Sunday, August 31, 2008

NeoCon's "New American Century" isn't even working

Check these out. We spend the better part of a trillion dollars on the effort and look where the contract goes. That's what happens when you go in pushing people around disrespectfully.
"Iraq Signs Oil Deal With China Worth Up to $3 Billion"
Published: August 28, 2008

BAGHDAD — In the first major oil deal Iraq has made with a foreign country since 2003, the Iraqi government and the China National Petroleum Corporation have signed a contract in Beijing that could be worth up to $3 billion, Iraqi officials said Thursday...Rest of article here.,0,1138339.story
"China, Iraq to revive oil field development deal;
The project was canceled after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion"
By Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press August 29, 2008

SHANGHAI -- China and Iraq have signed a $3-billion deal revising an earlier agreement for China's biggest oil company to help develop the Ahdab oil field, an official at Iraq's Oil Ministry said Thursday...Rest of article here.

Aloha, Brad

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Excellent Critique by a West Point Graduate of the NeoCons

This is an excellent evaluation forwarded to me by Kauai resident, David Ward. It is an outstanding critique of the big picture that this little issue here on this blog falls within. Among other things, this critique clearly explains the intellectual bankruptcy of the NeoCons:
"The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"

"BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.

America's in a pickle. Our friends, the Russians, with whom we were about to conduct joint military exercises, decided instead to attack some of our other friends, the Georgians, who not only aspire to democracy but control access to lots of oil and pipelines in which American energy companies have huge investments. But when President Bush demands Russia go home and leave Georgia alone, his pal Vladimir Putin - the modern Russian czar - gets that sardonic smile on his face.

He knows that American troops are spread so thin in Iraq and Afghanistan that Uncle Sam more resembles Gulliver, tied down by too many commitments, too much hubris, and too many mistakes, than he does to Superman. It's a pickle and a predicament, and it's serious.

The limits of American power have never been more vividly on display. That's the subject of my conversation this week with Andrew J. Bacevich. Here is a public thinker who has been able to find an audience across the political spectrum, from THE NATION or THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE magazines, lecturing to college classes or testifying before Congress.

Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who's in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.

Perhaps it's also because when he challenges American myths and illusions, he does so from a patriotism forged in the fire of experience as a soldier in Vietnam.

After 23 years in the Army, the West Point graduate retired as a colonel and has been teaching international relations and history at Boston University. Bacevich has published several acclaimed books, including this one, THE NEW AMERICAN MILITARISM. His latest, published this week, is THE LIMITS OF POWER: THE END OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM.

He's with me now. Welcome to the JOURNAL.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Thank you very much for having me.

BILL MOYERS: It's been a long time since I've read a book in which I highlighted practically every third sentence. So, it took me a while to read, what is in fact, a rather short book. You began with a quote from the Bible, the Book of Second Kings, chapter 20, verse one. 'Set thine house in order.' How come that admonition?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I've been troubled by the course of U.S. foreign policy for a long, long time. And I wrote the book in order to sort out my own thinking about where our basic problems lay. And I really reached the conclusion that our biggest problems are within.

I think there's a tendency on the part of policy makers and probably a tendency on the part of many Americans to think that the problems we face are problems that are out there somewhere, beyond our borders. And that if we can fix those problems, then we'll be able to continue the American way of life as it has long existed. I think it's fundamentally wrong. Our major problems are at home.

BILL MOYERS: So, this is a version of 'Physician, heal thyself?'

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, yes, 'Physician, heal thyself,' and you begin healing yourself by looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing yourself as you really are.

BILL MOYERS: Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote, 'The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people,' you write, 'is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad.' In other words, you're saying that our foreign policy is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large - I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions - but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods.

We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the book's balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want this unending line of credit.

BILL MOYERS: You intrigued me when you wrote that 'The fundamental problem facing the country will remain stubbornly in place no matter who is elected in November.' What's the fundamental problem you say is not going away no matter whether it's McCain or Obama?

ANDREW BACEVICH: What neither of these candidates will be able to, I think, accomplish is to persuade us to look ourselves in the mirror, to see the direction in which we are headed. And from my point of view, it's a direction towards ever greater debt and dependency.

BILL MOYERS: And you write that 'What will not go away, is a yawning disparity between what Americans expect, and what they're willing or able to pay.' Explore that a little bit.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I think one of the ways we avoid confronting our refusal to balance the books is to rely increasingly on the projection of American military power around the world to try to maintain this dysfunctional system, or set of arrangements that have evolved over the last 30 or 40 years.

But, it's not the American people who are deploying around the world. It is a very specific subset of our people, this professional army. We like to call it an all-volunteer force-


ANDREW BACEVICH: -but the truth is, it's a professional army, and when we think about where we send that army, it's really an imperial army. I mean, if as Americans, we could simply step back a little bit, and contemplate the significance of the fact that Americans today are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ask ourselves, how did it come to be that organizing places like Iraq and Afghanistan should have come to seem to be critical to the well-being of the United States of America.

There was a time, seventy, eighty, a hundred years ago, that we Americans sat here in the western hemisphere, and puzzled over why British imperialists went to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. We viewed that sort of imperial adventurism with disdain. But, it's really become part of what we do. Unless a President could ask fundamental questions about our posture in the world, it becomes impossible then, for any American President to engage the American people in some sort of a conversation about how and whether or not to change the way we live.

BILL MOYERS: How is Iraq a clear manifestation, as you say, of this, 'yawning disparity between what Americans expect, and what they're willing to pay?'

ANDREW BACEVICH: Let's think about World War Two. A war that President Roosevelt told us was essential to U.S. national security, and was. And President Roosevelt said at the time, because this is an important enterprise, you, the American people, will be called upon to make sacrifices. And indeed, the people of the United States went off to fight that war in large numbers. It was a national effort. None of that's been true with regard to Iraq. I mean, one of the most striking things about the way the Bush Administration has managed the Global War on Terror, which President Bush has compared to World War Two.


ANDREW BACEVICH: One of the most striking things about it is that there was no effort made to mobilize the country, there was actually no effort even made to expand the size of the armed forces, as a matter of fact. The President said just two weeks or so after 9/11, 'Go to Disney World. Go shopping.' Well, there's something out of whack here, if indeed the Global War on Terror, and Iraq as a subset of the Global War on Terror is said to be so critically important, on the one hand. And on the other hand, when the country basically goes about its business, as if, really, there were no War on Terror, and no war in Iraq ongoing at all.

BILL MOYERS: 'So it is,' you write, 'seven years into its confrontation with radical Islam, the United States finds itself with too much war for too few warriors and with no prospect of producing the additional soldiers needed to close the gap.' When I hear all this talk about increasing the troops in Afghanistan from two to three battalions, maybe even more, I keep asking myself, where are we going to get those troops?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, and of course the answer is, they have to come from Iraq. I mean, as we speak, the security conditions in Iraq have improved a little bit, and in a sense, it's just in time, because what the Pentagon wants to do is to draw down its presence in Iraq to some degree, not in order to give those troops a breather, but in order to redeploy them after a period of retraining to Afghanistan, because Afghanistan is going so poorly. So, we're having a very difficult time managing two wars which, in the 20th century context, they're actually relatively small.

BILL MOYERS: You say, 'U.S. troops in battle dress and body armor, whom Americans profess to admire and support, pay the price for the nation's refusal to confront our domestic dysfunction.' What are we not confronting?

ANDREW BACEVICH: The most obvious, the blindingly obviously question, is energy. It's oil. I think historians a hundred years from now will puzzle over how it could be that the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, as far back as the early 1970s, came to recognize that dependence on foreign oil was a problem, posed a threat, comprised our freedom of action.

How every President from Richard Nixon down to the present one, President Bush, declared, 'We're gonna fix this problem.' None of them did. And the reason we are in Iraq today is because the Persian Gulf is at the center of the world's oil reserves. I don't mean that we invaded Iraq on behalf of big oil, but the Persian Gulf region would have zero strategic significance, were it not for the fact that that's where the oil is.

Back in 1980, I think, President Carter, in many respects when he declared the Carter Doctrine, and said that henceforth, the Persian Gulf had enormous strategic significance to the United States and the United States is not going to permit any other country to control that region of the world.

And that set in motion a set of actions that has produced the militarization of U.S. policy, ever deeper U.S. military involvement in the region, and in essence, has postponed that day of reckoning when we need to understand the imperative of having an energy policy, and trying to restore some semblance of energy independence.

BILL MOYERS: And this is connected, as you say in the book, in your first chapters, of what you call 'the crisis of profligacy.'

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, we don't live within our means. I mean, the nation doesn't, and increasingly, individual Americans don't. Our saving - the individual savings rate in this country is below zero. The personal debt, national debt, however you want to measure it, as individuals and as a government, and as a nation we assume an endless line of credit.

