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LETTERS for September 8 issue

By Staff | Sep 8, 2011


Now let me see if I have this right… NOAA intends to take monk seal pups from their natural habitat where they are healthy and happy and then stress them out by relocating them to highly populated areas, thereby destroying sacred Hawaiian hunting grounds. Then, IF any of them survive, return them to their original homeland to see if this outlandish plan has any effect on the delicate balance of their lives. What purpose could this possibly serve except to accelerate the extinction of this species by tampering with its wildness?

We all want to save wild things. I struggle with this issue every day, but it is the lesson that these wild things teach us that is important to observe, not rearrange nature to save it.

Nature knows best. Every time we tamper with the natural order of things, it is to the detriment of nature. This is what NATURE means. There are many species that will be going extinct soon, and we can’t stop that. Our honey bees are nearly gone now, with 90 percent of the population extinguished in six years.

Recently, the County of Maui ordered the destruction of naupaka bushes along the seawall because they were on county property. What they didn’t consider was that these bushes were a wildlife corridor for honeybees coming from a wild hive at the end of Front Street to enter Puamana. Now there are virtually no bees to pollinate the flowers, and Puamana will soon be “Puanada.”

I have worked in Africa trying to save the highly endangered wild cheetah. There are programs that are breeding these animals in captivity in India in order to release them into the wild, which simply is not possible since they are no longer wild and will not make it.

We are doing the same thing on a smaller scale, moving around monk seal pups to monitor the impact we have on their lives — and having major impact on their lives simply by doing it. I can’t attend the meeting, but thank you for letting me know who to write to.



I was deeply upset to see that the University of Hawaii Maui College celebrated their new name and new curriculum by serving an old form of cruelty: foie gras.

Foie gras (or fatty liver) is made through a cruel process of force-feeding, in which a farm worker shoves a long metal pipe down the throats of ducks. The ducks are force-fed corn mash several times a day for several weeks until their livers have expanded to more than ten times their normal size. Fifteen countries have banned the production of foie gras because of the suffering this causes. Several high-profile chefs like Wolfgang Puck have stopped serving foie gras as well.

On its website, the college describes its vision as sustaining diverse resources. Force-feeding ducks solely for the purpose of eating their livers does not show the respect for sustainability that the college, as well as our citizens, share. The University of Hawaii Maui College should join Hawaiians in promoting a humane, sustainable future — one without foie gras.



Where do we start? My wife got a message from HMSA suggesting that she make arrangements to have a complete physical checkup. So she complied, following the directions of the medical staff at Maui Medical Group.

Along the way, it was suggested that she have an examination at Maui Memorial Medical Center, so she agreed. Then she was told that the doctor who was supposed to do this was not available, but another doctor was available. Not given any information at all about this change, she agreed and the examination was scheduled.

Then she got a message from the Maui Memorial Medical Center people that she would have to bring a check for $342, so she did, and the examination was carried out.

Then the sky fell. We got a bill from Maui Medical Group for $524, because the replacement doctor does not participate with HMSA. So how are we to know beforehand? Are we supposed to question every doctor that is made available to us? So, I’m paying the Maui Medical Group $50 a month and, if I die before this is paid off, too bad!

Then, the other sky fell today. We got a check from Maui Memorial Medical Center for $342 as an “overpayment.” Now, can somebody tell me what the hell is going on?

For crying out loud! First a doctor is suggested — but no one tells my wife that he is not covered by HMSA — and we get a bill from Maui Medical Group for $524.

Then, before the examination is done, Maui Memorial Medical Center tells my wife that she has to bring a check for $342, which she does. Then. today, that amount is returned as an “overpayment.” So why the hell did she have to bring that check before the examination in the first place?

Am I the only one that sees a dire need for some corrections in the health care system that is supposedly provided for us? Who is responsible for this garbage that they’re throwing out at us? The biggest problem is that we don’t have much of a choice, do we?



Tens of millions of people will soon observe the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. On this anniversary, we need to ask if the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the kidnappings on foreign soil that violate international law, and the torture allegedly carried out by the CIA and U.S. government contractors in the name of a broad global war on terror have made our country safer. I believe that they have undermined our security instead.

A decade after 9/11, I don’t know anyone who is confident that the current U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan will produce a stable nation. In Iraq, after agreeing to leave by the end of 2011, the U.S. military is now arguing that maybe they need to stay a little longer. And in the other countries such as Yemen and Somalia where the United States is waging an undeclared war, our military actions are helping extremists recruit new fighters.

Finally, as the world knows today, the man behind the 9/11 attacks wasn’t found in any of the countries the United States has invaded. Eventually, U.S. forces located and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The Saudi-born terrorist lived his final years in reasonable comfort in a large house near the capital city of one of the closest U.S. allies in the region.

Washington’s reaction to 9/11 damaged our country as much as the attacks themselves. Today, our nation is waging a permanent war that’s taking the lives of our soldiers and draining our treasury. Ten years later, our leaders need the courage to change course. We know that this war without end won’t provide comfort to those of us who experienced 9/11. And, it won’t make our country safer.

So what should we do?

One place to begin would be for Congress to repeal the authorizations for the use of military force that were used to launch the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and has served as the justification for torture, kidnappings on foreign soil and covert wars in Yemen and other countries.

Another step would be to insist that the United States complete the withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Iraq and articulate a strategy that will lead to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Congress should pass three bills from Rep. Barbara Lee. The California Democrat has sponsored legislation that would cut off all funding for the war in Afghanistan except that needed to pull out U.S. troops. She has introduced a bill that would require the last U.S. soldier to leave Iraq on schedule by Dec. 31, 2011. Last year, she also introduced a bill to repeal the authorization for the use of military force.

Sept. 11 will be a solemn day. It should also be a turning point toward a new U.S. foreign policy.

JIM CASON, Friends Committee on National Legislation