“This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts. Those who receive the rewards are totally separated from those who shoulder the burdens. It is not a wise leadership” – Spock, Star Trek
“May the force [of imagined and real heros] be with you.” We can choose change.
“[I]n 1860 only around ‘5 percent of the Southern population owned even one slave, and a significantly smaller percentage owned more than twenty.’ . . .
Millions of human beings were held in bondage. It’s mind-boggling to me [says author Camille T. Dungy] that such a small number of people controlled so much of the wealth back then — and much of that wealth was accrued through the bodies of other human beings. A black human being was a commodity, an object, not particularly different in value from a piece of jewelry, a few head of livestock, or several bolts of fabric. My point is that most white people didn’t have the kind of wealth that the institution of slavery was protecting, just like most people today don’t have the kind of wealth protected by tax codes that allow a billionaire to write off a private jet but don’t allow schoolteachers to write off $250 worth of school supplies. . . .
America would not be the wealthy country it is without slave labor. We would not have our power or wealth if we had not, for a very long time, depended on the unpaid labor of millions of human beings . . . Cotton wasn’t king just in the South. Many of the most productive cotton mills were in the North, as were the insurance companies and other industries that profited off those mills. Without a lot of unpaid labor, those profits would have been significantly less. And we are still depending on the unpaid or underpaid labor of millions of human beings — from prison workers to immigrants to foreign labor. The question of slavery is still with us [my emphasis]. America has a legacy of harming other human beings and justifying that harm by glorifying the wealth it brings to a few. Thankfully America also has a legacy of resisting that impulse. . . .
It’s sometimes difficult to accept the fact that whole portions of our society were built up–are still built up– to support the wealth of just a few. Why don’t more people object to that? Perhaps because so many Americans think maybe one day they will be the billionaire with access to the unchecked power to acquire wealth at the expense of other human beings. When the focus is on the glorification of wealth rather than on an honest examination of how that wealth might have been accrued, we routinely ignore brutalities visited upon our fellow human beings (7). . . .
“Racism – and resistance to racism – is part of the fabric of this country. When our twenty-dollar bill celebrates a man who is connected to the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of black people, I can’t see how I can say, ‘Let’s just focus on this one area.’ We are part of an ecosystem. We can’t just worry about the whales, so to speak. We need to address what’s happening to our oceans.
But, as individuals, I know we sometimes have to choose the battles that matter most to us” (9).
There is much to do to make our world more just and equitable for all. Let’s get working.
From: “Poetic Justice: Camille T. Dungy on Racism, Writing, and Radical Empathy” by Airica Parker – The Sun, June 2018, p. 4-12.
Banner photo: Andrew Jackson – Popular General in the United States Army and from 1829 to 1837, seventh President of the United States.
Some Hawaiians here in our state don’t vote because our U.S. government overthrew the legal monarchy of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 when businessmen (children of U.S. missionaries) garnered the help of a U.S. warship in the Honolulu harbor threatening mass killing of the Hawaiians. Queen Lili’uokalani, the royal monarch, acquiesced, to prevent the deaths of her people. She hoped the United States President would right the situation. Though President Cleveland and his special commissioner James Blount supported the return of the Queen’s sovereignty, the Provisional Government refused to step down. They quickly proclaimed themselves the Republic of Hawai’i and by 1898 they’d received status as a U.S. Territory. Nothing was done to reinstate the islands to the Hawaiian people.
So it is very understandable that some Hawaiians today don’t want to be part of this system.
However, when you don’t vote and make your voice heard, the ones who do vote win for their ideas, their way of life, their benefit.
Besides, Queen Lili’uokalani saw that having a vote was important!
“We have no other direction left to pursue, except this unrestricted right to vote. Given by the U.S. to you the Lahui [the Hawaiian Nation], grasp it and hold on to it. It is up to you to make things right for all of us in the Future.” Queen Lili’uokalani
So if you are Hawaiian, please make choices that will be the best for you, your family, your community.
And for those of us who aren’t Native Hawaiians, I’ve learned that it is important to vote for the candidates for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Until this last Primary Election in August, I left those three spots unchecked each election – because I’m not Hawaiian and didn’t think I had a real right to be making those choices. However, I’ve learned that the Hawaiian community can use our votes if they are well informed. The mission of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs includes protecting the ‘aina and Hawaiians. What is good for the land and the Hawaiian people is likely good for all of us.
