and simply cannot comment on the legality of the overthrow of the kingdom's government - except to say that if there was a signed treaty ceding control of the government, it would seem that the treaty must be recognized. However, if this is not the case and per international law the Kingdom of Hawai'i could be said legally to still exist, meaning that the 50th never legally has and would therefore not need to secede from a union it was never part of in the first place.
I think it must be obvious that passing the Akaka Bill would be an abysmal idea for believers in sovereignty. The bill would, in effect, chop the legs out from beneath the movement and, in granting a small portion of its population a relatively small concession, invidiously ensure that the larger goal could never be accomplished. In other words, Hawai'i would be locked into statehood forever.
The Akaka Bill helps no one
There ought to be a broad spectrum of opponents to the bill, and from what I can glean of editorials in the local papers, this seems to be the case: U.S. citizens of all persuasion ought to be vehemently opposed to the idea of a law enacted that essentially institutionalizes preference for a single ethnic group. Political activists engaged in the fight for the reinstatement of the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai'i ought to be equally fervent in their opposition, for the simple reason that the enactment of the Akaka Bill would signal the death knell for their cause. Proponents of good old common sense ought to be equally appalled that a law clearly in the best interest of no one threatens to glide through on a current of confusion and a willingness to settle for whatever comes along.
West Hawaii Today (Kona), Thursday, March 9, 2006
Rep. Ed Case's talk story focuses on Native Hawaiian sovereignty
by Samantha Young
Stephens Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- The politically minded in Hawaii often have one question when it comes to Congress: What's happening with the Akaka bill on Native Hawaiian sovereignty?
The same held true at a "talk story" meeting that Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, led Wednesday evening on Capitol Hill in which he invited Hawaii transplants who now call Washington home.
Six attended, in addition to five of Case's congressional aides.
As to the Akaka bill, "The timing is tricky. It's an election year. That does weird things to schedules," said Case.
It was the only reference Case made to the elections, in which he is challenging Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, for his Senate seat in the September Democratic primary. Many expect a close contest, but Case was not asked about the race at the meeting and he did not bring it up.
Instead the discussion centered on the Native Hawaiian legislation.
Hawaii senators last December won another promise from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to schedule the Hawaiian federal recognition bill for a vote "early" this year. No date has been set.
Akaka is lobbying Frist to set a date, his spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said earlier this week.
In the House, members of the conservative Republican Study Committee have continued to oppose spending on Native Hawaiian programs.
"Do you see them coming around to learn more about the issue?" asked attorney Ralph Winnie, who is originally from Oahu.
Hawaii lawmakers hope to contain opposition to Hawaiian programs, Case said.
"The bad news is yes, we do have people out to get (the programs)," Case said. "The good news is it seems to be isolated. Our goal is to make sure it doesn't expand within the Republican ranks."
So far, the most attention about the Akaka bill this year has been scrutiny of a Republican-dominated Civil Rights Commission, which plans to vote on whether to endorse the bill at its April meeting.
Hawaii lawmakers plan to submit a joint letter of support and have called upon bill supporters in Washington and in the state to do the same before the commission closes the public record on the matter by March 21.
"I think what bothers me the most is there is a fairly systematic plan not to review, but to undo years of action," Case said.
The Washington gathering marked Case's 140th talk story since he took office in 2002, by his count. He will be in Hilo on Friday and Ocean View, Kona and Waikoloa on Saturday.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, March 11, 2006
Letters to the Editor
ABA'S SUPPORT FOR AKAKA BILL MISGUIDED
What Bishop Estate power broker William J. Fernandez wrote on Feb. 23 concerning an American Bar Association vote to support the Akaka bill demands correction.
The Akaka bill is really about changing the federal quantum rule that has been in existence since 1920 of from pure to 50 percent blood to one drop in 10,000, thus exterminating Hawai'i's genuine aboriginal Native Americans and replacing us with lineal descendants of Asian/European immigrants.
In 1920, Congress did exercise plenary power over Native Hawaiians when it set the blood quantum rule recognizing the nearest kinship group having 50 percent and more aboriginal blood. Congress does not recognize immigrants as Native Americans or Native Hawaiians. An immigrant cannot be native.
