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The Lili’uokalani Cult — A scary but true Halloween story

Hawaiian secessionists try to inspire winners for 21st Century battles by conjuring the ghosts of 19th Century losers

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

Queen Lili’uokalani has become a cult figure. Hawaiian sovereignty activists worship her in an uncritical, mystical way similar to how Catholics worship the Virgin Mary. Some say her spirit lives at Iolani Palace or Washington Place, some say she lives at Mauna Ala (the Royal Mausoleum) or at her statue on the Capitol grounds; but all say she lives forever in the hearts of 527,000 Native Hawaiians (Census 2010). Other cult heroes include about 350 men arrested, including 189 put on trial, for the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895. This year at least one published essay says Hawaiians should try that again.

The activists have been working hard to make the general population of Hawaii think of Lili’uokalani as a noble, virtuous leader who was unjustly and illegally overthrown, who exercised non-violence in her peaceful surrender, who wrote beautiful music while imprisoned in her own Palace, and who behaved like a saint in forgiving those wicked haoles who dethroned her with the help of an armed invasion by the United States.

Lili’uokalani’s 175th birthday on September 2, 2013 provided an excuse for an unusually aggressive propaganda campaign aimed at stirring anti-U.S. and anti-haole resentment, and determination to restore Hawaii as an independent nation under ethnic Hawaiian control.

Of course Lili’uokalani was an important historical figure. She deserves to be remembered along with Hawaii’s other monarchs of the Kingdom period and Governors of the Territorial and and Statehood periods. But during her disastrous two years as Queen she accomplished nothing worthwhile except being overthrown. Why should she be more highly celebrated than King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, who reigned for 30 years with many great accomplishments? He gave up absolute power to create Hawaii’s first Constitution recognizing fundamental rights of all people regardless of race or inherited status; and he gave up absolute ownership of all Hawaii’s lands to create private property with fee-simple deeds.

Why should Lili’uokalani’s two years of ineffective and corrupt governance from Iolani Palace be more highly regarded than Sanford Dole’s masterful leadership? He governed from the Palace through nearly eleven years of profound and tumultuous change as President of the Provisional Government, President of the Republic, and first Governor of the Territory. Dole also gave earlier service as Kingdom legislator elected from Koloa, and Supreme Court Justice appointed by Kalakaua. And later Dole served for 12 years as Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Territory. Yet there’s no painting of him on the Palace walls alongside the other ruling chiefs of the independent nation of Hawaii; and no statue of him anywhere in Hawaii.

There’s a simple reason why the sovereignty activists elevate Lili’uokalani to cult hero. She was the last monarch of the Kingdom. They believe that sovereignty remained with her until she died in 1917, because the overthrow of the monarchy was illegal and annexation to the U.S. was illegal. Thus the sovereignty of the native Hawaiian people remains unrelinquished, and can be reasserted through U.S. and international courts. Hawaii does not have Holocaust deniers or Obama birth certificate deniers. But we do have overthrow deniers, annexation deniers, and statehood deniers. The Lili’uokalani cult has kuleana over the first two denials because those events happened during the ex-queen’s lifetime. Celebrating Lili’uokalani is a socially acceptable way to express resentment toward the U.S. and toward residents who lack Hawaiian native blood.

By portraying Lili’uokalani as a saintly, noble, kind-hearted, peace-loving and talented Queen, the sovereignty activists hope to make Hawaii’s people feel the pain and injustice of what was done to her by the evil haoles who overthrew her with help from an armed invasion by the U.S. In the name of Lili’uokalani, let’s rip the 50th star off the flag and give political control to the natives whose land this has always been! Her role is like Joan of Arc or Richard The Lionhearted, stirring up public passion to restore the “lahui” she championed.

As with any religious/political cult, the same small group of activists devote their lives to organizing and leading race-focused Hawaiian independence political rallies and media campaigns all year long, year after year. Some names that keep cropping up are Hayden Burgess (alias Poka Laenui) and his wife Puanani Burgess (community organizer), Lynette Cruz and her acolyte Evern Williams, Rev. Dr. Kaleo Patterson and his frequent companion Ha’aheo Guanson (peacenik), Meleanna Meyer (entertainer, filmmaker, artist, community organizer) and her sisters Maile Meyer (CEO of Native Books) and Manulani Meyer (Professor of Education at UH Hilo).

