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Sunday, January 10, 2021
January 10, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:56 PM :: 2543 Views

Schwarzenegger: Trumpsters Capitol Attack is 'American Kristallnacht'

Scrutinize the Big Agencies!

Miske-Related Case Shows How State Judiciary Protects Mafia

CB: … The scope of the allegations leaves a nagging question: How could a criminal organization of this size and duration have existed without previously coming to public attention? How could it have been concealed so effectively?

The answer is deceptively simple. Court records, including those involving Miske co-conspirators who have already pleaded guilty and agreed to testify, suggest the gang was hiding its activities in plain sight. Although a number of Miske insiders were arrested, charged, and convicted of individual crimes over years past, it is only in retrospect that they can be seen to have been part and parcel of the larger mosaic of drug dealing and criminal violence alleged by prosecutors. ….

Shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Christmas evening in 2016, two cars entered the deserted fifth floor of the ewa parking garage at Ala Moana Center,…

a third car carrying three men made an unexpected entrance, and things quickly spun out of control.

A fight started, and within a few minutes Stevie Feliciano, the 20-year old driver of the buyers’ car, was lying on the parking garage floor, mortally wounded by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, while Dae Han Moon, also 20, the driver of the unexpected late arrival and the suspected shooter, was on the run….

There was lots of interest in the shocking murder, which occurred on a holy day in one of the most public and popular locations in Honolulu. However, Moon’s lengthy and well-publicized murder trial provided precious little information about the circumstances. Was it gang-related? Was there more than just a bag of marijuana at stake? Did the young men know each other? Had they gone there to fight? Why did this happen?

There were lots of questions but few answers, largely because pre-trial rulings by Judge Karen Nakasone narrowed the focus of the prosecution to the brief period when the shooting took place, and to evidence directly relevant to the shooting. She ruled prior contacts between those involved, their prior criminal records, if any, and previous drug use and drug deals, along with other less immediately relevant facts, were not directly relevant to the charges against Moon. They were therefore deemed off-limits in order to avoid biasing the jury. While it protected the rights of the accused, it made it difficult for the public to understand what was happening before that Christmas evening turned bloody….

In mid-2019, less than a year after Moon’s trial and conviction, he was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury, and notified he was a target of its investigation, federal court records show….

the grand jury subpoena to Moon came at about the same time Mike Miske and an associate, Michael Joseph Buntenbah (now known as Michael Joseph Buntenbah Malone), were named in a secret grand jury indictment charging them with conspiring to purchase and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine in July 2014….

That indictment remained sealed for another year, during which the grand jury was actively expanding its investigation, likely using the original sealed drug charges as leverage to encourage witnesses to cooperate. Pursuing the classic technique of working from the outer ring of a conspiracy to its inner workings, prosecutors have reached plea agreements with at least five defendants, ranging from mid-level drug dealers to at least two who were close to Miske’s activities….  

ILind: Hawai'i Free Press distorts my latest story  (Ian Lind slipped up when he wrote this, will do better next time.  6th Amendment you know.  BTW: It takes two to tango.  Nakasone's rulings limiting the scope of prosecution may have been 'justified' by Kaneshiro's choice to limit the scope of the charges.  But they all know their lines in this drama and they all play their parts.)

read … Miske Case Weaves Together Disparate Strands Of Past Crimes

Hawaii businesses fear unemployment tax increases will ruin their economic recovery

SA: … Local businesses are bracing for at least a tripling of their unemployment taxes, which without legislative intervention they say would disrupt any statewide economic recovery.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is supposed to notify employers of the state unemployment tax rate they will pay this year no later than March 15, with the applicable rate taking effect this month and the payments due by the end of April.

State unemployment tax rates for employers are determined by a schedule, which is currently at “C” and because of fund depletion could move to the highest level of “H.” …

Joe Kent, executive vice president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, said Schedule H sets the tax rate between 2.2% and 6.6%, depending on how much each employer contributed to the fund in previous years and other factors. While there are still too many variables to determine the full impact of the coming tax hike on employers, Kent said it’s “going to be worse than we can even calculate.”…

DLIR spokesman Bill Kunstman said “it’s unlikely that the average employer’s unemployment tax rate would go to the max, as the average employer has sufficient reserves to prevent that trigger.”

Still, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii anticipates that Hawaii’s yearly unemployment tax on businesses is set to automatically triple in 2021 to an average of 3.65% or $1,757 per employee, up from 1.11% or $534 per employee…

Luke said she’s working with Rep. Richard Onishi, chairman of the House Tourism and Labor Committee, on a bill that would keep the state’s 2021 unemployment tax schedule at level “C” and exclude 2020 layoffs, furloughs and cuts from counting against an employer’s history….

HNN: Hawaii businesses face huge unemployment insurance tax hikes

read … Hawaii businesses fear unemployment tax increases will ruin their economic recovery

Federal labor department to investigate Hawaii’s unemployment insurance system

HNN: … The Federal Department of Labor is opening two investigations into Hawaii’s unemployment insurance system.

