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SureFire Powerpak

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Mobile video light review

When it comes to a video light, I used to lug heavy camera gear around to capture the funny, meaningful or downright awesome moments that can spontaneously arise during the days of our lives. Since the cellphone revolution, my camera has become my choice mostly for it’s light weight, flexibility of use and features, and reasonably fast time of operation.

Let’s say an important moment is emerging, I reach for my cell and in a second or two am ready for the moment to present. Or, perhaps a moment is in full swing, in a few seconds, I’m recording without having lost much of the meaningful moments.

A serious impediment to night-time photography, recording those “dark moments,” is the cellphone camera itself. Cell cameras are notorious for their poor low-light performance, making low light spontaneity unable to be visually recorded. Also, cell flashlights have limited range and focus. External video lights can be cumbersome and lack flexibility. So, if I’m holding a light and trying to focus/exposure, AND point-n-shoot, frame the image, I’m not going to get optimum results.

SureFire video light and mobile case
The video light mounted on a iph6

FirePak video light

Along comes the FirePak video light, charger and flashlight. SureFire’s design strategy is simple enough, integrate a phone case with rechargeable storage and 2 high-performance mobile LED lights with enough lumens designed for video for 16:9 video frames in a form factor compatible with multiple sizes of phone cameras. USB and micro-USB ports allow charging your cell phone from the charger, or an included cable can be used to recharge the FirePak video light. SureFire says it has an effective range of up to 50 feet and while the light does travel that far, usable lumens land in the mid-range.

When I picked up the FirePak for the first time, I was struck by the wedge shape that fit comfortably in my hand. At first, the squished wedge shape looks cumbersome. Pick it up and it feels completely different. If you can imagine a drip coffee cone with the tip cut off and both sides squished flatter into an oval shape, you can imagine the shape of this flashlight. The FirePak slides smoothly under the molded rails of the phone case snapping securely onto a stop that positions the LED lights in two positions with respect to the iPhone camera.

SureFire video light and mounting case
Features of the video light and mobile case

The durable case is built for rugged use (not moisture or water) with a 4-level light switch and distinct illumination levels. Design-wise the features are functional while dramatically expanding your performance—as a video light or a back-up battery.

LED lights create enough lumens for 16:9 video frames

When I switched it on, the double LED “eyes”  emitted two blinding rays of light, even at the lowest setting. I wondered when I might use that much light? However, once you turn it on at night, you discover the benefit of blinding light.

At the highest setting the bulbs create significant heat, so don’t be surprised when you touch it. As an illumination device, there is enough light to do fine work, like reading or repairing, too. A distinct setting for faces for interviews would be a good user feature, just in case you are listening, SureFire?

It’s kinda tough to steady the cell when the light is installed on the case because of the extra weight and thickness requires your normal hand position to block the LEDs. Your hand size and strength will discover what position is best for you. I had to adjust as shown in the pictures below. It’s quite difficult to switch on/off the light without shaking the image. Shooting vertically is difficult for the same reasons, so you’ll have to learn how to control the frame with two hands.

SureFire video light
Normal hand position for mobile recording
SureFire video light
You may have to modify your hand position for this video light

If I were a DP on a film using cell-phone video, and this light, I would make sure there were several on charge at all times. No one wants to wait for your only battery to charge. A question a newbie DP might ask is: How long will one last? So, test your equipment before shoot day, OK?

Charging the unit

Charging the unit was problematic, as my first attempts failed, due I believe to a mismatched charger plug. Initially, I began charging the Firepak using a USB port built into a small power strip. After two days, the blinking red light indicated it was not fully charged, though I thought it might be close to fully charged, so I began to charge my cellphone at 5%. I recorded the time and charging rate at 10% intervals but at 57% the FirePak fully discharged and stopped charging the cell battery. I reached out to Rob Kay of Guns and Tech, he suggested using a direct charging plug and trying again. Once I plugged it into a 2A charger direct to the plug, it charged up overnight.

