Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bloody Inheritance!

Hawaiians are again being restricted from properly enjoying our inheritance. People such as attorney H. William Burgess and activist Kenneth R. Conklin have aggressively sought to label native Hawaiians as racially discriminatory for not offering all-inclusive access to our properties and heritage. The Governor seeks now to validate confiscation. Labeling Hawaiians as racist is an outrage - most of us come from multiethnic families, we ourselves most of us are multiracial, highly generous, and have 'calabash cousins' of assorted backgrounds. In fact, this dispute over who is Hawaiian and who is entitled to inheritance is a crass attempt to further erode, divide and break-up our extended Hawaiian 'ohana.

Let's look at inheritance on the mainland. The courts support inheritance; nobody presumes the right to force their way onto the properties of the Rockefeller families. More importantly, who is a Rockefeller? Old John D. Rockefeller married Cettie Spellman, outside his blood family, so by "blood quantum" the kids were only half Rockefeller. Their great-grandchildren, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller and the late Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller (among others) have only one-eighth a Rockefeller bloodline. This didn’t interfere with their inheritance of wealth, property and family pride.

Native Hawaiians are being critically misled and deceived by blood quantum arguments. Perhaps we marry Kanaka Maoli, perhaps otherwise; those marrying into the wide world of non-Hawaiians should not feel compromised. As fully as other wealthy people, we can and must hand-down to our children an appreciation of heritage, family pride and individual identity. John D. Rockefeller Jr. was never led to feel himself a half-breed.

Wake up 'ohana! Over the years many waves of migrants have found Hawaii. Some joined our families or were otherwise invited to share our blessings. We can all enjoy a dynamic & loving community. But we'll not be forced from our heritage by arrogant colonists or treacherous repression. Stand tall!

(Dr. Bruce Henry Lambert)
former Kamehameha Schools Na Poki'i Hawaiian scholar
University of Oxford

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mad over Madoff

Not being a financial insider, I didn't lose or gain money with Bernie Madoff; he was unknown to me prior to his arrest.

Many people were burned by this guy, who has confessed to assorted crimes. Yet months later he's still out on bail, with restrictions on when and how far he can wander from "his" homes. He can enjoy all types of luxuries in a Manhattan penthouse and an oceanfront home in the Hamptons (Montauk, NY). He needs special permission to visit a Palm Beach, FL home; he can't use his jet and visit his French Riviera apartment & boat: they're off-limits, and his passport impounded. But should this guy and his family be allowed to enjoy any fruits of his scamming?

Any appearance of justice is elusive. Enron's Kenneth Lay had his multiple fraud convictions vacated (more than four-and-a-half years after Enron's collapse from systematic deception), when Lay (reportedly) died before sentencing... What will happen with this Madoff joker? Should the elegant wife & many family members he employed keep enjoying substantial wealth & earnings?

Where's Madoff Buried His Loot?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Gambling with Banksters (Scamblers)

The banking establishment is suffering a downgrade of status as they seek public bailout funds. Use of the term "banksters" (adapted from gangsters) has become widespread. What is fair?

Not much. In this case, margin (credit) and derivatives purchasing is a type of gambling. The problem is that gamblers take account of the fact that if they lose they'll not need to pay - Joe Public will bail them out; they remain players. If rather they win, they enjoy huge benefits.

A low downside means they've been likely to gamble even more; given the chance, they'll again gamble wildly.

Bankers who've engaged in unacceptable risk management should be fired. Yet these high-rollers still have their jobs. They now keep a low profile, refusing to lend even in low risk cases, creating a credit crunch. Each bank has many scamblers...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bailouts, bankers & bombs

The economic crisis is not the sole blame of bungler bankers. Yet too many of these former plunderers are unrepentant and anti-reform. Those banks receiving bailout funds should be forced to retire their top management due to poor performance.

American adventurism in the Middle East is hugely expensive; these are costs that the USA can ill afford, and they are not only monetary. The US basing of troops in Saudi Arabia was the major grievance of the 9/11 hijackers (though George W. Bush & Dick Cheney claimed the focus was a vicious attack on the American way of life). Poor foreign policy choices have undermined the US economy and created enemies abroad. Now, more than ever, few American taxpayers wish to serve as human shields for Iraq & Israel.

More precisely: US media outlets regularly trumpet Israel's right to exist. Yet others in the region also have the right to exist. Regional solutions have been cast aside as the USA has bankrolled Zionist adventurism. Moderate Israeli solutions are undermined by US funds channeled to the extreme & the ultra-Right. Bombs will not solve Middle Eastern problems. US funding should be redirected to American domestic education.