The most unjust, despicable lies imaginable are being promoted in an unethical lobbying effort seeking to gain undeserved sympathy for lineal descendants of immigrants. Two such lies are that Congress never did exercise its plenary power involving native Hawaiians of the blood, and that the ABA vote reveals it now has that power. Utter rubbish.
I want to see a bill in the state Legislature mandating that these opportunists take a DNA test to prove they biologically are native to Hawai'i; not native to Japan, China, Korea, Portugal, the Philippines, Samoa, etc.
Chief, Hou Band of Native Hawaiians of the Blood, Hale'iwa
MARCH 17, 2006 -- RESOLUTION INTRODUCED IN THE HAWAII LEGISLATURE ASKING CONGRESS TO AMEND THE AKAKA BILL TO REQUIRE THAT IT MUST BE APPROVED BY A VOTE OF ALL HAWAII'S PEOPLE BEFORE IT CAN BE ENACTED, AND ALSO ASKING THAT THE AKAKA BILL BE REJECTED BECAUSE IT IS BAD PUBLIC POLICY.
There were two resolutions introduced in the Hawai'i state Senate by Republican Senators Sam Slom and Gordon Trimble. One is intended as a concurrent resolution, meaning that it is hoped that after it is passed by the Senate it will also be passed by the House; the other is a simple Senate resolution. The language of each resolution is similar to the other. Following is the full text of the concurrent resolution; the links to both resolutions as found on the Legislature's website; and a news report in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Both the Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin have repeatedly and strongly editorialized in favor of the Akaka bill for about six years. Thus it is not surprising that the Star-Bulletin article fails to report the most powerful issues raised in the resolution, while the Advertiser failed to publish a news report at all.
THE SENATE, S.C.R. NO. 78
TWENTY-THIRD LEGISLATURE, 2006
STATE OF HAWAII
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
requesting the united states congress to strongly oppose s. 147, commonly known as the "akaka bill", until the bill is appropriately amended to include a vote by the people of hawaii to approve enactment of the measure..
WHEREAS, the Hawaii Senate delegation has proposed a bill, commonly known as the "Akaka Bill", which seeks to establish a Native Hawaiian governing entity with the powers to negotiate and determine the future legal status of those of Hawaiian blood; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian governing entity, as proposed in the Akaka Bill, seeks to create a race-based "tribe" out of those of Hawaiian blood, which includes up to 400,000 people in every state in the United States; and
WHEREAS, because of the broad provisions of the Akaka Bill, the race-based Native Hawaiian governing entity will have vast governmental powers and jurisdiction over persons in every state, creating the largest Indian tribe in the nation; and
WHEREAS, the membership in the society created by the Akaka Bill is race-based and determined by racial characteristics, namely blood without any minimum quantum, without the recognition of what are considered necessary elements for determination as a political entity such as Indian tribes, specifically determination by the tribe as to who may be members; past political recognition as a banded group distinct from others; or geographic or cultural segregation; and
WHEREAS, key components of the Akaka Bill shock the conscience of all reasonableness in several ways offensive to the citizens of the State of Hawaii, including the fact that the definition of "Native Hawaiian" is extremely broad and misleading; nothing in the bill guarantees the governing entity will be carried out in a democratic form; the bill fails to guarantee that the Bill of Rights are incorporated into the governing entity; the entity will negotiate with state and federal authorities over land rights, jurisdictional issues, and other entitlements for its members to the exclusions of others that reside in Hawaii; and most offensively, S. 147 wholly lacks any mechanism to enable Hawaiians—all Hawaiians, not just those with one drop of Hawaiian blood—to determine whether they want to authorize this race-based government; and
WHEREAS, the likely impacts from enacting the Akaka Bill will effect far more than those who qualify for membership. The Akaka Bill will have broad sweeping impacts upon all those who step foot on Hawaii's soil, including temporary stationed military personnel, tourists, and most certainly the residents whom call Hawaii home; and
WHEREAS, the Akaka Bill is legislation that cannot be easily amended or unwound as it creates a new society with its own laws, jurisdiction, taxing powers, and all other features of an independent and sovereign entity; and
WHEREAS, the Akaka Bill will have long lasting impacts upon the State of Hawaii and the United State including subjecting residents of Hawaii to multiple jurisdictions in one community; places clouds on land titles and other rights that have been resolved for over one hundred years; creating future taxpayer liabilities because of the possible litigation rights Native Hawaiians may have against the State of Hawaii and the United States governments; gambling or other gaming impacts because the sovereign entity will have the right to choose its form without oversight from the federal government; and current federal Indian funding could be devastatingly wiped out as the largest "tribe" stands to be created providing benefits to over 400,000 people; and
WHEREAS, because of the vast impacts of the Akaka Bill, many of which will be devastating to the State of Hawaii and its people, the residents of Hawaii should be entitled to vote in a referendum on whether S.147 is enacted; and
WHEREAS, the right of those impacted by such vast laws deserve to be enfranchised to determine whether they should be subject to a new sovereign which will have the power over them and limit their rights with which they have become accustomed since statehood
BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-third Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2006, the House of Representatives concurring, that members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate oppose the passage of S.147, commonly known as the "Akaka Bill" until the bill is appropriately amended to provide the residents of Hawaii the ability to vote on whether the bills is enacted; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate oppose the Akaka Bill on its merits because the bill creates a race-based government and ultimately will create racial balkanization where different people of different races are subject to different laws, who live in the same community; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United state House of Representatives, Hawaii's congressional delegation, and to each of the presiding officers of the legislative bodies of each state of the United States of America.
