• COVID and the Minimum Wage: It Hurts

    September 20, 2021 // 11 Comments »


    Covid caused a very odd thing: the working poor got a raise.

    Via stimulus checks, federally-funded jumps in unemployment payments, and looser state-based unemployment qualifications (specifically including gig workers and independent contractors who weren’t before eligible for regular unemployment benefits) they all of a sudden had money that may still not have been much but which was closer to enough. People were not forced to work lousy jobs for lousy wages to enrich lousy people already wealthy enough to own spaceships.

    Then another odd thing. As people were allowed to return to work, many didn’t. They were making more not working, math simple enough that in 25 states the federal supplement to unemployment was dropped so that unemployment again paid less than minimum wage. State governments forced people at economic gunpoint to accept souless jobs. Meanwhile, in 21 states, the minimum wage is unchanged from ten years ago.

    There were briefly two completely different systems in America until the federal money ended in September, one which provided available funds and one which withheld them to force Americans into low-paying jobs. Forcing people to work for less money than what feeds them is akin to slavery but economists may have a more modern term today.

    Some misty years ago jobs that used to put minimum wage spending money into the hands of teenagers became a primary income source for adults. The sleight of hand was that it was impossible to actually earn a living that way, with the federal minimum wage at $7.25. Keeping Americans in a state of semi-poverty (the “working poor”) became a business model.

    In 2011 as a forcibly-retired older man I worked a number of minimum wage jobs, sweeping and stocking and silently accepting your abuse. I can assure you the famous “Karens” of 2021 demanding to speak to the manager were already well-established then in the wild. I was the victim of their economically entitled wrath nearly daily, with my Caucasianess no shield.

    I rolled those experiences under our apartheid of dollars into a book called The Ghosts of Tom Joad nobody read because Bernie had not yet told us it was okay to feel bad for the working white poor. Now, ten years later with our dual layered under-economy, it was time for me to take another look.

    In Hawaii where I live, restaurants and small businesses complained about a labor shortage even as the state, with the nation’s strictest lockdown, had the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 22 percent. Almost all of my applications were ghosted, meaning I never heard anything back. For the ones where I did learn more, here’s what I found.

    You need a hard shell against any notions of equality. One of the most expensive restaurants in town, where tabs run hundreds of dollars, offered $12 a hour for hosts to maintain their high standards for service and politeness while also maintaining the guest restrooms throughout the evening. Working there would not have been much different than looking out my window, where I can see a park that became a homeless encampment with a small harbor in the distance filled with superyachts the size of WWII destroyers.

    No one cares too much about equal opportunity. I was told tourists expect to see a “local boy” in a role, not a white guy. I fielded lots of probably illegal questions related to my age, as well as a large scoop of techno-aggressions about things like whether I had a smartphone. Some ads openly asked for a woman server, or an attractive female assistant. One offered a job called “Beach Babe.”

    Another ad said “We are looking for reliable, friendly, and customer service oriented hostesses to provide entertainment on our Adult Fun Boat . Individuals must be allowed of Fun (sic) and open minded nature. Compensation is commensurate of services provided.” Good to see, as in most third world nations, sex work is still an option. Your employer is also your pimp, just like OnlyFans!

    Some jobs were borderline criminal. One, selling timeshares, had a hyper-complex commission system such that I could actual close a sale and make no money. It was hard to tell if I’d be an employee, or just another mark. A doggy day care claimed I would get tips and so would be paid sub-minimum.

    Another required my first hour’s wages daily for parking. A customer service job required me to first buy a logoed T-shirt for $15 and a $20 battery-powered old-timey lantern to fit their theming. Having to pay to work was a new thing since 2011. I felt like I was thirsty and all that was offered was a spit cup from the dentist.

    One place said if I was a full-time student I would be paid only 85 percent of the minimum wage. A job at a tourist shooting range wanted two Asian languages, had eight hour shifts with no scheduled break, and required me to pick up lead. Another offer was minimum wage, but only half paid monthly. The other half was withheld for three months pending a manager’s decision it was deserved as a “bonus.” Unclear how much of this was legal, but what are you going to do, call 911?

    While I was asked to prove my vaccination status, not a single employer asked me to prove any claimed skills. The most common question if sometimes the only question was can you work Saturdays? And why not; the only real qualification was that I could do the job cheaper than a robot (three in 10 small businesses automated job tasks during the pandemic.)

    Some of the least attractive places to work were small owner-run restaurants. The expectation was that for low wages I would work like the entrepreneur himself, putting in the sweat equity. One owner complained about employees who whined over not being paid when closing ran late. He wanted me to subsidize his business with my free labor.

    To him hard work represented unlimited potential, without realizing he structured my job to specifically not include any chance for a raise. There was no reason to do a good job today, and less to be better tomorrow. You can’t work “harder” because your salary is capped. The goal was to work just enough not to get fired. The reward was not having to apply for a new job at the burger hut across the street.

    There were also some nice people seeking to hire, polite, with a whattya ya gonna do attitude. But the difference between the overseer who beat his charges with pleasure and the one who was just doing his job is slight.

    What Covid exposed is a terrible thing. The minimum wage allows employers of the under-economy to conspire to pay the same wage. If they fixed prices this way it would be illegal. Employers seem to have taken the bit, understanding how little choice workers have and seem determined to make their job offering more terrible than the other guy’s. They certainly showed no interest in how employees might affect their bottom line, attitude spilling over to customers. The sign on the door says “I’ll only pay for cheap labor, so deal with it, consumers. What choice do you have anyway?”

    It is hard to put into words how worthless you feel in this process. Your potential employer seems to hold you in contempt, if not see you as simply a john to be ripped off under the guise of hiring you. They understand and expect to be allowed to exploit labor, backed by the government holding down wages. Half the states embraced this a step further, cutting off supplements to assist in impoverishing their own citizens. That’s why the government controls the minimum wage, to force you back in now that the Covid fat times are over.

    Minimum wage” has become maximum wage for a whole layer of our society. Businesses have little pressure to raise salaries because they hold all the aces – the government has their back with designated wages to ensure they don’t have to get into bidding wars for talent, and the labor market is rigged so that a large number of Americans have no choice but to take these jobs.

    Want to know what happens next? The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) which takes into account all government aid, fell to 9.1 percent in 2020, the lowest it has been since record keeping of the SPM began. Without taking government pandemic aid, now history, into account, poverty would have risen 11.4 percent.

    Imagine the fun when you visit our paradise here in Hawaii knowing the person serving at your all-you-can-eat luau is hungry. And don’t forget to tip your waitress, she needs it.


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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Sustainable Stupidity in Hawaii

    July 18, 2021 // 3 Comments »

    Who is making the cascading series of bad decisions about tourism and why are they determined to damage the Number 2 industry in Hawaii? With over a year’s pause to review things like sustainability and overuse why are we only now having such conversations even as we drift from problem to problem?

    Tourism is a part of our islands same as the ocean and volcanos. It won’t go away, should not go away if we wish for people to have jobs, and properly managed creates little pollution and lots of revenue alongside a lot of jobs, from restaurant servers to corporate executives. Let’s look at how that has worked out in the hands of incompetent leadership.

    -Hawaii is the only state still with COVID entrance requirements. Their ever-changing nature has created confusion in the marketplace. It is easier for visitors to go somewhere else. The crisis has passed yet Hawaii’s government alone clings to its emergency powers.

    -Once in Hawaii, the visitor is subject to the last remaining set of comprehensive restrictions, also ever-changing. Rules on masks and gatherings fall into 42 different categories and run dozens and dozens of pages. There are separate rules for botanical gardens and bowling alleys. No one can follow them all, and so visitors are assaulted with constant and often conflicting pleas to cooperate. Even the mayor of Honolulu admits they are unenforceable.

    -The ever-changing rules on how many people may gather indoors/outdoor are a death sentence to big-money tourism such as weddings, Asian group tours, and conventions. These need to be planned months or even years in advance, and can in one decision brings hundreds of visitors in. What planner is ready to trust Hawaii to have the same rules in place a year from now (Delta variant!) as today?

    -Same for other events planners. Concert promoters looking to fill arenas once again said Tier 5 does not do much for them. Rick Bartalini, the promoter who recently brought Mariah Carey and Diana Ross to the Blaisdell said, “Tier 5 is not a realistic solution to reopen the large scale event industry in the state of Hawaii.”

    -The latest rules, which appear to require restaurants to verify vaccination status before seating guests, are so ridiculous major restaurants are simply (finally) refusing to comply. They protest turning their hosts into “cops” and scaring away customers. Never mind the ridiculousness of demanding a minimum wage server check to see if a COVID test was the proper molecular type before reading the day’s specials. Coupled with the labor shortage which makes reservations hard to get, why would a visitor want to try a night out?

    -Why would a visitor want to try a night out when bars are still required to stop serving at midnight (is COVID more active after dark?!?) super fun beach vacation, guys.

    -In their arrogance, leaders of the state House and Senate said the summer surge in tourists shows that Hawaii no longer needs to be marketed as a tourist destination. They then fundamentally changed the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s funding and left its future uncertain. While Hawaii may be the only product in history which requires no advertising, competitor New York City launched a $30 million “NYC Reawakens” tourism campaign. Florida has numerous advertising campaigns underway, including a $2 million one focused on Orlando alone.

    -COVID restrictions saw tourism disappear, and car rental companies sold off their inventory such that visitors can’t find a car, and the news is running features on people renting U-Hauls to visit the North Shore. A rental car company fails to renew a car registration? The HPD tickets the tourist who rented it so they can tell their friends at home how to expect to be treated.

    -Uber and Lyft sent their prices skyrocketing. Local people stepped up and started renting out their own vehicles to solve the shortage and make visitors happy. The state’s move? Tax the new business to death, same as AirBnB, in hopes of protecting the old brick and mortar firms who have fewer customers anyway because of the government’s COVID shenanigans. If that play seems familiar, it was a version of the one used to sink the SuperFerry and push intra-island travel money into the airlines’ hands. Or the one which quickly ended Lime’s electric scooters, which remain popular as a traffic solution across the country, just somehow not in Hawaii.

