Swing Votes, Leverage, and Vote Trading

Recently I wrote a column in which I suggest that President Biden should “Give them (those who are blocking the Build Back Better legislation) a freeway, an airport, a rail system, or maybe a football stadium. Name an aircraft carrier, battleship, or destroyer after them. Just cut the deal.”

I suspect more than a few readers find this approach to legislating a bit unseemly, and view vote trading akin to bribery, extortion and/or kidnapping and holding for ransom.

Welcome to the world of politics. Some issues gain broad-based support with minimal gamesmanship but when a “swing vote” is involved things can often get ugly.

When proponents are one vote short of the number needed to pass something, that final vote is considered the “swing vote”. The raw translation: If you want my swing vote, then you must give me something in return.

This is what’s called leverage.

A single legislator or in this case two, Senator Manchin (WV) and Sinema (AZ) are the Democratic swing votes needed in the U.S. Senate in order to pass the Build Back Better legislation.

Legislators are there to pass into law new public policy, increase or decrease funding for government programs, and fund and approve public infrastructure known as capitol improvement projects or CIP (roads, bridges, airports, harbors, etc).

What is an important policy, program, or CIP project for one legislator or one group of legislators, may not be important to another legislator or group of legislators. They may represent different geographical or demographical interest groups, and it’s not unusual that they have different perspectives, and priorities.

Consequently, when attempting to pull the needed votes together to actually accomplish something, different legislators or groups of legislators will “trade votes”.

To have integrity, vote trading must involve legitimate and necessary policy, programs, and/or CIP. For example: I’ll support building that new school cafeteria in your district this year, if next year you support building that much-needed highway in mine. Both are legitimate public needs, but the question is one of timing and priorities.

Another example: I‘ll support increasing the minimum wage if you support increased tax credits for small businesses. A legislator might not really think tax credits are necessary, but they might be willing to go along because of the greater good achieved by passing an increase in the minimum wage. Similarly, a legislator might detest increasing the minimum wage but can live with it if there were tax credits for small businesses.

A third example is the cross-trading of policy, programs, or CIP and totally unrelated items such as office staffing or committee assignments. A certain policy or program might be on the table for a vote, and a legislator who might represent the critical swing vote will say something to the effect that “I will hold my nose and support this policy change, IF I get this specific CIP project funded for my district, and if I get XYZ etc.”

This is how the sausage of lawmaking is accomplished at all levels of elective office – County, State and Federal. It’s not pretty, but barring the election of a strong majority with common values and vision, it’s how contrary positions ultimately come together to move the ball forward.

The fact that Senators Manchin and Sinema, both Democrats, are using their positions as swing votes to leverage the Democratic Majority and the Democratic President, is both shameful, and an egregious abuse of power. It’s unfortunate and equally shameful, that not one single Republican will cross over to support what has the potential to be the most significant legislation since FDR’s “New Deal” passed in 1933.

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Time for President Biden to cut a deal, lessons from Louis L’Amour

Louis L’Amour’s novel Sitka should be required reading by all who serve in elective office.

“He knew how to line up the votes, knew what the states and territories needed, and he knew that statecraft consists of a reconciling of viewpoints, and to be a superior statesman one must also be a superior politician. It was not enough to have vision, to have a program. It was not enough to be strong, sincere, honest. In a democracy, one also needed votes, and to put over a program one must find a way to win the votes of those with less vision and possibly even less loyalty to country.” (Sitka page 320)

President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan is a once in a generation proposal that if passed has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of working people, retiree’s, and families across the country – all paid for by rolling back the Trump tax cuts and increases on those earning over $400,000.

While Hawaii Congressman Ed Case is also maneuvering to delay passage and reduce the benefits being offered, Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kristen Sinema (AZ), are the two biggest problems standing in the way of passing this historical legislation.

It’s time to cut a deal with Senator’s Manchin and Sinema. Politics 101 – find out what they want and give it to them.

To those who say hell no, we give them nothing – relax, take a breath, and look at the bigger picture. Know also that karma has a way of taking care of things like this.

