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Colleen Hanabusa: War games can unite countries

Swear to god, that was the headline in The Garden Isle (Kaua'i) newspaper today.

The arms dealers would like us to believe that war games serve some societally beneficial purpose - of what? Cosy fellowship and a lovefest between countries? They should better be looked at as a wonderful way to expend munitions and, hey, buy some more from the military corporations!

Hanabusa has gone whole hog in shilling for the munitions and drone suppliers.  As her campaign fizzles, she's depending more and more on her military corporate sponsors to prop it up.

After all, as the wars we've started wind down, we have to figure out some way to use up munitions and justify the biggest military budget in the world.

 photo USvsWorldMilitarySpending_zpsfa4a9c75.png

Hanabusa is a member of the China Caucus, a conservative group dedicated to the wildly improbably notion that we must prepare for a military attack by China.  She is joined in this fear by such intellectional giants as Rep Joe ("you lie") Wilson , Steve ("women can't get pregnant from rape") King, and Ken ("IRS is like the Cookie Monster") Calvert

Perhaps this announcement is the way that Hanabusa celebrates the RIMPAC exercises which are being held right now.  Hanabusa has been advocating the U.S. military "Pivot to the Pacific" because she feels China is such a danger that we must mass armaments in Hawai'i to fend them off.  Curiously enough, China is participating in RIMPAC this year.

The RIMPAC exercise features a merry menu of activities:  Torpedoing and sinking ships, deafening sea life with sonar, deploying vast quantities of chaff in order to confuse and blind our weather radar and (four years ago) allegedly cutting our undersea communications cable, thus crippling our phone and Internet service for months.

Hanabusa and Republican Randy Forbes have been pushing for increased militarization of the already over-militarized Hawaiian islands.

In fact, just recently, she along with her Republican buddies appropriated more funds for the military than the military even wanted.

No wonder Hanabusa says we can't pay for expanding Social Security!

Meanwhile, we invite everyone to come celebrate RIMPAC with us.  Come and join the merriment as we blow up paradise!

Originally posted to Karen from Maui on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 11:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Can we turn RIMPAC into a tourist draw like Mardi Gras?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hawaii is no paradise and tourists (6+ / 0-)

    are getting this. I wonder which industry holds Hawaii up economically, the tourism or the MIC?

    Too sad to think about it. Don't want to get all depressed and angry.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 11:42:51 AM PDT

  •  Is that one of the new Disney Adventures (5+ / 0-)

    that's been advertised recently? /snark

    The RIMPAC exercise features a merry menu of activities:  Torpedoing and sinking ships, deafening sea life with sonar, deploying vast quantities of chaff in order to confuse and blind our weather radar and (four years ago) allegedly cutting our undersea communications cable, thus crippling our phone and Internet service for months.
    And doesn't HI already have enough unexploded munions in its waters left over from Pearl Harbor attack? (NON snark)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:54:39 PM PDT

    •  Not only that.... (7+ / 0-)

      Our entire island of Kaho'olawe is covered with unexploded ordinance after the military bombed the heck out of it for decades.

      In fact my husband was one of the Hawaiian activists that would go over there (he steered the outrigger canoe) to stop the bombing.

      At one point they decided to see how big an explosion they could create and blew a huge crater in the top of the island, cracking the layer of rock with kept the aquifer separated from the salt water.

      Now there is no more water on Kaho'olawe.

      One has the sneaking suspicion that "military exercises" are just an excuse for these guys to get their jollies from massive destruction.  Wish they'd go play computer games to blow things up digitally instead.

    •  Actually.... (0+ / 0-)

      O'ahu's Cabbies, hookers & other camp followers plus bars & eateries can make a quarter's income during the shore leaves before & after RIMPAC. This was a known known 30 years ago, and just part of the reason Mr. Inouye was Senator For Life. The dude brought home the kalua (think:'bacon') for some 50 years...
      My assessment of Ms. Hanabusa's game (with all due respect -- she was a powerful pro-labor actor as a State Senator, and very explicit, when asked, as to how sausages get made.) is that she's way outflanked on the left by Mr. Schatz, and decided to double down on the tried & true, demonstrating her prowess in the bringing home of military pork, as was successful for her mentor.
      Unfortunately, tourism overtook defense as #1 cash cow after the vietnam demobilization, and that plus high-end real estate development has now put formerly remote military bases in the backyards of wealthy individuals & corp's, entities that might make their money from 'defense' but don't want war games (think:DU dust wafting down the tradewinds) in their playground any more than they want e-z-frack in their drinking water. Yep, yuppies are a prime asset in keeping Hawaii green as long as they can play here!
      So unfortunately, Ms. Hanabusa's window of opportunity all but closed when Mr. Inouye died in office without clearly designating an heir (she, allegedly). I was majorly disappointed when she and fmr State Rep Ed Case basically gave Hawaii's House seat away to teahadist Charles Djou by splitting the State's sizeable Democrat majority in a 3-way runoff.  She's a fine congresswoman, and would do well to stay in the House and rack up as impressive an attendance/voting record as Ms. Hirono had there as a loyal Obama Democrat (That and some  basic decency are all I expect of my pols, really).