It’s not too late in Hawaii to register to vote (although official early registration ended last Tuesday, October 9th). The Maui County Clerk’s Office is relaxing deadlines, so if you have valid identification with you, you can register to vote on the day you vote.
Early walk-in voting here on Maui is October 23-November 3, Monday – Saturday, 8am- 4pm at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku.
The General Election is November 6, 7am-6pm at your designated polling place.
Watch for the various candidate forums. Kihei Community Center has another one this Tuesday, Oct. 16 at St. Theresa Church. Go to <olvr.hawaii.gov>, put in your address, and see the ballot for you. UHMC will be having a “Teach In.” Get informed.
Then VOTE. Queen Lili’uokalani knew it was important. Our future depends on it.
Banner photo: https://www.biography.com/people/liliuokalani-39552
On March 23, 2017, President Trump signed the permit approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline – where Native American led protests, says Wikipedia, have united environmental groups, citizens, and politicians over the potential negative impacts of the Keystone XL project. The main issues are the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and 17% higher greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil sands compared to extraction of conventional oil.
On that day, Mekasi Camp Horinek, a member of the Ponca Nation, told reporter Alleen Brown:
“I want to say thank you to the president for all the bad decisions that he’s making — for the bad cabinet appointments that he’s made and for awakening a sleeping giant. People that have never stood up for themselves, people that have never had their voices heard, that have never put their bodies on the line are now outraged. I would like to say thank you to President Trump for his bigotry, for his sexism,
[for his attacks on our environment, for his support of gun rights over the rights of our children to be safe in schools, for his attacks on immigrants – in this country that is filled with people whose ancestors came as immigrants, for snubbing our Allies and becoming cozy with ruthless dictators, for celebrating hate and disrespect, for filling the pockets of the richest from the suffering of the poorest, . . .]
for bringing all of us in this nation together to stand up and unite”
From: Naomi Klein’s NO IS NOT ENOUGH: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, p. 190-191.
Let’s stand together and VOTE on November 6th.
Aloha, in light and action, Renée
What you must see about “survivors” of the A-bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. What you can do to promote peace and end war!
If you – and your elected officials – need another convincing reason to do everything possible to prevent another nuclear bombing, read Melinda Clarke’s book, Waymakers for Peace and if possible, go to her free talk on Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 1:30p.m. at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center campus in Kahului, Maui. Call 808 244-6862 to make reservations or for more information.
Now a resident of Maui, Melinda Clarke first went to Japan in 1964 and then returned for many years. She saw her mission was to record what most people – especially in the U.S. – don’t really want to know. In her book of interviews, Waymakers for Peace, and in her talks, Clarke gives a a clear understanding of the devastation and suffering caused by a nuclear weapon (much less powerful than the ones we have today). Clarke also suggests what citizens can do to promote peace and end war.
On August 11, 2018, The Maui News featured an article by Lee Imada about Melinda Clarke and her experiences and mission. Go to http://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2018/08/maui-woman-tells-stories-of-atomic-bombing-at-hiroshima/
Clarke’s website can be found at http://www.worldaloha.net.
Clips of the original photographs (very troubling) We must work to make sure this never happens again. “Lost Generation” can be viewed at .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUv-wBK00eM&app=desktop
Recently, we had a Servas visitor from Israel. Servas, established in 1948, is the oldest host and traveler organization in the world. Its mission is to foster peace, goodwill, and mutual respect among a world-wide network of travelers and hosts.
More than 15,000 Servas hosts in more than 100 countries open their homes to travelers – like you. For two nights/three days, you can share and experience the lives of Servas hosts. For Barry and me, our very best travel experiences have often involved being with Servas hosts. For more information, go to < https://usservas.org/> or for international travel < https://www.servas.org/>.
On Maui, Barry and I are Servas hosts and feel the world comes to us. Last week, our Servas guest was Sharon, a most interesting man and wonderful visitor. His visit enabled my friends and family to have direct interaction with an Israeli; he works in a bomb deactivation unit.
Sharon realizes that many U.S. citizens don’t know the whole story and so judge Israel harshly without knowing the complex situation.
He suggests my friends to see the following links:
- The first video is done by Danny Ayalon, Founder of the “Truth About Israel,” Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the United States:
“The Truth about Jerusalem” < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz9CTBOKK4g>
- The second is by David Brog, Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, which was created in 2015 to combat the disturbing spread of anti-Semitism on America’s college campuses.
“Why Isn’t There a Palestinian State?” <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76NytvQAIs0>
These videos are only about five minutes each. Please watch them.