As individuals, the line of credit is not endless, that's one of the reasons why we're having this current problem with the housing crisis, and so on. And my view would be that the nation's assumption, that its line of credit is endless, is also going to be shown to be false. And when that day occurs it's going to be a black day, indeed.

BILL MOYERS: You call us an 'empire of consumption.'

ANDREW BACEVICH: I didn't create that phrase. It's a phrase drawn from a book by a wonderful historian at Harvard University, Charles Maier, and the point he makes in his very important book is that, if we think of the United States at the apex of American power, which I would say would be the immediate post World War Two period, through the Eisenhower years, into the Kennedy years. We made what the world wanted. They wanted our cars. We exported our television sets, our refrigerators - we were the world's manufacturing base. He called it an 'empire of production.'


ANDREW BACEVICH: Sometime around the 1960s there was a tipping point, when the 'empire of production' began to become the 'empire of consumption.' When the cars started to be produced elsewhere, and the television sets, and the socks, and everything else. And what we ended up with was the American people becoming consumers rather than producers.

BILL MOYERS: And you say this has produced a condition of profound dependency, to the extent, and I'm quoting you, 'Americans are no longer masters of their own fate.'

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, they're not. I mean, the current debt to the Chinese government grows day by day. Why? Well, because of the negative trade balance. Our negative trade balance with the world is something in the order of $800 billion per year. That's $800 billion of stuff that we buy, so that we can consume, that is $800 billion greater than the amount of stuff that we sell to them. That's a big number. I mean, it's a big number even relative to the size of our economy.

BILL MOYERS: And you use this metaphor that is intriguing. American policy makers, quote, 'have been engaged in a de facto Ponzi scheme, intended to extend indefinitely, the American line of credit.' What's going on that resembles a Ponzi scheme?

ANDREW BACEVICH: This continuing tendency to borrow and to assume that the bills are never going to come due. I testified before a House committee six weeks ago now, on the future of U.S grand strategy. I was struck by the questions coming from members that showed an awareness, a sensitivity, and a deep concern, about some of the issues that I tried to raise in the book.

'How are we gonna pay the bills? How are we gonna pay for the commitment of entitlements that is going to increase year by year for the next couple of decades, especially as baby boomers retire?' Nobody has answers to those questions. So, I was pleased that these members of Congress understood the problem. I was absolutely taken aback when they said, 'Professor, what can we do about this?' And their candid admission that they didn't have any answers, that they were perplexed, that this problem of learning to live within our means seemed to have no politically plausible solution.

BILL MOYERS: You say in here that the tipping point between wanting more than we were willing to pay for began in the Johnson Administration. 'We can fix the tipping point with precision,' you write. 'It occurred between 1965, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson ordered U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam, and 1973, when President Richard Nixon finally ended direct U.S. involvement in that war.' Why do you see that period so crucial?

ANDREW BACEVICH: When President Johnson became President, our trade balance was in the black. By the time we get to the Nixon era, it's in the red. And it stays in the red down to the present. Matter of fact, the trade imbalance becomes essentially larger year by year.
So, I think that it is the '60s, generally, the Vietnam period, slightly more specifically, was the moment when we began to lose control of our economic fate. And most disturbingly, we're still really in denial. We still haven't recognized that.

BILL MOYERS: Now you go on to say that there was another fateful period between July 1979 and March of 1983. You describe it, in fact, as a pivot of contemporary American history. That includes Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, right?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I would be one of the first to confess that - I think that we have misunderstood and underestimated President Carter. He was the one President of our time who recognized, I think, the challenges awaiting us if we refused to get our house in order.

BILL MOYERS: You're the only author I have read, since I read Jimmy Carter, who gives so much time to the President's speech on July 15th, 1979. Why does that speech speak to you so strongly?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, this is the so-called Malaise Speech, even though he never used the word 'malaise' in the text to the address. It's a very powerful speech, I think, because President Carter says in that speech, oil, our dependence on oil, poses a looming threat to the country. If we act now, we may be able to fix this problem. If we don't act now, we're headed down a path in which not only will we become increasingly dependent upon foreign oil, but we will have opted for a false model of freedom. A freedom of materialism, a freedom of self-indulgence, a freedom of collective recklessness. And what the President was saying at the time was, we need to think about what we mean by freedom. We need to choose a definition of freedom which is anchored in truth, and the way to manifest that choice, is by addressing our energy problem.

He had a profound understanding of the dilemma facing the country in the post Vietnam period. And of course, he was completely hooted, derided, disregarded.

BILL MOYERS: And he lost the election. You in fact say-


BILL MOYERS: -this speech killed any chance he had of winning reelection. Why? Because the American people didn't want to settle for less?

ANDREW BACEVICH: They absolutely did not. And indeed, the election of 1980 was the great expression of that, because in 1980, we have a candidate, perhaps the most skillful politician of our time, Ronald Reagan, who says that, 'Doom-sayers, gloom-sayers, don't listen to them. The country's best days are ahead of us.'

BILL MOYERS: Morning in America.

ANDREW BACEVICH: It's Morning in America. And you don't have to sacrifice, you can have more, all we need to do is get government out of the way, and drill more holes for oil, because the President led us to believe the supply of oil was infinite.

BILL MOYERS: You describe Ronald Reagan as the 'modern prophet of profligacy. The politician who gave moral sanction to the empire of consumption.'

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, to understand the truth about President Reagan, is to understand why so much of what we imagined to be our politics is misleading and false. He was the guy who came in and said we need to shrink the size of government. Government didn't shrink during the Reagan era, it grew.

He came in and he said we need to reduce the level of federal spending. He didn't reduce it, it went through the roof, and the budget deficits for his time were the greatest they had been since World War Two.

BILL MOYERS: And do you remember that it was his successor, his Vice President, the first President Bush who said in 1992, the American way of life is not negotiable.

ANDREW BACEVICH: And all presidents, again, this is not a Republican thing, or a Democratic thing, all presidents, all administrations are committed to that proposition. Now, I would say, that probably, 90 percent of the American people today would concur. The American way of life is not up for negotiation.

What I would invite them to consider is that, if you want to preserve that which you value most in the American way of life, and of course you need to ask yourself, what is it you value most. That if you want to preserve that which you value most in the American way of life, then we need to change the American way of life. We need to modify that which may be peripheral, in order to preserve that which is at the center of what we value.

BILL MOYERS: What do you value most?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I think the clearest statement of what I value is found in the preamble to the Constitution. There is nothing in the preamble to the Constitution which defines the purpose of the United States of America as remaking the world in our image, which I view as a fool's errand. There is nothing in the preamble of the Constitution that ever imagined that we would embark upon an effort, as President Bush has defined it, to transform the Greater Middle East. This region of the world that incorporates something in order of 1.4 billion people.

I believe that the framers of the Constitution were primarily concerned with focusing on the way we live here, the way we order our affairs. To try to ensure that as individuals, we can have an opportunity to pursue our, perhaps, differing definitions of freedom, but also so that, as a community, we could live together in some kind of harmony. And that future generations would also be able to share in those same opportunities.

The big problem, it seems to me, with the current crisis in American foreign policy, is that unless we do change our ways, the likelihood that our children, our grandchildren, the next generation is going to enjoy the opportunities that we've had, is very slight, because we're squandering our power. We are squandering our wealth. In many respects, to the extent that we persist in our imperial delusions, we're also going to squander our freedom because imperial policies, which end up enhancing the authority of the imperial president, also end up providing imperial presidents with an opportunity to compromise freedom even here at home. And we've seen that since 9/11.

BILL MOYERS: The disturbing thing that you say again and again in here, is that every President since Reagan has relied on military power to conceal or manage these problems that stem from the nation's habits of profligacy, right?

ANDREW BACEVICH: That's exactly right. And again, this is, I think, this is another issue where one needs to be unsparing in fixing responsibility as much on liberal Democratic presidents as conservative Republican ones. I think that the Bush Administration's response to 9/11 in constructing this paradigm of a global war on terror, in promulgating the so called, Bush Doctrine of Preventive War, in plunging into Iraq - utterly unnecessary war - will go down in our history as a record of recklessness that will be probably unmatched by any other administration.

But, doesn't really mean that Bill Clinton before him, or George Herbert Walker Bush before him, or Ronald Reagan before him, were all that much better. Because they all have seen military power as our strong suit. They all have worked under the assumption that through the projection of power, or the threat to employ power, that we can fix the world. Fix the world in order to sustain this dysfunctional way of life that we have back here.

BILL MOYERS: So, this brings us to what you call the political crisis of America. And you say, 'The actual system of government conceived by the framers no longer pertains.' What pertains?