      ...enough digression. I barely know of Mr. Schatz, but for the esteem by which he is obviously held by our governor, Neil Abercrombie. On that basis alone I plan on voting for Brian Schatz. Go Neil!

  •  Congratulations on Community Spotlight! (4+ / 0-)

    Best real estate on DK!

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:59:11 PM PDT

  •  alas, if the US military left Hawaii . . . . (7+ / 0-)

    the entire island chain would rise five feet out of the water.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:20:47 PM PDT

  •  I voted for the sharks; (3+ / 0-)

    and John McGrumpy warns that if "Others" conspire with Europe, Aisa, and the Saudis we are doomed. More good news for John McCain.

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:45:54 PM PDT

  •  Remember Pearl Harbor...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greenfinches

    ....Obama has already pivoted to the Pacific with the US Military, and I think that is a wise pivot. So do Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan against which China has already displayed naval aggression. China is laying claim to islands and offshore areas these other nations were certain belonged to them.

    You may have a point about Hanabusa and her bona fides. But sitting out here in the middle of the Pacific, and looking at the century ahead, all I can say is I am glad for the presence of the US military here.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 04:53:19 PM PDT

    •  And you think we need MORE???!!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie
      •  Time will tell..... (0+ / 0-)

        .....and we would do well to learn the lessons of the past.

        If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

        by Bensdad on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 06:34:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paranoia is so good for military contractors (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rocksout, occupystephanie

          It's what keeps them fat, guzzling at the public trough.

          Too bad that doesn't leave any of the budget for the rest of us.

          •  I am uncomfortable with using statistics... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Denver11

            in this way. In the top of the diary, the author quoted the often cited stat about how the US military budget is bigger than any other countries budget, which is also misleading.

            The US economy is much larger than any other countries economy, by a big margin. So of course we have a bigger military budget. While I agree that it needs to be reduced, it is never going to be as small as China's military budget. Our economy is simply much larger than China's, and will be for decades to come. That's simply a factor of the US being an economic juggernaut. A better way to represent the military budget is as a share of GDP. I was less than 3% of GDP by the time Clinton left office, then spiked to nearly 6% under  GW Bush. It's been hovering around 4-5% under Obama, so there's certainly room for cuts, and I'm all for that. But the chart so often used by those advocating cuts in no way reflects the reality of the issue.

            The chart you use is also pretty misleading, as it only considers what Congress calls discretionary spending. What about non-discretionary spending? There is that little mom and pop program called "Social Security", isn't there? In fact, using the same method used by the OP describing US military spending, I can argue that that the US spends far more on helping the disabled and the elderly than any other country by far. And that's true. But again, we have the largest economy. So that doesn't exactly make the US a socialist utopia, does it? But we do spend quite a bit on Social Security, Medicare, and a good deal of the VA budget is also non-discretionary in nature.

            I'm not disagreeing with your basic point that it would be good to spend less on new weapon systems. I also agree that the idea of going to war with China is pretty much insane. But God I hate propaganda. It doesn't help people understand the issue, and shockingly few people in this country understand the big issues which they read about in the papers everyday.

            I ask people I know every now and then how much of the US debt is held by China. Every time the answer I get is that China basically owns most of the US debt. The PRC owns less than 10% of our debt, and that number is likely falling in the years to come. I really believe the main reason our politics are so fucked up is that there is all this propaganda out there and people have no clue how our government works and what the actual choices we face are. People need to know these things.

            The United States currently puts about 4-5% of it's annual economic output into the US Military, and that is an insane amount of resources. We could reasonably get that number down to less than 3%, and we'd have all this extra shit to use to solve other problems with. That's simple, and accurate. What's wrong with that?

            You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

            by Eric Stratton on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:13:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is true (3+ / 0-)

              But take a look at the sizes of the economy and their relative proportions of defense spending. China's economy is somewhere between 50% and 75% of ours, probably, and they spend one-fifth as much on defense. Germany's is a fifth of ours, and they spend less than one-fourteenth as much. So we're subsidizing other country's defense spending with our own.

              However, I agree that we could easily cut defense spending by 25% without affecting our preparedness. We just have to be willing to take some of the billions away from defense contractors. (Or let them have it to put people to work in repairing domestic infrastructure. Let them do something to actually earn their ill-gotten gains over the decades.)

              •  Good points. (0+ / 0-)

                I admit I have trouble keeping track of exactly where China is in relation to the US these days. The world is changing rapidly.

                You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

                by Eric Stratton on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 12:18:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  how about we compare the number of nations China (0+ / 0-)

              has invaded since 1949 with the number of countries the US has invaded since 1949 . . . . . .

              Or the number of foreign military bases the US has and the number of foreign military bases China has.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 07:59:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, so long as you assume Tibet isn't a country (0+ / 0-)

                that works fine. But lets get serious, trying to suggest that the US is an evil oppressor while the PRC are noble defenders of all that is good is just silly.

