American Militaristic Triumphalism

SOURCE: Koohan Paik (koohanpaik@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: A final look at the RIMPAC 2014 exercises in and Around Hawaii and our militaristic future.

By John Letman on 4 August 2014 for Civil Beat -
(http://www.civilbeat.com/2014/08/a-final-look-at-the-miltaristic-rimpac-exercises-around-hawaii/)


Image above: The nuclear powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan leaving Pearl Harbor after RIMPAC 2014. The ship was severely damaged off Fukushima, Japan, when three reactors at the nuclear power plant melted down and experienced a runaway criticality that produced radioactive plume injuring many of the crew. The Reagan will now be permanently stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. From (http://timesofsandiego.com/military/2014/07/04/photos-san-diego-ships-crews-train-in-rimpac-2014/).

RIMPAC is about to temporarily disappear from the public eye again, but the militaristic framework it was founded on ties Hawaii to the rest of the world. This year’s Rim of the Pacific maritime military exercises have ended and any attention we’ve given the biennial war games will quickly turn elsewhere.

But before we let RIMPAC drop from view, it’s worth pausing to consider what we’ve just witnessed — or not witnessed, since most of the military exercises takes place out of sight.

RIMPAC says its objective is “to enhance the interoperability … and improve individual war-fighting competencies.” In more human terms, RIMPAC is pitched as an opportunity for the militaries of 22 nations to foster better understanding, coordination and cooperation.

Ongoing tensions from the Korean Peninsula to the South China Sea underscore the potential for conflict among regional powers that include North and South Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines, so who could argue against better understanding and communication?

Ships and submarines participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2012 sail in formation in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.
The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Ships and submarines participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in 2012 sailed in formation in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. Those war games included 22 nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel in the biennial exercise that aim to foster cooperative relationships.

Likewise, as the military increasingly plays up its potential for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) and tries to paint itself as a “green” champion, RIMPAC uses these positive attributes to help shape its narrative.

Speaking on Kauai’s KKCR radio in May, Pacific Missile Range Facility commanding officer Captain Bruce Hay said RIMPAC provide an opportunity to establish dialogues and practices “so that we can all enjoy the giant Pacific Ocean.”

RIMPAC presents the public with a sanitized version of conflict completely devoid of war’s most brutal reality: civilian women and children overwhelmingly bear the brunt of military actions no matter where they take place.

Hay pointed out that RIMPAC involves “things as benign as sports competitions between the crews of the ships … receptions and dialogues.”

And while this is true, RIMPAC is much more than a chummy maritime get-together with big ships moving in tight formation. It’s about planning for future wars. It’s about urban combat training, mock invasions, amphibious assault and the kind of live-fire training that would come in handy for subduing places like Fallujah or Kandahar.

RIMPAC also includes SINKEX (Sinking Exercises) in which live ammunition is used to blow apart and sink decommissioned war ships in Hawaiian waters and testing hybrid war equipment, drones and newly developed robots designed for battle.

By framing “cooperation” and “partnership” in military terms, RIMPAC gives the U.S. the opportunity to assume the role of older brother, leading the younger siblings as it shows off its overwhelming war-making capabilities. As one CCTV reporter put it: “One fact becomes obvious: the over-arching dominance of the U.S. Navy in this part of the Pacific.”

With participating nations including Colombia, Peru, Indonesia, Mexico, China and the Philippines, as well as close U.S. allies like South Korea, Japan, Canada and Australia, you can be sure that in the near future when military forces sweep into a violence-wracked city or suppress an uprising in some far-flung place you’ve never heard of, RIMPAC training will likely be in the mix.

If you visit RIMPAC’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr or YouTube pages, you’ll find dozens of photos and videos. It all looks pretty impressive: a steady stream of cool-looking military hardware in action and lots of crisp, white uniforms. Like other branches of the military and major defense contractors, the Navy dishes up its own version of war-nography in an easy-to-digest Hollywood format.

But RIMPAC presents the public with a sanitized version of conflict completely devoid of war’s most brutal reality: civilian women and children overwhelmingly bear the brunt of military actions no matter where they take place.

When surface-to-air weapons are used in Ukraine, it’s an international outrage. But when similar weapons are used at RIMPAC, it’s a tweet.

For each of us in Hawaii, it’s important to view RIMPAC in its broader context and remember that as war games were being played in Hawaii, real wars — bloody, savage wars all marked with American thumbprints — were raging in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Gaza.

In July, 298 people died when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile near the Ukraine-Russia border. That very same day RIMPAC posted a photo of its own surface-to-air missile exercise (SAMEX).

In a second bitter twist of irony, July is the same month that the U.S. Navy warship USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air civilian airplane in Iranian airspace in 1988 killing all 290 passengers, including 66 children.

When surface-to-air weapons are used in Ukraine, it’s an international outrage. But when similar weapons are used at RIMPAC, it’s a tweet. Both air disasters highlight how remaining in a perpetual militarized state increases the likelihood of mistakes and miscalculations.

As RIMPAC 2014 was taking place the world also recoiled as it watched a vastly superior Israeli military wage a lopsided campaign against Hamas. Overwhelmingly, the victims are the 1.8 million Palestinians — half of whom are under 18 — squeezed into Gaza, a sliver of land barely twice the size of Washington, D.C.

This assault plays out against the backdrop of the U.S. providing a $30 billion military aid package to Israel offered concurrently with multimillion and billion dollar U.S. arms sales to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues periodic undeclared drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, which have been condemned as illegal and widely criticized for producing scores of civilian victims.

Earlier this spring the U.S. signed 10-year military agreements with Djibouti and the Philippines and started to dip its toes into Vietnam, Myanmar and elsewhere. And in Europe, the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system being tested on Kauai will be deployed in Romania in 2015 and Poland in 2018.

So what’s this got to do with RIMPAC? Quite a lot, actually.

As Hawaii Public Radio’s Bill Dorman reported, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced the U.S. plans to increase the number of military exercises it participates in the Asia-Pacific region to 130 a year.

It’s important to remember that while RIMPAC only happens for a few weeks every two years, the testing, training, promotion of and preparation for war — and the very lucrative ongoing relationships between defense contractors, militaries and governments — is ceaseless and growing.

We are told that RIMPAC is about improving cooperation and increasing security, yet it’s hard to take these claims seriously when the U.S. Pacific Command’s top officer warns about the danger posed by North Korean missiles even as the US plans to spend $1 trillion to modernize its own nuclear weapons.

Very soon RIMPAC will disappear from the public eye for two more years, but the militaristic framework on which it is founded continues to tie Hawaii to the rest of the world.

From the drones we test to the war ships and submarines we navigate, to the war planes we fly and missiles we fire, RIMPAC serves as another tether lashing these islands to a world full of war in Europe and the Middle East across Africa and Asia, over the Pacific and back home to each of us here in Hawaii.



Old Nukes New Tricks

By John Letman on 6 August 2014 for Truthout - 
(http://truth-out.org/news/item/25312-the-cost-of-teaching-an-old-nuclear-weapons-new-tricks)


Image aboveA frontal view of four B-61 nuclear free-fall bombs on a bomb cart. Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, December 1, 1986. From (SSGT Phil Schmitten / United States Department of Defense).

When the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan 69 years ago, the shadows of charred silhouettes etched against the ruins of shattered cities indelibly marked nuclear weapons as forbidden tools of war. The indiscriminate carnage wrought in Hiroshima by "Little Boy" (est. 15 kilotons) and Nagasaki by "Fat Man" (est. 20 kt) has, so far, not been repeated.

But seven decades later, the United States continues to pursue more accurate, "lower-yield" nuclear bombs. Despite President Obama's 2009 speech in Prague in which he stated "clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," the United States plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on its own nuclear weapons upgrades, modernization and "life extension programs" (LEP).