ANDREW BACEVICH: I am expressing in the book, in a sense, what many of us sense, even if many of us don't really want to confront the implications. The Congress, especially with regard to matters related to national security policy, has thrust power and authority to the executive branch. We have created an imperial presidency. The congress no longer is able to articulate a vision of what is the common good. The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress.

As the imperial presidency has accrued power, surrounding the imperial presidency has come to be this group of institutions called the National Security State. The CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the other intelligence agencies. Now, these have grown since the end of World War Two into this mammoth enterprise.

But the National Security State doesn't work. The National Security State was not able to identify the 9/11 conspiracy. Was not able to deflect the attackers on 9/11. The National Security State was not able to plan intelligently for the Iraq War. Even if you think that the Iraq War was necessary. They were not able to put together an intelligent workable plan for that war.

The National Security State has not been able to provide the resources necessary to fight this so called global war on terror. So, as the Congress has moved to the margins, as the President has moved to the center of our politics, the presidency itself has come to be, I think, less effective. The system is broken.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you say no one knows what they're doing, including the President. No one in Washington, as you say, that's the political crisis, as you define it, no one in Washington knows what they're doing.

ANDREW BACEVICH: What I mean specifically is this. The end of the Cold War coincided almost precisely with the first Persian Gulf War of 1990, 1991, Operation Desert Storm. Operation Desert Storm was perceived to be this great, historic, never before seen victory. It really wasn't.

BILL MOYERS: The mother of all battles-


BILL MOYERS: Schwarzkopf cam-

ANDREW BACEVICH: Politically, and strategically, the outcome of that war was far more ambiguous than people appreciated at the time. But nonetheless, the war itself was advertised as this great success, demonstrating that a new American way of war had been developed, and that this new American way of war held the promise of enabling the United States to exercise military dominion on a global basis in ways that the world had never seen.

The people in the Pentagon had developed a phrase to describe this. They called it, 'full spectrum dominance.' Meaning, that the United States was going to exercise dominance, not just capability, dominance across the full spectrum of warfare. And this became the center of the way that the military advertised its capabilities in the 1990s. That was fraud. That was fraudulent.

To claim that the United States military could demonstrate that kind of dominance flew in the face of all of history and in many respects, set us up for how the Bush Administration was going to respond to 9/11. Because if you believed that United States military was utterly unstoppable, then it became kind of plausible to imagine that the appropriate response to 9/11 was to embark upon this global war to transform the greater Middle East. Had the generals been more cognoscente of the history of war, and of the nature of war, then they might have been in a better position to argue to Mr. Rumsfeld, then the Secretary of Defense, or to the President himself, 'Be careful.' 'Don't plunge ahead.'

Recognize that force has utility, but that utility is actually quite limited. Recognize that when we go to war, almost inevitably, there are going to be unanticipated consequences. And they're not going to be happy ones.

Above all, recognize that, when you go to war, it's unlikely there's a neat tidy solution. It's far more likely that the bill that the nation is going to pay in lives and in dollars is going to be a monumental one. My problem with the generals is that, with certain exceptions, one could name as General Shinseki, with certain exceptions-

BILL MOYERS: Who said, 'We are going to need half a million men if we go into Iraq.' And-


BILL MOYERS: -he was shown the door for telling the truth.

ANDREW BACEVICH: By and large, the generals did not speak truth to power.
BILL MOYERS: One of the things that comes through in your book is that great truths are contained in small absurdities. And you use the lowly IED, the improvised explosive device, or roadside bomb, that's taken such a toll of American forces in Iraq, to get at a very powerful truth. Tell me about that.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well war - wars are competitions. The adversary develops capabilities. Your enemy develops capabilities. And you try to develop your own capabilities to check what he can do to you to be able to, overcome his capabilities.

One of the striking things about the Iraq War, and in which we had been fighting against, technologically at least, a relatively backward or primitive adversary, one of the interesting things is they have innovated far more adeptly and quickly than we have.

BILL MOYERS: The insurgents.

ANDREW BACEVICH: The insurgents have. And an example of that is the IED, which began as a very low tech kind of primitive mine. And, over time, became ever more sophisticated, ever more lethal, ever more difficult to detect, ever more difficult to check. And those enhancements in insurgent IED capability continually kept ahead of our ability to innovate and catch up.

BILL MOYERS: And I think you say, in your book, that it costs the price of a pizza to make a roadside bomb?

ANDREW BACEVICH: That's right. Yeah.

BILL MOYERS: This is what our men and women are up against in Afghanistan-

ANDREW BACEVICH: The point is to say that the reality of war is always a heck of a lot more complicated than you might imagine the day before the war begins. And, rather than looking to technology to define the future of warfare, we ought to look - really look at military history.

BILL MOYERS: And what do we learn when we look to the past?

ANDREW BACEVICH: What we should learn from history is that preventive war doesn't work. The Iraq War didn't work. And, therefore, we should abandon notions, such as the Bush Doctrine of preventive war. We should return to the just war tradition. Which sees force as something that is only used as a last resort. Which sees war as something that is justifiable for defensive purposes.

BILL MOYERS: How, then, do we fight what you acknowledge, in the book, is the perfectly real threat posed by violent Islamic extremism?

ANDREW BACEVICH: I think we need to see the threat for what it is. It is a real threat. It's not an existential threat. The 19 hijackers that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 didn't succeed because they had advanced technology, because they were particularly smart, because they were ten feet tall.

They succeeded because we let our guard down and we were stupid. We need to recognize that the threat posed by violent Islamic radicalism, by terrorist organizations, al Qaeda, really is akin to a criminal conspiracy, a violent conspiracy, a dangerous conspiracy. But it's a criminal enterprise. And the primary response to a criminal enterprise is policing.

Policing as in organizations like the FBI, intelligence organizations, some special operations forces. That would undertake a concerted campaign to identify and root out and destroy this criminal conspiracy. But that doesn't require invading and occupying countries. Again, one of the big mistakes the Bush Administration made, and it's a mistake we're still paying for, is that the President persuaded us that the best way to prevent another 9/11 is to embark upon a global war. Wrong. The best way to prevent another 9/11 is to organize an intensive international effort to root out and destroy that criminal conspiracy.

BILL MOYERS: You, in fact, say that, instead of a bigger army, we need a smaller more modest foreign policy. One that assigns soldiers missions that are consistent with their capability. 'Modesty,' I'm quoting you, 'requires giving up on the illusions of grandeur to which the end of the Cold War and then 9/11 gave rise. It also means reining in the imperial presidents who expect the army to make good on those illusions.' Do you expect either John McCain or Barack Obama to rein in the 'imperial presidency?'

ANDREW BACEVICH: No. I mean, people run for the presidency in order to become imperial presidents. The people who are advising these candidates, the people who aspire to be the next national security advisor, the next secretary of defense, these are people who yearn to exercise those kind of great powers.

They're not running to see if they can make the Pentagon smaller. They're not. So when I - as a distant observer of politics - one of the things that both puzzles me and I think troubles me is the 24/7 coverage of the campaign.

Parsing every word, every phrase, that either Senator Obama or Senator McCain utters, as if what they say is going to reveal some profound and important change that was going to come about if they happened to be elected. It's not going to happen.

BILL MOYERS: It's not going to happen because?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Not going to happen - it's not going to happen because the elements of continuity outweigh the elements of change. And it's not going to happen because, ultimately, we the American people, refuse to look in that mirror. And to see the extent to which the problems that we face really lie within.

We refuse to live within our means. We continue to think that the problems that beset the country are out there beyond our borders. And that if we deploy sufficient amount of American power we can fix those problems, and therefore things back here will continue as they have for decades.

BILL MOYERS: I was in the White House, back in the early 60s, and I've been a White House watcher ever since. And I have never come across a more distilled essence of the evolution of the presidency than in just one paragraph in your book.

You say, 'Beginning with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, 'the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably, the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda settler. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation's charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one.' I would say you nailed the modern presidency.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, and the - I think the troubling part is, because of this preoccupation with, fascination with, the presidency, the President has become what we have instead of genuine politics. Instead of genuine democracy.

We look to the President, to the next President. You know, we know that the current President's a failure and a disappoint - we look to the next President to fix things. And, of course, as long as we have this expectation that the next President is going to fix things then, of course, that lifts all responsibility from me to fix things.

One of the real problems with the imperial presidency, I think, is that it has hollowed out our politics. And, in many respects, has made our democracy a false one. We're going through the motions of a democratic political system. But the fabric of democracy, I think, really has worn very thin.

BILL MOYERS: The other consequence of the imperial presidency, as you point out, is that, for members of the political class, that would include the media that covers the political class, serving, gaining access to, reporting on, second guessing, or gossiping about the imperial president are about those aspiring to succeed him, as in this campaign, has become an abiding preoccupation.