One investigation centers around a Legal Aid allegation of discrimination because of nationality or citizenship, while the other is part of a nationwide investigation of fraud and verification procedures.

The Labor Department Office of Inspector General issued subpoenas to Hawaii’s attorney general as part of the nationwide investigation.

“Regarding how we were administering the money: Different analytics as to how we were responding to the claims,” Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors said.

The state has accidentally paid out millions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment claims, and has also been highly criticized for a major backlog in getting payments out to those in need….

read … Federal labor department to investigate Hawaii’s unemployment insurance system

Big Island Mayor Roth hospitalized with chest pains

WHT: … Mayor Mitch Roth is being evaluated by doctors and Managing Director Lee Lord has taken over as acting mayor after Roth had a stent implanted after suffering chest pain Saturday evening, according to a press release this morning.

“I would like to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers at this time,” Roth said in a statement. “I have had excellent treatment from the moment I began to feel discomfort, and would especially like to thank our Hawaii County first responders for their adept response and care. My wife Noriko and I look forward to a speedy recovery and are confident that Lee will do a phenomenal job as acting mayor.”

Roth was taken to the North Hawaii Community Hospital last night and later transported to the Hilo Medical Center…. 

HTH: Roth recovering at HMC and in ‘good spirits’

read … Roth hospitalized with chest pains

With triple-digit case spikes, Mayor Blangiardi focuses on how to move the city forward

HNN: … Despite the steady increase in cases, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the island will remain in Tier 2 for now.

Oahu’s current 7-day average daily cases is 124 and a 4.-4 percent.

Blangiardi said the tier system will remain in place, but he has no interest in issuing a lockdown or reverting back to tier one.

“Right now we’re in tier two,” said Blangiardi. “As I said earlier, my focus is on how we get to tier three and beyond.”

The mayor said he met with the medical advisory group which includes the State Department of Health for the first time on Thursday.

On that same day, 213 COVID cases were reported on Oahu with a statewide total over 300.

“For the first time that I was meeting with these doctors as mayor on a day the number jumped to 322 it just wasn’t the appropriate setting,” said Blangiardi. “We talked about a lot of other things to have that conversation so I’ve asked for a little bit of patience because as I said, it’s a fluid situation but I want to respond and not react.” …

And being proactive rather than reactive is an approach Councilwoman Andria Tupola is hoping for.

“And let’s make tiers that are based upon how we can help to prevent the spread, and not necessarily jerking and tweaking and pulling at the different community entities where everyone is trying to survive through this,” said Tupola.

Under the current system, if cases average over 100 in the next two weeks, Oahu would scale back to tier 1.

This means restaurants only accepting parties of 5 from the same household and gyms along with salons and barber shops temporarily closing down.

“I don’t think we can handle another shut down especially for a small business owner, my employees,” said Dana Khim, owner of Luxe Salon. “Because you know, every shutdown we have it affects not just me as a business owner, my employees important, they’re affected to because they have bills to pay.”…

Blangiardi said discussions with the medical advisory group regarding modifications to the tier system has been tabled for the next two weeks….

read … With triple-digit case spikes, Mayor Blangiardi focuses on how to move the city forward

Kauai County to begin Mass Vaccination for Age 75+

TGI: … On Monday, Kaua‘i hospitals will announce detailed plans for providing vaccinations to kupuna 75 and older. Additionally, the DOH will begin vaccinating Kaua‘i residents who work in education and child care. Later this month, the vaccine will be available to essential frontline workers in food and agriculture, manufacturing, grocery stores and the U.S. Postal Service….

TGI: Dear Mayor Please use COVID to Eliminate Tourism

read … County vaccine rollout continues

Honolulu Police Spent $150,000 In CARES Funds On A Robot Dog to Scan Homeless

CB: … Flush with CARES Act cash, the Honolulu Police Department has spent millions on what one officer called “toys.” …

The Honolulu Police Department used $150,045 in federal funds intended to respond to the pandemic to acquire a robot dog named Spot, according to city spending data.  As for its use helping Honolulu combat COVID-19, the city’s spending data says Spot was purchased to take people’s temperatures at HPD’s tent city for homeless people. …

Spot is just one of several big-ticket expenses HPD has covered with its CARES dollars.

Others include:
  • Approximately $18.5 million dollars in overtime, which officers were found to be using excessively  
  • $4.1 million on vehicles, including Chevrolet Colorado pickup trucks, Mitsubishi FUSO box trucks, and Nissan NV3500 vans
  • $28,709 to redesign the HPD website
  • $27,614 on a drone and related accessories 
  • Over $500,000 on ATVs, plus $7,290 more for ATV helmets; over $32,000 for cargo boxes to attach to the ATVs; nearly $85,000 to outfit the vehicles with blue lights, sirens and microphone functions; and $15,600 on utility terrain vehicle training. …

KHON: HPD to discuss $100,000 purchase of robot with Honolulu City Council

read … Honolulu Police Spent $150,000 In CARES Funds On A Robot Dog

Chang: Singapore Housing Bill will be back this Session

CB: … In Singapore, most people live in homes that have a 99-year lease they’ve bought from the government. Singapore’s public housing agency, the Housing and Development Board, has built over one million homes since the early 1960s, and year after year it builds enough housing to meet demand….

read … Singapore Makes Housing Work. Can We Do The Same?