They want to win. So BFD, let them win. Just make sure we win too. The real winner will be people and the planet.

Use the fuzzy math government accountants and legislators are famous for. Reduce the number, without really reducing the number. Drop it from $3.5 trillion to $2.9 trillion by reducing the term from 10 years to 9, delay or phase-in implementation. The bottom line is make the “top line” appear to drop below $3 trillion, without actually reducing programs or benefits. Whatever – just maintain the benefits and reduce the big number slightly so the two Senators can save face and look cool.

Then, allow them to look really cool and powerful by throwing some big dog stuff to Arizona and West Virginia. Give them a freeway, an airport, a rail system, or maybe a football stadium. Name an aircraft carrier, battleship, or destroyer after them. Whatever – just cut the damn deal.

And do it quickly. The longer it takes to cut the deal the less likely the deal will be cut. There are too many things on edge right now: health, labor, business, social, and environmental. It’s as if multiple volcanos are ready to explode.

We need to close this deal, now.

If the two Senate Democrats don’t want to play ball, then find two Senate Republicans who are hungry for fame and the history books. Then, cut a deal with them.

Seven Republican Senators voted to convict and impeach Trump. There must be at least two of them who would love to have an aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine named after them, be known forever for their bi-partisan acumen, AND bring home the largest slab of bacon ever to their State.

It’s time for President Biden to play hardball. Each of these Senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, just wanna win. They wanna look good back home, be in the history books, and get some big piece of floating metal named after them.

I say give it to them. Let them win, and at the same time give a hugely big win to the American people as well. But do it now, before something blows up – both literally and figuratively.

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1 minute must read: thought-provoking, relevant, and timely

As a lifelong readaholic, I recently decided to find out why the novels of Louis L’Amour are so popular. Being a fan of historical fiction, I borrowed his book Sitka from the library.

On page 320 I found this passage, which you might find useful in coaching aspiring politicians:

“He, Walker,had been called a genius of party management. To many outside the understanding of world affairs, the term might seem less than flattering, yet Walker preferred it to any other. He knew how to line up the votes, knew what the states and territories needed, and he knew that statecraft consists of a reconciling of viewpoints, and to be a superior statesman one must also be a superior politician. It was not enough to have vision, to have a program. It was not enough to be strong, sincere, honest. In a democracy one also needed votes, and to put over a program one must find a way to win the votes of those with less vision and possibly even less loyalty to country.”

*Above is a note that came in my email this morning from a friend/associate. It made me think, and so I thought it important to share.

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National Politics On Steroids – No Good Will Come From This

On October 11th, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning any entity in Texas, including private businesses, from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees or customers.

President Biden however has requested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develop rules requiring all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly.

Both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are based in Texas. They will now have to choose to either follow United Airlines and other major air carriers in compliance with the proposed federal rules or answer to the governor of their home state of Texas. *American Airlines and Southwest Airlines announced late Tuesday they would not comply with the governor’s order.

President Biden’s plans also require health care employers to mandate worker vaccinations at facilities that treat patients with public health insurance. Facilities that don’t comply risk losing federal reimbursement – a sticky wicket to say the least.

So far, 21 states, all with Republican Governors have enacted laws or issued executive orders banning proof of vaccination requirements.

A State order prohibiting a private business from complying with the Federal governments’ rules puts those businesses between a rock and a very hard place.

With no consistent rule of law, these businesses face the ire and wrath from a very passionate public that will no doubt come at them from all sides of the argument.

To be clear this is an argument and not a debate. COVID is real. Vaccines greatly reduce the negative health impacts of COVID. States with higher vaccination rates have lower COVID infection and death rates. These are the facts and no YouTube video is qualified to dispute them.

Ultimately the courts will decide that federal law, rules, and executive orders will preempt any conflicting state law or executive order. Trust me on this one. I’ve some experience with preemption law.

Whether the various Governors, State legislators, members of Congress, or the general public will choose to respect, honor, and trust the courts’ decision is another matter.

