Current Thoughts (Mostly Hawaii)

This pundits list

“Stan Fichtman I still wanna see your list”, came a request from a fellow political pundit on Facebook one evening after a post. That post was announcing that Hawaii Congressman Ed Case told Civil Beat that he intends to run for re-election for the House seat he holds, rather than throw his name into the ring for Hawaii governor in 2022.

In response to that request, I informed the pundit, “You have just penned the first sentence in the 101st post of Politics Hawaii with Stan Fichtman. When I post that will be the list”.

So with that introduction, allow me to provide you my insight on whom might be on the final list of candidates that will be running for Governor of the State of Hawaii in 2022.

List one: the declared candidates

The record currently shows these candidates have filed paperwork, declaring their intention to run for Governor of the State of Hawaii.

Joshua B. Green, currently Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, was elected in 2018 to that office. Running as a Democrat.

Kirk William Caldwell, currently a private citizen but former Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu. Held that office from 2013 to 2021. Former member of the Hawaii House of Representatives. Running as a Democrat.

Vicky Tiu Cayetano, the former first lady of Hawaii under her husband, former Governor Benjamin Cayetano. Founded United Laundry Services and has never held formal office before. Running as a Democrat

BJ Penn
BJ Penn
PC: “BJ Penn” by hunterbishop is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Marissa Kerns, businesswoman and former candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor under Andrea Tupola in 2018. Running as a Republican

Paul Morgan, a former member of the Hawaii National Guard. Running as a Republican

Jay Dee “BJ” Penn III, a current mixed martial artist, holds a fifth-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Running as a Republican according to Wikipedia.

List two: who could still throw their name into the ring

While there has been talking of several people who would toss in their name, one by one they have all fallen out. This includes but is not limited to Speaker of the State House Scott Saiki, the aforementioned Ed Case, and even (current)  Councilwoman Andrea Tuplola for a second try (she was the nominee for Governor on the Republican ticket in 2018).

With the number of withdraws of potentials with at least some name, the list of “who else” is quite small. Both listed here are going to run under the Democratic ticket, and both will immediately get recognition and money the second they announce.

Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard
PC: “Tulsi Gabbard” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

So here is that list:

Tulsi Gabbard – former state house member, a former congresswoman from Hawaii in the House of Representatives, former councilmember of the Honolulu City Council, and former candidate for president of the United States.

Derek Kawakami – current Mayor of Kauai County, a former member of the House of Representatives, and former Kauai Councilmember.

There may be a potential third name on that list – former State Senate President, Congresswoman, and candidate for both Mayor of Honolulu and Governor of Hawaii, Colleen Hanabusa. However, like others who have run and lost a series of races, it becomes immensely harder to get a win. See Mufi Hannemann, Charles Djou, and Linda Lingle as examples of this.

Anyone else at this point would have a harder time raising the profile and money necessary to make a real run for office.

Congressman Ed Case
Ed Case
PC: “Congressman Ed Case” by Waikiki Natatorium is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As for why any of them would want to jump in, there are a few factors. First off it could be that the luster of the current candidates wears off. With money looking for a winner, either of them could be persuaded to jump in and be the candidate to rally around. A similar thing happened in the First Congressional District race in 2018 when Ed Case, late in the primary race, jumped in and won in a crowded race that included Beth Fukumoto and Doug Chin.

A second could come if one of the current candidates has to drop out. Shaking up the race that much could open a window for an established candidate to jump in. A notable event similar to this was when former Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, a favorite to win the Governor’s race in 2004, dropped out in 2002 thus allowing a clearer path for Linda Lingle to win.

As to who this humble pundit thinks will win, that analysis continues. Keep on checking this blog post as the race takes its form.

100th post, with some values

Making it to 100 on many things is a big deal. From push-ups to miles to, well, blog posts, 100 seems to be something of a big deal in blog land. 

That I can appreciate, so with this being the 100th post of the Politics Hawaii with Stan Fichtman, I went to seek out what others did for their celebration. 

The man behind the keyboard
PC: Stan Fichtman

Some posted a review of what they thought were “all-time best” posts. Some just gave a history of what started their blog, and how long, timewise, they have been at it. 