THE SENATE, S.R. NO. 51
TWENTY-THIRD LEGISLATURE, 2006
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 17, 2006
2 senators oppose Akaka Bill
The GOP legislators want Congress to delay voting until an isle referendum is held
By Richard Borreca
While Gov. Linda Lingle's administration is lobbying in Congress for passage of the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act, two fellow Republicans in the state Senate are trying to block it.
Sens. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) and Gordon Trimble (R, Downtown-Waikiki) have introduced two resolutions in the Legislature, SCR 78 and SR 51, asking Congress to delay voting on the bill until a referendum on it can be held in Hawaii.
The measure, which sets the framework for native Hawaiians to organize a government that would negotiate with the state and federal government regarding native Hawaii claims, has been dubbed the Akaka Bill after its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka.
The Slom and Trimble resolutions attack the federal legislation, saying it is too broad and poorly defined.
"Key components of the Akaka Bill shock the conscience of all reasonableness in several ways offensive to the citizens of the state of Hawaii," the resolutions say. "Nothing in the bill guarantees the governing entity will be carried out in a democratic form. The bill fails to guarantee that the Bill of Rights are incorporated into the governing entity."
Last year, Slom was the only legislator to vote against a resolution supporting the Akaka Bill.
Slom said yesterday he "generally" did not support the Akaka Bill, adding that "it has had more debate in Washington than in Honolulu."
Micah Kane, Hawaiian Home Lands Department director, said having a longtime Republican like Slom oppose the bill will not hurt it as it goes before Republicans in Congress.
"Our Legislature made it clear about their support for the Akaka Bill, and they were re-elected. That shows their constituents are in support of the bill," Kane said. "We respect Sen. Slom's position but we disagree with it."
Clyde Namuo, Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator, said the state Constitution does not provide for issues to be decided by referendum, so it would be impossible for Congress to wait for a Hawaii referendum on the Akaka Bill.
"Every legislator with the exception of Sen. Slom has supported passage of the Akaka Bill. It would appear to us that these senators and representatives represent all the voters in the state, and that is a sufficient plebiscite for us," Namuo said.
Asked if the opposition would damage the bill's chances before Congress, Namuo said Lingle's stature with the GOP majority would trump Slom's GOP status.
"The governor has great respect from members of Congress and the administration," Namuo said. "I don't believe that Sen. Slom being against this legislation will have any effect on this legislation.
"Her reputation is so positive, I don't think it matters that a senator from Hawaii Kai opposes this piece of legislation," he said.
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Akaka bill won’t ensure senator re-election
By David Shapiro
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka swings a political sword that cuts both ways when he makes his Akaka bill for Native Hawaiian recognition a central issue in defending his Senate seat against U.S. Rep. Ed Case.
Akaka argues that if he loses to Case and the Akaka bill carries over into next year, it will likely die because the support of many senators is tied to their personal relationships with him.
His backers have picked up the theme, saying the 81-year-old lawmaker deserves the chance to see his signature piece of legislation to fruition.
The problem is that a month before Case announced he would challenge Akaka in the Democratic primary, Akaka said he'd received a commitment from Senate leaders to work for a vote on his bill this year — presumably making it a settled issue in the next Congress.
