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A Government Rises From Exile

The Hawaiian Nation reclaims its place in the world
(This article was first published in Hawai'i in 2000)
"Whereas the Kingdom of Hawai`i, having been in exile for one-hundred seven years due to an unlawful overthrow of its government de jure, has exercised perfect right to reestablish its proper station as an independent nation within the community of nations." -The Preamble of the Amended Hawaiian Constitution of 2000 - The archipelago known as the Hawaiian Islands is either a state within the United States - or it’s an independent nation in its own right, depending upon your point of view. In the eyes of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the World Court, Hawai`i is an independent, sovereign nation that has been occupied by the United States in violation of international law since 1893.
The Reinstated Hawaiian Government is making that international perspective visible to both visitors and residents of Hawai`i. One weekend each month, members of the sovereignty group …

The simple truth? We're only half-smart...

The Census Bureau counted 308 million people living in America in 2010. Their headcounters likely missed a couple of million heads, and several million residents deliberately ducked the census altogether because, for reasons of their own, they prefer not to be counted. Add an ever-growing population to that number and the true total sits somewhere around 320 million souls by now. Half of those people, more than 160 million of us, are below average in intelligence. In proper terms, they’re below the median when it comes to intelligence, but most folks don’t know the difference between a median and an average. But it's a simple and undeniable truth that half the people in America are smarter than the other half. Here's another: as individuals, most of us are smart enough to get by, but the larger a crowd becomes, the dumber it behaves. When humans gather in groups, a tipping point is soon reached and the group begins to grow stupid. It’s most obvious in the stadiums of professio…

Expensively Defensive

We spend a lot of money to maintain our massive military machine, because it's the largest on the planet by a factor of five. We spend $700 billion every year, not because we actually need to; we spend that much the same way a junkie will overspend to maintain an addiction.

We currently spend more on national defense than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom – combined. That should make us pretty safe here at home, but American soil is not where most of that money is being spent.

Across the globe, 156 countries have some kind of US troop presence within their borders. Only 46 don't. The Pentagon maintains more than 700 overseas military sites that we know of.

The Defense Department employs more than 3 million people overall. In 2009, the department's PR section had a staff of 27,000 people and spent $4.7 billion by itself on a wide variety of activities.

In 2010 the US military had 963 generals and admirals receiving an average sal…

Fake News Is Nothing New

"Fake News" has become a popular phrase these days. Our president certainly likes to use it, often paired with another common phrase – "mainstream media". Both are convenient but meaningless labels that misrepresent the business of publishing the news in America. The general contempt that a lot of folks have for news media is certainly nothing new. A century ago, newspapers often engaged in what was called 'yellow journalism' and reporters were held in such low esteem that they were referred to as 'ink-stained wretches'. Newspaper publisher William Hearst was the poster boy of Fake News in those days. Hearst and his editors frequently printed misleading or entirely dishonest stories that promoted Hearst's personal views or demonized people he was at odds with. That's completely different from advocacy journalism, which most news sources practice. Some even acknowledge that reality. I was once the editor of the Haleakala Times, a bi-weekly newsp…

Who pays for all this?

By the time you read this, the total debt of the federal government may have reached 20 trillion dollars. Add in all of the estimated state and local government debts and America owes somebody nearly $25 trillion. But that's not enough; Congress is coming back into session in September and will probably raise its self-imposed debt limit in order to borrow some more. They always have before. There's no question who gets the bill for the interest on that debt every year: we all do. Who's paying down that debt? Nobody at all. No president or Congress has lowered the national debt for more than half a century... The cost of nearly 17 years of American military operations in Afghanistan is hard to calculate, but it's more than one trillion dollars. That amount will keep growing every day, because there's no real change coming in our overseas commitments. There's plenty of room to argue over what we're doing in a land long known as the Graveyard of Empires – maybe w…

The People Are The Problem

Most of the time I don't really care who the American president is, and neither should you. It's always been an important job, but its occupant was never meant to be Captain America or Leader Of The Free World. Our president is not supposed to create new policies except in an emergency; the task of setting the national agenda belongs to Congress. Presidential power was originally restricted to running the government and serving as Commander-in-Chief during times of war. Our first president, rest his soul, didn't enjoy his time in office and is probably appalled at how the American people have turned the presidency into a personality-driven media show. George Washington rejected the hero worship shown to him during his days as a living legend, and he warned of the danger that comes from giving too much power and having too much faith in any one person. And that's what we've done. We've surrendered power in a creeping process that started early and has grown steadi…

How to steal an election

If you were planning to steal an election, our long history of rigging the popular vote can help you. Controlling who counts the votes and how those votes get counted is the most direct and effective way of election thievery – especially when votes are cast, counted and stored by digital machines. Decades ago, with our typical enthusiasm for technology, Americans accepted voting machines – first mechanical, then electronic, now digital and tomorrow wireless – as a valid replacement for paper ballots. We were wrong. It's bad enough when machines malfunction, but storing votes on hard drives offers thieves an easy way to steal. They just need a few minutes of access to machines before an election to install malicious software, or similar access to storage drives after votes have been cast. That access is available to whichever political party controls a state government. It's much, much harder to rig elections that rely on paper ballots marked with a pencil. Lots of volunteers help…