The Meyer sisters are proud to boast that they are descendants of and carrying forward the work of native Hawaiian nationalist Joseph Nawahi and his second wife A’ima (Emma) Nawahi. A’ima was a close confidant and companion of Lili’uokalani. Joseph Nawahi served for 20 years in the Kingdom legislature, served in Queen Lili’uokalani’s cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote the Constitution which Lili’uokalani tried to proclaim in 1893, was President of the Hawaiian Patriotic League which fought against the overthrow of the monarchy, and operated the Hawaiian language royalist newspaper Ke Aloha ‘Aina.

Five major propaganda events happened during the Summer and Fall of 2013 showing the intensity of feeling in the Lili’uokalani cult, and the willingness of its leaders to not only twist history but to proclaim outright falsehoods as truth. Meleanna Meyer was a principal organizer and participant in them all.

The programs described below, and the booklets and materials handed out free of charge, are very expensive to produce. Clearly there are some wealthy individuals and institutions paying for all this, including Kamehameha Schools, the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and other private groups; but also including some government agencies using taxpayer dollars, who are spending enormous amounts of money on these propaganda materials, performances, and facilities. For example: Iolani Palace, Ali’iolani Hale (building behind Kamehameha statue), University of Hawaii faculty time and especially the UH Center for Biographical Research, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii Public Library facilities for performances, and many others.

Here are the five major propaganda events led by the Lili’uokalani cult in 2013.

1. The overthrow deniers have gotten the State of Hawaii to rewrite history by changing the information on the famous Lili’uokalani statue to make it appear that she remained reigning Queen of Hawaii until her death in 1917, and held a ceremony to rededicate the statue with Governor Abercrombie and former Governor Waihe’e in attendance.

2. Lili’uokalani’s 175th birthday celebration at the Palace on September 1, 2013 (a day early) featured prayer, chanting, musical performances, and walking tours with twisted-history reenactments of events and speeches from the overthrow of the monarchy on January 17, 1893.

3. Sunday August 4, 2013 was “Hawaii International Forgiveness Day” at the Hawaii state Capitol, focused on Lili’uokalani as a “Heroine of Forgiveness” and poster-girl for nonviolence because she gave up without a fight. But the propaganda event conveniently left out the fact that a few months after the overthrow Lili’uokalani several times angrily refused to consider granting amnesty to the revolutionaries as part of an attempted mediation by U.S. Minister Albert Willis to restore her to the throne, insisting that she would behead them and confiscate their property. The propaganda event also left out the fact that in 1889 she conspired with firebrand racist Robert Wilcox and facilitated a violent attack on the Palace in an attempt to overthrow her brother (7 men were killed), and in 1895 she again conspired with Wilcox and facilitated a violent attempted counterrevolution (several men killed in 3 battles) for which she was placed on trial and convicted of conspiracy to commit treason.

4. For 5 months, September 2013 through February 2014, a program “He Lei, He Aloha” — the Legacies of Queen Lili’uokalani, is presenting a program at numerous branch libraries on 6 islands. The program resembles a church service, including an opening chant/prayer in honor of Lili’uokalani, carefully selected short passages about historical events from her book handed out to be read by volunteers from the audience, songs from her songbook with audience singalong for well-known ones, a short film, and talk-story where audience members are invited to tell their impressions and what they feel this program has inspired them to do. Audience participation is a wonderful propaganda tool, encouraging people to feel like they belong to the cult and are taking a pledge to engage in future support and action.

5. Another event in the “Mai Poina” [Never Forget] series was a theatrical performance — sort of an opera or Greek tragedy — entitled “The Trial of the Queen 1895.” Multiple performances were held in the old Supreme Court chamber at Ali’iolani Hale, including chanters, re-enactments of portions of the trial, and commentaries by a group of independence activist “scholars.” The concept is that poor dear Lili’uokalani was unjustly imprisoned for her role in the attempted counterrevolution of 1895, when several men were killed in three battles, a cache of guns and ammunition and bombs were found buried in the flower bed at Lili’uokalani’s private home (Washington Place) where she was living at the time, and letters were found which she had signed appointing the cabinet ministers for her new government when the counterrevolution succeeded. Naturally Lili’uokalani denied knowing about the cache of weapons or plans for the counterrevolution, and said she had every right to write letters appointing cabinet ministers. Of course the opera gives her the benefit of the doubt. Commentaries by the “scholars” praise the patriotism of the men who tried to restore the monarchy and were imprisoned, and praise the dignity and “mana” of Lili’uokalani.