Why the shifting appraisals of the bill's chances as the political landscape changes? Has Akaka now thrown in the towel three months into the year after expressing so much optimism as 2006 began?
Akaka is running for re-election on his personal relationships in the Senate and his claim of effectiveness in using them for Hawai'i's benefit.
But the Akaka bill has hardly been an example of senatorial efficacy on the part of either Akaka or senior Hawai'i Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
Akaka proposed the bill six years ago to give Hawaiians political standing to counter the U.S. Supreme Court's Rice v. Cayetano decision, which cast a legal cloud over Hawaiians-only programs such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Home Lands and Kamehameha Schools.
Since then, the measure has languished while a steady stream of new lawsuits has increased the threat to Hawaiian programs.
Republican opponents have used arcane Senate rules to stall the bill.
Akaka and Inouye could have retaliated by using the same rules to tie up pet legislation of those blocking the measure, but instead have taken a hat-in-hand approach that has come up empty.
They've amended many Hawaiian rights out of the bill in a fruitless attempt to mollify Republicans, negotiated unproductively with Senate leaders for floor time and traded their backing for controversial energy bills opposed by other Democrats to get a vote that never came.
The bill that Akaka now talks about carrying over to the next Congress was supposed to have been voted on no later than Aug. 7, 2005, under a broken deal he and Inouye reached with Senate leaders after they supported the 2004 Republican energy bill.
If the Akaka bill hasn't passed by election time, it will be a challenge for Akaka to credibly argue that Case, who supports the measure, would have done any worse in moving the legislation.
As a practical matter, if the Hawaiian recognition bill doesn't pass this year, its chances become increasingly dim in a new Congress no matter who is senator.
The process would have to start over with new hearings, possibly new committee leadership and the start of a presidential election cycle that always distracts Congress from less-pressing legislation.
The opposition has only grown as time has passed — aided in no small part by Akaka's poor choice of words in a national interview that gave adversaries ammunition to claim his bill could lead to Hawai'i's secession from the union.
Locally, some support for this bill among Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike has turned to indifference or worse as the matter has dragged on and the Akaka bill has been endlessly amended.
So before Akaka tries to turn the election on this issue, he needs to consider the very real risk that it won't necessarily turn things his way.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 23, 2006, Letter to editor
Isle residents should vote on Akaka Bill
A big mahalo to Sens. Sam Slom and Gordon Trimble for submitting bills that would permit a vote by the people of Hawaii concerning the Akaka Bill (Star-Bulletin, March 17). In spite of the comments made by Micah Kane, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands director, and Clyde Namuo, Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator, the majority of Hawaii residents, including Hawaiians, oppose the formation of a native Hawaiian government.
Like Kane and Namuo, most of the bill's support comes from the administrators and attorneys who will continue to benefit from the victimization of Hawaiians. Why shouldn't the people of Hawaii be allowed to have their say before a bill is voted on by 100 senators from 50 states in Washington, D.C., who have no idea how we live? What are the purveyors of victimhood afraid of?
Hawaii Reporter, March 31, 2006
Akaka Bill Will Negatively Impact Hawaii's People
U.S. Civil Rights Commission Should Recommend its Defeat in Congress
By Cliff Slater
One of the problems with the Akaka Bill, which is being considered in the U.S. Senate, is that it is quite vague, and Hawaii citizens are unaware of what might be the result of its passage.
A search of the Web sites concerned with Indian sovereignty issues helps in sketching out what could result in Hawaii from passage of the Akaka Bill.
For example, on the Web site of the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, an organization of communities in 28 states formed to deal with their mutual concerns about Indian sovereignty matters in their areas, some of them are that:
* Since many of the Indian nations collect their own taxes and do not pay county or state taxes, the remaining taxpayers believe they are subject to an unfair burden.
* Retailers (particularly of highly taxed gasoline, cigarettes, and liquor) complain that as many of these sovereign nations do not have to pay taxes they have an unfair advantage over normal retailers.
* There being no requirement that Indian Nations‚ elections use the secret ballot, there is too great an opportunity for powerful elites to take control - and stay in control.
* Casinos are making very high and unregulated campaign contributions and are getting unreasonable concessions from elected officials in return.
* Indian Casinos and retail stores are being expanded into non-Indian lands through the purchase of property, which is then federally designated as Indian Trust land.