ANDREW BACEVICH: I'm not - my job is not to be a media critic. But, I mean, one - you cannot help but be impressed by the amount of ink spilled on Obama and McCain compared to how little attention is given, for example, to the races in the Senate and the House. Now, one could say perhaps that makes sense, because the Congress has become such a dysfunctional body. But it really does describe a disproportion, I think of attention that is a problem.

BILL MOYERS: Would the imperial presidency exist were it not for the Congress?

ANDREW BACEVICH: No. I think that the imperial presidency would not exist but for the Congress. Because the Congress, since World War II, has thrust power and authority onto the presidency.

BILL MOYERS: Here is what I take to be the core of your analysis of our political crisis. You write, 'The United States has become a de facto one party state. With the legislative branch permanently controlled by an incumbent's party. And every President exploiting his role as Commander in Chief to expand on the imperial prerogatives of his office.'

ANDREW BACEVICH: One of the great lies about American politics is that Democrats genuinely subscribe to a set of core convictions that make Democrats different from Republicans. And the same thing, of course, applies to the other party. It's not true. I happen to define myself as a conservative.

Well, what do conservatives say they stand for? Well, conservatives say they stand for balanced budgets. Small government. The so called traditional values.

Well, when you look back over the past 30 or so years, since the rise of Ronald Reagan, which we, in many respects, has been a conservative era in American politics, well, did we get small government?

Do we get balanced budgets? Do we get serious as opposed to simply rhetorical attention to traditional social values? The answer's no. Because all of that really has simply been part of a package of tactics that Republicans have employed to get elected and to - and then to stay in office.

BILL MOYERS: And, yet, you say that the prime example of political dysfunction today is the Democratic Party in relation to Iraq.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I may be a conservative, but I can assure you that, in November of 2006, I voted for every Democrat I could possibly come close to. And I did because the Democratic Party, speaking with one voice, at that time, said that, 'Elect us. Give us power in the Congress, and we will end the Iraq War.'

And the American people, at that point, adamantly tired of this war, gave power to the Democrats in Congress. And they absolutely, totally, completely failed to follow through on their commitment. Now, there was a lot of posturing. But, really, the record of the Democratic Congress over the past two years has been - one in which, substantively, all they have done is to appropriate the additional money that enables President Bush to continue that war.

BILL MOYERS: And you say the promises of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi prove to be empty. Reid and Pelosi's commitment to forcing a change in policy took a backseat to their concern to protect the Democratic majority.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Could anybody disagree with that?

BILL MOYERS: You say, and this is another one of my highlighted sentences, that 'Anyone with a conscience sending soldiers back to Iraq or Afghanistan for multiple combat tours, while the rest of the country chills out, can hardly be seen as an acceptable arrangement. It is unfair. Unjust. And morally corrosive.' And, yet, that's what we're doing.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Absolutely. And I think - I don't want to talk about my son here.

BILL MOYERS: Your son?


BILL MOYERS: You dedicate the book to your son.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Yeah. Well, my son was killed in Iraq. And I don't want to talk about that, because it's very personal. But it has long stuck in my craw, this posturing of supporting the troops. I don't want to insult people.

There are many people who say they support the troops, and they really mean it. But when it comes, really, down to understanding what does it mean to support the troops? It needs to mean more than putting a sticker on the back of your car.

I don't think we actually support the troops. We the people. What we the people do is we contract out the business of national security to approximately 0.5 percent of the population. About a million and a half people that are on active duty.

And then we really turn away. We don't want to look when they go back for two or three or four or five combat tours. That's not supporting the troops. That's an abdication of civic responsibility. And I do think it - there's something fundamentally immoral about that.

Again, as I tried to say, I think the global war on terror, as a framework of thinking about policy, is deeply defective. But if one believes in the global war on terror, then why isn't the country actually supporting it? In a meaningful substantive sense?

Where is the country?

BILL MOYERS: Are you calling for a reinstatement of the draft?

ANDREW BACEVICH: I'm not calling for a reinstatement of the draft because I understand that, politically, that's an impossibility. And, to tell you the truth, we don't need to have an army of six or eight or ten million people. But we do need to have the country engaged in what its soldiers are doing. In some way that has meaning. And that simply doesn't exist today.

BILL MOYERS: Well, despite your loss, your and your wife's loss, you say in this powerful book what, to me, is a paradox. You say that, 'Ironically, Iraq may yet prove to be the source of our salvation.' And help me to understand that.

ANDREW BACEVICH: We're going to have a long argument about the Iraq War. We, Americans. Not unlike the way we had a very long argument about the Vietnam War. In fact, maybe the argument about the Vietnam War continues to the present day. And that argument is going to be - is going to cause us, I hope, to ask serious questions about where this war came from.
How did we come to be a nation in which we really thought that we could transform the greater Middle East with our army?

What have been the costs that have been imposed on this country? Hundreds of billions of dollars. Some projections, two to three trillion dollars. Where is that money coming from? How else could it have been spent? For what? Who bears the burden?

Who died? Who suffered loss? Who's in hospitals? Who's suffering from PTSD? And was it worth it? Now, there will be plenty of people who are going to say, 'Absolutely, it was worth it. We overthrew this dictator.' But I hope and pray that there will be many others who will make the argument that it wasn't worth it.

It was a fundamental mistake. It never should have been undertaking. And we're never going to do this kind of thing again. And that might be the moment when we look ourselves in the mirror. And we see what we have become. And perhaps undertake an effort to make those changes in the American way of life that will enable us to preserve for future generations that which we value most about the American way of life.

BILL MOYERS: The book is 'The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.' Andrew J. Bacevich, thank you for being with me.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Thank you very much."

Aloha, Brad

Friday, August 29, 2008

More on the Future of LCS...Depends on Congress

Depends on Congress and the New President

Interesting to see the steady flow now of reports on what exactly are the prospects of LCS. Also to see how well LCS-1 has done and how far behind is LCS-2. Interesting article follows at:

"Navy sees progress in LCS program"
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Washington Bureau

"WASHINGTON — The Navy will take delivery of its first littoral combat ship next month after the Wisconsin-built vessel passed inspection with relatively few serious flaws, officials said Wednesday.

Delivery of a second LCS — a rival design built by Austal USA in Mobile — is set for next year, the Navy said during a Wednesday roundtable discussion with reporters.

Completion of the first ship, known as the Freedom... After running the ship through trials on Lake Michigan, the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey found it to be "capable, well-built and inspection-ready," Deputy Assistant Navy Secretary Allison Stiller said...

The Navy now wants to buy three more LCS by late next year. While the first would be ordered with existing money, Congress has yet to authorize funding for the other two. Citing "source-selection" issues, Stiller would not say whether the Navy believes the two teams can meet a $460 million-per-vessel cost cap imposed by lawmakers.

Earlier this month, Fred Moosally, president of Lockheed's maritime division, told reporters that rising steel prices and other pressures would make it difficult to meet that cap...

Assuming that Congress antes up the money, the Navy plans to order two ships from one team and the third from the other group. Although the original plan was to choose one of the competing designs as the basis for the bulk of remaining orders, the Pentagon has left open the option of continuing to do "split buys" from both teams..."

My guess is Lockheed Martin gets the proven 3rd LCS order and whether GD/Austal gets any more LCS orders depends in part on Congress, the election, and structural integrity as it should be.

Aloha, Brad

Another Good Letter to the Editor in Kauai paper 8/28

Rich wrote another good letter to the editor that got published this time:

"Too much emphasis on poll"

"Much emphasis has been placed on the “poll” that The Garden Island conducted about the pros and cons of the ferry returning to Kaua‘i. Superferry CEO Tom Fargo interpreted the results one way, news media had their interpretation, and other people had as many interpretations as there were illogical choices on the poll. There were a total of 2,729 votes in the poll, with an unknown number of multiple votes by single individuals, and no count on where the voters lived. Why should votes from O‘ahu residents count on what happens to our island?

Everybody seems to have forgotten that we obtained over 6,000 signatures from individuals that had one choice; “Should the Superferry be required to get an EIS before being allowed to dock at Nawiliwili?”

The Kauai County Council unanimously passed a resolution requesting an EIS on the Superferry before starting service to Kaua‘i. At a recent candidates night, none of the mayoral or council candidates for Kaua‘i raised their hands when asked if they would vote to allow Superferry’s return to Kaua‘i.

When you can conduct a poll with two choices: No. 1. “Should Superferry be required to obey the law, Hawaii Environmental Protection Act, HRS 343, before resuming service to Kaua‘i;” or No. 2. “Should Superferry be allowed to continue service to Kaua‘i with total disregard for its environmental/cultural impact and welfare on Kaua‘i?” then publish it. If you can find over 6,000 residents of our incredible island to vote for the latter, let me know, let Fargo know, let the Chamber of Commerce know, and let anybody else know who has no consideration for the welfare of our culture, environment, or way of life. My bet is, that will be a long time coming, if ever."