    -How to get to your hotel from the airport? Well, the HART will be completed in approximately… never. The Bus does not allow luggage. So as in most third world airports the tired traveler starts his journey being overcharged for a taxi or car.

    -Hawaii has never been a budget destination, but taxes and costs for visitors keep climbing, and will reach a point where they consider other options. For visitors settling into a traditional hotel room, there’s a 10.25% Occupancy/Transient Accommodation Tax, followed by the 4.712% State Tax. Most places now stack on a “resort fee” of $35-50, plus usurious parking fees of $30-40 a night. The state’s move post-COVID? Grab more of the existing hotel tax for itself, and allow the counties to add on their own 3% tax. The final price for a room can easily double for guests.

    -Meanwhile, because of COVID and at those prices, most hotels won’t change the towels or bed sheets during a stay. Then wait until visitors find out must-see Hanauma Bay is now $25 a person plus $10 parking if they can even pry a reservation away from the tour companies. Diamond Head is headed the same way.

    -The operations manager for Roberts Hawaii, the agency hired by the state to handle Safe Travels screening and verify documents summed up Hawaii’s image today, saying “People gonna vent, aggravated, not prepared, in shock after spending so much money. People got to accept these changes, it is challenge, it is a challenge to come to Hawaii.”

    We’re seeing now the influx of visitors due to pent up demand. What happens next? Nobody knows when it will all become just too much and visitors will go elsewhere,  but Hawaii seems determined to push the boundaries. Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth worries. “We’re going to add another tax to our tourists and actually that’s a gamble whether the tourists are going to come back.”

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Hawaii Held Hostage


    We are being held hostage to a number. Hawaii is the last and only state with COVID entry requirements. Hawaii is the last and only state with broad COVID rules for fully vaccinated people. Hawaii is the last state and only state with emergency powers still granted its governor. Our economy is dependent on a series of one-time Federal handouts and our unemployment is among the nation’s highest. Our freedom is being held hostage by Governor Ige to an arbitrary number.

    Ige is holding to vaccinating 70% of Hawaii residents before dropping the majority of the state’s COVID-related restrictions. That number is wholly arbitrary and backed by no science. There is nothing to say 70 matters more than 65 or 89. In addition, the number employs a sleight-of-hand; since the governor insists it must be 70% of the total population, not the population eligible for the vaccine, the actual count is going to have to be much higher. With young children ineligible for the vaccine, we are actually talking about 70% of a subset of the population.

    Left entirely out of the clown car calculus is that 5% of the community already has COVID immunity because they contracted and survived the virus.

    The other sleight-of-hand is most people who want to be vaccinated already are, around 58%. Supply of the vaccine is plentiful. Anyone who wants it can walk in to clinics, Longs, pop-up sites, and the like. All the corny incentives — free food, airplane miles, admission to the zoo — have run their course. The pace of vaccinations has fallen 75% since early May, according to Hawaii Department of Health figures. The CDC predicts the rest of America, now open for business and a full life, won’t reach 70% until sometime next year. We may be stuck below 70% indefinitely.

    That in turn lead Ige to extend his emergency powers, which were set to expire August 6. He also said he will maintain the state’s indoor mask mandate, despite guidance issued a month ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in the vast majority of settings.

    It seems of little interest that in the midst of all this Honolulu dropped 42 spots on a popular “Best Places to Live” ranking. US News & World Report tallied the city’s ranking crashing to 113 out of 150 of the most populous metro areas in the country. The biggest factors are our COVID-battered economy and high unemployment rate. Honolulu also ranked poorly in value, quality of life, and net migration, i.e., people are leaving.

    When I brought up this fall to a highly unscientifically gathered group of local people who would listen to me at a coffee shop, their response was universal. Great, they said, tell outsiders to stay away. Tell tourists they’re not wanted. Maybe some of the rich mainlanders driving up home prices will move out, too. “Aloha” now seems better translated as insular and frightened of the outside world than anything welcoming.

    Outside of the business community people in Hawaii seem just fine with COVID-excuse restrictions extending deep into the future. They shortsightedly like the idea people may not want to visit here, live here, or stay here. People have become rescue dogs.

    COVID tapped into something deep and dark inside of many islanders, a fear of outsiders dating back to Captain Cook, and has turned too many of us into a nation of Momos. Momo is my rescue dog. She jumps at noises and shivers uncontrollably when I pull my belt from my pants at night. She invents new fears all the time — out of nowhere today it was a spray can rattle; last week it was the coffee machine beep. Momo never gets back to normal. She is terrified of strangers and does not even enjoy her walks. Best for her to get the business over with within sight of our front door to get back inside that much faster.

    I don’t think most dogs are self-aware enough for suicide, but Momo might be. Before we got the right kind of leash, she would slip off and dart into traffic. There were some close calls. For a dog afraid of everything, she has no fear of being run over. So you tell me, because one definition of suicide seems to fit: fearing the consequences of living more than those of dying.

    Momo knows there are bears in the woods. But her fears have gotten the better of her and she can’t separate the real dangers from the rustle of leaves in the wind. Soon enough, the grass near the woods has gotten too close and before you know it’s better to just stay on the couch, alongside the rest of Hawaii.

    We reprogrammed into one big Crisis News Network, with every story reported with a flashlight held under the announcer’s chin. It seemed as though we needed to be the victim, a nation of special needs people who all have to board first. And don’t forget how overprotected we want to be, wiping down the gym like we’re prepping for surgery, reading the daily COVID count each morning before coffee, dressing like bad cosplayers with ineffectual soggy cloth masks. This fetish of imagined fears doesn’t stop reality so much as it leaves us poorly prepared to deal with it.

    Our leaders seem content to hold us hostage to our fears for their own purposes. For many of us, however, it is time for a change. What are you afraid of?


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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Tale of Three Travel Destinations (Florida, NYC, Hawaii)

    July 4, 2021 // 2 Comments »

    As a fairly new resident of Hawaii, I bring an outsider’s perspective, and maybe a bit of uninvited advice. If Hawaii wants to regain its place as a popular tourist destination, it needs to think more like someone from Ohio than Oahu.

    Asian travel is at a standstill, and will be for some time. Should someone from Japan decide to visit our beautiful islands, in addition to our COVID requirements, upon returning home he would face a 14 day quarantine, a two-week ban on using public transportation, and location tracking via cell phone from his own government. If he breaks quarantine, among other penalties his name would be made public as someone “contributing to the spread of infection.” You would have to really, really love poi to build all that into a vacation.

    That brings us back to our potential Ohio traveler as he weighs his vacation options. He did the right thing and got double-vaccinated right away, and has been happily living and working without a mask for months. The pandemic as we still practice it here ended for most Americans months ago.

    Florida looks good to our traveler. Florida dropped all of its COVID restrictions about a year ago, and appears to have survived two Spring Breaks and beyond. Visitors can enter the state without testing, vaccination checks, or threats of quarantine. Disney, et al, are welcoming guests. Cruises look like they are about to restart. Instead of fretting, the governor is hosting a conference in September to bring together tourism professionals, advertising agencies, and state leaders to build on opportunities. They’re looking at $95 billion in revenues from tourism, the good stuff: people drive or fly in, use few governmental resources, and leave behind money. It is a sweet investment, as every $1 put into their tourism promotion agency, Visit Florida, yields a $3.27 return to taxpayers. Visitors save every Florida household more than $1,500 a year on state and local taxes. Florida gets it.

    New York City was ground zero once again, the hardest hit COVID site. The city faced some of the nation’s worst COVID management, slamming the door shut on what was a tourism industry that created  400,000 jobs and $70 billion in economic activity pre-pandemic. But slowly the place awoke to discover it was not Judgment Day 2020, but summer 2021. Visitors can enter without testing, vaccination checks, or threats of quarantine. As of mid-June, almost all COVID restrictions were dropped, and the Governor announced the state of emergency was over. Broadway is reopening with Bruce Springsteen, the Garden with the Foo Fighters, and the city is running a $30 million “NYC Reawakens” tourism campaign funded by stimulus money. After a year of some very bad decision making, the pols seem now to get it. Even the neo-socialist mayor says “building a recovery for all of us means welcoming tourists back.”


    Hawaii stands alone among the 50 states simply refusing to admit the pandemic is over. Hawaii alone requires not only COVID testing for unvaccinated visitors, but a complex regime of “trusted partners” who in the end administer the same tests through the same national labs as the untrusted partners. Let’s hope some of them are within a day’s drive of would-be tourists. Until a snap decision changed the rules as of July 8, Hawaii stood alone in treating those vaccinated in Hawaii differently from those vaccinated outside of Hawaii. It was always easier for dogs; as of today you can import a dog into Hawaii with an out-of-state rabies vaccine but not a tourist with an out-of-state COVID vaccine.

    The funny things is the only thing Hawaii worries about in human travelers is COVID. It neither tests for nor asks for proof of vaccination for yellow fever, malaria, ebola, AIDS, polio, Hepatitis A, B or C, leprosy, dengue fever, or hundreds of other diseases more problematic to the general population than COVID. And of course there is no science saying something magical happens at 70% local vaccination levels that does not happen at 69% or 59%. They’re just arbitrary numbers to create the illusion of control to provincial voters.

    Hawaii also seems unaware tourists need to plan vacations well ahead of time. The ever-changing guidance out of the Governor’s office drove people away. Imagine our Ohio tourist approaching his boss a month ago for time off: “Hey boss, can I have my two weeks when Hawaii hits 70%? It might be August, might be December, or they may alter the rules again, so we can stay chill on the dates, right?” That’s one traveler; if you are booking group tours, forget about it and go to Disney. The Governor’s waiting until late June to acknowledge vaccinated people don’t get COVID just wrote off a second summer season.

    If our Ohio visitor dips into the local news he sees the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor arguing publically over what the new rules should be. He sees Hawaii is looking to defund its own tourism promotion authority and still can’t get its light rail running.