And a few went into the reasons why they blog. Some of those stories are humorous, and maybe I will again tell the tale in e-paper form. But for now, here is my first blog post kinda spelling that out

However, one thing that I didn’t see anyone using their 100th post do is either state or reinstate the value set that they use in writing the blog. With the internet’s underlying call for “anything goes” especially in the United States, it’s little wonder. Unlike a traditional media entity, whose publisher is the one that sets the tone, with the blessing of the owner, spells this out from time to time in an editorial or even a regular news piece. 

So I thought “maybe I should do that” and let you, the reader know where my values are in writing this. Maybe it will help me keep focused on what I want this blog to do, or maybe all of this will just bore you to sleep. 

Let’s see how it goes. 

One of the first values I have in doing commentary media, including commenting by pseudonym on local media comment boards, is that my goal is to add to the conversation and not just blindly repeat what everyone else says. 

Because just like what your mother probably told you, as did mine, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it. But in this case, it’s “if you don’t have something to add that enriches the conversation, then don’t just repeat others for the sake of saying something”. 

That is why you note that my posts are not frequent, or even consistent. I think very hard about what I want to say, look at a subject from different angles. Then when ready, write and post something with the value of adding enrichment, and maybe another point of view to consider, to what is happening.

Stupid Computer!!!
Rage talking on line is prevalent and easy to become involved in. PHwSF posts will not go into a rage for the sake of more eyeballs.
PC: “Stupid Computer!!!” by f1uffster (Jeanie) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A second value I adhere to is that my posts will not add to the overall “tone of rage” that seems to be the model in many blogs and other forms of commentary media. I hate feeding rage on an issue because it’s not based on an intellectual look at a subject. It’s all to feed the emotional need for people who seek outrage, to continue feeding it. 

While I have not been perfect to adhere to this, especially in my tweet responses, when I do express more demonstrative points, I will be trying to do better, as suggested by one commenter who emailed me that sometimes I don’t show the Aloha Spirit in my tweets.

It has been asked of me at times to “take the gloves off and go after <subject>. However, that just feeds into the rage rather than creating content that has a focus and purpose. The other thing about going in that direction is that it’s disingenuous to just take one side of an issue, when there are, in just about every situation in the world, parallel and circumstantial issues that have to be considered. 

That is the reason why I did a 4-part report on the Barbers Point Naval Air Museum saga because the story was not just about closing down the museum, as the tale proposed to me. 

By the way, one thing I did learn about rage and promoting rage in commentary mediums, is that the big Social Media companies – Facebook, Twitter, etc., have their algorithms set so that it feeds rage. It’s because, as I learned, pieces that are alarmist or have incendiary headlines get more people reading them, for longer. That translates to ad revenue for these companies and even the posters. 

Third, is that this blog is not funded by anyone else but me, and therefore I control both the content put out and how. I don’t feel, at this time this blog needs to have advertising revenue or investors. It allows me under this blog the maximum amount of autonomy and allows me to set my own rules, and pace, as to what and when I put stuff out. 

A fourth and last value I do adhere to is the fact that I will not post copywritten photos and such on my site (unless they are my photos). If you note in the photos I use on this site, I use photos that are available to anyone through the Creative Commons image website. It claims to have over 500 million images for use, completely free to reuse. All that is asked is to cite the author of the photo when posting. So that is why you see some funky titles under the “PC” notation of some of these photos.

Maybe someday I will get bold and take out a subscription to Getty or another photo source to use their material. But for now, Creative Commons is enough. 

_________________

As a reminder, I want to let you know that the Politics Hawaii with Stan Fichtman Facebook and Twitter site has more material than I post. Typically, I will find an article that is worthy of consideration on a subject. I will provide a comment on it and then open up to the reader the ability to discern, think and come up with their conclusion. 

I have done this most recently with coverage about Afghanistan and the US withdrawal. Excellent points of view expressed that we all should consider as Americans need to now put context to the 20-year history. 

You can also read select articles of PHwSF on Medium. I am looking into letting people sign up for alerts when I post things on the website. I’ll let you know when that goes live. And if you have any comments, suggestions, complaints or the like, you can always email me through the contact page.

And, as said at the beginning and end of every PBS show, this could not be done without the support from viewers (in this case, readers) like you. 

Thank you. Off to the next hundred.  

thank you
PC: “thank you” by bunnicula is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

On Afghanistan

As readers of this blog may have realized, I have been more active in posting items on the blog’s Facebook page, rather than writing thoughts and observations here. There is a good reason for this omission – and it has a lot to do with the core reasons why I engage in the political discourse and study it so much. 