Rich Hoeppner
Wailua, HI

There was also a story from Wed. and Thurs. on HSF that first broke in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. I did not waste time putting it here, but posted some comments to that article starting at

Aloha, Brad

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Great letter to the editor and coverage by Juan Wilson

Juan Wilson's artwork.

In addition to a nice entry and pictures on his website about the "Ferry Free Kauai" event,
Celebration of Ferry Free Anniversary Opposition to HSF is misreported by Garden Island News, Juan Wilson had a spot-on letter to the editor in the Kauai paper today:

"Biased ferry coverage"

"A delightful celebration of one year of no Kauai Superferry service was held yesterday at the county park in Nawiliwili Harbor. Dozens of residents watched hula, played music, paddled in the bay, shared food and shared thoughts on a balmy summer day.

There were two sour notes:

• Chief of Police Darryl Perry would not allow the single pro-Superferry supporter, Kimo Rosen, to attend the festivities, even though celebrants asked that he be included. Perry insisted that Rosen stand about 100 yards off.

• On Sunday, the day of that Nawiliwili anti-ferry event, The Garden Island had a full banner headline “Superferry officials talk of possible return.” There was no mention of the day’s celebration planned at the harbor.

The paper that pretends to report for Kaua‘i can rightfully be condemned as a pipeline for the interests of the flacks trying to drum up support for the Superferry return to Kaua‘i. Their recent coverage of the issue could only have been scripted by PR consultants of the HSF Corporation.

The Sunday page-one top-of-fold article included that “A Web poll conducted by TGI shows that 39 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the Superferry’s presumably immediate return to Kaua‘i.”

Further down on page one it does say that 17 percent thought the ferry should only return after it passes an EIS. But it was not until the continuity on page seven (in a separate paragraph) that TGI reporter Michael Levine mentions that 28 percent said the ferry should never return to Kaua‘i.

The clumsily framed questions about the Superferry were:

A. It should return to Kaua‘i and resume service? 1,166 votes
B. An EIS should be completed before it returns to service on Kauai? 519 votes
C. It should never return? 842 votes
D. It should return to service on Kaua‘i while an EIS is conducted? 328 votes
E. Superferry officials should reach out to the people on Kaua‘i to determine if a return to Kaua‘i should occur? 164 votes

Their order should have been on a gradient, such as from maintaining the status quo to the sharpest change in future circumstances. Namely C, B, E, D, A.

Should option “E” even have been on the poll? Shouldn’t there be a dialog in all circumstances. To date the HSF has only consulted with the mayoral candidates and the Kauai Chamber of Commerce.

There were a total of 2,729 votes in the poll. I suspect all the hundreds of Superferry employees were informed of the poll and encouraged to vote in it. It would be interesting to know from TGI what percentage of Web votes came from off-island ISP addresses.

Even so, I interpret results as 1,361 votes for the ferry to never return (or return only if it passes an EIS). And 1,204 for the ferry to resume service (or provide temporary service only until an EIS is passed).

That reads as 50 percent against imminent return and 44 percent for an imminent return. I view the 164 who voted “E” as undecided. That is a close poll, but one I think was skewed as reported by TGI.

I’m disappointed in those results, and so should be the Superferry Corporation. There is no apparent groundswell of support for the ferry to return to Kaua‘i, even when you can line up the company employees.

To top it off, in Monday’s TGI report on the no Superferry “Jam in the Harbor” celebration the TGI got the story wrong again. Again Michael Levine has the byline. The above-the-fold photo by Dennis Fujimoto show a close-up of a sign reading “Bring Back Da Superferry” held by Kimo Rosen, the only person at Nawiliwili Park who expressed favor with the ferry, and who stood outside the area of the day’s celebration. The title of the article was “Ferry-free Kaua‘i celebrated” with the subtitle “But some residents call for ship’s return.”

I would not call this fair and balanced journalism."

Juan Wilson
Kauai, HI

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feds want slower ship speeds to aid Whales
"Government wants slower ship speeds to aid whales"
By DINA CAPPIELLO Mon., Aug. 25, 2008

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The government on Monday recommended a speed limit for commercial ships along the Atlantic coast, where collisions with the endangered right whale threaten its existence.

About 300-400 of the whales are left in the wild, and they migrate annually between their southeastern Atlantic breeding grounds to feeding areas off the Massachusetts coast, intersecting busy shipping lanes.

The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday the new limit, the first to be instituted on the East Coast for a marine creature, was needed to assure its survival. The rule would set a speed limit of 11.5 miles per hour (10 knots) within 23 miles (20 nautical miles) of major mid-Atlantic ports and throughout the whale's breeding and feeding areas. The new regulation would cover ships 65 feet or longer and expire in five years if not renewed. Boats from federal agencies would be exempt.

"The bottom line is that this critically endangered species needs our help," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, the agency's administrator...

"NOAA's decision on these measures is based on the best data and scientific understanding available," White House environmental adviser James L. Connaughton said Monday.

The option selected on Monday and released with an 850-page analysis of its environmental and economic impacts is narrower than the 34-mile-wide coastal speed zone first proposed for the mid-Atlantic coast by marine scientists in June 2006. Last year, in response to questions from the White House, agency experts said moving the speed-limit zone closer to shore in that region would be less protective of right whales...

The analysis published Monday said the lower speed limit could cost ferry operators $8.6 million in lost revenues annually, and even have an effect on the whale watching industry, which is expected to lose $1.3 million under the proposed regulation. The economic impact would take more of a toll on high speed vessels, which travel at 28 to 45 mph, versus ships and boats traveling at the normal 14 to 18 mph."...See full article at:
On the Net:
National Marine Fisheries Service:

This is something of which the Hawaii State Supreme Court should be made aware.
Aloha, Brad

Flurry of Optimistic Shipbuilding Forecasts Follow on the Net

Events of the past month pushed the timing of the following forecast on August 21:
Updated Pragmatic Forecast for HSF, JHSV, LCS, etc.

What followed was an interesting avalanche of forecasts from financial, company, and ship aficionados each with their own mostly overly optimistic outlooks that do not take into consideration the fiscal and economic position that the U.S. government and economy have been mismanaged into.

First, to follow were the financial analyst references:
Austal "Waiting for US catalysts" (Neutral) Byers By Martin Byers Australian Industrial Transportation; Australian Industrial Goods & Services; Australasian Industrial; Australasian Industrial Goods & Services; Australasian Shipbuilding; Australasian Industrial Transportation. Companies. ASB.AX Austal ...UBS Research: Transportation -
Austal expects US market to take off in 2009-2010 Shipbuilder says making "calculated risk" in US investment. 25 Aug 2008 11:41 PM.Business Spectator -

Second, came the company:
Austal has reported a net profit of $52 million The Australian - Sydney, Australia HIGH oil prices and gloomy economic conditions have dampened commercial demand for ships, prompting builder Austal to focus on the lucrative military market...
Austal parent's profit surges; Mobile in holding pattern Press-Register - - Mobile, AL, USA The company hopes to build up to 10 Joint High Speed Vessels, high-speed passenger-vehicle ferries used for transporting troops and equipment...

Third, were detailed (detached from the economy) forecasts by the webs military shiplover blogs:
Fantasy Shipbuilding FYDP By Galrahn(Galrahn) 1 Joint High Speed Vessel (1 x .2) 1 LHA-5 (1 x 3.5) 2 LPD-17s (2 x 1.7) FY12 - 13 ships $13.05 billion + $2 billion CVN = Over budget $2.05 billion 1 Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) (1 v .9) 1 Large Medium-Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off (LMSR)...
Fantasy Shipbuilding By Moose(Moose) 1 Joint High Speed Vessel (1 x .2) 2 LPD-17s (2 x 1.7) 1 LHA-6 (1 x 3.5) 1 CVN78 4 Expeditionary Patrol Craft (enhanced M80) (4 x .02) FY13 - 13 ships + 4 Patrol Craft $12.58 billion + $2 billion CVN = Over budget $1.58 billion...
Galrahn’s Fantasy Shipbuilding By charbookguy Inspired, of course, by this post at Information Dissemination: FY10-4 Virginia class (SSN) (4 x 2.0)=$8 billion 5 Joint High Speed Vessels (5 x .2)=$1 billion 10 Sea Fighters (10 x .3)=$3 billion 100 Stilletto FAC (100 x...

Lastly, to mention here from:
"...Bob Browning, chief executive officer of Austal Ltd., said the local yard is 'perfectly positioned' to build the military vessels. 'We have the trained workforce available today, we have the facilities available today to support construction, and we have already built a vessel of very similar design (to the JHSV) right here in Mobile,' said Browning, who works from Mobile."

Interesting how it's never mentioned in the press information on the structural history of the only two large aluminium hull vessels they have built and floated from that site. The detail of that structural history is not necessarily something to boast about.