    He reads unwelcoming, almost contemptuous Op-Eds wondering if too many tourists are spoiling things for the locals. He is unlikely to feel welcome with the Third World-like two-tiered pricing regime at popular sites. He sees articles about people sent home from the airport over an innocent Safe Travels mistake, stories suggesting he’ll need to rent a U-Haul as no cars are available, $120 Uber rides in from the airport, taxes going up on accomodations alongside already usurious “resort fees,” and bars and restaurants capped at limited capacity so it could be Zippy’s again for dinner. Hope word reached Ohio reservations are required for Hanauma Bay, and good luck scoring them.

    All this accompanied by the Jugend mask patrols, scolding anyone from ABC to CVS who is not wearing a mask, vaccinated or not. Sound like a vacation to you? The July 8 changes are welcome, but are in the end too little too late.


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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Democrats and the Economy: The New Slaves of Hawaii

    June 19, 2021 // 13 Comments »


    We don’t have to ask what happens when Democrats mess with the economy. We have Hawaii, frozen in COVID fear, a wonderful laboratory with the “what” as clear as a petri dish full of bacteria. It stinks. A case study in Democrats and the Economy.


    Hawaii exists in distinct state-lets, enclaves, socio-economic islets, maybe microbiomes. The Hawaii most people know is of course beautiful Waikiki, a place that if the darn Russians had not coined the term Potemkin Village would have taken the name for itself. Waikiki is fake, joyously fake, a kind of mellow version of the Vegas swindle, as if Ikea was the designer instead of 1950s mobsters. It exists only to separate tourists from their money. The beach is indeed gorgeous (but man-made, even that is fake) the ocean delightful, and prices are kept reasonable enough that it is accessible to a large number of people, as opposed to say Tahiti or Aruba. And for the most part the only locals a visitor will encounter are there to serve them. Back to Waikiki in a moment.


    A small but very important sector behind the facade of Waikiki are the wealthy, people whose two bedroom apartments near Honolulu are in the millions and whose stand alone homes on the Windward shore are in the multimillions. They live on the beaches tourists don’t visit, just barely maintaining the illusion of government-mandated public access to that soft white sand via thong-wide hidden paths between their walled compounds. The Obamas bought such a place, though many of the other super wealthy are from Asia. A careful look at names on tax records allows one to map the various Asian bubbles and recessions, with clusters of Japanese there, Chinese here, Koreans nearby, etc.
    These people have nothing to do with the rest of the Hawaiian ecology except one crucial role: they are the apex taxpayers who fund the extensive social welfare system semi-taking care of much of the rest of Hawaii. Benefits packages in Democrat-ruled Hawaii are the highest in the nation, an average of $49,175, and untaxed. For the last nine years Hawaii spent more on public welfare benefits, about 20 percent of the state budget, then it did on education. More than one out 10 people in Hawaii get food stamps, plus free lunches at school and for the elderly. Hawaii already vies with California for the nation’s highest state income tax.

    The other sources of revenue are Federal defense spending (not part of this safari) and tourism. I told you we’d get back to Waikiki soon. Visitors to the paradise of Oahu may or may not notice all those decaying apartments outside their Uber’s window between the airport and Waikiki, the tent villages on the remote beaches or along the surface roads. Few tourists get off the highway and explore, and few diverge from the round-the-island one day rental car pilgrimage to poke deep inland. It’s OK, tourists are not supposed to, and in fact are really not too welcome in many spots. This is where the bulk of Hawaiians live in a cross between what resembles rural West Virginia in per capita rusted cars and one of the nicer third world countries like Jamaica, deep in poverty but gaily painted.

    Hawaii is nearly always one of the top states in terms of homelessness, poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and diabetes. The people behind those statistics live in a relationship with the ultra-rich that is mostly like those little fish that swim inside a shark’s gills. Unseen and unminded, somewhere between symbiotic and parasitic, depending on your politics. It is precisely such relationships which define the Third World.


    The thing is in many ways this eco-econosystem sort of worked pre-COVID. Because it lacks the racial tensions that burden places like New York (whites are a minority in Hawaii at 25 percent, blacks only two percent) crime is almost all intramural, people victimizing each other inside their own neighborhoods. Think of Hawaii’s poor more as herbivores who occasionally fuss over territory when really necessary and New York’s as carnivores always looking for a fresh killing grounds just because. Drugs are a horrible problem off the beaten path, but in the eyes of the rich, not really a problem as the drugs stay “over there.” Until recently when Mexican imports began arriving like invasive junk fish in a cargo hold, even Hawaii’s favorite drugs — weed and meth — were even a local product.
    COVID upset the finely-balanced system. Suddenly fear gave government the chance to run fully amuck, with nothing to limit even the stupidest ideas. Everything was done by emergency decree, no debates, no votes, no process.
    Step One was a decision to slam the door hard on Hawaii’s second largest industry, tourism, once accounting for 24 percent of the economy, and throw tens of thousands of people out of work, crippling the businesses down the food chain from them where they spent their money at the same time. Did those workers come from the Gold Coast, the multi-million dollar homes of Kahala or the always voted one of the world’s best beaches areas near Kailua? Of course not. The working poor lost their jobs. But Hawaii already had in place a robust unemployment insurance system, whose benefits were made fatter by Federal supplement money. None of these workers missed the benefits from their old job as they never had any benefits in the first place.
    Fast forward 16 months of COVID and now the Hawaiian government would like some tourists to please come back and leave money. The government would also like workers to return to their Waikiki jobs to dance hula, serve drinks, and rub suntan lotion on all those white fish-bellied visitors. The old workers are mostly saying no, and the media is awash with articles about how the jobs are unfillable and woe is us if the tourists cannot be served. Lacking capitalism’s favorite cheap labor solution, massive numbers of usable illegal aliens, the jobs are so soulless and pay so little the only way to fill them is to force people by cutting unemployment benefits and no politician in Democratic-controlled Hawaii seems ready for that.

    Those “unfillable” jobs pay about $10-12 an hour, and so the employer can stay exempt from paying into Obamacare, limit workers to under 20 hours a week. That’s $240 a week, before it being fully taxed and with social security deducted, plus the costs of going to work, such as transportation, chipping away at the edges.

    Because the Hawaiian government still restrains trade by holding bars and restaurants to limited capacity and opening hours, any job working for tips is artificially capped. As the Hawaiian government is the only U.S. state left which still requires COVID tests for entry (that program alone has cost the state over $60 million in direct costs, even as travelers are saddled with paying $120 or more per test) and is among the dwindling few that still requires full masking, many tourists stay home. Arrivals are down some 50-75 percent overall, with the once-lucrative Asian trade hovering at zero. Everytime a plane lands some media flunky headlines “Tourism is back!” but they’ll be saying it for a long time. Think cargo cult.
    The way 25 other state governments found to force people to work for low wages is to do away with the Federal supplement portion of unemployment, so people can choose between about $130 a week unemployment or $240 a week working. Hawaii, as committed to its social welfare state as any college political science sophomore is committed to his vision of socialist utopia, has no plans to drop the Federal unemployment money. While everyone thinks on what’s next, the economy is dependent on unsustainable Federal  funding, such as a bailout of $196 million in “Biden Bucks” via the American Rescue Plan Act. Another “solution” to the lack of willing workers is for the government to restrict tourism, and/or charge tourists higher fees to visit popular sites because no one can imagine that would send holidaymakers to Disneyland instead.
    Meanwhile, Hawaii has long had a brain and brawn drain problem, with both tradespeople and college graduates moving out to the mainland U.S. COVID restrictions have only made this worse as the state clings to its masks like it is still 2020. Running underneath it all like a bass line are some of the highest gas prices in a long time and accelerating inflation, the latter another example of what happens when Democrats muddle in the economy.
    At some point the Hawaiian government is going to have to decide if it will loosen COVID restrictions to flood in more tourists, and/or give out less unemployment money (because ain’t nobody got time to raise wages) if it want to return to a running economy. Or maybe Biden will do it for them, as he plans to end the Federal supplement everywhere in September to mark our second lost summer. If not, thanks to government intervention all along the system, the media will be running labor shortage articles until someone on the Ron Burgundy Action News team figures out $400 in unemployment money is a bigger number than $240 cleaning toilets.


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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    The Future is Hawaii

    April 24, 2021 // 4 Comments »


    I have seen the future. It looks a lot like Hawaii. What I saw there (absent the beautiful beaches, confused tourists, and incredible nature) was a glimpse of the future for much of America.

    COVID paved the way for internal travel restrictions — Americans moving around inside their own country — never before thought possible, or even constitutional. Hawaii, an American state, had to decide if they accepted American me, much as a foreign country controls its borders and decides which outsiders may enter.

    Hawaii required a very specific COVID test, from a “trusted partner” company they contract with, at the cost of $119 (no insurance accepted.) To drive home the Orwellian aspects of this all, after receiving the test kit I had to spit into the test tube during a Zoom call, some large head onscreen peeping into my bedroom watching to ensure it was indeed my spit. And now of course, after clicking Accept several times, my DNA information is in Hawaiian government hands along with whoever else’s name was buried in pages of Terms of Service. I was rewarded with the Scooby snack of an QR code on my phone.

    Hawaii used to offer the option of skipping the test and doing quarantine on-island. However, they now pre-screen at major airports and so no QR code, no boarding. And for those who don’t think good, today it’s a COVID test, tomorrow other criteria may be applied. Aloha!

    I will add that all the extra health screening at the airport made me a little nostalgic when I finally got to the bombs and weapons detecting set up by TSA. Just like the good old days when we worried about Muslim terrorists instead of each other turning our planes into flying death tubes, I was checked to make sure I was not carrying more than 3 ounces of shampoo. It felt… quaint to remove my shoes alongside everyone else, millions of pairs a day, all because some knucklehead failed to explode his shoe bomb and was subdued by other passengers 12 freaking years ago. For old times’ sake I prepared mentally to subdue my fellow cabin mates. The nostalgia was driven home as the TSA screener made everyone remove their mask for a moment to verify the face matched the ID picture except Muslim women, ensuring every non-Muslim woman passenger got to exhale a couple of COVID-era breaths into the crowd. Viva!


