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LETTERS for June 23 issue

By Staff | Jun 23, 2016

Kamehameha created a Hawaii for all races

The legacy of a great individual lives long beyond the times in which he lived. This is true of Kamehameha, whose visionary leadership transformed Hawaii forever.

First, Kamehameha created a single, unified Hawaii, bringing together separate island kingdoms into one nation. The State of Hawaii perpetuates this vision of a united people creating a united future.

Secondly, Kamehameha opened the door for Hawaii to become a land of equality for all races. He appointed his trusted friend John Young to be chief of the Big Island, granting this man of European ancestry status as a Hawaiian who is today buried at the Royal Mausoleum.

Citizenship in the Kingdom of Hawaii would eventually reflect that Hawaiians are inclusive. Kamehameha III immortalized this value in the 1840 Hawaiian Constitution that declares: “God hath made of one blood (koko) all nations of men to dwell on the earth in unity and blessedness.”

Kamehameha is great because his legacy lives on in the Aloha Spirit which welcomes all people to Hawaii as equals.

KELI’I AKINA, Candidate for Office of Hawaiian Affairs


Emancipate the islands

Abraham Lincoln exercised the most famous executive order, issuing an emancipation proclamation. Emancipating the islands would be fitting for the first Black president from Hawaii. Doing unto others that which was done for him.

I would send President Obama: “I, Queen Liliuokalani, by the grace of God, do hereby solemnly protest and have continuously been since January 1891. A substantial wrong has been done, which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured peoples requires we should endeavor to repair of the United States by restoring the legitimate government. Pretended laws are subversive of the first principles of free government and utterly at variance with the traditions, history, habits and wishes of the Hawaiian people. Wherefore, I do hereby most earnestly request that the government represented by you will not extend its recognition to any pretended government of the Hawaiian Islands under whatever name it may apply for such recognition.”

“Proclaim liberty… In this Year of Jubilee.” (Leviticus)

A pono proclamation: “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” (Lincoln)

PRAY! “Let the life of the land be perpetuated in righteousness of Christ Jesus. O LORD, open President Obama’s eyes and ears. Give him strength of conviction. Use this president to demonstrate Your outstretched arm of deliverance. Your thoughts and ways are perfect. Thank you for Your loving-kindness. We trust in Your unfailing love! Amen.”



Time for a nonviolent assault on our blood-stained Congress

After the horrific shooting in Orlando, there are some facts we might want to consider:

A homegrown (U.S.-born, U.S. citizen) Islamist terrorist committed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The NRA defends the right of everyone – including terrorists – to obtain, possess, load and carry assault weapons.

Many members of Congress take contributions from the National Rifle Association – 261 in the 2012 cycle, for example, nearly all Republicans.

Assault weapons are one of the most common denominators in mass shootings. Congress refuses to ban assault weapons or even pass seriously restrictive laws on their possession.

President Obama has now delivered 15 post-mass shooting addresses to the nation. Almost every time he asks us to make gun control an election issue. We don’t.

While almost nothing qualifies as the single issue determining how the wise voter chooses, the priorities of our opinions are critical. If we cannot make the assault weapon ban – the single most common sense step with which we can begin – a top or near-top priority as we question our candidates, then we are simply derelict. Automatic handguns, assault rifles – these are used to commit evil acts from coast to coast, from north to south, in our besieged nation. We let them die in Columbine High School; in Springfield, Oregon; at Virginia Tech; Sandy Hook; San Bernadino; Umqua Community College in Oregon; in the AME Church in South Carolina; and in many more places – 175 such mass shootings just in this year so far.

We seem to be a nation quivering in fear and hoping to placate our fear by being prepared to annihilate all comers, but this means instead that we enable more attackers rather than being prepared to handle them. The Orlando shooter killed 50 outright with more in the hospital fighting for their lives. He wasn’t stopped for more than three hours, despite a highly militarized SWAT team, and despite a highly permissive Second Amendment heavily armed populace.

It is time to end this experiment with transmogrifying the entire U.S. into Tombstone Territory, with everyone armed to the teeth prepared to either be a bad guy or take out a bad guy. It is not working.

It is time to try learning new relational skills, new competencies that can de-escalate conflict, that can help those who are mentally ill, that can disarm those who might come in proximity to our children, to our friends, to our family members. These skills are not rocket science and are studied to make emergency room personnel more effective, to enable mental health workers to be safer without weapons. This is available and is so much more adaptive than our hyper-armed, aggressive culture that breeds more and more of these utterly avoidable tragedies.



Medicare Part B reimbursement cuts are backdoor rationing

Imagine being denied treatment for cancer because Washington bureaucrats decided that a cutting-edge new therapy that could cure you just wasn’t “cost effective.”

That’s already happening in Britain under its government-run healthcare system, the National Health Service. And Medicare officials are poised to bring similar policies here.

The NHS’s Cancer Drugs Fund restricts physicians’ ability to prescribe half of all oncology medicines. If a medicine doesn’t extend the average cancer patient’s lifespan by a set length of time, which varies according to the medicine’s price, doctors can’t prescribe it for general use – even if it would be the most effective treatment option.

In February, the NHS announced it would review existing general-use drugs to tighten prescribing restrictions. After the review, the number of off-limits drugs will rise. Patient groups predict the move will deny treatment to 22,000 cancer sufferers and “set cancer treatment back by a generation.”

A new proposal from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation could similarly tie American doctors’ hands. CMMI plans to slash physician reimbursements for medications administered in a doctor’s office under Medicare Part B. Doctors buy these medications up-front and receive reimbursement from Medicare.

The proposed scheme will prevent many doctors from breaking even on the most advanced, most expensive treatments. Essentially, CMMI will cut Medicare spending by forcing doctors to resort to cheaper drugs and

second-tier treatments – or run the risk of having to close their practices.

If sequestration cuts forced doctors to turn away cancer patients, the new CMMI cuts could outright bankrupt many clinics. At minimum, many doctors will feel pressure to stock and prescribe cheaper treatments, even if they’re less effective.

Keeping Medicare spending under control is important. But reforms should incentivize providers to do so while improving care – which sometimes means paying more for higher quality treatments. CMMI’s proposal relies on the mindless bureaucratic logic that Britain’s NHS and other socialized medical systems use: good care is expensive – let’s ban it.

Medicare might be ailing. But CMMI’s reimbursement scheme isn’t what the doctor ordered. It will tie the hands of physicians and make them choose between running a profitable practice and providing the best care for their patients.

SALLY PIPES, Pacific Research Institute