                You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

                by Eric Stratton on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 12:22:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  let's count Tibet, then (0+ / 0-)

                  (which then allows us to count the 470 Native American Nations we invaded and killed).

                  that works fine. But lets get serious, trying to suggest that the US is an evil oppressor while the PRC are noble defenders of all that is good is just silly.
                  I don't recall anyone saying any such thing. China is a single-party police state.

                  But the fact remains that the US has invaded or bombed virtually everybody around the world, while China has invaded or bombed virtually nobody. If anybody should have their toys taken away, it is us.

                  It always amazes me how empires manage to convince themselves that they are always the good guys.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 04:26:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Just out of interest, I took a look at what you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eric Stratton

              said. And found the answer right in Wiki.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...
              Using military expenditure as percent of GDP, US places 4th in terms of military expenditure (4% of GDP). Behind Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Russia.

              China is 2% of GDP.

              •  The imminent threat of China's (0+ / 0-)

                advancing hoards has always been overblown. I worry a little about the hawks in Beijing finally making good on their threats to take Taiwan, but the idea that they are going take over the Pacific is laughable.

                You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

                by Eric Stratton on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 12:24:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  the US has 900 military bases in 130 countries (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karen from Maui, marsanges

      China has no military bases outside its borders.

      I always find it amusing how empires ALWAYS manage to convince themselves that they are acting in self-defense.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 07:57:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denver11

    Bello ne credite, Americani; quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

    by Sura 109 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 06:16:07 PM PDT

  •  Seriously? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karen from Maui, occupystephanie
    Hanabusa is a member of the China Caucus, a conservative group dedicated to the wildly improbably notion that we must prepare for a military attack by China.
    Obviously, China is a huge national security threat and could someday take over the U.S. But I'm simply not expecting the Red Army to invade Oahu. The way they're doing it is economically, and pouring more money into the military is the worst possible way to address this. It takes money away from the working economy, which is our best defense.

    People like Hanabusa strike me as undermining our defense. She's pretty specifically not defending us from China.

  •  Is Hanabusa's campaign really fizzling? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    Nothing would make me happier, but last poll I saw had her up on Schatz

    •  Latest Poll (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie

      Momentum is going Schatz's way.

      Early polls showed Hanabusa and Schatz tied with a large block of undecided.  Civil Beat analysis is that the more voters learn about Schatz, the more they tend to go towards him.

      He's running some really excellent ads on TV that are helping boost his name recognition.

      The latest CivilBeat poll shows him with a slight lead.
      http://www.civilbeat.com/...

      Public Policy Poll shows him 15 points ahead.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      My experience with polls is that CivilBeat tends to skew right a little so I'm guessing Schatz has something between a 5 and 15% lead...10%?

  •  Alas (0+ / 0-)

    Hawaii is normally a very blue state but tends to be decidedly more hawkish on foreign policy.  This is the remaining memory of Pearl Harbor.  And defense is probably the second major economic factor in the state after recreational drug production; tourism and agriculture are third and fourth.

    •  Absolutely not true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fb, occupystephanie

      Our congressmen were among the handful that voted against invading Iraq.

      One of our congresswomen is a Buddhist

      The State Legislature issued a proclaimation in the runup to the Iraq War pleading for diplomacy and aloha rather than war.

      We are probably the most ANTI-war state there is.

      Nevertheless we have many, many military bases.  And that makes for controversy between the desire for "jobs" and the desire to have the U.S. military stop polluting our state by dumping nuclear waste off our shores, covering Pohakuloa with depleted uranium dust, etc.

      So there IS a dichotomy with our congress people "bringing home the bacon" in the form of military spending and our innate dislike of war.

      •  In a different way, showing military preparedness (0+ / 0-)

        could help avoid war. Although granted, I'm absolutely on the side that we've WAY too much military beyond whatever is necessary for self-defense.

      •  Our former Senator Mark Hatfield (0+ / 0-)

        decided early on not to bring military into Oregon's economy because he did not think it was good for us to depend upon war to make a living. He did bring the Marine Science Center which has become the head of NOAA now and other good stuff.

        Thank God for visionary leadership!

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 04:07:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hatfield was a liberal Republican (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, there were indeed such things, way back in the pre-nutball days.

          (Back at that time, Arlen Specter in PA was also a liberal Republican--and he remains the only Republican I ever worked a campaign for.)

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 06:06:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I would imagine that a state that suffered (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karen from Maui, occupystephanie

      Pearl Harbor would be vastly less hawkish than others, if for no other reason than they saw the horror of war first hand.

      Sort of how Japan quickly went pacifist (and anti-nuke) after being nuked, twice.

  •  Sounds like great idea...could even use one of... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karen from Maui

    ...smaller islands like Kahoolawe or Niihau as bombing targets so they have some real time navy and airforce experience. Oh how exciting would that be. If that is the best idea Rep. Hanabusa can come up with then she is officially in desperate circumstances. just saying

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 12:45:17 PM PDT

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