    The future in Hawaii strikes you as soon as you clear the airport into that beautiful Pacific air. It smells good in patches, but in fact there are growing masses of homeless people everywhere; the unsheltered homeless population is up 12 percent on Oahu. Coming from NYC I am certainly not surprised by the zombie armies, but these people live outside. You can’t escape them by surrendering control of the subway system, or by creating shelters in someone else’s neighborhood. The homeless here live in tents, some in gleefully third world shacks made of found materials, others in government-paid shanties creatively called “tiny houses.”

    Some make solo camp sites alone on the sidewalk, some create mini-Burning Man encampments in public parks. I’d like to say the latter resemble the migratory camps in Grapes of Wrath, but the Joad family could still afford an old jalopy and these people cannot. The Joads were also headed to find work; these people have burrowed in, with laundry hanging out, dogs running among the trash, rats and bugs happily exploring the host-parasite relationship. These folks stake out areas once full of tourists on Waikiki, and in public spaces once enjoyed more by locals. Drugs are a major problem and whether a homeless person will hassle you depends on which drug he favors, the kind that makes him aggressive or the kind that makes him sleep standing up at the bus stop.

    The future is built around the homeless, literally. My business was in the Kakaako area, once a warehouse district between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, now home to a dozen or more 40 story condos. They are all built like fortresses against the homeless. Each tower sits on a pedestal with parking inside, such that the street view of most places is a four story wall. There is an entrance (with security) but in fact the “first floor” for us is already four floors above ground. Once you’re up there, the top of the pedestal usually features a pool, a garden, BBQ, kiddie play area, dog walking space, all safely out of reach from whatever ugly is going on down below.

    If you look out the windows from the upper, most expensive floors, you can see the ocean and sand but not the now tiny homeless people. They become invisible if you’re rich enough. Don’t be offended or shocked — what did you think runaway economic inequality was gonna end up doing to us? Macroeconomics isn’t a morality play. But for most of the wealthy the issue isn’t confronting the reality of inequality, it is navigating the society it has created. Never mind stuff like those bars on park benches that make it impossible to lay down. The architects in Kakaako have stepped it up.

    These heavily defended apartments can run lots of millions of dollars, with most owners either coming from the mainland U.S. or Asia. They will live a nice life. Most of them work elsewhere, or own businesses elsewhere, which is good, because the future in Hawaii does not look good for the 99 percent below. It’s inevitable in a society that is constantly adding to its homeless population while simultaneously lacking any comprehensive way to provide medical treatment, all the while smoothing over the bumps on the street with plentiful supplies of alcohol and opioids.


    Hawaii’s economy may be the future. Very little is made here. As making steel and cars left the Midwest in the late 2oth century, so did Hawaii’s old economy based on agriculture. It was cheaper to grow food elsewhere and import it to the mainland. The bulk of pineapple consumed in the United States now comes from Mexican, Central and South American growers same as steel now comes from China, and the few pineapple fields in Hawaii are for tourists. Hawaii now depends on two industries: tourism and defense spending. And both are controlled by government.

    Tourism accounts directly for 24 percent of the state’s economy, more if one factors in secondary spending. The industry currently does not exist in viable form, with arrivals down some 75 percent. Unemployment Hawaii-wide is 24 percent, much more if you add in those who long ago gave up looking or are underemployed frying burgers. Much is driven by COVID. Will those ever recede? No one knows. When might things get better? No one knows. The decisions which control lives are made largely in secret, by the governor or “scientists,” and are not subject to public debate or a state congressional vote. One imagines a Dickensonian kid in hula skirt asking “Please sir, may we have jobs?”

    Everyone knows Pearl Harbor, not only once a major tourist destination but also a part of direct Pentagon spending which pumps $7.2 billion into Hawaii’s economy, about 7.7 percent of the state’s GDP. Hawaii is second in the United States for the highest defense spending as a share of state GDP, and that’s just the overt stuff. Rumor has it the NSA has multiple facilities strewn around western Oahu with thousands of employees. All those government personnel, uniformed or covert, do a lot of personal spending in the local economy, much as they do in the shanty towns which ring American bases abroad. Everyone relies on local utilities like water, power, and sewers, and those bases need engineers, plumbers, electricians and others. Many are local residents either directly employed by DoD or working through contracts with private companies. The point is even more then tourism, this large sector of the economy is controlled by the government. At least they’re still working.

    Another important sector of the Hawaiian economy is also government controlled, those who live entirely on public benefits. Benefits in Hawaii are the highest in the nation, an average of $49,175 and untaxed. For the last 9 years Hawaii spent more on public welfare benefits, about 20 percent of the state budget, then it did on education. More than one out ten people in Hawaii get food stamps (SNAP), though the number is higher if you include free lunches at school and for the elderly. Fewer working people means fewer tax paying people, so this is unsustainable into the future.

    Who owns the future? The government in Hawaii owns the land. The Federal government owns about 20 percent of everything, and the state of Hawaii owns some 50 percent of the rest. Do Not Enter – U.S. Government Property signs are everywhere if you take a drive out of town. There are also plenty of private roads and gated communities to separate the rich from the poor, but the prize goes to Oracle owner Larry Ellison who owns almost the entire island of Lanai, serving as a gatekeeper inside another gatekeeper’s turf. For the rest of the people, homeownership rates in Hawaii are some of the lowest in the nation.

    The good news (for some…) is in the future whites will be a minority race in all of America. They already are in Hawaii. Asians not including Native Hawaiians make up 37 percent of the population, with whites tagging in at 25 percent. Local government, some 55 percent of the jobs, is dominated by people of Japanese heritage. Japanese heritage people also have the highest percentage of homeownership, 70 percent. Almost all have a high school diploma, and about a third have a four-year college degree.

    The well-loved mainland concept of “people of color” fades quickly in Hawaii, where Japanese color people are a majority over everyone else. And unlike in some minds, people in Hawaii are very aware that the concept of “Asian” is racist as hell, and know the differences among Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Things are such that local Caucasian and Hawaii Democratic Congressman Ed Case said he was an “Asian trapped in a white body” and meant it as, and was understood in Hawaii as, a good thing and was echoed by Case’s Japanese-American wife.

    White supremacy has clearly been defeated here, though I am not sure BLM would be happy with how that actually worked out without them. On a personal note, I will say as a white-identifying minority I was well-treated by the police and others. I was not forced to wear one of those goofy shirts or add an apostrophe to words while in Hawai’i against my cultural mores, so there may be hope yet in the future I saw.


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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    State to Be First to Build Government-Funded Shanty Towns!

    March 15, 2019 // 13 Comments »

    It’s a Hooverville revival, now better with pretty sunsets and nearby beaches!
    With its homeless problem veering out of control, Hawaii has come up with the wave of the future crashing onto its beaches: build shanty towns on the outskirts of its better neighborhoods, warehousing the homeless in vast communities no one will ever have to see the inside of. Except homeless people! This urban feature is a third world mainstay, with rings of such “communities” around Nairobi, Manila, and Delhi. Now it will be All-American for the first time.

    Hawaii is experiencing a 12% growth in the number of unsheltered homeless. Owing to its year-round warm weather, general cool attitude toward overly aggressive enforcement, and plenty of park space, many unhomed people have created tent cities around the islands. Parks on the Windward side, near places like Waianae and Waimanalo are more or less unavailable to homed people just looking for a day in the sun. It can look like this:


    Many of these folks will not move into regular shelters. In addition to the crime in those shelters, they do no accommodate families, pets or the large amount of portable refuse many beach dwelling homeless prefer to tote around. In addition, many of the homeless suffer from untreated mental illness and/or serious drug and alcohol problems and don’t “fit in” to the shelter lifestyle.

    Hawaii’s answer is to build shanty communities. Sorry, no, not shanties, they will be “tiny houses” without toilets or kitchens. Those “amenities” will be communal, along with tidy gardens for the homeless to tend and meeting places for their book clubs. You can see the illustration, above.

    But best of all, according to delusional Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, these communities of up to 300 mentally ill homeless drug and alcohol addicts will be self-governing. “The communities would make their own rules,” said Green. “It will be accepting people whether they come with their dogs or if they are in a relationship or single.”

    There is no chance these communities could become loci for crime, disease, or sanitation problems. Hawaii has no rabies on the islands, so that’s cool. What could go wrong?
    The first community is expected to open in 2020. Next month, leaders from both the city and the state will meet to pick the parcels of land. No doubt the project will be popular enough that nearly ever city in Hawaii will be bidding on the chance to have 300 self-governing homeless people set up shop. Each village is expected to cost between $2 and $5 million which could not possibly be spent better anywhere else.

    Protip: in the real third world, most shanty towns are located near the city dump for convenient scavenging. Keep that in mind, Hawaii.

    The idea of these government-build shanty towns has come up in Seattle, but it looks like Hawaii is going to implement it first. The shanty idea may or may not be better than something tried in the past, literally flying homeless people out of Hawaii and dumping them on the mainland U.S. of A. Or a 2015 plan to build “tiny homes” out of old shipping containers on an island off Oahu and export the homeless there. Maybe the next idea will be a two-fer: require each already hated AirBNB owner to house a homeless person one week a year as a kind of tax.
    So pay attention, America. As the distribution of wealth continues to strangle 99.9% of us, the need for the super-wealthy to get us out of the way will only grow. We’re currently only allowed to live sort of near them as a source of cheap labor and perhaps soylent green. But someday soon enough AI will take care of that and we’ll all be mentally ill and sucking the pipe on a beach somewhere. It’s nice to know they have plans for us.

    BONUS: For those unfamiliar with the term, a Hooverville was a shanty town built during the Great Depression by the homeless in the United States (below.) They were named after then-president Herbert Hoover. There were dang near hundreds of Hoovervilles across the country during the 1930s and hundreds of thousands of people lived in these slums. In Steinbeck’s famous The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family briefly settles into a Hooverville in California. So bringing the idea back in modern times is a neat olde timey thing, like Colonial Williamsburg.