* Our other citizens of all races (whites being a small proportion of them), rich and poor, will have their civil rights taken away by this bill without ever being given an opportunity to express their views through the ballot box.
Aside from the economics, there are sound social reasons to oppose such race-based legislation. First, such legislation always pits one race against another as is well documented in Thomas Sowell's Affirmative Action Around the World. And, as Sowell and others show, those who benefit most are the elites of those groups being granted race-based privileges.
We request that the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights reject the Akaka Bill as legislation that would exacerbate any residual race-based animosities rather than ameliorate them.
This is the testimony presented by Hawaii Resident Cliff Slater for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concerning the Akaka bill (S.147/H.R. 309 Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.)
Hawaii Reporter, April 9, 2006
Does 'Native' Now Mean 'Balkanize' in America?
By John Dendahl
Why aren't we focused on giving all American citizens equal standing, as Dr. Martin Luther King argued?
Congress has under consideration the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005. This legislation panders to a small, narrow interest to create yet another citizen group with special status. The dismal model for the Hawaiian bill is the special status of American Indians.
Rather than move backward with the Hawaiian bill, Congress should engage serious discussion leading toward normalizing citizenship for Indians.
One hears from those wanting to go the opposite way that other countries and the United Nations are considering special status for "indigenous" populations.
This isn't Latin America, and it isn't the United Nations. This is the United States, Ronald Reagan's "Shining City," doubtless history's leading accomplishment in assimilating peoples from all over the world into a culture intended to respect all and favor none. One need look no farther these days than our sometimes ally, France, to get a notion of America's greatness.
Yet the special status accorded Indians, amid enough fine quotations from statesmen to fill volumes, is largely a failure when measured by any reasonable standard of social progress. Their unclear status as both wards of the state and "sovereign" people have done much to foster myriad social pathologies.
In many instances, Indians' special status has led to conflicts with other Americans over rights to which we are all entitled. An ongoing dispute here in the Southwest is a prime example.
For more than 50 years, El Paso Natural Gas Company has operated pipelines crossing some 900 miles of the Navajo Nation's reservation. These deliver natural gas produced in New Mexico, Texas and other areas to millions of consumers in western states, including Navajos and other Indians. Royalties are earned by Navajos and other Indians for gas produced on their lands, and some are employed by EPNG and the producers.
EPNG’s 20-year right-of-way agreement with the Navajos expired in mid-October. Renewal has been under negotiation for the better part of two years. Compared to the high end of prices paid for perpetual, not 20-year, easements across non-Indian lands, EPNG's offer is some 50 times above the market. The Navajos want 100 times, and the parties are about one-quarter of a billion dollars apart.
Why should anyone other than EPNG and the Navajos care? Because, for one thing, right-of-way prices become part of the cost paid by all served consumers — a wealth transfer to the Navajos as to which the consumers have no voice other than EPNG.
Another reason — interesting in any debate about Indians status — is that the Navajo position has hints of treaty noncompliance.
The Navajos 1868 treaty with the United States obligates them not to "oppose the construction of ... works of utility or necessity which may be ordered or permitted by the laws of the United States." The same treaty section obligates the government to "pay the tribe whatever amount of damage may be assessed by three disinterested commissioners" appointed by the President.
The pipeline is a work of utility ordered or permitted by federal law. In view of the impasse, EPNG has petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior, the Navajos trustee, to renew the right-of-way.
That EPNG has negotiated with the Navajo Nation is, in itself, a gesture of especially good faith. Some would argue that EPNG and Interior could have bypassed Navajo leaders altogether, completed the renewal, and left the amount of payment to the three commissioners contemplated by the 1868 treaty. There seems no credible chance that this route would have brought the Navajos anything close to EPNG's offer, so consumers, including some Navajos and other Indians, would be better off with lower natural gas costs.
Reservation activities such as gambling, avoidance of state taxes on retail sales to non-Indians, and others also point to special advantage inconsistent with a uniform standard of citizenship.
My 800-pound gorilla nominee here is Indian religious claims intended to trump use of public lands by the rest of us. This issue raised its head again just weeks ago when a New Mexico Indian pueblo sued the U.S. Forest Service to void a permit for a new chairlift in a ski area that has operated for 57 years. Where is the crèche-busting ACLU when we need it?