William Hartung, director for the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, warns that many of today's nuclear weapons are far more powerful than those used against Japan. He calls the idea of redesigning nuclear weapons that can be "dialed up or down" to increase or decrease their explosive yield a "dangerous logic."

In an era of austerity and sequestration when even the Pentagon is being forced to make cuts once thought unimaginable, Congress, with the support of the Department of Energy (DOE), has approved funding for the LEP for one of America's oldest and most relied-upon nuclear weapons: the B61 gravity bomb.

First built in 1963, the B61 has been called "the bread and butter" of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The bomb's newest incarnation, B61-12, will be a variable-yield, precision-guided version of one of the most numerous bombs in the US arsenal.

With a newly designed, $1.8 billion tail kit and increased accuracy, the B61-12 is expected to "hold at risk" targets that today require a greater yield to be destroyed. The B61-12 will allow the military to phase out five other nuclear gravity bomb types, including an earth-penetrating ("bunker buster") B61-11 and the high-yield B83.

The B61-12 will have four variable yields: 0.3kt. (kiloton), 1.5kt., 10kt. and 50kt.
At just 11.8 feet long, 13 inches in diameter and about 700 pounds, the B61-12 is small enough to fit in the back of an SUV - something that could easily go missing.

Worth Its weight in gold
Two researchers from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, have written extensively about the B61 family of nuclear bombs. In their report for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, they detail the bomb's history and proposed future as well as its extraordinary costs.

Norris and Kristensen write that the B61-12 program was first estimated at $4 billion, a cost that doubled in just two years and has now exceeded $10 billion. They point out that each B61-12 will cost more than its own weight in solid gold, making it the most expensive nuclear gravity bomb ever built.

The B61 is not the only American nuclear weapon being upgraded. Kristensen, director of the FAS's Nuclear Information Project, explains that under a 25-year plan promoted by the Obama administration, four different W series warheads - the W78, W80, W87 and W88 - will be redesigned to have greater flexibility.

According to a 2013 Congressional Budget Office report, US plans to maintain and modernize nuclear weapons will cost $355 billion between 2014 and 2023. It suggests annual costs will likely grow after 2023 production begins on replacement systems. The Center for Public Integrity reports additional related spending will drive total costs to around $570 billion over the next decade, a figure that could approach $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
In whose best interest?

Who stands to benefit from life extension programs, stockpile stewardship and other modifications to America's nuclear arsenal?

The LEP are critical for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which receives around $7 billion a year for maintaining and enhancing nuclear weapons and infrastructure.

Also poised to benefit are the nuclear weapons laboratories, specifically Sandia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin) and Los Alamos National Laboratories, which are overseeing the design, manufacture and testing of B61-12.

William Hartung says that the nuclear laboratories have a perennial quest for new ideas and angles for nuclear weapons. He calls it an "employment program for nuclear scientists."

Major military defense contractors like Bechtel and Boeing reap great benefits from nuclear upgrades. Hartung says Lockheed Martin "gets two bites at the apple" because it also designs and builds the F-35A Lightning fighter bomber, which will be fitted to carry the B61-12, as will the F-15E (McDonnell Douglas), F-16 (General Dynamics), B-2A (Northrop Grumman), B-52H (Boeing), Tornado (Panavia Aircraft) and future long-range striker bombers.

Nuclear Glue
Excluding submarine-based missiles, the B61 is the only US nuclear weapon deployed outside of the United States today. The United States has around 180 B61s at six bases in five NATO countries - Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. These nuclear weapons are part of what many call the "glue" that holds NATO together.

One of the staunchest supporters of keeping US nuclear weapons in Europe is Dr. Keith Payne, president of the National Institute for Public Policy. Fiercely opposed to decreasing US nuclear forces, in 2012 Payne warned that reducing the nuclear arsenal "from roughly 5,000 nuclear weapons to 900" would "leave the United States vulnerable to its opponents."

In 1980, Payne coauthored an article for Foreign Policy titled "Victory is Possible," the contents of which prompted one journalist to dub Payne "Rumsfeld's Dr. Strangelove."
Dr. Payne declined to be interviewed for this story.

Cheaper than Dog Food
Michaela Dodge, a defense policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, argues that programs like the B61-12 are not nuclear weapons modernization. In fact, she says "the US is the only nuclear weapons state that is not modernizing its nuclear weapons."

"What we're doing today is sustaining weapons we've had since the 1980s and that we have not tested with any yield producing [nuclear explosion] experiments for 20 years . . . That's unprecedented," Dodge says.

"People say '$350 billion for modernization' but we're not modernizing, we're sustaining."

Dodge says the arms control community skews numbers by lumping nuclear and non-nuclear systems together. The cost is relative she says, adding, "Americans spend $60 billion a year on pet food." She also suggests Americans spend more on Halloween candy than nuclear weapons modernization.
"Yes, it is cost," she says, "but compared to other elements of our spending - our entitlements - and what you're getting back for it, I think it's just really not that much."

A Force for Good
According to Dodge the US nuclear arsenal is "fundamentally a force for good." In her words, "It's a force that is hedging us from large-scale strategic attack; it's assuring allies; it's preventing more proliferation, and we haven't had a major conventional war on the scale of the first or second World War since nuclear weapons were invented."

But Dodge is concerned that computer simulated nuclear tests are inadequate to verify the functionality of existing nuclear weapons. Instead, Dodge says small scale "very low-yield" experiments should be permitted.

"You could do it in a room the size of [an apartment] flat to help understand . . . the physics of nuclear weapons aging," she says.

"It's not very difficult conceptually to figure out how to build a nuclear bomb. After all, grass-eating North Koreans are making nuclear weapons," says Dodge, who defines a "safe nuclear weapon" as one that "never detonates unless through a proper chain of command."

Whether you consider US modifications to its nuclear arsenal to be "upgrades," "modernization" or "sustainment," the goals are the same: make existing nuclear weapons more flexible, more accurate and produce a lower yield, allowing the military to reduce the number of weapon systems.
While some argue this reinforces the credibility of the US nuclear deterrent, others like Kristensen and Hartung, say these changes make the weapons easier to use - at least from a military, if not political, perspective.

Hartung points out that along with redesigned nuclear weapons, the construction of a new plutonium facility, a new uranium production facility and a plant to manufacture non-nuclear parts means the whole nuclear warhead infrastructure puts the United States ahead in case of a new or accelerated arms race.

"The parochial politics and endless desire of the nuclear priesthood to come up with new ideas about nuclear weapons is trumping common sense and arms control considerations," says Hartung. In short, it sends the wrong message.

The Message
And what is the message sent to other nations when the United States invests hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade its own nuclear weapons?

Joseph Gerson, director of the Peace and Economic Security Program for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and long-time nuclear disarmament activist, says that LEP and nuclear weapons upgrades, in conjunction with the deployment of a nuclear capable F-35 stealth fighter jet, are likely to reinforce hardliners in Russia and actually decrease US security. A nuclear capable F-35 remains controversial, even among military figures who support the B61-12 upgrade.

Modernizing the US nuclear arsenal is also problematic from the view point of Iran, which the United States has threatened with its own bombs for decades.

Reza Marashi, research director for the National Iranian American Council, says that from the Iranian government's perspective, America's nuclear weapons modernization efforts illustrate a double-standard.
"America should remember that it's an uphill battle to tell countries, 'do as I say, not what I do," Marashi wrote in an email.

Hartung says that given what nuclear weapons can do, "nobody is really responsible enough to be holding onto a large number of them given the possibility of an accident, a leader has got a screw loose or you get backed into a crisis . . . and some idiot ends up trying to use one of the things."
With the United States taking advantage of its own technical superiority as it redesigns its own nuclear weapons while threatening to attack anyone who doesn't toe the United States line, Hartung believes this will make other countries more likely to want nuclear weapons.