It’s all very unsettling and some would say, downright destabilizing. Still others would say it’s all part of a grand plan that will result in a “strong man” (read – oligarch, narcissist, compulsive liar, who denies losing his most recent election) stepping up to lead (read control) the country, crackdown on the craziness, and bring order, peace, and safety (read fascism) to America.

I prefer to believe that rather than some complex plan being orchestrated by smart rich people somehow connected to the Illuminati – what’s going on today is simply politics on steroids. Like an out-of-control car hurtling down a mountain road without brakes. The speed of the car just continues to increase and no one knows what’s around the next corner.

As simple and basic as it sounds, the answer here in the islands is to think global and act local. Focusing here locally to increase affordable housing, protect our natural environment, increase local food production, become energy self-sufficient, and in general support local residents – is our answer.

Fortunately, we have the Pacific Ocean to protect us from the madness occurring now on the continent. We should be thankful as well that our government leaders have so far anyway, not drank the Kool-Aid offered by the far-right, and operate from a space that is calm and thoughtful.

We might not always agree with our Mayor and Governor, but it’s clear their decisions are based on what they truly believe is best for our community, and not driven by ego, arrogance, or concerns about the next election.

Yes. Lucky we live Hawai’i. Let’s keep it that way.

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We need change-makers, not just place-holders.

Often I get asked by readers, why I am supporting Candidate X over Candidate Y (who is often the incumbent).

The short answer is one that the totally awesome former Ohio Sen. Nina Turner has by now made famous: “Just any ole blue won’t do.”

Yes, Candidate Y is a nice person. And yes, Candidate Y may be good on environmental or other specific subject-matter issues, and they may even return my telephone calls and are always pleasant, courteous and professional. That’s all good stuff, but it’s not enough. Not by a long shot.

Our community needs change-makers, not just place-holders.

We need legislators who are willing to fight hard for the rights and needs of regular local people AND protect our natural environment.

We need legislators and policymakers who feel deep down the urgency of the moment. We need individuals serving us in public office who have both the commitment and the courage to take the bold action so desperately needed now.

Sitting in the back row, keeping your head down, not making waves, then going home and bragging about the money you brought back to the district is not enough. Moving baby-step Bills and passing strongly-worded Resolutions that hold no legal authority also is not enough.

Climate change is real and poses an existential threat to our island home, and to the homes of friends around the world. Our local economy is dominated by and addicted to military spending and the tourism industry — both of which have hugely negative environmental and societal impacts. We have families living in encampments under bridges, in our beach parks, and alongside our roadways. The median price of a single-family home exceeds $1 million, while our minimum wage remains stuck at $10.10 per hour.

Simply holding space at the Legislature, balancing the budget, staying out of trouble, and looking good in a jacket, are not enough.

We need to elect government leaders who understand the desperate times we are living in, who feel the urgency and obligation in their gut, and who are willing to fight hard to make the changes needed now to improve the lives of regular people and protect our planet.

Some will say there should not be a “litmus test.” I disagree.

For me to support a candidate there are three:

They must believe that if someone works 40 hours a week, they deserve to be paid a wage sufficient to provide basic housing, medical care, and three meals a day: a living wage;

They must believe and understand that environmental protection is a public-trust responsibility. Our water, our coastlines, and our public lands cannot be sold or privatized, and must be protected;

They must believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally and with respect, regardless of color, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age, or income status.

But simply believing in these things is still not enough. We need to elect leaders who possess the self-confidence and inner strength of character needed to vote their conscience, speak truth to power, and make the “good trouble” so desperately needed at this particular point in our history.

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The Myth of Democrats Controlling Politics and Government in Hawaii

Hawaii is a blue state dominated by Democrats and the Democratic Party. Conventional wisdom though this may be, it’s only half true. And even the half that’s true is not really true. Dwell on that for a moment.

All too often we hear variations of, “As long as the one party-political mafia gate-holders have a stranglehold on who gets to be a candidate, you will only see more of the same.”