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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Deedy Mistrial in Hawaii Shooting; Saga Moves into Third Year

    August 27, 2013 // 27 Comments »

    Hawaiian newspapers reported today that the judge declared a mistrial Monday in the Second Degree murder trial of State Department special agent Chris Deedy. Jurors said they couldn’t unanimously decide whether Deedy is guilty of murder in the early-morning shooting of a customer at a McDonald’s restaurant in Waikiki.

    Hawaii 1st Circuit Judge Karen Ahn set a hearing for Friday to determine a date for a new trial, after mentioning next spring as a potential date. The shooting took place almost two years ago.

    The victim’s family also has a civil suit pending against Deedy in connection with the shooting.

    During closing arguments, the prosecutor called Deedy a “bully with a badge,” telling jurors Elderts, of Kailua, was killed because Deedy interjected himself in a situation that wasn’t any of his business and refused to back down. Defense attorney Karl Blanke acknowledged that Deedy shot and killed Elderts but said it wasn’t murder. Deedy’s “intent was to protect life,” Blanke said in his closing argument. The defense painted Elderts as a hothead who had been drinking heavily and doing drugs. Elderts referred to Deedy as a haole — a Hawaiian term for a white person — in a derogatory way, the defense claimed.

    Deedy’s family, including his parents and his wife, were present throughout the trial. They’re “trying to wrap their arms around the notion he’s still a free man,” one of Deedy’s lawyers said. “He’s still an agent of the United States State Department and has a job to do.”

    Before the mistrial was declared Wednesday, Judge Ahn unexpectedly cleared the courtroom’s spectators for a few minutes without providing a reason. Attorneys on both sides declined to say what was discussed.

    The jurors told the judge that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict after twenty days of testimony and more than five full days of deliberations. A hung jury means the state will set a date to retry the federal agent on the murder charge.

    “I think the defense will file a motion under State vs. Moriwake which the judge will have some say in whether there will be a new trial,” said criminal defense attorney Paul Cunney. “I think there will be some informal polling of the jury and find out how the jury stood numerically.”

    “There’s always the possibility that it will be derailed, but we feel strongly that the right thing to do would be to have a new trial,” said Prosecutor Futa.

    BONUS: We reported previously that within days after the Deedy shooting in 2011, the Department State without explanation classified its long-standing unclassified rules governing the armed conduct of Diplomatic Security agents.

    An alert reader, and God bless the internet, found the rules in unclassified form still alive on line. Have a look at what now only select persons are allowed officially to see (p 40 at the link.)

    Note in particular Section 2.6B(5) which prohibits consumption of alcohol within six hours of use of deadly force, though there is the escape clause noting that the booze must impair judgement or ability.

    While we can never know if this unclassified version of DS firearms policy differs or not from the freshly-classified version, as a Concerned Citizen and a Good German, I encourage Diplomatic Security to immediately shut down Google as a threat to national security. Since the document is actually part of the Congressional Record, I suggest they also immediately shut down Congress as a threat to national security. Since the document was provided to Congress by the State Department, I suggest they also immediately shut down State as a threat to national security.

    Instead, they’ll probably just arrest me for providing the link.

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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Deedy Testifies in Hawaii Murder Trial

    August 9, 2013 // 34 Comments »

    Diplomatic Security Special Agent Chris Deedy, accused of second degree murder in the shooting death of a Hawaiian man, took the stand to testify. I was unable to locate a transcript of the testimony. However, the Associated Press’ report on the trial quoted Deedy. Text from that article appears below.

    Video of some of Deedy’s testimony is here, and also here.

    As a public service, I have tried to match up Deedy’s version of events with the video of the events. The video is linked at the end of this post if you want to watch along. Most of the times mentioned below refer to the video running time so you can compare and decide for yourself. The actual time passed on-the-ground is noted when it was possible to learn it. As always, it is up to the jury to decide, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

    Tale of the Tape

    Deedy said he intervened because Elderts was bothering a customer.

    At 1:58 on the video a person wearing a jacket labeled “Security” is seen standing. That same person is present behind Deedy later in the video. The person does not appear to be actively involved in the incident.

    The person allegedly being bothered enters at around 3:48 on the video. Already at the counter, Elderts, whom Deedy shot, appears to be speaking to the person. Both have their backs to Deedy in a noisy restaurant. They are a step apart and do not appear to physically interact. Deedy is seated talking with friends. The counter workers do not appear to stop service, though one briefly extends her arm toward Elderts. This is the situation Deedy states he interceded in.

    Deedy stands up at 4:39. His female friend stands up and approaches Deedy at around 5:30. Deedy does not appear to speak/engage with anyone until 6:29, after Elderts and the other person have left the counter and taken seats. Deedy has his hands in his pockets and does not appear to have flashed his law enforcement credentials on first encounter.

    It is around 8:57 Deedy first appears to show something in his wallet to the seated Elderts. Deedy’s friend Adam Gutowski, who has not been claimed to be a law enforcement official, is also on his feet in front of Elderts. It is unknown if Elderts as a local Hawaiian was familiar with the role of State Department Diplomatic Security as a law enforcement agency with the authority to use deadly force.

    Deedy originally claimed as his defense he was acting in his capacity as a federal law enforcement official, but dropped that defense in favor of self defense.

    At 10:17 Deedy’s female friend and another person appear to back him away from the seated Elderts. A small crowd has gathered. No one appears to be interceding with Elderts. Elderts stands around 10:24. At 10:33 Deedy reaches behind his back and touches what may be his service weapon.

    Elderts and his friend Shane Medeiros attacked his friend, Adam Gutowski, the agent testified. “The dark blood on his face, the kicks connecting to his head,” Deedy said. “I needed to stop this assault.”

    This alleged assault of Gutowski does not appear to have been captured on the video from either of the two security cameras. Deedy has been knocked onto the floor at 12:28. He is on his back looking upward.

    Deedy said he rose to his feet after being knocked to the floor and stood to face Elderts with his empty hands in front of him. “I was issuing a warning, a command: ‘Stop, I’ll shoot,’” Deedy said. “As I drew my weapon and put my hand forward, I said ‘freeze.’”

    This appears to be at 12:32. At 14:23 the final series of events between Deedy and Elderts that ended in the shooting takes place. 14:35 shows a seated patron covering his ears. Deedy and Elderts are still standing.

    The unidentified people talking over the video discuss the on-the-ground timing between the start of the events and the person covering his ears. They say four tenths of a second passed. It appears the implication is that the ear covering signifies the first of the three shots Deedy fired. This suggests Deedy’s verbal commands, warning and first shot may have taken place in a very short period of time.

    Deedy used footage from a bystander’s cellphone camera to show that he used his knife to help cut Eldert’s shirt and rendered aid.

    What happened after the shots on the floor cannot be seen on the publicly available video. However, Deedy is seen on his feet and across the restaurant at 16:49 on the video. The commentators say the on-the-ground time at this point is 2:43:11.

    This would suggest approximately one minute passed between the first shot, whatever happened on the ground out of sight, and Deedy stepping away.

    At 17:53 on the video Deedy appears to pick one or two things off the floor and may put them in his pants pocket. This seems to take place before any aid was rendered to Elderts. A person in law enforcement who viewed this video suggested that Deedy may be recovering his spent cartridges, the brass part expelled from a weapon when fired. Recovered brass, if available to the police, can potentially be used a evidence from a crime scene.

    Deedy returns to the prone Elderts. This may be the time when Deedy stated he rendered first aid. Deedy testified that “he used his knife to help cut Eldert’s shirt and rendered aid. He’s heard on the video — amid Hawaiian music playing in the restaurant — imploring Elderts to breathe.”

    More from Deedy’s Testimony

    Deedy said he was shocked to hear he was being arrested for murder after fighting for his life.

    In his testimony shown on video, Deedy stated he first learned he was arrested for murder when he overheard a police officer mention it on a cell phone (or the radio, Deedy said he was unsure which device was used) while in the police car. A person in law enforcement who viewed this video told me that police typically state one’s reason for arrest at the time of arrest, though at times charges can be added later. It is unknown how much time passed between Deedy being arrested inside the restaurant and his overhearing the reason for his arrest inside the car.

    Deedy spent most of his testimony during the first two days speaking about moments displayed on frames of security camera footage. At one point Wednesday afternoon, he gave a hint of fatigue, saying he’d been watching the video for hours but didn’t recall the events in frame grabs.

    A prosecutor began cross-examining Deedy in the afternoon. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa asked him why he told a nurse at the hospital that he hadn’t been drinking.

    “I don’t recall any of the questions she asked me,” Deedy said. “I just said no to everything.”

    Deedy said in court however he only had about four beers or less over 5 ½ hours that night.

    Comment: I was unable to learn from State’s Diplomatic Security what its regulations are for its agents carrying their service weapon while drinking, or to intervene in things after drinking. Deedy refused to take a sobriety test at the scene and the Hawaiian police did not seek to compel him to do so.

    Hawaii self-defense law contains a provision that outside one’s home one is required to retreat and avoid a confrontation unless in fear of one’s life. At what point the requirement to retreat kicks in and out will likely be a point of law argued in Deedy’s case.

    One source describes the Hawaiian law as:

    You can use deadly force when you believe it is the only viable means necessary to prevent a threat of death, serious bodily harm, kidnapping, rape or forcible sodomy. You have no duty to retreat if these actions take place in your dwelling or place of work. If the threat occurs in a place other than your home or place of work you have a duty to retreat if you are able to do so in “complete safety.”

    The question Hawaiian law seems to demand an answer to is this: Did a Man have to die?

    Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    New Deedy Video Shows More of What Happened Before Shooting

    August 1, 2013 // 25 Comments »

    If you’re not up-to-date on the Hawaiian murder trial of accused State Department Diplomatic Security Agent Chris Deedy, here is the 411.

    New video of the shooting is now online. Watch the whole thing, but things do get interesting around 4:30 in. Let’s have a look:

    Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

    Here’s the link if you can’t see the embedded video above.