Aloha, Brad

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pics and News coverage of 1st Anniversary Ferry Free Kauai

Here are my pics from the 1st Anniversary of "Ferry Free Kauai":

Here are Diana LaBedz's pics of the 1st Anniversary of "Ferry Free Kauai":

The newspaper coverage of this event by The Garden Island news and by the Honolulu Advertiser was extremely low quality reporting. Andy Parx turned the table on these guys and reported better on them than they did on the events at:
Tom Finnegan of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin wrote the only decent newspaper article covering the event at:

Also, there was also a good letter to the editor in the Kauai paper today:

"Go elsewhere, Superferry"

"The return of the Superferry to our beloved island would only amount to a Pandora’s Box of permanent change, another vehicle of the demise of our wonderful way of life.

With 30 years on Kaua‘i many residents can testify that I am one who always sees the glass as half full. Faith and hope are at the foundation of our family life.

I am not involved in any movement concerning this vital issue. I am just utilizing common sense. It does not take a genius to see that by opening the door to the perils of a much more rapid and complicated culture of a major urbanized city and all that goes with it including vice.

Even a person in a coma can see that our fragile and limited infrastructure can’t even handle our local needs. No amount of economical surplus from those arriving is really nonexistent. O‘ahu is suffering more than we are. Please remember and I write this as one who grew up in a violent urbanized area, East Los Angeles, the peace, harmony and above all safe environment for our children are priceless and once lost can never be retrieved.

Those of us who have been here awhile can testify to that. Common sense tells me my life and the life of my three sons will be better, safer and happier without the misleading and false promises of the money counters who sing the praises of inviting the Superferry back.

Just like a new toy it might be fun to ride on it but its novelty will be brief but the seed of cultural chaos would have already been permanently planted.

If it is a better and cheaper way to travel between islands and that is also true for the vice and ill-intent of a major U.S. city. In reality the Superferry and her masters are simply pimping the beauty and tranquility of a very vulnerable Eden like no where else in the world.

Are we willing to bet it all on the twisted words of the money changers? ...we must make it clear that such a success must come without our participation.

...Go anywhere but our beloved Kaua‘i."

Eduardo Valenciana

I have decided there is some unfinished business with this blog,
Aloha, Brad

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"This is NOT between HSF and the elected officials"

Today from:

"...State Sen. Gary Hooser said yesterday, “This is between Hawai‘i Superferry and the Kaua‘i community, not between Hawai‘i Superferry and the elected officials,” Hooser said...”
Today from: Musings: Worshiping at the Altar of Money and Convenience

"...As the Save Kahului Harbor blog reported (and Andy Parx noted on his blog), Maui is indeed being plundered by Superferry passengers. According to state DOCARE reports, over 400 pounds of reef fish were taken from Maui waters in a one month period, along with 250 pounds of limu and 49 pounds of opihi — a figure that increased to 75 pounds the following month. And that's just what they found. Remember, they don't inspect everything. And why is all this happening? Quite simply, so that J.F. Lehman Co. can make money and folks can have a form of interisland travel that some find more convenient. I'm sorry, but when you live on a place like Kauai, that "deal" just ain't worth it."

Aloha, Brad

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Superferry Task Force - Maui Being Plundered

Reposted from the Save Kahului Harbor web site:
Superferry Task Force - Maui Being Plundered

Written by Irene Bowie to the Superferry Oversight Task Force
Executive Director/Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Inc.
Superferry Oversight Task Force meeting, Honolulu, August 20, 2008

Thank you for taking the time to hear my comments today. It has been very interesting to sit through this OTF session and the one thought that comes to mind as I listen to the information shared today is the travesty that ACT 2 is. Hawaii’s environmental law states that an environmental assessment be performed prior to operations and as we can see, if this law had been followed many of the issues you’re discussing today would have been dealt with in advance.

Issues such as an undercarriage pressure-wash system, which now seems difficult, would have been required and some type of system would have been created.

Listening to Admiral Fargo state that night vision goggles, radar, and “bow-mounted cameras” are currently in the research and development stage is not acceptable. I stood before this Task Force in February of this year and told you that the technology was not adequate at this time yet HSF continued to state through last year’s whale season that those technologies would ensure safety for humpbacks during evening transits. Now, with two months before the first whales begin arriving in Hawaiian waters, Admiral Fargo says it will take more time… again, this is not acceptable in regards to an endangered and federally protected species. The only mitigation for this issue is reduced speeds, down to 10k, when traveling after dark.

And lastly, to hear DOCARE’s report on inspections and findings, I am discouraged by the number of natural resources being taken from Maui on a regular basis. To have over 400 lbs. of reef fish taken from Maui waters in a one month period is astounding; Maui fishermen are currently working to educate our community on the need to fish for invasive species rather than native species so that our reefs have a chance to become healthy again. Fish such as uhu are important not only for the health of the reef but also in the creation of sand for our disappearing beaches. The people of Maui treasure our cultural and natural resources and greater effort must be made to stop this plunder. Forty nine pounds of opihi in one month and another 75 lbs. the following month; over 250 lbs. of limu in a month; how long will these natural resources remain for our community and what studies have been done to examine this situation?

Mr. Garibaldi made much of the customer survey taken this summer; I’m sure the people who are passengers are happy with HSF, that’s why they’re onboard. However, this does nothing to repair the divisiveness in our community over the arrival of HSF. Mr. Garibaldi and other HSF staff stated many times that outreach efforts would be made to the Maui community yet nothing has come of it and no efforts have been made.

Today I ask the OTF to please consider the following 5 items:

1) We request a report on the total cost to Hawaii taxpayers for:
---a) Inspections/costs for Dept. of Ag and DOCARE staffing
---b) DOT lawsuits and appeals
---c) Oversight Task Force costs, i.e., inter-island transportation, etc.
---d) Preparation for Environmental Impact Statement
---e) Barges/tugs to assist HSF
---f) Any other costs incurred
--We ask that this information be put into a document that is released to the public.

2) We would like to know what plan is in place after December 2008 when the Oversight Task Force concludes. What is in place for inspections on the Big Island when service begins in 2009? Will DOCARE and Dept. of Ag be involved? We suggest a user fee be added to HSF ticket price to provide for needed DOCARE and Dept. of Ag staffing.

3) An update on Hawaii Superferry’s incidental take permit process and whale avoidance plan for Winter/08-09. Will the HSF’s “whale season” be abbreviated as it was last year or run concurrent with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary’s accepted season?

4) We strongly request that DOCARE continue regular inspections at Kahului Harbor until December of 2008 rather than moving to random inspections with HSF staff taking over the process. DOCARE’s regular reports are the only comprehensive assessment of items being transported by this new form of inter-island transportation. We need continued information to make educated decisions on procedures needed, not only for Maui, but also for the Big Island as the 2nd vessel comes on-line in 2009.

5) We ask for a more fair distribution of the remaining OTF meetings between Oahu and Maui as many members of the Maui community have comments but are unable to attend off-island meetings.

Thank you for your time today in allowing me to speak.

Masako said...

Masako Cordray Westcott
Comments to the Hawaii Superferry Task Force August 20, 2008

Regarding the movement of the Little Fire Ant on Hawaii Superferry.

After speaking to Neil Reimer of the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture and reviewing A PLAN FOR PREVENTION OF ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW ANT SPECIES IN HAWAII, WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT (Solenopsis invicta) AND LITTLE FIRE ANT (Wasmannia auropunctata) that he provided, I would like to offer the following comments.

The Hawaii Ant Plan (HAP) is a product of the Hawaii Ant Group (HAG) whose members include government, university, and NGO people with expertise in invasive ant species in Hawaii. The HAP acknowledges the serious nature of the Little Fire Ant (LFA) calling it “one of the world’s 100 worst invasives and a major cause of native species extinctions, especially in Hawaii, where the native biota evolved in the absence of ant species.

Pertinent to our concerns about the Hawaii Superferry (HSF) is the finding from New Zealand (Harris et al 2005) that air passengers from infested islands are a high-risk pathway for LFA introduction. Furthermore, the HAG recognizes that this is an unaddressed and likely high-risk pathway in Hawaii. Clearly, the addition of personal cars, personal goods, equipment, tools and lumber to the already high-risk passenger pathway increases the danger.

Some of the minimal prevention measures recommended by the HAG include:

The identification of high-risk pathways.

The development of an inspection program and regulation of goods being shipped off infested islands.

The establishment of rigorous interisland quarantine for LFA.

The inspection and treatment of non-plant high-risk commodities.

Ensuring that qualified inspection teams with expertise in ant detection through specialized training and armed with the latest technology are at all ports.

The LFA is acknowledged as a catastrophic introduction. Passengers are recognized as a high-risk pathway. Both plant and non-plant cargo is considered high-risk.