As the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii (DPH), I will share with you some not so secret, secrets.

The DPH does not pick and choose candidates. Any individual who is a member of the Party can place a “D” next to their name and run in any election as a Democrat. The Party has no say in the matter whatsoever.

The DPH does not actively nor officially help any candidate running in the Primary Election, where Democrats will challenge Democrats.

The truth is the Party mostly has nothing to do at all with deciding who runs and who doesn’t. These decisions are made by the individual candidates.

Yes, there are a variety of players who encourage various individuals to run and who offer support to both new and incumbent candidates. And yes, these individuals are sometimes but not always affiliated with the Party.

More often the core allegiance of the various players and political operatives is based on the needs and goals of special interest groups – labor, business, environment, agriculture, construction etc.

Interest groups pleased with their preferred legislator’s performance will continue to support them, and those not pleased will seek to find a challenger to “take out” an incumbent.

The DPH has a strong social, environmental, and economic justice platform. Those serving in public office are expected to support the platform, but there is no mechanism to ensure this happens – none, zero, nada.

Anyone doubting this need only look at the failures of leadership in the State House. Year after year they simply ignore DPH priorities, focusing instead on pleasing various business and tourism industry organizations.

Think of the Party as a brand. The politically preferable brand for a majority of voters in Hawaii is the “D”. Consequently, most candidates choose to run as Democrats.

Because of the hard work and relentless commitment by rank and file Party members over the years, the DPH brand is a stellar one.

Unfortunately, in recent years the brand has been tarnished by incumbent legislators who are essentially corporatists.

Working people struggle daily just to survive, our stream waters have been taken over by big business, the houseless have been criminalized, and our economy remains dominated by military spending and tourism.

If real Democrats were truly in charge the minimum wage in Hawaii would be $15 now and headed without question toward a true living wage. If Democrats who actually believed in the Democratic platform and values were really at the helm, luxury second homes and real estate speculators would be paying the highest taxes in the nation not the lowest, AND the lack of affordable housing would have been declared an emergency a long time ago.

So the not-so-secret secret is that the Democratic Party of Hawaii is not in charge, it’s the corporatists that have hijacked the “D” brand who are actually running the show.

We can change this of course. It starts with finding and supporting new candidates who truly believe in the principles and values upon which the Democratic Party of Hawaii is based. We need to find real “D’s” to run against the faux “D’s” and those who carry water for their enablers.

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The Hawaii Case Against President Biden’s “Build Back Better Agenda”

Hawaii Congressman Ed Case is siding with the Republicans (IMHO) and Conservative Democrats attempting to sabotage the President’s $3.5 trillion social infrastructure plan – Please call Case today and ask him to help build the plan up rather than tear it down. Ask him to help make it stronger instead of joining with those who would make it weaker – call today Representative Ed Case (808) 650-6688

Today, if you are a senior citizen on Social Security and Medicare, and you cannot afford to purchase additional insurance, you have no dental, hearing, or vision coverage. Imagine the quality of life (or lack thereof) of kūpuna without teeth, who only hear half the words coming from their grandchildren’s mouth, and are homebound because their vision is so poor.

This could all change in the next few months IF the current majority of Democrats in Congress stick together and vote yes in support of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) “Build Back Better Agenda”.

Unfortunately, every single Republican in Congress has indicated they will be voting no. If Democrats stick together the measure will pass, but it will be very close.

Three of our four Hawai‘i members of Congress, Representative Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele (CD2), Senator Mazie Hirono, and Senator Brian Schatz, have expressed strong support for this once-in-a-generation legislative initiative.

Only Congressman Ed Case (CD1) has expressed hesitancy and while publicly expressing support, he appears to be working at cross purposes – attempting to undermine rather than strengthen the legislation.