All in all, this unit is a good buy for those who want to expand their video capabilities to low-night-time conditions. It is small and powerful enough to have in your toolbox, just in case. It is durable and useful for most cellphone recording situations. And, it serves well as a flashlight illuminator during emergencies and when you might need a torch to light your path.

Whether you already have a youtube channel, are a budding professional videographer, or just want the firepower to be able to record life’s dark moments, FirePak is an excellent choice for all. You can see the FirePak in action at the manufacturer’s website: surefire.com/firepak

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GoalZero & Sunjack reviews

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Portable Powerpack Solar panel reviews

As everyone who lives here knows, Hawaii is no stranger to power outrages. The last big storm that came through knocked power out on the North Shore for half a day, yet that of course would be child’s play, if we got hit by something the magnitude of Iniki or Irma. As we all know, it’s just a matter of time.

So, how to charge our devices, in this event? Not everyone can afford a gas-powered generator (at least $1000) much less deal with the hassle of storing fuel. There are a few fixes that will at least keep small devices like your phone, pad, flashlight or radio powered up.

The first option, and the least expensive, is to stock up on batteries. The industry standard for modern flashlights, radios, lanterns, etc is the 18650 Li-Ion battery. Get yourself a battery charger to keep them topped off.

If you want to charge devices such as tablets, cell phones, etc., you’ll need to get some type of powerbank, essentially a battery with ports that allow you to charge any USB-based device. I’d suggest, opting for a portable solar panel which can assist in charging small devices, and keeping powerbanks topped off. There are a number of them available for backpackers or home users.

Input: Solar panels with charging cable arrangement. Output: Panel—>Powerpak—>Phone is the correct order

Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit

With a little research, I soon came upon the weatherproof GoalZero Zero Venture 30 portable power-bank phone, tablet & solar panel combo. It is a compact kit that includes storage and recharger. The kit is designed for the backpacker or traveler but anyone with charging needs in an emergency can benefit from this system.

Designed to charge point-of-view cameras, tablets, phones and other USB compatible devices, it’s 28 Wh (3.6V 7800 mAh) rechargeable battery can be coupled with a Nomad 7, 13 or 20-watt solar panel. Together they weigh a little more than 1-½ pounds. Built for travel or backpacking, for home use, it’s a bit under-powered.

Output kit showing cable types and solar panel chaining feature

The battery unit has been designed to be weatherproof (light rain not submersion) and shock-proof (moderate impact resistance) and can remember charging profiles of the devices you connect. The battery can be placed into a protective shipping mode designed to avoid self-discharge during periods of storage. For natural disasters, fully charging the battery and then placing it in storage mode for future use, is recommended prior to the event. Such a practice extends battery life significantly. The manufacturer claims “hundreds of life charging cycles” for the battery. The battery has two USB ports each capable of dishing out 2.4A each just like a plug version would. Apple, Android and Windows devices compatible with the output cables above.

This system included a 7-watt panel. While a standard 2A USB plug-in source can charge the battery in as little as 5 hours, charging times will vary from 16-hours with the 7-watt panel to 6-hours with the 20 watt panel. Priced accordingly, an innovative aspect of this kit is up to 4 solar panels can be chained together via the chaining input port.  Remember, battery and device charging times will depend on both the panels capacity, the angle of the sun to the panels, and the amount of sunlight available in your geographic location.

Test setup: Input (solar panels) and Output (cable types): Panel—>Powerpak—>Phone is the correct order

During periods of use, charge the battery fully first, then connect to the battery and charge your devices is the recommended use cycle. And, don’t forget to place the recharger in storage mode before you put it away for future use. Prior to an emergency, I suggest a dry run with the devices you plan to use before the emergency occurs so you understand the limits and capabilities of your Venture 30 Solar panel recharger kit.

SunJack 14W solar charger with 1o000mAh battery pack retails for $169 and is a good bet for camping or home use.

Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger + Powerbank

Another solar panel/powerbank combo we tested was the Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger + Powerbank.

The solar charger has four panels and when folded is about the size of an Apple iPad. It folds into a rugged nylon case, which can be quickly unfolded and hung up to face the sun. A mesh pouch on the rear holds the charging port and cables, the devices to be charged, and the battery pack. It has a series of grommets along the edges of the panel so that you can easily attach it to your backpack.