"It's exactly the opposite of what [the US] should be doing if [it] wants to convince other countries not to build their own nukes," Hartung says.

One of the challenges of understanding US nuclear weapons is simply gaining an awareness of what's happening, both in Congress and among the general public.

Many people associate nuclear weapons with the Cold War era, and some, particularly younger people, are surprised to learn they still exist. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates around 16,300 nuclear warheads - 4,000 of them operational - are held by the nine nuclear states. Of those, over 90 percent are Russian and American.

AFSC's Gerson calls the argument that modernization is essential to the "safety" of nuclear weapons "nonsense."
"Let's go back to fundamental realities. We now know that if there was an exchange of as few as 50 nuclear weapons . . . we would end up with global famine. These are weapons that should not exist," says Gerson, calling them "the most fundamental violation of basic human rights.

"Tell me how spending billions of dollars on an improved nuclear weapon is compatible with the creation of a world without nuclear weapons?, he asks."

Everyone interviewed for this story agreed that  drawing the public's attention to nuclear weapons is increasingly difficult. From a widespread misperception that nuclear arms were strictly a "Cold War problem" to competition from dozens of other urgent issues, the American public today is largely disengaged from the subject.

Gerson calls the generation raised between 1983 and today "woefully ignorant of these dangers," adding: "One of the really great challenges we face is to find ways to educate people and raise the alarm." On this point there is general agreement between nuclear weapons opponents and proponents. "We kind of stopped thinking about nuclear weapons policy and strategy after the end of the Cold War. It's very unfortunate," says the Heritage Foundation's Michaela Dodge.

Even Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently lamented the US military "losing focus" on the nuclear mission and called for the "nuclear enterprise" to be strengthened.

Oversight? What Oversight?
Considering the potential for unprecedented disaster resulting from a loss, theft, mishandling, compromise or other nuclear mishap, and the extraordinary associated costs, you might think these weapons systems would have absolutely failsafe oversight.

Yet in just the last decade there have been a number of publicized incidents involving nuclear weapons in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana and overseas. One author said those overseeing America's nuclear arsenal were "getting sloppy."

A serious lack of understanding of nuclear weapons extends to Congress, says FAS's Kristensen. "I can tell you from first-hand experience that the number of staffers and . . . members of Congress today that have any clue what this is about is a very, very small group, and it is shrinking."

Although the Congressional Armed Services Committee has subcommittees tasked with oversight of the US nuclear arsenal, Kristensen says most in Congress have no personal background in nuclear weapons issues and no interest except for when it comes to questions of cost.

Kristensen warns that without education and basic knowledge, congressional staffers are likely to find themselves face to face with defense contractor lobbyists insisting on the importance of new weapons systems and they'll have no context or way to ask well-informed questions.

In 2013 the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) provided written testimony about DOE/NNSA oversight efforts specific to modernizing the nuclear weapons. GAO cited flawed security procedures, "persistent safety problems" and six-fold cost overruns.

The New (Nuclear) Math
As the Obama administration, Congress, US nuclear laboratories, defense contractors and NNSA move forward with plans to upgrade and extend the life one of America's oldest and now most expensive nuclear gravity bombs, Kristensen says a more immediate concern for Americans is, "Do you want to spend this large amount of money on this when your kids can't even get their school lunch?"

"Is it fair," he asks, "to spend more than $10 billion on less than 500 gravity bombs when we have enormous fire power - both nuclear and conventional - at all other levels."

Ultimately, Kristensen doesn't think the B61-12 will make the United States safer.

Looking back at Obama's Prague speech, Kristensen points out that talk of "deep cuts and the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons" was only half the president's message. In the other half, Obama said, "Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies . . . "

This is the "new nuclear math" - the idea that improving the diversity and accuracy of a nuclear weapon system (B61) and adding it to multiple delivery methods will allow the United States to retire or phase out other bombs and claim to be reducing the overall stockpile. At the same time, the US Air Force clings to its long-term plans to ensure it remains "nuclear capable" when your yet-to-be-born grandchildren are well into middle age.

 "They argue in this ironic way," Kristensen says, "that the way of reducing the arsenal is to actually build a weapon."
.

Iselle and Julio come to visit

SUBHEAD: Let us pray these hurricanes pass north and south of the Hawaiian Islands without much damage.

By Juan Wilson in 6 August 2014 for IslandBreath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2014/08/iselle-and-julio-come-to-visit.html)


Image above: NBC News tracking of hurricane Iselle (left) and Julio (right) heading for Hawaii. From (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/hurricane-central-tracking-iselle-julio-n174096).

I sit in Hanapepe Valley, on Kauai, as two hurricanes make their way westward across the Pacific Ocean on trajectories that will skirt just south and then north of here. The show will begin starting Friday morning.

By then the winds of Iselle and Julio will, hopefully, be reduced to a merely a "violent storms". On the Beaufort Scale that is a Force 11 Storm (64-73mph winds) down from a Force 12 Storm (74mph and above).

I don't know if it is related to global warming, but it is quite unusual for two hurricanes to follow the same track just days apart. The one-two punch would be unprecedented in the era of satellite hurricane tracking, said Kevin Roth, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. One thing is certain, hurricanes feed of the energy of warm ocean surfaces. Global warming will only make them more frequent and stronger.

I was not here for Hurricane Iwa (1982) or Iniki (1992), but I've seen a few hurricanes along the East Coast on Long Island and Connecticut shorelines. My experience with them as a young person was that, outside of the danger and potential for harm, hurricanes were exciting. There is literally a charge in the air as they pass.

Now, as an older person, with much time and effort invested in home and yard, I dread the possibility of damage and cleanup. Even a mild storm will bring down many tree branches and likely do some damage.

Yet I have not plywooded over my windows or bought cases of bottled water. Nor have I bought extra batteries or propane bottles. I'll bring in the tools and equipment out in the yard that could go flying but that's about it. This house got through Iniki with only a few scratches.

I am counting on being buried down in a narrow valley with 60 foot high stone walls on either side to protect us from the worst of the wind. I know that during Iniki that flying debris coming of the hillsides above was some threat in the valley.

When I moved into Hanapepe Valley in 2001one could still find sections of corrugated roofing wrapped around trees like Kleenex. I would not want to be out and about when that stuff was flying a 100mph.

I feel somewhat at ease because we have solar energy stored in batteries, water stored in large tanks and food growing in the yard. We're not planning a raiding the shelves at Big Save, or Walmart.

It does seem worrisome that the tracking of Iselle is just to the south of Kauai (and over the Big Island) while the tracking of Julio is just north of the Hawaiian Islands. This means that any unforeseen variable in the paths of the storms will likely take one of them over the island chain.

Best of luck to you and yours this weekend - especially if you're in Hawaii. I hope it goes well over the next few days. Let us pray these hurricanes pass north and south of the Hawaiian Islands without much damage.


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World made by hand transition

SUBHEAD: “Collapse now and avoid the rush.” - J. M. Greer. It’s good advice and I’ve taken it to heart.


By Lindsdey Curren on 4 August 2014 for Resilience -
(http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-08-05/transition-to-a-world-made-by-hand)


Image above: Block print of urban gardening with bees by Lindsey Curren. From Kickstart Page video..

Peak oil commentator of Archdruid fame John Michael Greer, who foresees an inevitable if gradual collapse for industrial society, advises the equally doomstruck to “collapse now and avoid the rush.”
It’s good advice and I’ve taken it to heart.

Transition girl

About six years ago I moved to the small (but widely-hailed) city of Staunton, Virginia. Shortly afterwards, I helped start our Transition town here.

Say what you will about whether anybody’s personal efforts — from carrying your own bags to driving less to raising chickens — makes a damn bit of difference in a world hurtling toward climate hell and energy crisis, but I remain in the camp that would rather being doing something positive that builds resilience and community than helplessly awaiting the end.