According to multiple media reports, in addition to the opposition coming from Republicans, a small group of conservative Democrats including Congressman Case is attempting to delay and impede the efforts of President Biden and the Majority Democrats who are in strong support. Case’s group is pushing for the measure to be “de-linked” from a separate physical infrastructure bill which is also poised to pass into law. President Biden and the Majority Leadership in Congress oppose the de-linking as that action is widely seen as a maneuver that ultimately weakens the prospect of passing the larger $3.5 trillion package.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the only thing standing between 61 million Medicare recipients getting their teeth fixed, a better pair of glasses, and finally that hearing aid they have been waiting so long for – are 12 Democrats: Senator Manchin (West Virginia), Senator Sinema (Arizona), Representative Ed Case (Hawai’i), and 9 of his friends in the House of Representatives.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “37 million people, or nearly two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries, have no dental coverage. Not coincidently, half of all beneficiaries reported they had not been to a dentist in the past year and 15 percent said they had no teeth at all.” The National Institute for Health estimates, “about one-third of those between 65 and 74 have hearing loss, as do nearly half of those older than 75. On average, hearing aids cost between $1000 and $5000.”(Forbes 07/22/21)

In addition to the long-overdue expansion of Medicare, the Biden “Build Back Better Agenda” includes provisions that will lower costs for families with young children by expanding the Child Tax Credit and reduce taxes for 25 million low-moderate wage workers via the earned income tax credit. The plan also invests heavily in fighting climate change, expanding opportunities in education, and supporting the construction of millions of affordable homes.

“The Build Back Better Agenda is an ambitious plan to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families – all paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share.” The White House Fact Sheet

This could all happen in just a few weeks’ time, and all with just the stroke of a pen, or it could take months and be dramatically reduced in size and scope. Or it could fail completely, due to the lack of literally only a handful of votes.

If passage of the Build Back Better Agenda is important to you, I encourage you to call every member of the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation today and let them know: Representative Ed Case (808) 650-6688, Representative Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele (808) 746-6220, Senator Mazie Hirono (808) 522-8970, Senator Brian Schatz (808) 523-2061.

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5 good reads – short, stimulating, and to some degree – unsettling

Today I’m sharing a handful of short “must reads” and encourage you to take a moment to review them when you can grab some quiet time. I found each provided me valuable insight into the four different subject matter pillars.

But first, please check out a piece I wrote for Civil Beat! It actually lays out a rough plan for winning in 2022 (Spoiler Alert: It involves showing up.)

“Without a concerted effort to increase civic engagement, demand government accountability, and elect new leaders at all levels, we are headed for hell in a handbasket.” Hawaii needs you to run for public office.”

Now the other 4 short but very important and stimulating reads:

1) This is written by Hawaii physician Dr. Seiji Yamada and published in CounterPunch. I found his words both compelling and unsettling – please read through until the end: “Twenty years after 9-11, a health workers perspective”

2) Published in Civil Beat, this paragraph will give you a flavor (pun intended) of this very interesting and forwards thinking read “In Waikiki Elementary’s fourth-grade class in 2006, there was not a single student willing to eat a tomato. It was clear that the students had no relationship to the tomato or understanding of what a real tomato should taste like.” “It’s time for the DOE to take the lead on food and education”

3) An eye-opening interview with board-certified pediatrician, a Fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics, and former head of Wilcox Hospital, Dr. Lee Evslin, “Breakfast at Monsanto sheds light on health dangers of the world’s most widely used weedkiller.”

4) Last but certainly not least, a labor day special by Heather Cox Richardson who writes about Frances Perkins. If you do not know who Frances Perkins is and what she is responsible for, you MUST read this. Trust me. It’s not long. Read it and understand the power of one.

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Coco Palms: Time for permit revocation and demolition

29 years ago on September 11th 1992, hurricane ʻIniki, the most powerful storm to strike Hawaiʻi in recorded history demolished much of Kauaʻi, including that property formerly known as the Coco Palms Hotel.

While the rest of us have rebuilt and moved on, the various and continuously changing amorphous owners of this property unfortunately have not. They have instead continued to offer hollow promises, waste the time of our County government, disrespect our community goodwill, and desecrate what is arguably one of the most culturally significant lands on our island.

