Hawaiians should take advantage of opportunity for federal recognition
In the absence of Akaka Bill passage, Native Hawaiians have a two-and-a-half-year window under island-born President Barack Obama to achieve a form of federal recognition.
Hearings were recently held on proposed rule-making for a government-to-government relationship between the United States and a future Native Hawaiian governing entity.
The federal departments of the Interior and of Justice hosted three Valley Isle hearings. The sessions will lay a groundwork for such a government-to-government relationship that 566 sovereign Native American Indian nations already have with the United States. Indeed, Native Hawaiians compose the largest indigenous group in America without such a relationship, officials said. If and when Native Hawaiians should decide to have a government-to-government relationship, administrative rules would be in place to do so.
At the hearings, the Department of the Interior (DOI) sought input on 19 questions led by several key issues: should DOI propose rules for a process to create a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians? Should DOI or the State of Hawaii provide support to Native Hawaiians in forming a sovereign governing entity and a constitution? If so, how? Note: DOI respects Native Hawaiians' sovereignty and, therefore, seeks no input on the possible structure, powers or constitution of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.
In view of contentious testimony at Oahu hearings, Department of Justice (DOJ) officials confirmed that proposed rule-making for a government-to-government relationship will not preempt activism by advocates of cessation or of reinstatement of the Hawaiian kingdom. Thus, advocates of all three movements may holomua, or move forward, without precluding one another. Moreover, advocates of cessation and/or reinstatement of the Hawaiian kingdom should present their mana'o, or opinions/grievances, to the U.S. Department of State.
To take advantage of the window under President Obama, one has until Aug. 19 to submit specific, substantive comments and explanations online or by mail. Go to the federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov, or send comments to Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior, Room 7329, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240; add Regulation Identifier No. 1090-AB05 to all comments. For more information, contact John Strylowski at (202) 208-3071 or e-mail email@example.com .gov.
KEKOA ENOMOTO, Kula
Bobbing and weaving on Hobby Lobby
The recent Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision defended the rights of the owners of a company to refuse to fund a health plan that covered abortifacient "contraceptives."
The Hobby Lobby owners argued that such medications violated deeply held religious beliefs. So for now, by a disturbingly close 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court has asserted that government has no right to force business owners to violate their conscience - provided that the business is "closely held."
The response of the leaders of both parties demonstrates why medical decision-making and politics are not compatible. It also represents another reason why the federal government should not be involved in health care and why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) deserves to fail.
To illustrate, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said, "Today's decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed Constitutional lines in pursuit of" big government. He then added, "The President's health care law remains an unworkable mess and a drag on our economy."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, head of the Democratic National Committee, pounced upon the ruling, hoping to frame it as a winning campaign issue for the mid-term elections in November. "It is no surprise that Republicans have sided against women on this issue, as they have consistently opposed a woman's right to make her own health care decisions," she said, calling the ruling a "dangerous precedent."
A dangerous precedent? Against women? Really? What about the precedent of the ACA giving unelected bureaucrats the power to dictate what all Americans can be forced to pay for if they buy insurance? And what about the dangerous assumption that if insurance doesn't cover it, you can't have it? And what about the fact that physicians whom patients have come to trust might not be in the network that the employer has chosen?
What about the increased premiums, higher deductibles, jobs and hours cut, and expensive mandated benefits? Isn't this disruption of business and hiring decisions a "dangerous precedent?"
The Hobby Lobby controversy highlights the flaws inherent in the ACA. The federal government has taken on the role of health care decision-making, deciding what gets covered and what does not - and injecting politics into the practice of medicine.
Four Supreme Court justices would have upheld the federal government's authority to destroy a company with a fine of $475 million per year for declining to pay for four of 20 methods of "contraception." The fine for dropping insurance would have "only" been $26 million. This is the price that politicians such as Wasserman Schultz would like to impose on business owners for following their conscience.
Whatever you think about those four methods, that's a dangerous precedent for government power.
Some fear that Hobby Lobby, limited though it is, might allow others to go further. Some people, for example, object to contraception in general. And some, the FDA notwithstanding, think that hormonal contraceptives are harmful. Is declining to pay for something an imposition on women's rights? Or is forcing people to support government-dictated benefits a violation of the fundamental Constitutional rights of all Americans?
Hobby Lobby is not waging a "war on women." It is defending a tiny wedge of freedom. Those who oppose this ruling are waging a war on common sense to distract from the wreckage the ACA is creating in American medicine and the economy.
DR. ALIETA ECK
Mahalo for supporting military personnel
Mahalo to the Marriott's Maui Ocean Club for their recent week-long fundraiser over Memorial Day in support of active duty military personnel.
Employees at the hotel donated an impressive array of items to the Prayers & Packages ministry at Kumulani Chapel.
As a result of their efforts, 15 large flat rate boxes of items were shipped to 50 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers currently deployed overseas!
To make a donation, or for more information, call Lola Ledbetter at (808) 280-8572 or visit www.prayersandpackages. com.
West Maui Fourth of July in Lahaina a true success
Thank you LahainaTown Action Committee, and Lahaina Town as a whole, for a wonderful Fourth of July. This was a true family event. All of Lahaina was busy, and a wonderful time was had by all. The shops were open, the restaurants packed with family diners, a fabulous concert on the Lahaina Public Library lawn complete with "Elvis," great talent at the Wharf, all followed by an amazing fireworks show. We don't need to grow the event - it was perfect just as it was. This is a perfect example of a win-win situation for all, and a great example of a true town effort. Congratulations!!
DONNA S. SOARES, General Manager, The Wharf Shops and Restaurants