And while I understand why some people become survivalists, since I live in town, hunkering down behind an AK47 in the basement, clinging to my cans of beans and freaking out over a would-be zombie apocalypse is not really an option.

That’s why I prefer the approach of Transition.

In the spirit of the old saying that “My meat is in my brother’s belly,” I’m trying to prepare my household for tough times ahead by working with my neighbors to make my whole town more resilient.

So, I’ve become a local resilience activist through our local Transition group. We’ve hosted talks on Transition issues, including peak oil, climate change and economic chaos. We’ve shown films on everything from bee keeping to starting beer businesses. And we’ve built the largest community garden in our city.

And transitioning others

With all modesty, I’d say that so far, it seems to be paying off. In lots of ways Staunton is a Transition town in the best sense of the concept — interesting people have been attracted to the area who are doing their own things with transitioning, even when that’s with a small “t” and those people aren’t directly part of our group and their work is with some other group in town, whether the Rotary Club or the microloan fund.

These other groups are behind great stuff — time banks, little libraries, mending circles, writing groups, art happenings, bike fix-it days, bike infrastructure groups, eco-swaps, maker spaces. As one friend quoted another Staunton resident recently, “It’s not like being in New York, but it is like living in a New York neighborhood.”

Okay, we’re not Manhattan…or Brooklyn, but I’d put our small city against anyplace in America for resilience cool.

And the longer I live here the more I’m taking Greer’s advice to heart. The weird thing is, collapse sure does feel a lot like the good life!

It’s definitely fun to walk the resilience talk.

Chop wood, carry water

But it’s also serious, preparing us for an economy that’s sure to be much lower-tech in the future as cheap energy runs out. Whether it gets down to what James Howard Kunstler would call a “world made by hand” I’m not sure.

But we should certainly be prepared for big changes in how we get our daily necessities. That’ll mean not just gardening and preserving food, but also mending clothes and making handmade Christmas gifts.

I’ve also recently launched an art project called 31 Days of Urban Agriculture to recognize and celebrate the unique world of food and farming in cities, the way it’s always been done. I’m doing this 31-piece series in linoleum block prints in honor of the Virginia General Assembly declaring October Urban Agriculture Month. Who knows, maybe they’re secretly preparing for collapse, too?

Each hand-cut piece takes me about 15 hours to produce from design to print. I chose this labor-intensive, old-timey medium to reflect the realities in small-scale food and farming — that they’re processes that take time and face risks. Just as harvests can differ from year to year, so hand-made prints can differ from block to block.



I hope you’ll check out 31 Days of Urban Agriculture. It’s also a project on Kickstarter.com because I want to raise money to display it attractively and show it around the state and beyond. That’ll require putting a complete set of prints in high-quality frames, making a chapbook of essays to go along with the show, and then donating a full set of the prints to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The project is about using art to get more people excited about growing food in cities, where 80% of Americans live today. And ultimately, that’ll help spread the word on just how inspiring, reviving and hopeful
collapse Transition, can be.

— Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice



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Turning Hawaiians into Indians

SUBHEAD: How the U.S. Department of the Interior scammed native Alaskans for their land. We don't want that here.


By Ehu Kekahu Cardwell on 30 July 2014 for Free Hawaii Broadcasting Network -
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD0JHrYmdl0)


Image above: A costumed Cleveland Indians fan meets an actual indigenous American. Not a pretty sight.  From (http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/04/that-awkward-moment-when-a-cleveland-indians-fan-runs-into-an-actual-native-american/).

Has the federal regulation hearing process that the US Department of Interior (DOI) is using in Hawaii ever been tried anywhere else?

The answer is "Yes". And native lands were lost in the blink of an eye.

How did it happen and who were the players?

Watch this to find out because there are only weeks left to tell the DOI you donʻt want this Happening In Hawaii.


Video above: From (http://youtu.be/oD0JHrYmdl0).

Here are Ehu Kekahu Cardwell's answers to the DOI Information Requested in the form of 19 questions (see below) on Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community:

1. No. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

2. None. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

3. No. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

4. Under no conditions. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

5. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

6. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

7. Nothing. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

8. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

9. Irrelevant. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

10. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

11. None. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

12. None. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

13. None. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

14. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

15. None. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

16. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

17. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

18. Not applicable. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

19. No to all. The US has no jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Kingdom

If you choose to comment on this issue, remember the DEADLINE is August 19, 2014.

You can comment online at:
(http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOI-2014-0002-0005)

Or you can mail courier or hand deliver comments to:
Office of the Secretary DOI, Room 7329
1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240


Description of the Information Requested by DOI

General Questions
QUESTION 1.
Should the Secretary propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 2.
What role, if any, should the Department of the Interior—exercising the authorities described in 25 U.S.C. 2, 25 U.S.C. 9, 43 U.S.C. 1457, and other statutes—play in
facilitating the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 3.
Should there be a reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government in order to reestablish and maintain a government-to-government relationship between the Native Hawaiian community and the United States?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 4.
If a Native Hawaiian government is reorganized, under what conditions should the Secretary federally acknowledge it and thus reestablish a government-to-overnment relationship?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 5.
What features, including any within 25 CFR parts 61, 62, 81, and 83 or other regulations, should the Secretary incorporate in a proposed administrative rule addressing potential reorganization or acknowledgment of a Native Hawaiian government?

Your Comment:

Criteria for Inclusion on the Roll of Persons Eligible To Participate in the Reorganization


QUESTION 6.
If the Secretary were to propose a rule to assist in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, what should be the criteria for persons to be included on the roll of whose eligible to participate in reorganizing this government? 
(This roll would determine which persons are eligible to participate in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian Government; it would not determine which persons ultimately could become members or citizens of a reorganized sovereign Native Hawaiian government.)
Your Comment:

QUESTION 7.
To be included on the roll, what should constitute adequate evidence or verification that a person has Native Hawaiian ancestry?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 8.
To be included on the roll, what should constitute adequate evidence or verification that a person has a significant cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 9.
To be included on the roll, what significance, if any, should be given to the fact that a person is potentially eligible under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), Act of July 9, 1921, ch. 42, 42 Stat. 108, as amended? To the extent that this is a relevant criterion, what process should be used to identify persons who are potentially eligible under the HHCA, as amended?

Your Comment:

The Process for Preparing a Roll of Persons Eligible To Participate in the Reorganization

QUESTION 10.
If the Secretary were to propose a rule to assist in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, what should be the process for preparing a roll of persons who would be eligible to participate in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 11.
What role, if any, should the Secretary play in establishing, operating, or approving the process for preparing such a roll?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 12.
What role, if any, should be played by the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission established under Hawaii state law to prepare the Kanaiolowalu registry?

Your Comment:

Drafting a Constitution for a Native Hawaiian Government

QUESTION 13.
If the Secretary were to propose a rule to assist in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, what should be the process for drafting a constitution or other governing document for a Native Hawaiian government, and what should be the Secretary's role in providing such assistance?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 14.
How should the drafters of a constitution or other governing document be selected?

Your Comment:

Ratifying and Approving a Constitution for a Native Hawaiian Government

QUESTION 15.
If the Secretary were to propose a rule to assist in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, what should be the process for ratifying and approving a government?
Your Comment: 

QUESTION 16.
Should there be a minimum turnout requirement for any referendum to ratify a Native Hawaiian constitution or other governing document?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 17.
In addition to being ratified by a majority of all qualified Native Hawaiians who participate in a ratification referendum, should a Native Hawaiian constitution or other governing document also have to be ratified by a majority of all qualified Native Hawaiians who participate in the ratification referendum and are potentially eligible under the HHCA, as amended?

Your Comment:

QUESTION 18.
Should the Secretary have the responsibility to approve or disapprove a Native Hawaiian constitution or other governing document?