The on-going Israeli and Palestinian situation is very difficult and multifaceted.
In December 2014 – January 2015, Barry and I spent five weeks in Israel, traveling all over including being on the 10-day Servas tour of the country, living a week at Kibbutz Lotan on the Jordanian border near Egypt, visiting our friends Ruthi & Danny, whom we met through teaching in China, spending Hanukah with Clair’s Israeli relatives (she was our son John’s girlfriend at the time), being there for Christmas, and for me (not Barry because he is Jewish), going into the Palestinian Authority area to see Bethlehem; this all gave me an understanding of Israel and the very complex situation there.
I hope you can travel to Israel. The Servas hosts there, including Sharon and his family and those Barry and I met in 2014 are wonderful – and the country interesting, diverse, and complex.
Go see for yourself. If you go as a Servas traveler (a few hosts are Palestinian), you will glean insights and have experiences not readily available to most visitors – and you’ll certainly have more knowledge than you can glean from the newspapers or T.V. And talk to people, like Sharon, who actually live there.
Sharon’s visit here to Maui allowed for discussion and mutual respect. One of my friends who considered herself pro-Palestinian concluded, “Sharon is a good man.”
May Israeli and Palestinians (and all of us) walk forward in the light.
Aloha, Shalom, & As-salaamu 3aleikum (peace be with you), Renée
[America] is really where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where the races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy”
– Leonard Cohen
“After baseball, America’s favorite pastime may be the process of reinventing itself, continuously redefining its identity and searching for its soul”
– Brenda Payton
“We take freedom for granted, and because of this we don’t understand how incredibly vulnerable it is”
There is much to be done wherever you are.
Quotations from The Sun, Issue 493, January 2017, p. 48.
“Imagine you open the faucet of your kitchen sink expecting water and instead out comes cash. Now imagine that it comes out at the rate of $1 million a minute. You call your plumber, who thinks you’re crazy. To get you off the phone, he opines that it is your sink and therefore must be your money. So you spend it wildly. Then you realize that the money wasn’t yours and you owe it back.
Now imagine that this happens every minute of every day for the next three years. At the end of the three years, you owe back more than $6 trillion. So you borrow $6 trillion to pay back the $6 trillion you owe.
Government produces no products that consumers are willing to pay for voluntarily, and it doesn’t sell shares of stock in its assets. It doesn’t generate wealth; it seizes it. And when it can no longer politically get away with seizing, it borrows. It borrows a great deal of money — money that it rolls over, by borrowing trillions to pay back trillions to prior lenders, and thus its debt never goes away.
Last week, after eight years of publicly complaining that then-President Barack Obama was borrowing more than $1 trillion a year to fund the government — borrowing that the Republicans silently consented to — congressional Republicans, now in control of Congress and with a friend in the Oval Office, voted to spend and hence borrow between $5 trillion and $6 trillion more than tax revenue will produce in the next three years; that’s a few trillion more than they complained about in the Obama years.
That’s borrowing $1 million a minute.
Obviously, no business or household or bank can survive very long by borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Yet the federal government, no matter which party controls Congress or the presidency, engages in staggering borrowing — borrowing that will cripple future generations by forcing them to pay for goods and services that were consumed before they were born.
Wilson’s $30 billion debt 100 years ago has ballooned to $20.6 trillion today. At the end of President Donald Trump’s present term — because of the Republican budget signed into law — the government’s debt will be about $27 trillion.
That amount is a debt bomb waiting to explode. Here’s why. Every year, the federal government collects about $2.5 trillion in revenue and spends it all. It borrows another $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion and spends it all. To avoid paying back any of the $27 trillion it will owes, the federal government will need to spend about $1 trillion a year in interest payments.
That $1 trillion is 40 percent of the revenue collected by the federal government; that’s 40 cents on every dollar in tax revenue going to interest on old debts — interest payments that are legally unavoidable by taxpayers and voters.
Register – and vote!
Aloha, Barry & Renée
Here’s a point of view that I hadn’t considered from the Krista Bremer’s essay, “American Winter.”
“The fact is he [my husband] was disturbed by the outcome, but not shocked or dismayed. He did not lose sleep or become paralyzed with dread. He has not given in to despair. Long ago, while growing up in Libya, my husband developed the skills needed to endure a Trump presidency. Living under Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi taught Ismail how to survive a narcissistic, sociopathic leader. My husband is as matter-of-fact about the election outcome as my favorite cashier at our grocery store, a Christian from Gambia who wraps her hair in plain black cloth and wears men’s running shoes that appear to be a size too large. Her dream is to buy land to farm back home. She and her husband, who is working in Europe, are sending as much money as they can back to their children in Gambia. She has worked in this country for more than a decade and hasn’t seen her youngest child in seven years. This is her second job and, at nine dollars an hour, her highest-paying one. . .