The HSF Task Force is mandated to examine the impacts of HSF including the movement of invasive species between the islands. I once again call on this body to establish a study group of LFA experts to establish protocols for the HSF to prevent the spread of this environmental, economic and human health threat. August 21, 2008

Reposting from Karen Chun

Aloha, Brad


A couple of informal messages that are circulating.

First forwarded message:

"Supeferry Party – Sunday – Anniversary Celebration"

"Hey EIS 4 Superferry supporters:

It's coming up on the one year anniversary of the event that turned back a non-compliant, bullying Superferry from Kauai's harbor. And there's a party down at the harbor this Sunday afternoon to celebrate (peacefully, with Kauaian heart).

This is the event that Rich Hoeppner was planning officially with regular KPD feedback, but at the last minute he received a lengthy laundry list of permitting stipulations and insurance requirements including naming the County of Kaua'i as additionally insured, not before ever stipulated to him and due in 24 hours... (But honestly everyone, could you see the British "Unified Command" approving a one year anniversary celebration of the Boston Tea Party?) See for a report on those developments.

Anyway, back to the celebration: It's peaceful, family oriented fun, and simply simply an "informal" public day at the harbor. Come join in on the Surfrider sponsored (and Coast Guard approved) water parade on surfboard, kayak, body board,...whatever feels right and safe...that's at 2pm at Kalapaki. At 3pm, people are invited to share potluck at adjacent Nawiliwili park (unless a "health permit needed" for a potluck mysteriously appears).

Also there is a homemade Jam contest, prizes judged by Aunty Lilikoi. (If the fuzz says she needs a permit to judge the jam's, well, just eat the yummy evidence =-)

Entertainment--Music, Jam sessions, dancing, chants, bring your African drum, etc. as you like.

People are expected to informally gather/be there 12 noon-6pm ish. Enjoy, and pass on the word..."

Second forwarded message:


"WHAT: An informal pot luck picnic get-together at Nawiliwili Park and Kalapaki Beach. Bring your surfboards and canoes for a symbolic paddle out at Kalapaki Beach to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Superferry's entrance to Nawiliwili. We will paddle just past the surf zone, but will not enter the harbor. All laws will be observed.

WHERE: Nawiliwili Park. Paddle-out at Kalapaki Beach.

WHEN This Sunday August 24. Informal get together starts at 1 PM. Paddle-out starts at 2 PM.

WHY: One year ago hundreds of people gathered along the harbor to give a strong message that our island did not want the Superferry. Come to network with others and share your ideas, concerns and mana'o about the possibility of its return and what to do about it."

The only article that got the 486 on 125,000 correct

The only article that got this correct. See MauiJim's comments to the article below:
"Superferry counts 125,000th traveler"
‘A significant milestone’ for service earns family free trips, other gifts
By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer
POSTED: August 20, 2008

"...She's not the only one. Her father, Calvin, was counted as the 125,000th passenger the Alakai has carried between islands...The ferry has now completed 486 voyages - 488 by the time your read this...The Alakai has transported more than 34,000 vehicles, of which 2,800 were commercial."

Member Comments

MauiJim said:
08-21-08 2:49 PM
OK I just did some quick math on their numbers: 125,000 pax at about $50 a head = $6 mil in revenue. 30k cars at $60 = 1.8 mil revenue. 20% more for commercial is another 1.5 mil. Just over $9 mil total. The ferry burns 1900 gph, 3h per trip, $4 per gallon...that comes to an appalling $20,000 each way in fuel costs!!! Times 486 trips = 10 mil in fuel!!! based on their own numbers they haven't even made fuel costs. The only people benefiting from the superferry are the oil companies!

Mauibrad said:
08-21-08 3:29 PM
MauiJim wrote, "...Just over $9 mil total [revenue]...Times 486 trips = 10 mil in fuel [expenses]!!! based on their own numbers they haven't even made fuel costs [in total]. The only people benefiting from the superferry are the oil companies!" That's right, Jim. You pegged it. My compliments on your analysis. Aloha, Brad

Mauibrad said:
08-21-08 2:44 PM
Harry, Thanks for clarifying the numbers. All of the reports yesterday said "400" transits. Yours more correctly mentions 486. Divided into the 125,000 equals an average of 257 per voyage which is much more believable than the 313 per voyage. Still, agree with MauiJim that there is little significance to the total 125,000 other than as another marketing stunt by HSF. BTW, the much more efficient Hawaiian Air transports 125,000 people in less than a month. Aloha, Brad

MauiJim said:
08-21-08 2:32 PM
What is so significant about that number? What a stupid press release! Can't believe this is newsworthy. They are still losing money by the truckload!

Aloha, Brad

Updated Pragmatic Forecast for HSF, JHSV, LCS, etc.

Not everybody will follow these numbers. I am updating this forecast mainly because it has become apparent that the "hawks" have gotten to Obama, and so the future for JHSV and LCS is a little bit more favorable, although not what their builders might hope for. The future prospects for JHSV and LCS could be worse than this outlook, but do not believe it will be any more favorable than this forecast.

Because the DoD has allocated such a significant sum of grant funds for Austal's Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF), it is now believed Austal will be a part of the contracts for both the JHSV and the LCS, even under a more hawkish Obama or McCain. This appears to be so even though Austal's designs are fuel inefficient and the aluminium hull designs have been called into question for the rigors of military service. Therefore, it is also believed that Lockheed Martin with the LCS and Bollinger Incat USA with the JHSV may also get about half of those respective construction contracts.

The total number expected here of JHSV's to be built will be 5 to 10 for the DoD. Austal USA may get 4 to 5 of those. Bollinger Incat USA may get the other 4 to 5.

The total number expected here of LCS's to be built will be 10 to 20, not the prior planned 55. Lockheed Martin already has an order for 4 from Israel. Lockheed Martin can expect to have at least 3 to 4 more ordered by DoD. Austal can expect to have 5 to 7 ordered by DoD. This is the most, if even this, that the U.S. government will be able to budget for LCS.

Here are the lastest videos of what Austal's LCS competition looks like at high speed:

Austal will fill in missed LCS orders with 50+ fast patrol boat orders from the Navy, Coast Guard, Caribbean nations, Taiwan, etc.

Austal is building HSF's second vessel. The most that HSF will be able to operate is 2 to 3 vessels. Those will eventually be sold to the Army/Navy when commercial operations are no longer viable.

Until that eventuality, HSF may attempt service to Oahu, Kahului, Kawaihae, Kaunakakai, Hana, and Lihue. Kaunakakai and Hana will involve the seeking of existing state and federal funding.

Kauai officials should demand additional state and federal funding for infrastructure of roads, water, wastewater, and renewable energy electricity projects directly or indirectly before entertaining any such further associations on this matter.

Aloha, Brad

Recent KGMB Coverage, etc.

Gotta compliment KGMB-9. They have consistently provided the most coverage on HSF of any local TV station. In the past 24 hours they have had the following video reports, including the first one referencing the Belt Collins Rapid Risk Assessment:
"DOT: Superferry Needs to Do More for Environment"
Written by KGMB9 News
August 20, 2008 07:55 PM

"The Superferry gets high marks in most areas, but needs to do more to protect the environment. That's according to a study released today by the Department of Transportation.

The 200-thousand dollar risk assessment found that out of 40 categories, the Superferry did poorly in three areas.

First, 23-percent of vehicles were not inspected for banned agricultural items. That covers everything from plants and seeds, to rocks and coral.

They also need to improve inspections of car wheel wells. Also, many muddy vehicles were allowed. That D.O.T. says that could be risky because seeds and other things could be in the soil.

Finally, the assessment says the Superferry needs to screen more passengers. It found 17-percent of those without vehicles were not asked if they were carrying prohibited items...

...The Superferry plans to sail to the Big Island by next summer. It doesn't know when it'll service Kauai again.

Also see:

And lastly, the following is an interesting report today from The Molokai Dispatch:

Super Ferry Sighting on North Shore
BY ANDRES MADUENO Thursday 8-21-08
Visitors alarmed by closeness of ferry to Kalawao.
Visitors to Kalawao expressed concern over seeing the Super Ferry nearly a quarter mile off the shoreline.
By Andres Madueno

"Passengers on a tour of Kalawao last Tuesday got more than a beautiful trek through history.
They also received an alarmingly close sighting of the Hawaii Super Ferry, just off the North Shore of Molokai. The sighting happened at about 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 12 passing between the Mokapa and Okala islands.

“I think that is very disrespectful. This is holy land and they don’t have permission to be here,” said Rigo Torres, a visitor from Oahu. “They were really close – no more than a quarter of a mile away.”

Several of the passengers on Damien Tours’ Kalaupapa tour that day expressed concern over seeing the Super Ferry so close to the shoreline."