Your Comment:

If so, what factors, if any, other than consistency with Federal law, should be considered?

Your Comment:
(For example, should the Secretary's approval depend on substantive issues (e.g., the constitution's safeguards for civil rights and liberties; procedural issues (e.g., lost or destroyed ballots, wrongful denial of ballots, etc.), or both?
Federal Acknowledgment of an Already Reorganized Native Hawaiian Government

QUESTION 19.
Should reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government occur through a process established by the Native Hawaiian community and facilitated by the State of Hawaii, rather than through a Federal process?
Your Comment:

This non-Federal process would have to be consistent with Federal law and satisfy conditions established by the Secretary as prerequisites to Federal acknowledgment.

We seek views on each of the following as a potential condition for Federal acknowledgment of a Native Hawaiian government that has already been reorganized through a community-established, State-facilitated process.



 Below are the DOI announcements, background material and questionnaire concerning the establishment of Hawaiians as a tribe managed by the US federal government.
   
Announcement: Federal Register Vol.79 Number 119
(http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-20/html/2014-14430.htm)
Michael L. Connor, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. 2014-14430 Filed 6-19-14; 8:45 am]

Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community

(http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=DOI-2014-0002-0005)

Summary
The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that community and the United States. The purpose of this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) is tosolicit public comments on whether and how the Department of the Interior should facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. In this ANPRM, the Secretary also announces several public meetings in Hawaii and several consultations with federally recognized tribes in the continental United States to consider these issues.

Dates
Comments must be submitted on or before August 19, 2014.

Addresses

You may submit comments on this ANPRM by any of the methods listed below.
1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on the Web site for submitting comments.
2. U.S. mail, courier, or hand delivery: Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior, Room 7329, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.

For Further Information Contact
John Strylowski
Office of the Secretary
Phone: (202) 208-3071
(not a toll-free number)
Email:  john_strylowski@ios.doi.gov.


Supplementary Information for Public Comment
Please direct all comments to Regulation Identifier Number 1090-AB05. The Department of the Interior intends to include all comments received in the public docket without change, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov or email. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the Department of the Interior will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment.

If you send an email comment directly to the Department of the Interior without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the Department of the Interior recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit.

If the Department of the Interior cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the Department of the Interior may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, avoid any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

The Secretary is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. We are interested in hearing from leaders and members of the Native Hawaiian community and of federally recognized tribes in the continental United States. We also welcome comments and information from the State of Hawaii and its agencies, other government agencies, and other members of the public.

To be most useful, and most likely to inform decisions on the content of a potential administrative rule, comments should:

—Be specific;
—Be substantive;
—Explain the reasoning behind the comments; and
—Address the issues outlined in the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM).

For the purpose of this ANPRM, we are seeking input solely on questions related to a potential administrative rule to facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. Because promulgating a rule would not
  1. alter the fundamental nature of the political and trust relationship established by Congress between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community, 
  2. authorize compensation for past wrongs, or 
  3. have any direct impact on the status of the Hawaiian home lands, we are not seeking comments on those topics.
Furthermore, at this time, we are not seeking comments on what the contents of a reorganized Native Hawaiian government's constitution or other governing document (if one were adopted) might include, how that Native Hawaiian government might be structured, or what powers that Native Hawaiian government might exercise.

Rather, we are seeking comments solely on five threshold questions:
  • Should the Secretary propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community?
  • Should the Secretary assist the Native Hawaiian community in reorganizing its government, with which the United States could reestablish a government-to-government relationship?
  • If so, what process should be established for drafting and ratifying a reorganized Native Hawaiian government's constitution or other governing document?
  • Should the Secretary instead rely on the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government through a process established by the Native Hawaiian community and facilitated by the State of Hawaii, to the extent such a process is consistent with Federal law?
  • If so, what conditions should the Secretary establish as prerequisites to Federal acknowledgment of a government-to-government relationship with the reorganized Native Hawaiian government?
In addition to receiving comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, U.S. mail, courier services, and hand delivery, we will conduct a series of public meetings on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Lānai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu, and a series of in-person consultations with federally recognized tribes in the continental United States. We will announce locally the time and place of each meeting and will give public notice of each tribal consultation.

At these meetings and consultations, we will accept both oral and written communications. We strongly encourage Native Hawaiian organizations and federally recognized tribes in the continental United States to hold their own meetings to develop comments on the issues outlined in this ANPRM, and to share the outcomes of those meetings with us.

All of the citations listed in this ANPRM will be available on the Department of the Interior's Office of Native Hawaiian Relations' Web site at http://www.doi.gov/ohr/.


Provided by Department of Interior

Background
The United States has a unique political and trust relationship with federally recognized tribes across the country, as set forth in the United States Constitution, treaties, statutes, Executive Orders, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. The Federal government's relationship with these tribes is guided by a trust responsibility—a long-standing, paramount commitment to protect their unique rights and ensure their well-being, while respecting their tribal sovereignty.

In recognition of that special commitment—and in fulfillment of the solemn obligations it entails—the United States, acting through the Department of the Interior, has developed processes to help tribes in the continental United States to reorganize their governments and to establish government-to-governmentrelationships with the United States. Strong tribal governments have proved critical to tribes' capacity to exercise their inherent sovereign powers and sustain prosperous and resilient Native American communities.

And, although we must not ignore the history of mistreatment and destructive policies that have done great harm to so many tribal communities, it is undeniable that the government-to-government relationships between tribes and the United States that have flourished during the last half century, in the current era of tribal self-determination, have been enormously beneficial not only to Native Americans but to all Americans.

Yet the benefits of the government-to-government relationship have long been denied to one place in our Nation, even though it is home to one of the world's largest indigenous communities: Hawaii.

Over many decades, Congress has enacted more than 150 statutes recognizing and implementing a special political and trust relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. Among other things, these statutes create programs and services for members of the Native Hawaiian community that are in many respects analogous to, but separate from, the programs and services that Congress has enacted for federally recognized tribes in the continental United States.

But during this same period, the United States has not partnered with Native Hawaiians on a government-to-government basis, at least partly because there has been no formal, organized Native Hawaiian government since 1893, when the United States helped overthrow the Kingdom of Hawaii.

In recent years, the Department has increasingly heard from Native Hawaiians who assert that their community's opportunities to thrive would be significantly bolstered by reorganizing a sovereign Native Hawaiian government that could engage the United States in a government-to-government relationship, exercise inherent sovereign powers of self-governance and self-determination, and enhance the implementation of programs and services that Congress has created specifically to benefit the Native Hawaiian community.

We would now like to hear from leaders and members of the Native Hawaiian community and of federally recognized tribes in the continental United States about whether, and how, the Department should facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.

Meaningful consultation and collaboration with both the Native Hawaiian community and the federally recognized tribes in the continental United States will be essential to the Department in developing any policy regarding potential reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. See Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Tribal Consultation, 74 FR 57881 (Nov. 5, 2009). And as stated above, we also welcome comments and information from the State of Hawaii and its agencies, other government agencies, and other members of the public.

The Relationship Between the United States and the Native Hawaiian Community
At the time of the first documented encounter between Native Hawaiians and Europeans in 1778, “the Native Hawaiian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient subsistence social system based on a communal land tenure system with a sophisticated language, culture, and religion.” 20 U.S.C. 7512(2); accord 42 U.S.C. 11701(4). Although the indigenous people shared a common language, ancestry, and religion, the eight islands were governed by four independent chiefdoms until 1810, when the islands were unified under one Kingdom of Hawaii. See Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495, 500-01 (2000).

Throughout the nineteenth century and until 1893, the United States “recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Nation,” “extended full and complete diplomatic recognition to the Hawaiian Government,” and entered into several treaties with the Hawaiian monarch. 42 U.S.C. 11701(6); accord 20 U.S.C. 7512(4); see Rice, 528 U.S. at 504 (citing treaties and conventions that the two countries signed in 1826, 1849, 1875, and 1887).