    Some observations:

    — I do not know who is speaking on the video. Maybe a cop and the judge?

    — This video, in comparison to previous releases, shows the interaction preceding the shooting more clearly.

    — “Diamond Head side” and “Ewa Side” are Hawaiian terms roughly denoting East and West.

    — At around 4:30 as Deedy gets up he appears to either scratch his back or touch his weapon.

    — At around 16:00 Deedy may leave the scene; some witnesses and one of the 911 calls support this.

    — It appears several people several times try to back Deedy off, which he appears to resist.

    — Look for the guy in the lower right corner of the screen to cover his ears; this may be the moment of the shots.

    –Anybody know who Jessica West in the video is? She does not appear to be Deedy’s spouse based on other photos.

    Everyone is innocent until proven guilty like they on TV so we wait now for the Hawaiian court to issue a verdict.

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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    State Dept Security Agent Deedy Murder Trial (Finally) Underway

    July 18, 2013 // 16 Comments »

    Two years ago State Department Diplomatic Security Special Agent Christopher Deedy was briefly in Hawaii protecting Hillary Clinton. Deedy, off duty, shot and killed a local man. Two years later the case has finally come to trial, with new revelations made public, including an airing of the surveillance camera video of the shooting. For more background on the case, see here. Now, let’s dive in and have a look ourselves.

    Deedy is on trial for Murder in the Second Degree and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Separate Felony, punishable by a term of life in prison. After various abandoned defense pleadings, including that Deedy acted in his legal capacity as a federal law enforcement official, Deedy’s current defense strategy is to claim he acted in self defense. That argument will require Deedy’s lawyer to convince a local jury that as a trained law enforcement officer from the State Department temporarily in Hawaii for wholly unrelated reasons, after a night on the town with friends, Deedy was required to fire multiple shots at near point-blank range into an unarmed inebriated local man inside a crowded McDonalds at 2:30 am because he was in fear of serious bodily injury or death.

    Now, let’s look at the video of the whole incident. I cannot embed the video here, so promise that after you hit the link and watch it, you’ll come back! FYI, the linked page has two video clips. I recommend you watch the second clip first, a summary, and then look at the whole unedited piece at the top of the page. There is no sound. OK, here’s the link. I’ll be waiting here.

    Thanks for coming back. Here are some observations.

    — A lot more people than we previously knew were directly involved in the incident. It should be easy to establish what was said, and, with the video, what happened. One newspaper suggested over 100 witnesses will be called.

    — The people involved, both those with Deedy and those with the victim, appear to be trying to break up the scuffle. Deedy will need to explain why he continued to fight with the victim instead of allowing his friends to back him away early on.

    — One of Deedy’s friends, the woman with the long black hair, appears to actively try and break up the scuffle. Speculation: if either of the people with Deedy were fellow security personnel, and neither felt the need to draw his/her weapon, that will raise questions about Deedy’s own action.

    — Deedy appears to reach for his weapon fairly early on, but does appear to draw it until later.

    — Deedy’s reason for getting involved in the first place, that the shooting victim allegedly “bullied” another man, seems to have been entirely verbal in nature. The bullied man does not appear to be reacting to whatever was being said to him. There was no physical contact shown. Deedy will be asked to show why as a law enforcement official he was compelled to get involved. Deedy’s own lawyer stated “These [slurs] are now fighting words. This is a threat of violence. This is what Deedy is trained to perhaps respond to, although he wasn’t here to respond to the laws of harassment or bullying. He’s a federal agent and his job is to serve the community.”

    — On Deedy’s supporters’ page, the acts are described as “Chris saw two men harassing a patron of a Honolulu McDonald’s. Chris responded and tried to diffuse the situation. He identified himself to the men as a federal agent and he and his friend were subsequently attacked by the men… Chris observed these men injure his friend, and felt he himself was going to be more seriously injured or killed, so he drew his firearm.” It is unclear from the video at what point if any Deedy’s friend was injured.

    — Deedy appears to throw the first blow, a kick at the victim. Prosecutors have claimed that Deedy instigated the incident.

    — Deedy’s mug shot is shown above. One of the Honolulu police officers involved stated to the court that “there was a ‘strong odor’ of alcohol on the federal agent and that his eyes were ‘red and glassy’ and that Deedy’s footing was ‘uneasy’ as they walked to the police cruiser. That same cop oddly went on to repeat these statements on his personal Facebook page. Deedy’s lawyer’s attempt to block the testimony based on bias was denied by the judge after she determined none of the jurors had seen the Facebook page. Deedy refused a sobriety test on the night of his arrest and the Honolulu police inexplicably did not compel him to take it. Another officer who testified during the case admitted to losing a camera that he used to take photos of the crime scene.

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    Posted in #99Percent, Economy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

    Deedy Done It Different

    March 28, 2013 // 20 Comments »

    America’s favorite Diplomatic Security “special” agent Chris Deedy is engaged in what promises to be one of Hawaii’s longest trial processes.

    For those just joining us, recap here. For those too multi-tasked to click on the link, the real short now version is that in November 2011 while in Hawaii protecting then-SecState Hillary Clinton from the APEC conference, Deedy shot and killed an unarmed man in a Waikiki McDonalds. Deedy was arrested by the Honolulu Police Department and charged with Murder in the Second Degree and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Separate Felony, punishable by a term of life in prison. Despite the whole thing being on both a surveillance videotape and on someone’s iPhone video, along with multiple eye witnesses, the case has not yet come to full trial. Deedy maintained that he acted legally in his capacity as a law enforcement official.

    Until now.

    On March 11 Deedy changed his story, with his lawyer withdrawing the request to dismiss the case on the basis that he was acting as a federal agent at the time of the incident. The new rationale for the killing is self-defense. Withdrawing the motion relieves Deedy of having to testify during a pretrial hearing. It also cancels his desire to have the case transferred to federal court. The change also, finally, clears the way for the actual trial to begin on/about April 2 in Honolulu unless some new delay is introduced.

    There has been no clear explanation/reason as to why the case has taken so long to (almost) reach trial. Deedy has been out on bail since the shooting, working a desk job at the State Department on full salary.

    Deedy also now has a “support” group on the web raising money for him (they’re up to $12k), as well as to provide his side of the story.

    According to the local Honolulu newspaper, in pretrial documents, city prosecutors say Deedy appeared “intoxicated” after a night of drinking and bar hopping and became the aggressor who started an altercation. According to prosecutors, Deedy kicked the deceased Elderts and repeatedly told him he was going to shoot him “in the face.”

    The defense’s position outlined in court documents contends it was Elderts who was the aggressor. Hart’s filings said an intoxicated Elderts called Deedy a “fucking haole” and challenged him to a fight. Hart said Deedy identified himself as a law enforcement officer, but Elderts attacked Deedy, who felt compelled to fire in self-defense.

    Deedy’s self-defense argument will need to convince a local jury that as a trained law enforcement officer from the State Department temporarily in Hawaii for wholly unrelated reasons, after a night on the town with friends, he was required to fire multiple shots at near point-blank range into an unarmed inebriated local man inside a crowded McDonalds at 2:30 am.

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    Accused Killer Deedy Loses Motion to Dismiss Case

    October 26, 2012 // 11 Comments »

    The latest in the ever-so-bizarre story of U.S. State Department “special” agent Chris Deedy.

    Everyone’s favorite State Department guy Chris Deedy still has no trial date set for his shooting and killing of a Hawaiian man last November while in the islands as part of Hillary Clinton’s guest appearance at the APEC Summit. Recap here; Deedy shot a guy, guy is dead.The whole thing was videotaped by a McDonald’s surveillance camera.)

    The latest turn of events is that Deedy lost a motion to dismiss the case against him and his lawyer lost another bid to publicly file a videotape of the killing. The motion maintained that Deedy acted in his legitimate law enforcement capacity in shooting the local man, what cops love to call a “righteous shoot.” Court said NO. Deedy’s lawyer wanted the McD’s video released publicly. Court said NO.

    What the court inexplicably did not say is when Deedy will go to trial. The killing took place November 5, 2011, and a grand jury indicted Deedy November 16, 2011. The best the court would say is that the trial would commence next year. At this rate none of us may live long enough to see a verdict.

    Listen to the 911 Calls

    Interesting listening here, the 911 calls from the killing scene. Of particular interest are two separate callers stating Deedy ran away from the scene of what he claimed, unsuccessfully, was a legitimate law enforcement action. Is that what cops do, run away? Other reports, however, say Deedy remained at the McDonalds.

    Cop Talk

    If you’d care to read some macho cop talk (“Sounds like a righteous shoot to me!”) about blasting away in a crowded McDonalds at an unarmed man, there’s plenty to be had at Police Mag.

    Here are some samples to give you an idea of the level of discourse:

    Marshal @ 8/29/2012 7:24 AM
    I think that the media and the prosecutor spokesman should be charged with false reporting and sued for slander. When are we going to take a stand on the bullsh*t that we allow the media to do to people when they know it is wrong or they just don’t care and they don’t research their information and they just want to be the first to report. Freedom of the press doesn’t give them the right to slander someone or give faulty reports.

    ib_da_one @ 10/6/2012 4:29 AM
    Sounds like a clean shoot to me but you have to understand this is Hawaii. Very limited gene pool amoungst potential jurors. I mean you should have seen the memorial they laid out in front o Mcdonald’s for the perp. Absolutely disgusting!


    Deedy remains free on bail, living in Virginia and still fully employed and paid by the U.S. Department of State.

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    Deedy Done Delayed

    September 5, 2012 // 10 Comments »

    Everyone’s favorite State Department special agent Chris Deedy still has no trial date set for his shooting and killing of a Hawaiian man last November while in the islands as part of Hillary Clinton’s guest appearance at the APEC Summit.

    (Recap here; Deedy shot a guy, guy is dead. Question is whether the killing was part of Deedy’s law enforcement duty or some version of murder. The whole thing was videotaped by a McDonald’s surveillence camera. The video has not been made public.)