Reminds me of that boater incident reported to Randy Awo and the Oversight Task Force Committee.
See you all at the harbor. Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Blogger's Research into Motion Sickness

This blogger, Jeff, has put up some good, balanced posts before. Here is another one reposted from him:
Avoid Motion Sickness On Your Trip
Published by Jeff at 12:02 am under Travel tips

"I’m prone to seasickness (though not to airsickness). Sitting in the back seats of cars and buses doesn’t leave me feeling all that great either. How about you?

If you’re bound for Hawaii, the water starts getting rough here, generally about October. Today’s post might help if you’re planning on any of the following:

Hawaii Superferry
Na Pali boat tours
Mainland to Hawaii cruises
NCL Inter-Island cruises

As for my own experience, we recently took an Alaska cruise which started in California. The trip up to Alaska was beyond rough. I was in bed and drugged for the first two days after applying a Scopalomine patch. In short, I was miserable, and as a result, so were my traveling companions.

We are now planning a cruise across the infamously rough Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand this Fall. I’m really determined to enjoy myself, not get seasick, and not spend my cruise time in bed and/or drugged.

Here’s a list of what I’ve tried that hasn’t been very satisfactory:

Scopalomine patch. This took too long to work, and really should be started well in advance of rough sea conditions. I never felt quite right until I took it off.

Dramamine. These should be called sleeping pills, given how drowsy they make me.

Bonine. Better than dramamine, but still completely unacceptable in terms of how they leave me feeling and how ineffective they have been.

Wrist pressure bands. The manual bands that have what feels like a marble inside that presses on the inner wrist. These just did nothing in my experience.

Ginger candy. Tastes great, but doesn’t do a thing to alleviate my seasickness.

In preparation for our upcoming trip, I’ve started reading all of the forums again, including Cruise Critic and Frommers.

Here’s a list of what I’m planning to do next:

Follow the ocean conditions closely using this oceanographic site. That way I can know what is coming, and plan my action plan accordingly. If I’d seen what was ahead when we sailed to Alaska, I’d have used the Scop patch sooner, and it might have worked better.

Relief Band. I’m really excited (and hopeful) to try this. This is an electronic, battery operated adjustable stimulator designed to prevent motion sickness (and other kinds of nausea). It has very favorable reviews in the forums, so, for $80, I’m going to give this a try. The only real negative things I read are that some people are annoyed by the constant tingling feeling in your hand it produces. But I’ll take tingling over nausea in a heartbeat.

I’ll let you know how my new plan works out.

In the meantime, what have you tried, and what works for you and what doesn’t? I’m anxiously awaiting your input and suggestions." -- Jeff ShareThis

For official links to current sea conditions in the Hawaiian Islands and in the Cook Strait see the following link:

Aloha, Brad

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Candidates and "Jam's" couple interesting tidbits today

First, I have been informed that as of today the get together at Nawiliwili Harbor on Aug. 24th has been cancelled at least as an official function. I would assume people can still informally assemble and surf there though?

Second, was this interesting tidbit that just appeared on the net today:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Candidates for Sale
Candidates for Sale
What do Obama and McCain have in common? The same big donors, who will expect to have their way no matter who wins
Posted Aug 21, 2008 9:42 AM

Excerpted from the above article:

"McCain has also raked in big contributions from two other giants of the buyout world: the Carlyle Group (famous for its close ties to the Bush administration) and the Blackstone Group (whose co-founder, Pete Peterson, wrote a $28,500 check to McCain after he took home almost $1.8 billion from a public offering last year). McCain has also received monstrous sums from hedge-fund managers, attracted by his pledge to keep the tax rate on their earnings at only 15 percent. Executives and family members in a single hedge fund, Knott Partners, have contributed some $225,700 to McCain's campaign. Then there's the predictable influx of cash from would-be military contractors. John Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy whose firm builds the Superferry transport vessel, not only donated $28,500 of his own money, but bundled at least $250,000 for McCain from other donors. Donald Bollinger, who is a contractor on the controversial Littoral Combat Ship, gave $27,300 and bundled a whopping $500,000. Anyone want to bet on a decrease in Naval appropriations in a McCain presidency?"

This story just doesn't quit,
Aloha, Brad

Monday, August 18, 2008

Interesting little tidbit today...


"...The six to 10 employees did not recognize the group, but knew it was not the Hawaiian Kingdom that has occupied part of the palace grounds during the day since April. In fact, Chu said that group did not show up that day. The people who took over call themselves the Kingdom of Hawaii Nation Ministry Trust. They are from Maui. They arrived on the Hawaii Superferry..."

Aloha, Brad

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Two different takes on HSF's 'Koa' Hull A616

First, is the following video report yesterday from KHNL:
New superferry has one main difference
By Duane Shimogawa
"MOBILE (KHNL) -- ...still months away, probably February next year. The new ferry incorporates some minor changes like friendlier serving areas, an upgraded sound system and a different color scheme. The biggest difference though is a foldable ramp..."

And the second are more thorough details on the plans for the ramp, desalination plant, and wastewater treatment plant on the 'Koa' version of HSF, found on the web at

Click here to view the PDF 3meg detailed file on proposed changes to HSF 'Koa' Hull A616.

"Superferry Corporation seeks DOD contract"
by Juan Wilson on 4 August 2008 revision 1.1 080805

"I have received a PDF file from an obscured source that appears to be a proposal from the Hawaii Superferry Corporation (HSF) to the Department of Defense (DOD). Click here to download PDF 3meg file.

The proposal is for the outfitting of the second Superferry (Austal hull A616), now under construction at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, with what it calls "National Defense Features" (NDF) that would make the new Superferry more useful to the military.

The document paints a picture of a working partnership between the Superferry Corporation, Austal USA and the US Navy to coordinate the construction of civilian ferries for military use and ultimately to develop a Navy ship class that began with the Marine Third Expeditionary Force use of WestPac Express.

The proposal states:

'It seems evident that the impressive capabilities of these new, large, and fast commercial vessels could be of important service in carrying out in-theater lift missions for the Department of Defense (DOD) under any rapid mobilization scenario envisioned and codified by the VISTA program.

But operational autonomy and self-sustainability appear to be essential mission objectives for most of the scenarios discussed and reviewed by military authorities. Accordingly, it is proposed that DOD sponsor the addition of three features critical to self-sustainability under the National Defense Feature (NDF) provision of law.

These three features described in more detail below are the installed folding ramp system, a reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant, and a comparable certified wastewater treatment and disposal system.

We believe that accomplishment of these additions will provide significantly more flexibility and utility of these vessels in rapidly responding to the demanding and diverse requirements of national defense service.

With these features installed, the mobilization period before readiness for DOD service in any time of emergency can be reduced to a matter of a few days.'

The document appears to be a second or third generation photo copy that has been scanned and converted into a PDF file before distribution. The document is dated 11 March 2008 and looks to be on Superferry Corporation stationary.

Besides the cover (see detail above) the document has twelve numbered pages and three pages of illustrations.

If the document is genuine, it is supporting evidence that details what the Superferry proposes to do to redesign the Superferry fleet (and future JHSV's) to meet military specifications.

The primary NDF improvements are:
1) the addition of a loading ramp capable of loading a wide range of military hardware onto the vehicle deck from the stern of the vessel (like the Marine's WestPac Express in Okinawa.
2) the addition of seawater desalinization equipment for extended journeys
3) the capability of handling waste water generated on extended journeys.

AS to the ramp, remember that the clumsy use of barges for loading the Superferry were only considered because they would not constitute harbor infrastructure improvements and would therefore not trigger a lengthy Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A genuine EIS could sink or delay the project. That might have threaten the prospective loan guarantees of $150 million from the Maritime Administration (MARAD)."

Also from

"Superferry lobbies for military upgrade;
Company spends $210K on lobbyists to obtain funds for vehicle ramp"
by Derrick DePledge on 14 June 2008 in The Honolulu Advertiser

"Hawaii Superferry has spent $210,000 since last summer to lobby for federal money to install features on its second high-speed catamaran to make it more attractive for military use.

Lobbyists hired by Superferry approached the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense to help pay for a vehicle ramp and other improvements. The ramp would allow the new catamaran to load and unload vehicles at most large piers instead of relying on shore-based ramps and barges.

Superferry paid Blank Rome LLC, a prominent law and lobbying firm, to try to obtain federal money through the National Defense Features program to cover the cost of improvements to its second catamaran under construction at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. The defense program covers the installation of militarily useful features on commercial ships if the owners agree to make the ships available to the military during emergencies.

Superferry also may eventually retrofit the Alakai, which is now in commercial passenger and cargo service between O'ahu and Maui, with a vehicle ramp and other improvements. The improvements to the catamarans, if completed, would make the vessels self-sustaining and better suited for military assignments here and abroad. The second ferry is scheduled for delivery next February..."

Aloha, Brad