But during that same period, westerners became “increasing[ly] involve[d] . . . in the economic and political affairs of the Kingdom,” leading to the overthrow of the Kingdom in 1893 by a small group of non-Hawaiians, aided by the United States Minister to Hawaii and the Armed Forces of the United States. Rice, 528 U.S. at 501, 504-05.

After the overthrow, the Republic of Hawaii ceded its land to the United States, and Congress passed a joint resolution annexing the islands in 1898. See id. at 505. The Hawaiian Organic Act, enacted in 1900, established the Territory of Hawaii, placed ceded lands under United States control, and directed that proceeds from the lands be used to benefit the inhabitants of Hawaii. Act of Apr. 30, 1900, ch. 339, 31 Stat. 141.

By 1919, the decline in the Native Hawaiian population—by some estimates from several hundred thousand in 1778 to only 22,600—led the Secretary to recommend to Congress that land be set aside to help Native Hawaiians reestablish their traditional way of life. See H.R. Rep. No. 839, 66th Cong., 2d Sess. 4 (1920); 20 U.S.C. 7512(7).

This recommendation resulted in enactment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), which designated approximately 200,000 acres of land for homesteading by Native Hawaiians. Act of July 9, 1921, ch. 42, 42 Stat. 108; see also Rice, 528 U.S. at 507 (HHCA's stated purpose was “to rehabilitate the native Hawaiian population”) (citing H.R. Rep. No. 839, at 1-2).

When Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959, Congress vested authority in the State to administer HHCA lands subject to certain limitations. 73 Stat. 4 (1959). Congress also placed additional lands into a trust to be managed by the State for purposes that included “the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians, as defined in the [HHCA], as amended.”Id. at 6. Congress further detailed the Secretary's responsibilities with respect to the HHCA lands and the HHCA itself in the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act, 109 Stat. 357 (1995).

Since Hawaii's admission to the Union, Congress has enacted dozens of statutes on behalf of Native Hawaiians pursuant to the United States' recognized political relationship and trust responsibility. Congress has:
  • Established special Native Hawaiian programs in the areas of health care, education, loans, and employment. See, e.g., Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act, 42 U.S.C. 11701-11714; Native Hawaiian Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 7511-7517; Workforce Investment Act of 1998, 29 U.S.C. 2911; Native American Programs Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 2991-2992.
  • Enacted statutes to preserve Native Hawaiian culture, language, and historical sites. See, e.g., 16 U.S.C. 396d(a); Native American Languages Act, 25 U.S.C. 2901-2906; National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 16 U.S.C. 470a(d)(6).
  • Extended to the Native Hawaiian people many of “the same rights and privileges accorded to American Indian, Alaska Native, Eskimo, and Aleut communities” by classifying Native Hawaiians as “Native Americans” under numerous Federal statutes. 42 U.S.C. 11701(19); see, e.g., American Indian Religious Freedom Act, 42 U.S.C. 1996-1996a. See generally 20 U.S.C. 7512(13) (noting that “[t]he political relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people has been recognized and reaffirmed by the United States, as evidenced by the inclusion of Native Hawaiians” in many statutes); accord 114 Stat. 2968-69 (2000); 114 Stat. 2874-75 (2000).
In a number of enactments, Congress has expressly identified Native Hawaiians as “a distinct and unique indigenous people with a historical continuity to the original inhabitants of the Hawaiian archipelago,” 42 U.S.C. 11701(1); accord 20 U.S.C. 7512(1), with whom the United States has a “special” “trust” relationship, 42 U.S.C. 11701(15), (16), (18), (20); 20 U.S.C. 7512(8), (10), (11), (12).

In 1993, Congress enacted a joint resolution to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians. 107 Stat. 1510 (1993). In that Joint Resolution, Congress acknowledged that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii thwarted Native Hawaiian efforts to exercise their rights to “self-determination” and “inherent sovereignty,” and stated that “the Native Hawaiian people are determined to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their ancestral territory, and their cultural identity in accordance with their own spiritual and traditional beliefs, customs, practices, language, and social institutions.”Id. at 1512-13; see also 20 U.S.C. 7512(20).

In light of those findings, Congress “express[ed] its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people.” 107 Stat. 1513 (1993).

Following a series of hearings and meetings with the Native Hawaiian community in 1999, the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice issued “From Mauka to Makai: The River of Justice Must Flow Freely,” a report on the reconciliation process between the Federal government and Native Hawaiians. The report recommended as its top priority that “the Native Hawaiian people should have self-determination over their own affairs within the framework of Federal law.” Department of the Interior and Department of Justice, From Mauka to Makai 4 (2000).

In 2000, in Rice v. Cayetano, while addressing aspects of the legal status of Native Hawaiians under one provision of Hawaii state law, the Supreme Court assumed, without deciding, that the United States “may treat the native Hawaiians as it does the [organized] Indian tribes.” 528 U.S. at 518-19. Rice involved a distinctive state law that limited the right to vote for the trustees of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to “Hawaiians,” defined as “any descendant of the aboriginal peoples inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands which exercised sovereignty and subsisted in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, and which peoples thereafter have continued to reside in Hawaii.” Haw. Rev. Stat. 10-2 (1993).

The Court invalidated that state-law provision on the ground that, rather than implementing a political classification designed to promote the self-governance of a quasi-sovereign tribal entity, it used a racial classification in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibits States from denying or abridging United States citizens' right to vote on account of race or color. See Rice, 528 U.S. at 514, 518-22.

In recent statutes, Congress has again recognized that “Native Hawaiians have a cultural, historic, and land-based link to the indigenous people who exercised sovereignty over the Hawaiian Islands, and that group has never relinquished its claims to sovereignty or its sovereign lands.” 114 Stat. 2968 (2000); see also id. at 2966; 114 Stat. 2872, 2874 (2000); 118 Stat. 445 (2004).

Congress has consistently enacted programs and services expressly and specifically for the Native Hawaiian community that are, in many respects, analogous to, but separate from, the programs and services that Congress has enacted for federally recognized tribes in the continental United States.

As Congress has explained, it “does not extend services to Native Hawaiians because of their race, but because of their unique status as the indigenous peoples of a once sovereign nation as to whom the United States has established a trust relationship.” 114 Stat. 2968 (2000).

Although Congress has repeatedly acknowledged its special political and trust relationship with the Native Hawaiian community since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii more than a century ago, the Federal government has not maintained a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community as an organized, sovereign entity.

 Reestablishing a government-to-government relationship with a reorganized sovereign Native Hawaiian government that has been acknowledged by the United States could enhance Federal agencies' ability to implement the established relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community, while strengthening the self-determination of Hawaii's indigenous people and facilitating the preservation of their language, customs, heritage, health, and welfare.

The Federal government has long consulted with Native Hawaiians under several Federal statutes, including the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 16 U.S.C. 470a(d)(6)(B), 470h-2(a)(2)(D); the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 U.S.C. 3002(c)(2); and the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act, 109 Stat. 360 (1995). And for decades, Native Hawaiians have sought to formally reorganize a government through a community- or State-facilitated process.

In recent years, there have been calls from the Native Hawaiian community for the Federal government to “assist with the creation of a Native Hawaiian [governing] entity” to address the legal status of the community and to reestablish a government-to-government relationship, in part to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community. Department of the Interior & Department of Justice, From Mauka to Makai 17 (2000).

In 2001, a group of Native Hawaiian individuals and organizations brought suit challenging Native Hawaiians' exclusion from the Department's acknowledgment regulations (25 CFR part 83), which establish a uniform process for Federal acknowledgment of Indian tribes.