Defense spending ‘incredibly important’ for Hawaii during COVID-19 pandemic

SA: … Defense spending in Hawaii — about $5 billion annually in payroll and $2 billion-plus in contracts — has been “an incredibly important stabilizing force” in the state with an economy otherwise wracked by COVID-19, Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, said Friday….

read … Defense spending ‘incredibly important’ for Hawaii during COVID-19 pandemic

Public unhappy over lack of access: Pandemic, technology and tension during long council session

HTH: … Testifiers milled around outside council chambers at the West Hawaii Civic Center, hoping to attend the meeting, or at least testify in person, but their only option was testifying in writing or using Zoom.

“I tried to testify earlier and I was dropped. I gotta tell you this is a public hearing — we’re entitled to be here — and I am standing outside the council chamber and there’s no facility for us to testify. We’re having to use equipment that people don’t have; we have to use expertise that uneducated people don’t have and people with disabilities,” said David Blancett-Maddock, an attorney and former deputy prosecutor, panning his tablet to show the small crowd outside the doors. “This is discriminatory against older people who don’t have this ability. … If you take a look around me there’s people here that can’t testify today. They’re just standing here because they can’t get in to testify.”

Tiffany Edwards Hunt, a former West Hawaii Today reporter who was outside Hilo council chambers to watch the action after she testified on a mayoral appointee, said she talked to Council Chairwoman Maile David and former Chairman Aaron Chung about her concerns.

“Consider that we need to do something about the public having to watch council members through the window. We need to give people the option of coming down to the council chambers or civic center to participate in the process without feeling like they are outsiders looking in,” Hunt posted to a Big Island Press Club Facebook page. “It was pathetic watching those elderly people fumbling with their iPads in West Hawaii. … The legislative branch of government is the people’s branch, our opportunity to petition the government for redress.” ….

read … Public unhappy over lack of access: Pandemic, technology and tension during long council session

Hawaii Republican Party, already weakened, gets destroyed by Trumpism and extremism

Borreca: … If there is any political relevance left to Hawaii’s Republican Party, Donald Trump and the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters last week destroyed it….

his reverberations will continue to damage local GOP credibility. Reports last week found that Nick Ochs, founder of “Proud Boys Hawaii,” a far right extremist group and a Trump supporter who ran for the state House representing Waikiki as a Republican, was one of those who invaded the U.S. Capitol. He he told CNN, though, that he was working as a “professional journalist” and did not enter any of the offices or the chambers. Ochs was featured on the Hawaii GOP web page, although he did not receive any contributions from the local party and lost resoundingly to Democrat Adrian Tam.

Providing a home for candidates like Ochs is one of the Hawaii GOP’s many problems.

“I think Nick Ochs was emblematic of the effect Trump has had on the local GOP. Even after his sexist, homophobic and racist remarks came to light, the HRP continued to support him,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Hawaii Democratic Party chairman, in an interview….

The local GOP needs to find moderation if it is to be successful, Dos Santos-Tam said. “Perhaps if there is a cleaving within the national GOP between the Trump faction and the anti-Trump faction, I hope the sensible anti-Trump folks will win out here in Hawaii.”…

“It’s hard for me to imagine how things could get worse for the local GOP, but this may have done it,” Moore said….

“Local voters now associate the Hawaii GOP with Trump and not with skilled centrists like Linda Lingle, who showed for a brief period that Hawaii could have a true two-party system,” Moore said.

“Our local Republican Party has entered a political death spiral. There are fewer moderates in the party, so its policies are increasingly defined by more radical elements, leading to even more defections from moderates,” Moore warned….

it now faces not disinterest but simple extinguishment.,,,

read … Hawaii Republican Party, already weakened, gets destroyed by Trumpism and extremism

Pachinko Billionaire Buys up Hawaii Golf Clubs—Drama Follows

SY: …  Han Chang-Woo came up through the shady world of pachinko and the Maruhan empire depends on millions of addicted souls pumping their paychecks, pensions and disability money into the machines.

The golf courses with Maruhan Affiliate status include two of the most celebrated clubs in the state: Maui’s legendary Wailea Golf Club and Oahu’s majestic Ko’Olau Golf Club. Six more round out the group….

The Prejudiced Pachinko King has had his daughter and her husband followed, attempted to seize her passport to keep her from travelling to her home in California, and done everything in his power to destroy her life. In response, his daughter has filed a massive suit against him in Guam, where Maruhan has real estate holdings, to force him to turn over documentation of his alleged theft from her. (Each of the five children of Mr. Han received equal amounts of stock twenty years ago—worth $400 million today).

“In Japan, activist groups like mine are working on a 2021 boycott of Maruhan properties,” said a leader of a group who advocates for Koreans facing discrimination in Japan. “We’d love to see some support from our Hawaiian brothers and sisters across the water on this!”…

read … Hawaiian Golf’s Racist Sand Trap: Bad Billionaire Partners with Top Clubs

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