    The Honolulu Star Advertiser (slogan: “Steadfastly Not Really Online”) print edition tells us that the most recent legal move took place August 8, when a Hawaiian court denied Deedy’s request to shift the trial to Federal court and outside of state jurisdiction. Next up is a hearing now set for October 22 where Deedy’s lawyer will seek a motion to dismiss, claiming that Deedy acted in his legitimate law enforcement capacity and in self-defense.

    No date has been set to begin the actual trial. Dead guy is still dead.

    Questions. Jump in, crowdsourcers:

    — WTF? A guy is dead, we know who done him. There are multiple witnesses. The whole thing is on video. Why is no trial date set ten months after the fact? How the hell much more evidence do you need to bring this to a decision?

    — Given the WTF angle, why why why is this case being delayed? As best we know, Deedy is alive and well, back in Virginia, still on the payroll with the State Department but on some form of not-so-special agent duty. It seems in the public interest to resolve his status. If he is innocent, then let’s pay him with our taxpayer bucks to get back to his real work. If he is guilty, let’s take him off the street.

    I know all about “island time, brah,'” the Hawaiian version of manana, later, we’ll get to it, but this all seems beyond that. I am in too good a mood today to bark “conspiracy theory,” but anybody got anything else?

    (Thanks to We Meant Well Hawaiian operative “5-0” for the local paper scans)

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    “Special Agent Deedy was compelled to discharge his gun”

    July 5, 2012 // 3 Comments »

    A few new details on the good times in Hawaii of State Department super “Special” Agent Deedy. Deedy is charged with second degree murder in Honolulu in connection with gunning down a local man. Deedy was in Hawaii as part of a State Department entourage guarding the 2012 APEC meeting. More here if you’re not up to speed on the case.

    According to court documents filed by Deedy’s own defense attorney, Brooke Hart:

    Deedy intervened when he sensed an altercation escalating between the shooting victim, Kollin Elderts, and a customer, Michel Perrine.

    “While at the cashier counter, Elderts began to verbally harass Perrine using racial slurs,” the filing states. “Perrine asked Elderts to leave him alone, not to single him out, and stated words to the effect that he was a `local.'”

    Hart’s characterization of the incident says Deedy was trying to prevent a physical attack. Elderts called the agent a “haole,” the Hawaiian term for white, in a derogatory way, he said.

    “Elderts threatened Special Agent Deedy by saying, `Eh, haole, you like beef?’ or words to that effect,” Hart says in the court papers.

    At one point, Elderts tried to grab Deedy’s gun, according to Hart, and the two men got physical. Deedy drew his gun and told Elderts to freeze, but he continued to advance.

    “Special Agent Deedy was compelled to discharge his gun, resulting in the death of Elderts,” the court papers claim.

    Somewhat oddly, Deedy’s attorney has also previously claimed the agent was acting in self-defense and/or in his lawful capacity as a law enforcement officer.

    Oddly oddly, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that Deedy’s legal expenses in a wrongful death lawsuit pending against him are covered by a renter’s insurance policy issued to Deedy and his wife in Arlington, Virginia in late 2010 by Allstate. A trial in this civil case will likely not begin until after completion of the criminal case.

    Deedy’s defense attorney is also trying to move the case to federal court, preferably outside of Hawaii. To keep things interesting, Honolulu Circuit Judge Karen Ahn denied a renewed push by several media outlets to make public surveillance video and other documents referenced by prosecutors and Deedy’s lawyer. The case will drag on, with the next trial action not scheduled until September 10, unless the case goes to federal court or is otherwise delayed.

    Which it likely will be.

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    Your Special Agent Deedy Murderous Update

    June 20, 2012 // 7 Comments »

    A story this blog follows closely is the case of very special State Department Diplomatic Security Agent Deedy (pictured in his mug shot), who appears to have shot and killed a man in Hawaii while Deedy was there protecting someone or something else during the last APEC meeting. You can get the backstory here.

    Rather than retype it all, I will redirect you to a much better blog that follows Deedy’s case very closely. That blog is here.

    If you have the attention span of Justin Beiber and just want the shortest version, it is: On June 15 Honolulu judge Karen Ahn has removed from her calendar a hearing on a motion by the attorney for Christopher Deedy to dismiss the murder charge. This means despite the attempts of Deedy’s lawyer to have the charge thrown out, Deedy is still scheduled to stand trial in Ahn’s court on September 10 on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm.

    There’s a lot more fluff surrounding the case, so better read the full story.

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    Agent Deedy: State Department Says I Can Kill People

    May 22, 2012 // 10 Comments »

    (For those unfamiliar with the case of State Department Diplomatic Security “Special” Agent Chris Deedy, who appears to have shot and killed an unarmed man in Hawaii while there for the APEC Conference, see some previous postings.)

    The latest news out of Hawaii about accused murderer Deedy is that the State Department said it was OK for him to gun down an unarmed man. Sort of.

    After initially claiming he shot the guy in the chest in self-defense at 3am in a Waikiki McDonald’s, Deedy now claims he is immune from prosecution because he was a law enforcement officer on duty at the time just doin’ his job. The State Department had sent the shooter to Hawaii as part of Hillary Clinton’s entourage for the APEC conference no one cares about anymore (Obama isn’t even going this year’s ’cause it’s in bad Russia).

    It is very, very unclear that being in the McDonald’s at 3am had anything to do with Deedy’s assignment in Hawaii, but I’m sure it is OK.

    The Honolulu Star Advertiser also noted that Deedy submitted a report from the doctor who treated him at the Queen’s Medical Center after his arrest. The report from Dr. Kyle Perry says Deedy suffered scrapes and a broken nose from an assault. Deedy’s mug shot is shown above, but I leave it to you readers to detect the scrapes and broken nose. Maybe a little shaving nick under the nose? Maybe the picture was taken from a bad angle? At the time of his arrest Honolulu police officers noted that Deedy had red, glassy eyes and slurred speech, perhaps also not noticeable in the photo? Deedy declined to blow for the cops at the scene and as a cop-to-cop courtesy apparently the HPD never pushed it.

    Want more? How about the opinion of an ex-Diplomatic Security Agent on this case, whose “observations raise far more questions than they address?” Surf on over to Teri Schooley’s blog, where she is following the Deedy case very closely.

    According to Teri, the Judge in Hawaii will rule on the motions to dismiss charges or to delay the trial in July. If she agrees to delay the trial, it will mean that the victim’s family will have waited almost a year and a half to get justice in this case. In the meantime, Deedy will be receiving his full salary as a State Department employee on “admin leave.” And he has had the benefits of being allowed to post bail and leave the jurisdiction after being charged with murder, and has been able to have the trial delayed for months already. The State Department, of course, refuses to discuss the case.

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    More on State Department Diplomatic Security Murder in Hawaii

    March 12, 2012 // 2 Comments »

    (For those unfamiliar with the case of State Department Diplomatic Security “Special” Agent Chris Deedy, who appears to have shot and killed an unarmed man in Hawaii while on duty there for the APEC Conference, see some previous postings.)

    Details on the Deedy case are harder to find than intellectuals at a Gingrich rally. However, one of our Hawaiian operatives offers up a few ideas:

    — Why was Deedy charged with 2nd degree murder instead of 1st? It turns out that in Hawaii, unlike most of the other states, 1st degree murder only applies in very limited cases, with strict definitions. Under Hawaii law, second-degree murder is defined as occurring simply ‘if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person,’ while first-degree murder involves specific kinds of victims. First-degree murder would pertain to someone who intentionally or knowingly causes the death of: more than one person in the same or separate incident; a law enforcement officer, judge or prosecutor involved in the prosecution; a witness in a criminal prosecution; a person by a hired killer, in which case the killer and the person who did the hiring would be charged; or a person while the defendant was imprisoned. Deedy is being charged with 2nd degree (Hawaii Revised Statutes, HRS 707-701.5) because Elderts was not a judge, a law enforcement officer, a witness in a case, etc., and because Elderts was the only victim. It has nothing to do with Deedy’s intent or foreknowledge of Elderts.

    — Federal law allows law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons on duty or off, but one of the stipulations is that the officer absolutely may not carry when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with one exception: if he is undercover and has to enter a bar and have a drink while investigating a suspect during an authorized investigation. Rather doubt such was the case here. I don’t think Deedy identified himself as law enforcement in the first place – if he had done so, wouldn’t they be charging him with negligent homicide rather than murder, and wouldn’t his attorney have brought it up vociferously as a defense against the charges?

    — Deedy is charged with two offenses. The issue of whether Deedy was acting as law enforcement and/or whether or not he was drinking seems to be addressed by the second charge he is facing: Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, Hawaii Revised Statutes, HRS 134-21. Surely they would not have charged him with this one if they thought he was acting properly in the role of law enforcement.

    As far as we know, the other details of the case remain unchanged: Deedy is still employed at the Department of State, and his trial in Hawaii is still postponed until September for reasons unknown and unspoken.

    The victim’s family is also suing Deedy, a civil suit in addition to the Hawaii State charge of murder. You can see the full text of their lawsuit online as well.

    Also, at least one of his neighbors likes Deedy because he is nice to his dogs; see the interview here. The neighbor also oddly identifies Deedy’s alleged Arlington, Virginia address for some reason. I guess that info is helpful if you’re looking to avoid a nearby McDonald’s at 3am.

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    Cost of APEC in Hawaii

    November 20, 2011 // 1 Comment »

    In addition to providing the means, motive and method for a State Department official to shoot and kill a man in a Waikiki McDonalds, as well as video of a nearly-naked man running behind your Secretary of State with the flaming torch, the recently concluded APEC meeting in Hawaii was supposed to be a boon to the local economy. With the world economy depressed, Hawaii, which sees most of its income come from tourism, was supposed to benefit from all the media attention and rich dignitaries in town for the summit.

    It may not have worked out that way. Hawaii blog “Random Thoughts” writes:

    Conditions on the ground ended up being quite different from what was supposed to occur. Normal social and business activities were, in fact, so disrupted that local businesses had to close their doors for the week of the summit and residents stocked up on food so that they would not have to face the hours of sitting in their cars, waiting for their car to be searched, every time they wanted to leave or re-enter residential areas to go grocery shopping.