The Ninth Circuit upheld the geographic limitation in the part 83 regulations, concluding that there was a rational basis for the Department to distinguish between Native Hawaiians and tribes in the continental United States, given the history of separate congressional enactments regarding the two groups and the unique history of Hawaii.

The Ninth Circuit also noted the question whether Native Hawaiians “constitute one large tribe . . . or whether there are, in fact, several different tribal groups.”Kahawaiolaa v. Norton, 386 F.3d 1271, 1283 (9th Cir. 2004). The court expressed a preference for the Department to apply its expertise to “determine whether native Hawaiians, or some native Hawaiian groups, could be acknowledged on a government-to-government basis.”Id.
 
Also in 2004, Congress authorized the Department's Office of Native Hawaiian Relations to discharge the Secretary's responsibilities for matters related to the Native Hawaiian community. See 118 Stat. 445-46 (2004).

Legislation has been proposed in Congress to reorganize a single Native Hawaiian governing entity to which the United States could relate on agovernment-to-government basis. In 2010, during the Second Session of the 111th Congress, nearly identical Native Hawaiian government reorganization bills were passed by the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 245 to 164 (H.R. 2314), reported favorably by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (S. 1011), and strongly supported by the Administration (S. 3945).

In a letter to the Senate concerning S. 3945, the Secretary and the Attorney General stated: “Of the Nation's three major indigenous groups, Native Hawaiians—unlike American Indians and Alaska Natives—are the only one that currently lacks a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

This bill provides Native Hawaiians a means by which to exercise the inherent rights to local self-government, self-determination, and economic self-sufficiency that other Native Americans enjoy.” 156 Cong. Rec. S10990, S10992 (Dec. 22, 2010).

The 2010 House and Senate bills provided that the Native Hawaiian government “shall be vested with the inherent powers and privileges of self-government of a native government under existing law,” including the inherent powers “to determine its own membership criteria [and] its own membership” and to negotiate and implement agreements with the United States or with the State of Hawaii.

The bills would have required protection of the civil rights and liberties of Natives and non-Natives alike, as guaranteed in the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, 25 U.S.C. 1301 et seq., and would have barred the Native Hawaiian government and its members from conducting gaming activities under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., or other authority.

The bills further would have provided that the Native Hawaiian government and its members would not be eligible for Federal Indian programs and services unless Congress had expressly declared them eligible. And S. 3945 expressly left untouched the privileges, immunities, powers, authorities, and jurisdiction of federally recognized tribes in the continental United States.

The bills would have acknowledged the existing special political and trust relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States, and would have established a process for reorganizing a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

Some in Congress, however, expressed a preference not for recognizing a reorganized Native Hawaiian government by legislation, but for applying the Department's Federal acknowledgment process to the Native Hawaiian community. See, e.g., S. Rep. No. 112-251, at 45 (2012); S. Rep. No. 111-162, at 41 (2010).

The State of Hawaii, in Act 195, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011, expressed its support for reorganizing and federally recognizing a Native Hawaiian government, while also providing for state recognition of the Native Hawaiian people as “the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawaii.” Haw. Rev. Stat. 10H-1 (2013); see Act 195, sec. 1, Sess. L. Haw. 2011.

In particular, Act 195 established a process for compiling a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians in order to facilitate the development of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity by the Native Hawaiian community. See Haw. Rev. Stat. 10H-3-4 (2013); id. 10H-5 (“The publication of the roll of qualified Native Hawaiians . . . is intended to facilitate the process under which qualified Native Hawaiians may independently commence the organization of a convention of qualified Native Hawaiians, established for the purpose of organizing themselves.”); Act 195, secs. 3-5, Sess. L. Haw. 2011.

In addition, Native Hawaiian community representatives have asked the Department to provide an administrative avenue to facilitate reestablishing a government-to-government relationship between that community and the United States.

Most recently, in comments on the Department's discussion draft of potential revisions to the Federal acknowledgment regulations in 25 CFR part 83, which expressly do not apply outside the continental United States, several Native Hawaiian organizations requested an analogous administrative process for the Native Hawaiian community. See, e.g., http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/xraca/documents/text/idc1-023645.pdf.

This ANPRM seeks input on whether the Secretary should promulgate an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. The goals of the rule would be to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States, which Congress has long recognized, and to better implement programs and services that Congress has created to benefit the Native Hawaiian community. The rule could focus on either:
  • A Federal process to assist the Native Hawaiian community in reorganizing a government; or
  • Reestablishing a government-to-government relationship with a Native Hawaiian government reorganized through a process established by the Native Hawaiian community and facilitated by the State of Hawaii. This process would have to be consistent with Federal law.

Who should be eligible to participate in reorganizing a native hawaiian government?
If the Department were to proceed with an administrative rule to assist the Native Hawaiian community in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, the rule would not determine who ultimately would be a citizen or member of that government. For that reason, this ANPRM doesnotconcern the question of how a Native Hawaiian constitution or other governing document should define a set of membership criteria.

Presumably, a Native Hawaiian government would exercise its sovereign prerogative and, operating under its own constitution or other governing document, could define its membership criteria without regard to whether any person participated, or had been eligible to participate, in the government's initial reorganization (unless Federal legislation provided otherwise). See Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49, 55-56 (1978) (holding that tribes are “distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights in matters of local self-government,” with the power to regulate “their internal and social relations, . . . to make their own substantive law in internal matters” such as membership, and “to enforce that law in their own forums”) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); id. at 72 n.32 (“A tribe's right to define its own membership for tribal purposes has long been recognized as central to its existence as an independent political community.”).

But a Federal administrative rule concerning reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government would need to determine who can participate in the reorganization, including who would be eligible to assist in drafting a constitution or other governing document, and who would be eligible to vote in a ratification referendum. In discussing that issue, commenters may wish to consider observations made by members of the Supreme Court in Rice v. Cayetano, which invalidated a voting law of the State of Hawaii under the Fifteenth Amendment. Rice, 528 U.S. at 518-22.

Concurring in the judgment, Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Souter, concluded that the voting qualification was impermissible because the state statute “defines the electorate in a way that is not analogous to membership in an Indian tribe.”Id. at 526.

Justice Breyer contrasted the state law's “broad” definition of “Hawaiian”—which he noted would “includ[e] anyone with one ancestor who lived in Hawaii prior to 1778, thereby including individuals who are less than one five-hundredth original Hawaiian (assuming nine generations between 1778 and the present)”—with membership definitions for various tribes in the continental United States, which, for example, focus on whether individuals and their parents are “regarded as Native” by a Native village or group to which they claim membership, or whether individuals have “an ancestor whose name appeared on a tribal roll . . . in the far less distant past [such as 1906, 1936, 1937, or 1968, rather than 1778].”Id. at 526-27 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

While Justice Breyer acknowledged that “a Native American tribe has broad authority to define its membership,” in his view the voting qualification created by the State of Hawaii went “well beyond any reasonable limit” on the State's power to create such a definition and was “not like any actual membership classification created by any actual tribe.”Id. at 527.

In defining the persons who would be eligible to participate in any reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government, certain other legislative approaches may be instructive.

For example, in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), Congress exercised its trust responsibility to set aside Hawaiian home lands for homesteading by “native Hawaiians,” a category Congress defined as “any descendant of not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778.” Act of July 9, 1921, ch. 42, sec. 201(a)(7), 42 Stat. 108; see id. sec. 207, 42 Stat. 110-11.

Congress later consented to amendments that would permit a lessee's spouse, child, or grandchild who is of at least 25% Native Hawaiian ancestry to acquire the lease. 100 Stat. 3143 (1986) (consenting to, inter alia, Act 272, Sess. L. Haw. 1982); 111 Stat. 235 (1997) (consenting to, inter alia, Act 37, Sess. L. Haw. 1994).