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, has the attention of Congress on his Native Hawaiian legislation. That makes this the perfect time to commence an earnest discussion as to how we achieve equal standing among all American citizens — none superior, none inferior, and all celebrated as individuals.
Lifelong New Mexican John Dendahl is a retired executive and political leader. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maui News, Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Case: Hawaiian benefits face threats in Congress
By HARRY EAGAR
KAHULUI – U.S. Rep. Ed Case says time is working against passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act in the U.S. Senate this year.
In the Senate, "time is the most precious commodity going," he told an audience of about 40 at a meeting of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce at The Dunes at Maui Lani on Tuesday.
In the question period, chamber President Boyd Mossman observed that it seems that every time the bill comes near to a floor hearing, "something comes up," whether Hurricane Katrina or the war in Iraq, that shoves it aside. He wondered whether the immigration debate will shove the bill aside this year.
It might, Case said. Senators are anxious to go home to campaign.
The Native Hawaii Government Reorganization measure is commonly called the Akaka Bill, after U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. Case is giving up his 2nd District House seat to run against Akaka in the Democratic primary for Senate.
Case says he supports the Akaka Bill "completely" and always has.
But besides the pressure of time, he acknowledged that the bill – also called the Native Hawaiian recognition bill, because it would give Hawaiians a status similar to that of Indian tribes as sovereign entities within the United States – has opponents in the Senate.
He divided these into two "trains" of thought:
First, those who consider, on principle, that laws that provide benefits to Native Hawaiians (or another racial group) are discriminatory.
Second, those who have a limited view of what the federal government "should and shouldn’t be doing," and who place providing benefits to indigenous people in the "shouldn’t" category.
The issue gets complicated, also, by questions of money and, Case says, of racial discrimination.
One argument he heard in Congress was that over the past 30 years, Native Hawaiians have received nearly $1 billion in federal programs. While that number is not Case’s, he says he has no reason to doubt it. It would amount to about $30 million a year over 30 years.
Case told the chamber that the creation and continuation of federal programs directed to Native Hawaiians is a "success story" due in part to the steady support of Hawaii representatives in Washington since the 1970s, and specifically Sens. Daniel Inouye and Akaka.
But that progress, Case says, is in great peril and the fall election could mark "a turning point," for better or worse, for Native Hawaiians.
Congress is becoming "increasingly intolerant . . . not to Native Hawaiians per se as much as to indigenous peoples" in general.
Case touted his support for Native Hawaiian programs – such as health, education and small business assistance – but he avoided criticizing Akaka’s legislative record.
Since both men support Native Hawaiian recognition and are otherwise generally mainstream Democrats, the leading difference between them is not so much policy as age.
Akaka is 81, Case is 53.
Case avoided stating his age or Akaka’s, but he did delicately bring up the issue of seniority and continuity several times. Hawaii’s senior senator, Inouye, is also past 80.
He also addressed a question raised by Honolulu columnist Lee Cataluna, who wondered in print about "commitment." Case is in his second term in Congress, after serving several terms in the state Legislature.
Case says he is committed to Congress and is not planning to use a short stint in Washington as a springboard to a return home to run for governor. He acknowledges that such a political strategy is becoming more and more common in other states.
He also says he does not plan to endorse anyone for the 2nd District, reserving his right to change his mind when he knows all the candidates running for the House seat.
He warned Democrats that they should not consider that they "own" the seat, although a Democrat has held it continuously for decades.
The constituency of the district is changing rapidly, he says. The 2nd District "is not the same as it was five years ago, or 10 years ago, or even two years ago."
It still has more Native Hawaiians than any other congressional district, though not by a wide margin over the 1st District.
Case joked that no one would mistake him for a Native Hawaiian, but he added that he considers himself a good "cultural translator."
The changes he is seeing threaten to produce a society "with a lack of solid information about Native Hawaiian history, Native Hawaiian culture."
That, he says, "impels us to produce educational programs" to counteract the impact of "Mainland intolerance."
Because Hawaiians have made so many gains politically in the past generation, Case said, the unstable situation confronting them makes this year "a time of great opportunity and great peril."