On Tuesday, September 28th, the owners/developers are scheduled to continue the charade and present a “status update” to the Kauaʻi Planning Commission. Written testimony may be submitted to: planningdepartment@kauai.gov

It’s a shame that our volunteer Planning Commissioners, our paid professional planning staffers, and the general public, must waste our valuable time yet once again on this.

The “auction on the court-house steps” occurred less than two months ago on July 26th with TGI reporting that Private Capital Group, “a Utah-based short-term, loan-servicing company” was the successful bidder at $22.231 million.

It will be interesting to see who shows up purporting to speak for the owner/developer. They will no doubt utilize their by now well-polished double-speak to reassure the Planning Commission that everything is on track.

Perhaps they will claim the proverbial new buyer is waiting in the wings to step forward to purchase and develop the property, if only the existing permits can remain in place. They will of course play lip service to the cultural and historical importance of the place, and make still more promises to honor and preserve the same.

While hurricane ʻIniki occurred in 1992, the original Coco Palms Hotel which the developers are attempting to utilize as their “footprint” was built in 1953. This means the developers are attempting to utilize not just pre-hurricane ʻIniki permit standards from 29 years ago, but actually those standards in place when the hotel was first constructed nearly 70 years ago.

This makes no sense at all.

So many factors have changed over the past 29 – 70 years (pick your number). The coastline has changed, our population has grown, and of course, the highway and traffic flow has dramatically increased.

The hope of many in the community is that the Planning Commission and the County will soon begin the process to revoke their permits and pull the plug. Enough is enough. At the minimum, the new owners should be forced to demolish the existing structures first, before even asking for new permits based on today’s planning and building standards.

The lands we are discussing are literally the birthplace of Hawaiian royalty. There are ancient fishponds and uncountable iwi kūpuna buried beneath the sands now covered by broken-down buildings. Though my ancestors are not from these lands, my blood boils when I think of how they have been treated over the past decades.

Please email your thoughts, hopes, and dreams to our Planning Commission today. They, I am sure share our frustration and want very much to do the right thing. planningdepartment@kauai.gov *Attention Planning Commission – Coco Palms

For an alternative viewpoint opposing the development of a hotel and instead focused on community ownership based on a community vision, please visit: https://www.wailuanui.org Full Disclosure: I am a member of the I Ola Wailuanui Working Group. If you share this vision and want to help, please join us.

Yes, I have a bias. Kauaʻi is my home and I am oh so tired of watching the desecration and feeling the disrespect.

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Need help with translation – techno/academic types need apply

Readers – I need some help.

When you get a moment…are you able to read and translate the below? 😉

It’s not urgent at all…but I honestly don’t know what this guy is trying to tell me or sell me…it may be important but I just cannot decipher the message.

Again…no rush at all. And if you are not interested, don’t have the time or find this a waste of time…no worries…I understand completely!

I have blocked out his name and contact info…and it is not my intent to mock or denigrate this person at all…But I really don’t understand and am trying to find someone to translate his message into bullet points or a few paragraphs.

Best, gary

Begin forwarded message:
From: xxxx
Subject: Re: Cheers from xxxx| Responding to your call…
Date: August 30, 2021 at 6:54:31 AM HST
To: G Hooser

Hello, Mr. Hooser.

Thank you for your thoughtful note and the constructive criticism it delivered. I apologize for the high saturation of academese in my previous message. If we can meet virtually, I will explain why we deliberately resort to this style of communication.

Shifting gears to a “simply-put” register, our research suggests that Hawaiʻi, in its aggregate of community and productive forces, is extremely poorly prepared for the challenges of inescapable socioecological transformation and energy transition associated with the highest levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), and poised to upend much of what the community has considered normal in the past 50 years. Naturally, beyond diagnostics, we have also dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to figuring out what to do to remedy the suboptimal state of the community’s collective intelligence. The barrier to understanding why this is crucial appears to be high vis-a-vis the baseline of public and policy discourse in present-day Hawaiʻi.

If you agree to continue this virtual consultation process, I would include the following on the discussion bulleted list that you requested me to provide.