For detailed descriptions and analyses of these five propaganda events, see
http://tinyurl.com/ks3dzrn

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Akaka tribe jurisdictional conflicts shown by mainland examples

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

Congress is on vacation for the month of August. Thus one-third of the 113th Congress (8 of its 24 months) has expired, and the perennial Akaka bill has still not been introduced. What’s going on? If a state-recognized Akaka tribe gets federal recognition, what kinds of jurisdictional conflicts would we see in Hawaii as shown by real conflicts now happening with Indian tribes on the mainland?

OHA is building its newest racial registry, Kana’iolowalu. Embarrassed that after a year only 9300 ethnic Hawaiians had signed up, OHA is now dragging more than 100,000 names onto the list, pulling from previous racial registries such as Kau Inoa, Project Ohana, Kamehameha Schools, etc. OHA is doing this without asking those people for permission. But Census 2010 counted more than 527,000 people claiming to be “Native Hawaiian”, so even if Kana’iolowalu gets 260,000 names (extremely unlikely) it would still be a minority of those eligible by race and a far smaller minority of Hawaii’s people.

In December 2011 I pulled together 13 news reports from the final 13 weeks of that year from various places on the mainland, concerning conflicts between Indian tribes and local communities that would clearly happen in Hawaii if an Akaka tribe gets federal recognition. For each situation I described the facts and cited a link to the full news report. This year I decided that instead of looking at a wide range of topics from a three month period, I would select news reports about a single topic from a single week. So at the end of July I put the following phrase into Google, including the quote marks: “tribal jurisdiction”; and I narrowed the search to the most recent week.

For details see http://tinyurl.com/kjoedjr

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The trouble with the Kana’iolowalu racial registry

 

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

 

Kana’iolowalu is a racial registration process supported by the Hawaii state legislature and using government money. The word as described by its supporters seems benign and friendly: striving together to achieve a goal, like the droplets of water in a stream. But the word has much more violent, warlike undertones. Kamehameha the Great was called “Kana’iaupuni” where that word “na’i” means “conquest” or “conqueror.” “Olowalu” means “to rush or attack in concert” and also “dodging the onslaught of spears.” So “kana’iolowalu” can best be translated as “conquest through swarming” — a method of warfare like the blitzkrieg, whereby attackers surround, rush, and overwhelm an enemy.

The main trouble with Kana’iolowalu is philosophical and moral. The state legislature is creating a list of people who have at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood. Once the list is created, the legislature intends to grant governmental powers to that racial group and then hand over state government money and land to it. Should our government be supporting a process intended to divide the lands and people of Hawaii along racial lines?

There are also many important practical and legal troubles with the actual process currently underway, including the fact that over a hundred thousand names are being dragged onto this racial registry without asking permission. These are the names of individuals previously certified as having Hawaiian native blood by race-based institutions like OHA and Kamehameha Schools, and by the Board of Health which will confirm that they have “Native Hawaiian” on their birth certificates. None of those institutions asked any of these people to affirm support for the political views expressed in the Kana’iolowalu registry. The Kana’iolowalu registry wants to give the impression that it is creating a political entity affirming the “unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people”; but the overwhelming number of names in the registry will have been dragged there without permission and based solely on racial ancestry.

See the detailed essay at
http://tinyurl.com/qb3ch29

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HCR107 — A secessionist resolution in the Hawaii legislature that is both ridiculous and dangerous.

House Concurrent Resolution 107 (HCR107) in the Hawaii legislature would establish “a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Liliuokalani assignment and the agreement of restoration.”

The investigating committee would be empowered to “Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of the witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, records, papers, or other evidence in any matter pending before the joint investigating
committee; … Administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses at hearings of the joint investigating committee; Report or certify instances of contempt as
provided in section 21—14, Hawaii Revised Statutes …”

This resolution is both ridiculous and dangerous. My own testimony explains why, and is on a webpage at
http://tinyurl.com/4t5pecj

The purpose of such an investigation is not merely to do academic research on an obscure historical question from 118 years ago. The purposes are to claim that the U.S. had an obligation to restore Liliuokalani to the throne; and to claim that the obligation of the President of the United States continues to this day to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii to its former status as an independent nation.