    Worse yet, local business owners are suing APEC over the loss of business they experienced.

    The Clubhouse Honolulu Restaurant is right across the street from the Hawaii Convention Center. They bought signs welcoming the APEC guests but instead were greeted by barriers. “Sure enough not a single person showed up here,” said Ernie Inada, Clubhouse Honolulu President. “The police actually blocked the entrance to my parking lot. I could not even come into my parking lot.”

    Read more on Random Thoughts. Aloha!

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    DS Hawaiian Murder Update: Bullying and Self Defense?

    November 19, 2011 // 2 Comments »

    As reported here and everywhere, State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security “Special” Agent Chris Deedy is charged with second degree murder in Honolulu. Deedy was in Hawaii to provide security for the APEC conference. Something went down at a Waikiki McDonald’s at 3am and Deedy shot a local guy in the chest, killing him. Deedy is also charged with using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

    The dead man tested positive for alcohol and cocaine. Deedy refused to take an alcohol test, but the press has carried reports that he had been drinking too.

    After a first court appearance in Hawaii, a few more details have come out in the media. The clearest version of the story online now is that the victim was “”aggressively bullying someone else” at the McDonald’s at about 2:30 a.m. November 5. There is nothing to indicate that the victim was armed. Deedy asked “Do you want to get shot?,” then kicked the guy in the chest, before cranking off three rounds from his State Department-issued firearm. The bloody knife mentioned in some reports appears to have been Deedy’s. Deedy claims he pulled the knife to cut open the victim’s shirt before performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation on the victim after he was shot.

    Special Agent Deedy remains in Hawaii, on “admin leave.” His arraignment is set for November 20.

    So a couple of questions for you legally educated folks:

    1) When I learned CPR it was not taught that we had to cut open a victim’s shirt. Anything changed with that?

    2) Is it normal for a law enforcement guy to fire three shots in a crowded fast food restaurant against an unarmed man, even if that man was a bully, even in “self defense”? Deedy’s lawyer says the killing was self-defense. I thought self defense was supposed to meet some sort of proportional test, otherwise cops would just be free to blow away anyone messing with them.

    3) Is it DS’ policy that its officers are allowed to carry their service weapons off hours even when drinking? Asked if Deedy was drinking beforehand, his lawyer said, “We’re investigating to see whether that is so, and if so, if drinking had any impact on Mr. Deedy’s behavior.” The victim’s lawyer said Deedy was drunk. It is usually bad news when your own lawyer won’t say clearly that you weren’t drinking.

    4) Can’t the Hawaiian cops get a warrant to force a murder suspect to take an alcohol test? Cops can do this in alleged drunk driving cases. Why wasn’t Deedy tested? Some kind of cop courtesy thing?

    5) According to Deedy’s lawyer, “The [State Department] want him to come back to work as soon as he’s able.” Does DS have no other criteria other than a stone-cold felony conviction? Can you kill a man in McDonald’s at 3am and just pop back into Rosslyn HQ a month later, no questions asked? Maybe like about judgement and suitability?

    6) Does Deedy still carry a State Department badge, gun and ID card while on admin leave awaiting arraignment for murder? In some cases (er, mine), admin leave is accompanied by State physically taking away my ID card and barring me in writing from entering any State Department facility. For the record, I did not kill anyone, just wrote a book. Does DS apply the rules evenly, even with its own special agents?

    7) (Extra credit) Do cops in Hawaii ever say “Book ’em Danno” just to amuse themselves? Did they say it with Reedy?

    Anyway, we’ll know more come November 20. Stay tuned!

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    Diplomatic Security Five-O: Nearly Naked Guy Nearly Enflames Hillary

    November 16, 2011 // Comments Off on Diplomatic Security Five-O: Nearly Naked Guy Nearly Enflames Hillary

    So your Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Hawaii for the APEC Conference. We all know that because of the great love they spread around the world (delivered 24/7 by drone, right to your home or hovel), big-name American officials need big-time security wherever they go, like with other celebs such as the Jonas Brothers or Gallagher.

    The Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is responsible for protecting the Secretary from Gallagher and other dangers in Hawaii. We know DS is a man short right now, one of their special agents having been arrested for second degree murder in connection with his shooting a local guy to death in a Waikiki McDonalds.

    Maybe that explains this hilarious security gaffe:

    (Follow this link if the video embed does not work on your browser)

    OMG, was that a nearly naked Hawaiian guy with a fiery torch running just a flame’s lick away from your Secretary? It was. Now, she was probably safe, as the nearly naked guy was probably part of some tourist thingy where they light torches on the beach and raise restaurant prices at night.

    Still, what if that nearly naked guy had been… Herman Cain? What if Hilary’s hair scrunchie was flammable? Why didn’t a DS agent leap into the arena and take a flame for the Secretary? Aren’t they trained for that? I saw it in that Clint Eastwood Secret Service movie, so it is true.

    Luckily– this time– the gaffe ended well, and YouTube garnered another billion hits as the only casualty. But the nearly naked guy stands as a reminder of the need for DS to be constantly vigilant.

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    Report: DS Hawaii Special Agent/Shooter was Drunk

    November 9, 2011 // 8 Comments »

    Remember State Department Diplomatic Security Special Agent Chris Deedy? He was the State Department law enforcement professional who shot and killed a local Hawaiian man in a Honolulu McDonalds at 3 am a few days ago.

    KITV in Honolulu is now reporting that Special Agent Deedy may have been drunk at the time of the murder.

    According to Attorney Michael Green, who represents the victim’s family so of course let’s all doubt him, the victim was standing in line when Special Agent Deedy walked in with three friends. “What the witnesses say is that at one point, the agent, who apparently appeared very intoxicated, asked my client if he’d like to get shot. And everybody was stunned,” according to Green.

    Deedy kicked Elderts in the chest, causing Elderts to fall to the ground, Green said. “He got up, they grabbed each other and there were three shots fired.” Green said one bullet hit Elderts in the chest, a second bullet hit the ceiling. It isn’t clear where the third bullet landed. “There were lots of people and I’m sure, terrified. Three shots in a crowded fast food place? And I can’t imagine why he’s out at 3 in the morning with a gun, drinking,” Green said.

    While commentators on this blog are quick to remind us some Americans are innocent until proven guilty, Deedy is charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. It’ll be fun to learn where in the Special Agent’s State Department training he learned to hammer off three shots inside a crowded public place when faced with a man without a firearm himself. Don’t Special Agents still have to learn Kung Fu or something?

    And get this– the State Department put shooter Deedy on admin leave for a second degree murder charge, the same status they put me on for writing a book they dislike. Maybe since we’re both at home, Deedy and I can get together for a few brews, talk over State Department stuff. Email me, Chris, ‘kay, but leave the iron at home if we’re gonna hit the bars together brother.

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    Diplomatic Security Warns on Shooting: “May be subject to Discovery”

    November 8, 2011 // Comments Off on Diplomatic Security Warns on Shooting: “May be subject to Discovery”

    Following the gunning down of a man in Hawaii by an off-duty State Department Diplomatic Security (DS) special agent bully-boy, the director of Diplomatic Security, Scott P. Bultrowicz, sent this message to his entire DS staff, several of whom immediately leaked it (thanks, please stop sending additional copies, and emphasis added):

    Dear Colleagues,

    I regret that my initial message to the organization is about the tragic incident involving Special Agent Christopher Deedy early Saturday morning in Honolulu. Many of you know that Agent Deedy was involved in an altercation that ended in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old local man. The story has been widely reported.

    I am not at liberty to discuss the investigation. However, I want to let everyone know that DS has been in communication with the Honolulu authorities from the time we were first notified about the shooting. We will do what we can to ensure Agent Deedy’s well-being, and have already provided assistance to his family. We also are mindful of the terrible loss suffered by the deceased’s family and friends.

    I remind everyone that there is an ongoing investigation of this matter by the Honolulu Police Department. Discussion about what happened in Honolulu, Agent Deedy’s state of mind, and/or whether his actions were justified should be limited to the agents investigating the matter.

    Also, please keep in mind that communications over the internet that are publicly available (such as blogs, tweets, and bulletin boards) and are on matters of official concern (which this case is) must be reviewed by the Department. Additionally, all written communications, on either government or private accounts, may be subject to discovery in legal proceedings relating to this incident.

    I look forward to communicating with you on other matters throughout my tenure. Please do not reply to this message.

    Takeaway message:

    When in doubt, begin the cover up immediately. Remind everyone everything they write is gonna end up in court.

    Still no word about whether Agent Deedy’s security clearance has been suspended or not.

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    Another Diplomatic Security Agent Earns His Bones


    Those bad boys in the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) just can’t stop being boys. Whether it is getting arrested for child porn, spying for the Chinese, or needlessly taking away my security clearance for writing this book, they are just always in motion.

    Now add (alleged) murder to the list of things Diplomatic Security agents have been up to lately.

    Authorities in Waikiki say Christopher W. Deedy, 27, (image from NY Daily News) a Special Agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security pulled a gun and shot Kollin Elderts outside the fast food joint at around 2:45 a.m. on Saturday.

    Police did not release many details about the shooting, but the Eldert’s family told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Deedy followed the victim to the restaurant after the two got into a scuffle at a nearby club.

    “He was in a club and got into a beef with a guy who turned out to be a federal agent,” the family’s lawyer, Michael Green, told the newspaper. “The guy followed him to McDonald’s and shot him once in the chest.”

    Deedy, who was released Monday after posting $250,000 bail, was assigned to help with security at this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) convention, which is set to be attended by delegations from 21 countries, and the US President.

    So, to recap, a Diplomatic Security Agent assigned to provide security for Obama gets into an argument and stone cold guns down some guy.

    No problems there; I wonder if DS has suspended his security clearance? Nah, he just killed a man. Not like he wrote a book or anything really dangerous.

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