A second approach is found in the State of Hawaii's Act 195, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011, legislation designed to facilitate the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government. As amended in 2012 and 2013, Act 195 provides that “qualified Native Hawaiians” can participate in reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government, where the term “qualified Native Hawaiian” is defined to mean an individual 18 years or older who has maintained a significant cultural connection to the Native Hawaiian community and who:
  • Is determined to be a descendant of the aboriginal peoples who, before 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands, the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii;
  • Is determined to be one of the indigenous native peoples of Hawaii and to be eligible in 1921 for the programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, or a direct lineal descendant of that individual; or
  • Meets the ancestry requirements of Kamehameha Schools or of any Hawaiian registry program of the office of Hawaiian affairs.
See Haw. Rev. Stat. 10H-3(a)(2) (2013)
The state law does not specify the documents or evidence that the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission should deem adequate to verify ancestry or to verify that an individual “[h]as maintained a significant cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community.”Id. 10H-3(a)(2)(B). In a 2013 amendment, the legislature further instructed the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to “include in the roll of qualified Native Hawaiians all individuals already registered with the State as verified Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians through the office of Hawaiian affairs as demonstrated by the production of relevant office of Hawaiian affairs records”; those individuals do not have to certify that they have maintained a connection to the Native Hawaiian community or wish to be included in the roll of qualified Native Hawaiians. Id. 10H-3(a)(4).

Another possible approach is found in legislation proposed in Congress to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government. The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2010 contained requirements that were similar to state Act 195's requirements, as to both ancestry and cultural, social, or civic connection to the community.

This Federal legislation provided considerable detail about the documentation an individual would have to provide to demonstrate both ancestry and the kinds of significant cultural, social, or civic connections that evidence an individual's membership in the political community.

The legislation stated that ancestry could be verified by presenting certain types of documentary evidence of lineal descent, identifying a lineal ancestor on the Kingdom of Hawaii's 1890 Census, or producing sworn affidavits from at least two “qualified Native Hawaiian constituents” (for those lacking birth certificates under certain circumstances). See S. 3945, sec. 8(c)(1)(B)-(C), 111th Cong., 2d Sess. (2010).

The Federal legislation further provided that an individual could demonstrate a significant cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community if he or she satisfied at least two of ten criteria relating to current state of residence, eligibility to be a beneficiary of programs under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, residence on or ownership interest in “kuleana land,” participation in Hawaiian language schools or programs, membership in Native Hawaiian membership organizations, and regard as Native Hawaiian by the Native Hawaiian community. See S. 3945, sec. 3(12)(E), 111th Cong., 2d Sess. (2010); see id. sec. 3(10)

This ANPRM seeks input on which individuals, as members of the Native Hawaiian community, should be eligible to participate in the process of reorganizing a sovereign Native Hawaiian government that could reestablish a relationship with the Federal government. The ANPRM does not seek input on the membership or citizenship criteria that the Native Hawaiian community may adopt in its constitution or other governing document; that decision belongs to the Native Hawaiian community.

Frameworks for Reorganization, Roll Preparation, and Acknowledgment

The Department's existing regulatory frameworks for reorganizing, preparing rolls for, and acknowledging Indian tribes in the continental United States may inform the analogous processes that Native Hawaiians may ultimately propose for reorganization or acknowledgment. Tribal officials have worked with these regulatory provisions for decades, and their experiences likely will be helpful in responding to this ANPRM.

The Department has established a regulatory framework for members of Indian tribes to adopt new governing documents and reorganize their tribal governments. The framework includes procedures that identify eligible voters, provide notice to those voters, provide equal opportunities to participate, establish minimum participation standards to ensure that the outcome of the voting reflects the will of the majority, and provide for the Secretary's approval of the governing document. See 25 CFR part 81.

Federal regulations also provide a framework for the Secretary to compile rolls for some tribes for limited purposes. Those regulations provide forpublic notice of the preparation of the roll, procedures for enrollment, and an opportunity to appeal adverse decisions. See 25 CFR parts 61 and 62.

The Department's regulatory framework for Federal acknowledgment of Indian tribes, found in 25 CFR Part 83, establishes uniform administrative standards and procedures for identifying, defining, and acknowledging those Indian groups that exist as tribes. Id. 83.2.

The regulations require evidence of community—such as shared cultural or social activities, residence in a defined geographic area, marriages within the group, shared language, kinship systems, or ceremonies, and significant social relationships among members—and evidence of political influence, such as widespread knowledge and involvement in political processes, and leaders who take action on matters that most of the membership consider important. Id. 83.7(b) and (c). If these and other mandatory criteria are met, tribal existence is acknowledged. Id. 83.6(c) and 83.10(m).

Indeed, Congress has expressly found that administrative acknowledgment under procedures set forth in a Federal regulation such as Part 83 is a valid method for recognizing an Indian tribe with which the United States can maintain a government-to-government relationship. See 108 Stat. 4791 (1994).

The acknowledgment of the Indian group under part 83 recognizes or reaffirms a special political and trust relationship with the United States. Here, however, the Native Hawaiian community already has a congressionally recognized special political and trust relationship with the United States, but lacks an organized governing body, a constitution, settled membership criteria, and a complete membership list, which petitioners under part 83 have.

The experiences of tribes in the continental United States with part 83, like their experiences with the other parts of title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations discussed above, nonetheless may provide useful guidance for the Native Hawaiian community. For example, the mandatory criteria in part 83 help clarify what constitutes a political community.

Given the Native Hawaiians' unique situation, one of the topics on which this ANPRM seeks input is whether and how to promulgate a distinct regulatory framework for the Native Hawaiian community, for purposes such as:
  • Identifying those persons of Native Hawaiian descent who are part of the political community and should be eligible to participate in the reorganization by virtue of verifiable cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community; and
  • Identifying procedures for adopting a constitution or other governing document, should the Native Hawaiian community indicate that it would like to do so.

Federal Programs and Services

As described above, Congress has consistently enacted programs and services expressly and specifically for the Native Hawaiian community that are, in many respects, analogous to, but separate from, the programs and services that Congress has enacted for federally recognized tribes in the continental United States. Generally, Native Hawaiians have not been eligible for Federal Indian programs and services unless Congress expressly and specifically declared them eligible.

Consistent with that approach, the Department of the Interior does not foresee that a Federal rule to facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community would alter or affect the programs and services that the United States currently provides to federally recognized tribes in the continental United States.

Congress has enacted more than 150 statutes expressly affecting Native Hawaiians, and it is these laws that define the scope of Federal programs and services for Native Hawaiians.


Consultation With Federally Recognized Tribes in the Continental United States

Given that the Secretary is considering whether to propose an administrative rule to facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with an indigenous people, the knowledge, expertise, and input of officials from federally recognized tribes in the continental United States, including those tribes that have reorganized their own sovereign governments or have reestablished a government-to-government relationship with the United States, will be important.

So, along with a series of public meetings in Hawaii, we will conduct a series of formal, in-person consultations with officials of federally recognized tribes in various regions of the continental United States during the public-comment period for this ANPRM. We will give public notice of each tribal consultation, and we will accept both oral and written communications.

Tribal consultations on this ANPRM will be conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13175, 65 FR 67249 (Nov. 9, 2000); the Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Tribal Consultation, 74 FR 57881 (Nov. 9, 2009); and the Department of the Interior Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes.

If the Department ultimately decides to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the NPRM's preamble will include a tribal summary impact statement that reflects comments received from tribal officials in response to this ANPRM. Publication of an NPRM also would open a second round of tribal consultation and another formal comment period to allow for further input and refinements before publishing a final rule.



And don't forget Niel Abercrombie and his Native Lands aspirations:


Video above: Niel reveals his greed. From (http://youtu.be/1gs-pKQHP7I) and (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2012/08/pldc-ceded-land-grab-finale.html)


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