Three of the many harms that would result by passing HCR107 are briefly identified here and discussed in detail in the testimony.

1. A resolution such as HCR107 brings ridicule and disrespect upon those who support it, and upon the legislature as a whole — as shown by recalling what happened in connection with another Hawaiian sovereignty resolution passed in 2007. Many current members of the legislature, including members of this committee, participated in that debacle. The 2007 resolution established a permanent annual Hawaiian Restoration Day holiday for April 30. Reverend Kaleo Patterson knowingly used a fake Grover Cleveland proclamation from 1894, cited it as fact, and used it as the basis for a media blitz in 2006 in Hawaii and on the mainland calling for a national day of prayer for restoration of Native Hawaiians and repentance for the overthrow of the monarchy. He repeated his local and mainland propaganda campaign in 2007 and pushed a resolution HCR82 through the Hawaii legislature citing the joke proclamation as real and “proclaiming April 30 of every year as Hawaiian Restoration Day.” A 4-page flyer pokes fun at the legislature for passing that ridiculous resolution despite testimony proving the Cleveland proclamation was a joke.
http://tinyurl.com/2tj5jl

2. Such a resolution as HCR107 provides a platform whereby certain perpetrators of historical malpractice bring fame and fortune to themselves while spreading false information far and wide, using the legislature as an accomplice. Keanu Sai is the man behind this resolution. He is now revving up his third big scam based on twisted historical allegations which the resolution describes as fact. His convoluted lawsuit against U.S. government officials including President Obama, based on the allegations in HCR107, was dismissed on summary judgment in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on March 9.

3. HCR107 contains numerous false or misleading statements, some of which are refuted in my testimony. For example: There was no “executive agreement” between President Grover Cleveland and ex-queen Liliuokalani. One reason is that Liliuokalani was overthrown by the Hawaiian revolution on January 17, 1893 and no longer held executive authority after that, but Grover Cleveland was not installed as President until March. Also, President Cleveland had no power or authority to put Liliuokalani back on the throne, which is what Keanu Sai’s theory says is the core of the “executive agreement.”

For my entire testimony, see
http://tinyurl.com/4t5pecj

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The Best of Free Press

We are a cynical culture when it comes to the media.  And with good reason.  The impartial journalist of integrity is starting to seem like a quaint, old-fashioned notion–soon to be replaced entirely by the journalist who pursues an obvious political agenda, even while loudly ridiculing the possibility of media bias.  And as for local news . . . well, all too often it seems to have devolved to weather updates, local tragedies, and an extended recap of high school sports scores.  (Ironic, most of this can be learned about more quickly by asking the lady next door.)

But there are exceptions.   And today, we’re celebrating the 9th Anniversary of one the best of them.  Yes, today, Hawaii Reporter turns 9.  (Happy Birthday!)

People want to use all the trendy buzzwords about communication in the 21st century to belittle the importance of community news, but the truth is that it’s still as important as ever.  My ability to send a message to Washington DC in a matter of nanoseconds doesn’t make them more interested or dedicated to our interests out here.  And when was the last time you saw something about Hawaii on the national news that didn’t deal with the LA Lakers training camp, a beauty pageant, or a television show?  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  And for all of this time, Hawaii Reporter has been setting the standard for an active, invested, and free community news source.  More than any other news outlet in Hawaii, they have concerned themselves with providing a voice for the regular local guy and keeping abreast of the issues that we really care about (and without the editorializing that so often derails one’s enjoyment of the Advertiser and other Hawaii newspapers.)  Let’s hope they’re around for many more anniversary celebrations.

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Violence and threats of violence in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement

 

A scholarly lecture in Hilo on Sunday August 22 was disrupted by Hawaiian sovereignty activists.  Ironically, the lecture focused on Islamist violence and raised the question whether Hawaiian sovereignty activists might become radicalized in the same way as the Islamists.  The Hawaiian activists didn’t like the topic or the facts being reported.  Sovereignty activists have behaved in similar ways at other public events as documented later; including threats of bodily harm to schoolchildren and to adults at an attempted Statehood Day celebration.  
For more details about what happened at the lecture in Hilo on Sunday, see an article in the libertarian-oriented Hawaii Political Info online newspaper, at
http://hawaiipoliticalinfo.org/node/3276
A major webpage is entitled “Violence and threats of violence to push demands for Hawaiian sovereignty — past, present, and future”.   See
http://tinyurl.com/2su9pa
For discussion of the “big picture” see the book “Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State” at
http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa

Death and . . . well, you know

So, who do you think pays the most in state taxes in the US?  New Yorkers?  That would have been my guess, simply based on how legendarily expensive it is.  (Not to mention how bad a beating my wallet takes every time I go there.  Ok, technically speaking, the nice restaurants shouldn’t count as a New York tax–it’s really more of a tax on me for not living in NYC.)  So then, if not New York, maybe Massachusetts?  Don’t they call it “The People’s Republic of Massachusetts”?  If a strong tradition of Northeastern liberalism doesn’t result in a hefty tax bill, then nothing will.

Yes, New York and Massachusetts both make the top 5.  But for a sheer, soul-crushing, burdensome tax scheme, no other state can beat Hawaii.  That’s right.  We’re #1! We’re #1!  I quote the San Francisco Chronicle’s recent article on the states with the greatest individual tax burden on their residents:

  • Hawaii
    The Aloha State may be renowned as one of the most beautiful states in the Union, but that beauty comes at significant cost: the average Hawaiian paid out $1,010 in state taxes in the first quarter of the year, the highest of any state. The two biggest components to the state’s revenues were income and excise taxes.

    Unlike many other states, Hawaii doesn’t have a sales tax – instead, Hawaiians pay gross receipts (or excise) taxes on each of their purchases. That means that items like rent, medical bills and food are all taxable purchases in Hawaii, unlike other states with traditional sales tax. That also means that tax-exempt non-profits have to pay out Hawaii’s excise tax regardless of their status in other states. (Real estate costs in Hawaii are also high. Read more, in Simple Ways To Save In Retirement.)

    Read more:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/07/21/investopedia45833.DTL#ixzz0uuya68km

    How bad is it when San Francisco feels sorry for you?  Damn. (In case you’re wondering, rounding out the top 5 are Connecticut, New York, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.  A small, mean part of me feels that higher taxes are no less than those residents deserve for having the Patriots, Red Sox, Yankees, Giants, Jets, and Vikings between them.  Hawaii’s number one and doesn’t have so much as a professional soccer team to its credit.  How’s that fair? )
    So could you use an extra couple of thousand dollars a year?  (Double for couples where you both work.)  Because this is where our decades of high-tax/high-spend policies have landed us.  With an individual tax burden higher than any other state in the US.  Personally, I think it’s time we start asking our legislative and gubernatorial candidates some hard questions about their tax policies.

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    We are all Hawaiian

    In a sad reminder that freedom is not free, a group of radical racial sovereignty activists assaulted Iolani Palace staff, broke into both the grounds and the buildings, and desecrated a public historical treasure on Statehood Day, 2008. Led by James Kimo Akahi, an ex-convict claiming to be the King of Hawaii, a group of violent activists declared that all State of Hawaii citizens were under “federal arrest”. Although this further escalation between racial separatists and the general public of Hawaii has its roots as far back as the 1800s, it has been encouraged and exacerbated by modern day racial demagogues and the politicians who believe they can appease them.
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    Cato Institute: The One-Drop Rule in Hawaii? The Akaka Bill and the Future of Race-Based Government (Capitol Hill Briefing)

    Cato Institute: The One-Drop Rule in Hawaii? The Akaka Bill and the Future of Race-Based Government (Capitol Hill Briefing)

    The power point presentation in PDF format of Jere Krischel’s presentation is available here.

    Hawaiian Apartheid: Ken Conklin radio interview by JP Muntal

    A radio interview with Ken Conklin, 37 minutes, taped July 2007, is now available on the internet and for download as an mp3 file on kenconklin.org (right-click link and save-as to save the mp3 to your computer). Mr. Conklin was interviewed by JP Muntal, formerly of Hawaii Public Radio now at The Hawaii Radio Project.

    Topics include Conklin’s book, Hawaiian apartheid, racial separatism, ethnic nationalism, Hawaiian religious fascism used to justify racial supremacy, Kamehameha Schools admissions policy, how a historical falsehood was asserted on the floor of the U.S. Senate in June 2007 to push the Akaka bill.

    Read the rest of this entry »