>> Allow me to deliver a 50-minute know-why/know-what/know-how presentation summarizing our findings about the collective cognitive condition of our community and to present a set of customized community-advancement solutions.

>> Invite you and your colleagues in the progressive wing of the DP to watch a 90-minute documentary detailing the work of MIT’s system dynamics group for the Club of Rome. It’s an absolute “dot-connecting” must-see without which it is impossible to cope with the local establishment’s energy and socioecological complexity blindness. (The documentary is not available via any commercial streaming services; but we have a copy of it on our website.)

>> Discuss with you three specific digital intersectoral collaborative learning tools designed to be run as joint endeavors with community partners from civil society: the monthly Hawaiʻi Bounce Forward Guide (aka Civitas Solis bulletin), Research Intelligence Briefings (aka RIBs; described in the March copy of Consilience Notes referenced below), and the Citizen-Science Hour podcast (work in progress…).

>> Share with you the blueprint of a regional-science governance solution that can discipline the misaligned knowledge-production activity of Hawaiʻi’s academia and can be spearheaded by the progressives in Hawaiʻi’s legislature.

We humbly believe that if you open your mind to our suggestions, your cause may benefit from our insights generated during a five-year solution-seeking investigation into the state of Hawaiʻi’s intellectual well-being, an interdisciplinary inquiry cross-pollinated by almost a dozen academics across all essential disciplinary domains.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


On Fri, Aug 27, 2021 at 12:18 PM G Hooser wrote:

Hello XXX and thank you for reaching out and for your acknowledgment of the work that I do.

Honestly, the language you are speaking is not something easy for me to decipher. I have been out of the academic world for many years now and have never been deep into the science or technology sectors.

If you could restate in a paragraph or two, perhaps with bullet points – What exactly you would like to share with me and how does it relate to the work I am involved in? And I suppose – How may I help you or what do you seek from me?

Please know that I don’t mean to be facetious, but am honestly having a hard time understanding your message.

Generally, I meet and speak with anyone who makes a request, and I am always open and willing to learn more…but I am totally unclear as to what would be the purpose of our future conversation. Help me out, please!

My focus at the moment is totally on policy and politics…with a heavy lean toward the politics side and the upcoming local elections of 2022.


Gary Hooser

On Aug 26, 2021, at 3:03 PM, xxxx wrote:

Aloha, Mr. Hooser.

My name is xxxx and I admire your political commentaries that seek to educate the community on Hawaiʻi’s political-economic tectonics and cultivate awareness of the unrealized collective-agency potential. I would like to request a virtual meeting with you to share ideas on how this work can be amplified and expanded.

I am former economic-intelligence and energy-systems analyst who dedicated the last 7 years of his life to designing and implementing an ad-hoc action-research framework for knowledge-intermediation, collaborative learning and collective-intelligence building, all aimed at supporting and advancing the widest range of the Hawaiʻi society’s emancipatory aspirations. These self-introductions are never easy because the body of scholarly and practitioner knowledge is largely unfamiliar and frightening to local academics, thus mischaracterization of our intentions and methods abound. In lieu of actual third-party introductions, I’ll just mention the names of some the people with whom I collaborated “on the ground” and who you may be familiar with: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

As an applied epistemologist and knowledge architect, aided by a handful of like-minded scholars and graduate students, I am behind several community-wide knowledge ventures (known as “xxxx”) that were created to operationalize the above mission. There are several instruments, intellectual spaces and media channels we prototyped that focus on cultivating the community’s intellectual capacity to productively engage in the deep democratization and diversification of Hawaiʻi’s political sphere and a currently captured economic system of our island bioregion.

Unlocking these instruments’ full outreach and rapid-learning potential is predicated on collaboration between public intellectuals and community researchers. Would you be interested in exploring these ideas in a video conference in the next couple of weeks?

Thank you for your consideration, and please let us know what works best for you to continue this conversation. I took the liberty of attaching some links to provide a glimpse into our recent work.


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