When I made a comment about the election results, she lowered her voice so no one else would hear. “Of course Trump won,” she said with a hint of impatience. ‘God is not sleeping.’ Stuffing my purchases into thin plastic bags, she added, ‘God sees the suffering America has spread around the globe.’ She . . . [feels Trump is] a fitting representative of a rich country that pursues its interests with callous disregard for vulnerable people at home and abroad.”
Read the essay at: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/494/american-winter
War or Peace?
On Saturday, January 13, my husband Barry, our friend Gail from Washington State, and I lounged on our lanai on the warm Maui morning. We watched the birds congregate at our feeder: lots of little red beaked Java sparrows, vibrantly colored love birds, red-headed finches, and an occasional Hawaiian cardinal.
As we sipped our coffee, chatted, and laughed, a warning alert blared from my phone. Usually this means a flash flood warning from rain storms up country or a high-surf advisory. Not at all concerned, I strolled into the kitchen to pick up my phone:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Was this it?
In the three seconds that it took for me to run back outside to where Barry and Gail were chatting, the following thoughts (in abbreviated form) raced through my mind:
1) Where could we take shelter? We live in a house of single-wall construction, with lots of windows, set on posts and pilings attached to volcanic rock. We don’t even have basements in Hawaii let alone bomb shelters. For a short while during the 1960s when everyone in the U.S. was afraid the Russians would attack, my dad – as a part-time job – sold home bomb shelters that could be built in your backyard. But that was in the Midwest and a long time ago. (I don’t think Dad sold many, and we certainly couldn’t afford one). At school, we practiced crouching under our desks as a way to be protected from atomic bombs!! Ridiculous!
2) I’ve read Japanese author Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain, a dispassionate but memorable novel based on historical records of the devastation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and those who survived. I’ve been to Hiroshima and the Peace Museum there where photos show that people were vaporized by bombs much smaller than the ones available today.
The report from the first Western journalist to enter Hiroshima after the bombing notes –
On September 3, 1945, “Wilfred Graham Burchett entered Hiroshima alone, less than a month after the atomic bombing of the city. He was the first Western journalist — and almost certainly the first Westerner other than prisoners of war — to reach Hiroshima after the bomb and was the only person to get an uncensored story out of Japan. The story which he typed out on his battered Baby Hermes typewriter, sitting among the ruins, remains one of the most important Western eyewitness accounts, and the first attempt to come to terms with the full human and moral consequences of the United States’ initiation of nuclear war. It was published in the London Daily Express on September 5 and appears below . . .:
30th Day in Hiroshima: Those who escaped begin to die, victims of
THE ATOMIC PLAGUE
I write this as a Warning to the World
DOCTORS FALL AS THEY WORK
Poison gas fear: All wear masks
In Hiroshima, 30 days after the 1st atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly — people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.
Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.
In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war. It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden. The damage is far greater than photographs can show.
When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for twenty-five and perhaps thirty square miles and you can see hardly a building. It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction.
I picked my way to a shack used as a temporary police headquarters in the middle of the vanished city. Looking south from there I could see about three miles of reddish rubble. That is all the atomic bomb left of dozens of blocks of city streets, of buildings, homes, factories and human beings.
STILL THEY FAIL
There is just nothing standing except about twenty factory chimneys — chimneys with no factories. A group of half a dozen gutted buildings. And then again, nothing.
The police chief of Hiroshima welcomed me eagerly as the first Allied correspondent to reach the city. With the local manager of Domei, the leading Japanese news agency, he drove me through, or perhaps I should say over, the city. And he took me to hospitals where the victims of the bomb are still being treated.
In these hospitals I found people who, when the bomb fell suffered absolutely no injuries, but now are dying from the uncanny after-effects. For no apparent reason their health began to fail. They lost appetite. Their hair fell out. Bluish spots appeared on their bodies. And then bleeding began from the ears, nose, and mouth. At first, the doctors told me, they thought these were the symptoms of general debility. They gave their patients Vitamin A injections. The results were horrible. The flesh started rotting away from the hole caused by the injection of the needle. And in every case the victim died. That is one of the after-effects of the first atomic bomb man ever dropped and I do not want to see any more examples of it. . . .