Time Magazine Vol. 167 No. 17
(issue dated April 24, 2006, published April 17)
Names Daniel Akaka One of the Five Worst Senators
By all accounts, Daniel Akaka is an affectionate and earnest man. Even a conservative fire-breather like Oklahoma's James Inhofe says his ultraliberal colleague "is a lovable person, and most of us are not that lovable." As a legislator, though, Akaka is living proof that experience does not necessarily yield expertise. After 16 years on the job, the junior Senator from Hawaii is a master of the minor resolution and the bill that dies in committee.
In the 2003-04 Congress, for example, he sponsored a handful of innocuous resolutions commending civil servants and establishing Financial Literacy for Youth Month. He sponsored 29 unambitious bills, almost none of which ever emerged from committee. The three that did become law named a post office, changed the boundary of a national park in Hawaii and nurtured "the development and planning of certain policies, schedules and programs" for postmasters.
Akaka's seniority has placed him in positions of potential influence. At 81 he is the ranking Democrat on the Veterans' Affairs Committee and sits on four other committees that control such valuable political real estate as the armed services and homeland security as well as energy and natural resources. He did make a mark 13 years ago by passing a resolution by which the U.S. apologized for invading Hawaii in 1893. But he has struggled recently to get a bill approved that would provide increased autonomy to the islands. Says Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report: "He lives in [senior Hawaiian Senator Daniel] Inouye's very long shadow on the back bench of the Senate, and his interests seem more parochial."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, April 20, 2006
For Akaka, Senate race is about Time
ED CASE must live a charmed life. He's running for the U.S. Senate against veteran senator and all-around nice guy Dan Akaka but had to feel like his hands were tied because he couldn't really come down hard on one of Hawaii's favorite sons. We all know Akaka isn't the most exciting guy in the world, but anyone running against him would have to show him respect or face the wrath of voters. So how do you rough up such a revered opponent in a political campaign? Well, if you're Ed Case, you sit back and let a major national news magazine do it.
Coming out of left field, not to mention the left wing, Time magazine this week calls Akaka one of the five worst members in the U.S. Senate. Think about that. Think of all the knuckleheads and weirdos in the U.S. Senate: philanderers, miscreants, reprobates, liars, schemers, loafers, hypocrites, cheaters and extortionists and the gentleman from Hawaii is deemed to be one of the worst of the lot? Please. Akaka is none of those things listed above. He's an honorable man. But he's managed to become the first U.S. senator in the history of the republic to be branded bad simply because he is boring.
He is. He's boring. Akaka is like the milkman of the Senate. He goes to work each day. He makes his rounds. But stays quietly in the background. He doesn't pull any babies out of burning buildings or geriatric cases from the paths of buses. Time magazine's biggest indictment against Akaka is that he is a lawmaker who apparently never makes laws. (Frankly, I think we could use more of those kind of lawmakers.)
I'M A FAIRLY informed person but to be honest, I can't think of anything Akaka has done during his 143 years in Congress that is noteworthy. See? I don't even know how long he's been there. I think he was elected to the House during the Roosevelt administration and became senator under Eisenhower. Or maybe it was Lincoln. Who knows?
And yes, as a lawmaker he's been more of a fireplug than a firebrand. But that's just his style. If the Senate were a beauty contest, Akaka would be Mr. Congeniality.
But I'm sure he's chaired many important Senate committees. Even a potted plant gets to head a Senate committee after several decades of perfect attendance. I believe I heard he chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Senate Subcommittees. Or maybe it was the Investigative Bipartisan Committee on Toothpick Safety.
I vaguely recall Akaka did something laudable in 1973, saved an endangered beetle in Arkansas or something.
How unlucky does a harmless veteran Democrat have to be in order for Time magazine to attempt to shed its image as a member of the vast left-wing media machine by labeling you the worst senator in the country in the middle of your reelection campaign?
And how lucky is fellow Democrat Ed Case? All he has to do now is sit back and try to not to gloat while his aides see to it that a copy of Time magazine finds a way into every home in Hawaii. He has to outwardly appear to be shocked and hurt that Time magazine would savage such a venerable personage as Dan Akaka while, inside, you know he's yelling "Yeah, baby!"
Akaka, meanwhile, has got to find a way to toss in a three-pointer at the bell. He needs to pass some really big non-toothpick-related law that will endear him Hawaii voters. I'm thinking about the Give Everyone In Hawaii A Thousand Dollars Act of 2006. Talk about an Akaka Bill.
Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail email@example.com
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