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I am a progressive Democrat who has been involved in the Hawaiian independence movement for the last 15 years. Suddenly issues of "secession" (even though that's not what we consider in here in Hawaii, because Hawaii was never actually ceded in the first place) have been thrust into the national spotlight with Todd Palin's association with the Alaska Independence Party and right-wing characterization of the so-called Akaka bill for Hawaiian recognition, which Obama supports, as a step towards Hawaii's independence. I posted the following thoughts on my blog over a month ago, in response to some statements made by Rush Limbaugh, but figured I would share them here so folks have some insight into the Hawaiian independence movement and how it differs from the Alaska independence movement. I have been disturbed by how some, including Olbermann and Kos, have generically and negatively characterized "secessionists" even equating them with terrorists as a rhetorical devise used against Palin. So I hope folks will take the time to read after the jump and appreciate something a bit more nuanced about the why many many Native Hawaiians and other residents of Hawaii do in fact support independence, but how they differ from the AIP.

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In talking about the Clinton/McCain gas tax holiday proposal yesterday, Obama mentioned a Shell oil lobbyist as the surrogate advocating this idea.

ABC News Jake Tapper, says that starting at 10:53, Obama "took a turn not in his prepared remarks":

"Does anyone here really trust the oil companies to give you the savings, when they could just pocket the money themselves? There's not an expert out there that believes that this is going to work. There's not an editorial out there that has said this is actually the answer to high gas prices. In fact my understanding is today, Senator Clinton had to send out a surrogate to speak on behalf of this plan, and all she could find was, get this, a lobbyist for Shell Oil to explain how this is going to be good for consumers. It's a 'shell game,' literally."

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Today's Honolulu Advertiser has a profile on Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama's maternal grandmother who he referred to in his March 18 A More Perfect Union address:

... a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

One main focus of the story is on her being a pioneer for women in the banking industry: "In December 1970, she was named one of the first two female vice presidents at Bank of Hawaii." This was a big deal at the time. She is a very strong woman and those who worked for her obviously have huge respect for her.

One indicates that he never heard her say "anything like that." But it also recounts one anecdote from Dreams from My Father where Barack's grandfather told him she had been scared of a man on the street because he was black.

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Folks from Hawaii reading this, and particularly those in HI-02 (neighbor islands and rural Oahu), take note of this in today's Advertiser story on Hawaii's superdelegates:

Hirono, who endorsed former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards in 2004, told the Hawai'i Tribune-Herald last week that she wants to hear feedback from her constituents.

I think it is kind of silly, because her constituents have obviously already spoken by voting overwhelmingly for Obama (16,892 votes to 4,923 for Clinton). But that's what she's saying.

Here's her contact form (it might be more appropriate to communicate with her campaign office at 808-550-2006, but when I called her office previously they said just go ahead and use this form). Be Polite!

Here's my letter to Hirono that I sent a couple weeks ago. Best not to just copy it, write your own, but it may provide some useful points to include.

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Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 01:59 AM PDT

Obama lucky to be a young man

by scottmaui

Obama is getting an overwhelming majority of the young vote and appealing to a generational change in American politics.

"If Obama was an old man, he would not be in this position. And if he was an old person (of any gender) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be 47. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Right?

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In today's Honolulu Advertiser political columnist Jerry Burris talks about the role of superdelegates in the nominating process, and notes:

Hawai'i has nine superdelegates, the four Democratic members of Congress, four top party leaders and a ninth to be chosen by the state convention.

Three of those nine have made their voting intentions known. U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and National Committeeman Richard Port will vote for Clinton, while U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie will vote for Obama.

The others have not publicly declared their intention.

I decided to write to the two undeclared members of Congress, Sen. Daniel Akaka and my Rep. Mazie Hirono, to urge them to support Sen. Obama, and soon. Below the fold is my letter.

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Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 02:28 AM PST

Parry Clinton, but thrust at McCain

by scottmaui

Earlier in the campaign, before Edwards suspended, I made a comment that basically I would be happy with Obama, would live with Clinton, but only felt truly excited about Edwards. I identified with Edwards' fighting approach to special interests in control of our government.

After he dropped out and I watched the contests unfold, especially watching Obama's primary night speeches, I grew more and more excited and inspired by Obama. And I came to understand and believe in his approach of gathering a strong and engaged majority to support the changes that we need to wrest control from these interests. I voted for him in the Hawaii caucus on Feb. 19.

At the same time, my attitude about Clinton stayed about the same. I was in the camp that favored Obama yet certainly would have supported Clinton were she to win the nomination.

Below, I explore some thoughts about my changing attitude toward Clinton and how I think Obama could/should respond tactically at this time.

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:14 PM PST

Official Hawaii Dem Caucus Results

by scottmaui

Just got this email from the Democratic Party of Hawaii. There are no changes here in terms of  final delegate count (Obama 14, Clinton 6), but these are the final official numbers of votes...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR MORE INFORMATION, Contact Democratic Party State Chair, Jeani Withington: 808-936-4839

The State Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawaii has completed the tabulation of the results of the February 19th Presidential Preference Poll and has certified the following results as official.

continued after the jump...

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Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 11:02 PM PST

Photos from Caucus in Hana, Maui

by scottmaui

Here's a few photos from our caucus in Hana, Maui.

First, the basic numbers:

Approx. registered voters in precinct: 1100
Precinct Dem party membership prior to this evening: 81
Votes counted this evening: 145
Clinton: 20
Obama: 125

Follow me for some more pix...

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Something to ponder on this Hawaii caucus night...

U.S. Constitution:

No person except a natural born citizen [...] shall be eligible to the office of President

What exactly does this mean?

McCain was born in Panama, and Obama in Hawaii.

Check out the Wikipedia page on "Natural-born citizen" for some interesting tidbits.

First, it seems there are two sides to the argument about how this phrase should be interpreted in regards to eligibility for the presidency, and the Supreme Court has never addressed it:

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Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:28 AM PDT

Hawaii Dems move up caucus to Feb. 19

by scottmaui

For those watching the shifting primaries and caucuses, this today from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

With the Democratic presidential race front-loaded next year, Hawaii Democrats hope that moving their caucus ahead one month to Feb. 19 will give them a little more clout in the selection process.

But that date still puts Hawaii behind about 30 other states, including the Super Tuesday primaries on Feb. 5.

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This is an important issue that I don't think has been diaried about yet, re labor's opposition to the "Patent Reform Act of 2007" (aka "Infringers Protection" act), and a call for action to support labor and oppose this legislation.

This out last Thursday in InfoWorld:

Opponents of legislation that would overhaul the U.S. patent system have enlisted new allies who may cause majority Democrats in Congress to rethink their support of the proposals.

Since late July, three labor unions -- the AFL-CIO, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), and the United Steelworkers -- have sent letters to lawmakers saying they oppose two current patent reform bills. Patent reform opponents say they hope their alliance with organized labor, which has a long history of supporting Democrats, will stall the legislation.

Steve Elmendorf, notorious in the netroots, has been hired to pressure the unions to back off their opposition.

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