Go to the above link for the rest of the article.
In the Oct. 10, 2016, Popular Mechanics article, Jay Bennett writes:
Also, for those surviving the initial bombing, the radiation sickness caused agonizing deaths. (Also, the birth defects that follow the family of the survivors reach into subsequent generations).
3) I would not want to survive an atomic blast.
4) Even if I did somehow survive the blast, there would be huge problems in Hawaii. Although the Hawaiians were self-sustaining for thousands of years, now “modern” Hawaii imports 90-95% of its food and energy. We are one of the most food vulnerable places on Earth. If there were a catastrophe, we would soon be out of food and fuel. Puerto Rico is still not getting needed help from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017.
In a December 21, 2017 article for Esquire magazine,
Holms reports, It’s been “three months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, unleashing the full force of a Category 4 storm on the American territory. The intensity of the 155 mile-per-hour winds and the ferocity of the rainfall led the island’s residents to believe they had encountered something not of this world. . .
The troubles were never going to recede with the storm. The recovery was always going to be long, hard, and frustrating. But reports on the ground in the ensuing weeks quickly made it clear that the federal government’s effort was unacceptably slow and perilously inept. One month after the storm, one million Puerto Ricans—American citizens—were without water. Three million were without power.”
Puerto Rico is much closer to the Mainland U.S. than we are; we aren’t likely to get much help from our current administration.
5) Where was President Trump – and what was he doing with his “bigger button”?
Such terrifying thoughts raced through my mind as I ran back outside to alert Barry and Gail.
Gail, being the smart Microsoft contractor that she is, immediately opened her computer and checked The New York Times. Lead stories included one on the U.S. economy and one on gay rights. There was nothing about missiles headed toward Hawaii. Barry, the always great researcher, ran to the kitchen and turned on the radio. There was nothing on any channel. There were no continuing disaster sirens.
We decided the alert had been a hoax or a hack.
Besides, we were with people we loved, watching birds, and drinking coffee. Our neighbor came up with his cup of coffee. Our other lovely neighbor was off paddling in the ocean. Our son and his little family were on the U.S. Mainland. If we were to go, it would be quick – and besides the crisis didn’t seem real.
Another alarm signal came 38 minutes later saying the first had been a mistake. Later we learned that our president had been playing golf in Florida, so he didn’t overreact to the “news.” The whole situation reminded us that we must check our sources, but it also reminded us that we haven’t really worried about nuclear threats since the early 60s.
At home on our lanai, our little gathering did have a heightened sense of appreciation for the beautiful day, our relationships, our lives, and we poured another round of coffee.
A few days later, the following letter (written by my friend Melinda whom I’ve known for about 20 years) was published in The Maui News:
Nuclear war is neither acceptable nor inevitable
As an interviewer and researcher who lived in Hiroshima for over 10 years, I learned that any survival is a fluke. The small bombs that were detonated in Japan vaporized people in an instant, leaving only their shadows. Skin melted off, neighborhoods disappeared, people who were in shelters were sucked out by an intense force and those who survived for a while died horrific deaths from radiation poisoning.
The warning signal is a cruel lie. Nuclear war is neither acceptable nor inevitable.
Did you know that in 1929 a law was passed making war illegal? It’s called the Kellogg Brian Pact. It was put forth by our secretary of state, Frank B. Kellogg, and his French counterpart, Aristide Briand.
Did you also know that Hawaii is the first state to recognize the KBP law thanks to Mayor Alan Arakawa’s signing a proclamation making Aug. 27 KBP day? And that Gov. David Ige recognized KBP in a Peace Day proclamation at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in September?
Instead of sirens we need to find a way to de-escalate the path toward nuclear war. Could it be through legal action such as fines for incitement since KBP outlaws war?
If the Koreas and USA can negotiate a cease-fire, surely we citizens of aloha can find a way to prepare for “No More War.”
Surely, we can all work for peace and toward peace.
Religious leaders of all faiths advise peace and love:
Prophet Muhammad, said : “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim)
The wise words of Buddha from the Dhammapada further reminds us where we could be putting our thoughts – and actions:
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its way with care and let it spring from
love, born out of concern for all beings.”
Gandhi said, “The real love is to love them that hate you, to love your neighbor even though you distrust him. Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. . . .
And what did Jesus say? “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Let’s put our focus and energy on understanding and loving everyone. Our survival and that of the Earth depends on it.
Banner photo: Birds in the papaya tree off our lanai