Since the middle of August, I have been watching with great interest the activities in Afghanistan as the United States military has been pulling out, and our military operations there end. Many days during the pullout, I would read and find articles that helped frame the activities – citing sources such as Lawfare Review, the review of the day by historian Heather Cox Richardson on her Facebook page as well as a swath of news from sources ranging from National Review to the Atlantic. 

But so much information was put out there that it was even hard for me to keep focused on what the real issues were. And then you add in the daily activities from the evacuation – the bombings killing 13 US Marines, the human suffering happening with people climbing over the gates of the Kabul Airport, and to the unknowing eye, this seemed totally over the top. 

050516-M-3509K-001
While we did abandon US equipment in Kabul, we didn’t need to toss it overboard into the South China sea after the fall of Saigon
PC: “050516-M-3509K-001” by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Copy
GO TO IMAGE’S WEBSITE

With me, though, I looked at it as a “compare-contrast” to my extensive study of the collapse of governments in the modern era. It was the focused study of the fall of Saigon in April 1975 that led me, eventually study and earn both my degree and master’s degree in Political Science from the University Of Hawaii. 

Eventually, with this interest, I started studying many other falls of governments in the modern era, starting with the Fall of the Imperial government in Iran in 1979, the total collapse of both armed and civil control of Mainland China to the Communists between 1946 and 1949, the fall of the 1970-1975 government of Cambodia in 1975, and to a bit lesser extent, the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

So in watching what was happening at Kabul with the withdraw of forces, a lot of what was happening there started to slot into other historical events, some with an eerie level of similarity. For instance:

Shah of Iran's tomb
Some deposed leaders get the chance to go home after death. Some don’t, one example is the Shah of Iran, buried in Cairo.
PC: “Shah of Iran’s tomb” by scotted400 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
17 April 1975 - Khmer Rouge fighters celebrate as they enter Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia (AFP)
Amrican equipment left over from a collapse of an allied army by the enemy is many times repurposed, Here the Khmer Rouge is riding into Phnom Penh on a Chevy or GMC truck.
PC:“17 April 1975 – Khmer Rouge fighters celebrate as they enter Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia (AFP)” by manhhai is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Talking about year zero, one last thought about how the issue of Afghanistan is being portrayed by both the media and political pundits with a bias. As mentioned in a recent broadcast of “Pod Save America” the fact that any historical analysis of American action before 9/11was eliminated is quite disturbing. In their episode entitled “The Media’s Afghanistan Amnesia” broadcast on 8/23/2021, the hosts said, 

“[Spencer Ackerman’s book about the war on terror] gets into this too. After nine 11 history started the minute after the nine 11 attacks for us and American exceptionalism meant that we were a force for good in the world. And the people that attacked us were evil and Susan Sontag and other people who tried to like talk about the complexity of the U S relationship to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the middle east, the fact that we supported the Mujahideen when they were fighting it’s the Soviets were run out of town, were, were drummed out of the conversation. And even when like meet like state department officials, like Richard Armitage would go and try to meet with foreign leaders in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, they would try to talk to them about the complexity and the history of the place. And he said, there’s a quote in one.” 

The conversation continued in which this statement encompassed a lot of what is going on at an intellectual level, “I refuse to hear context. It always starts today. Every new day is the beginning of history.”

Sir Winston Churchill, The Roaring Lion
Winston Churchill also is credited with the quote from George Santayana

(Transcript provided by Podscribe)

Not just with Afghanistan, and the actions of Americans there, but with COVID and a host of other rigmarole things, eliminating historical context and thinking this is the first time ever anything has happened is both intellectually bankrupt and dangerous. As Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. 

Read past entries of Stan Fichtman and PoliticsHawaii.com!

What am I listening to?

These are the Podcasters that I am listening to, try them out!

Tim Pool (on YouTube)

Pod Save America (on YouTube)

Sargon of Akkad - Carl Benjamin (on YouTube)

Who am I reading/getting news from

I am very choosy as to where I get my news from, here are some dependable sources I refer to when reading up on topics

The Atlantic

CNBC

Civil Beat (Hawaii on-line newspaper)

Honolulu Star Advertiser (mostly paywalled, but you get free headlines)

Beat of Hawaii (Tourism based news source from Kauai)

Twitter Feed

Here are my current thoughts of things going on.

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By Stan Fichtman

The best of my podcasts dating back from Jan. 2018.
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