The panels provide up to 14W of 5 volt USB power under a bright sun ideally producing 2,000mAh every hour. That means you can recharge the powerbank that comes with it in about 4 hours (under a bright Hawaii sun).

Sunjack’s powerbank includes Qualcomm’s “Quick Charge 3.0” technology, which speeds up charging appreciably if the device on the other end (in this case my phone) also has “Quick Charge” capabilities.

The panels provide up to 14W of 5 volt USB power under a bright sun ideally producing 2,000mAh every hour. That means you can recharge the powerbank that comes with it in about 4 hours (under a bright Hawaii sun).

According to the experts I spoke to at Illuminationgear.com 1.5-2Ah is the minimum acceptable usable panel output.

Otherwise, charging your powerbank, or anything else, will take a full day. The Sunjack 14 W system, which retails for $149 (with the power bank) is a good place to start. You could also consider their 20W kit with 2 lithium battery packs, for $169.

The Sunjack’s 10,000mAh Advanced Powerbank, which comes with the solar kit (or sells separately for $29) has three ports, the standard USB, the micro USB and the new USB-C. What I really like is that it comes with Qualcomm’s “Quick Charge 3.0” technology. This means if you have a phone or other device that is “quick charge” compatible (such as my Samsung 7) this little unit will charge your device (according to the manufacturer) up to 80% faster.

A mesh pouch on the rear holds the charging port and cables, the devices to be charged, and the battery pack. (Courtesy Tim Yan photo)

Whether it’s 80% or 59% faster is anyone’s guess but it’s fast. My cell phone was charged in about 20 minutes. In an emergency situation this could be crucial.

I’d certainly recommend this nifty little combo from SunJack.

The takeaway on this piece is the larger solar charging unit you can afford, the better. What’s more, if you can get a combo that comes with a fast-charging powerbank, assuming your devices also have this capability, get one.

Editor’s Note: Rob Kay contributed to this article.

Earth Day 2017

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Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.10.37 AMHow many of you remember the first time you saw our Earth? This view of ourselves embedded in a living planet, wrapped in oneness, exploded into our collective consciousness.

Did you know soon after this view of our whole planet was available to us, the modern global environmental movement was birthed?

“Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, 1948

For many Americans, perhaps the entire human population, this picture has sparked a collective shift about our planet. For the first time in history, we saw that we are all on a canoe—one race of islanders afloat in a sea of space.

This photo was taken from Apollo 8 on Christmas eve 1968 while scouting for a moon landing site. The crew lost radio contact with NASA going around the back of the moon and took this photo when they re-emerged from the dark side of the moon.

Imagine… as they rounded the moon’s edge, they saw our Earth some 240,000 miles away—glowing in deep blue framed by white clouds—embedded in seemingly empty space. The surface features in the foreground are on the eastern limb of the moon as viewed from our planet.

Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders had become the first humans to leave Earth orbit, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968. In a historic live broadcast that night, the crew took turns reading from the Book of Genesis, closing with a holiday wish from Commander Borman: “We close Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.07.03 AMwith good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth.”

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.” — Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell

As a species we had ventured beyond our Earth’s atmosphere into the sea of emptiness around our planet home. It was the first mission to leave Earth orbit and these were the first astronauts to see the Earth as a whole. Now we have the meta-view, a view of ourselves as one system, held together in space with no one to save us and no one more responsible than us for our shared destiny.

Within 2 years of publication of this perspective, 1970, the modern environmental movement was birthed, the first Earth Day was held, and the Federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were passed by a Republican, Richard Nixon, who clearly recognized the values of conservation, of clean air and water to all our people.

In 1970, with nine staff members and a $125,000 budget, a Washington, D.C.-based group organized the Environmental Teach-in, which would become became the first Earth Day.

 With then senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin as their champion, the staffers brought together volunteers in dozens of cities and college campuses around the country.

04221970
Judy Moody and Denis Hayes on April 22, 1970 with the first Earthday teach-in banner in the background

Hayes, who had dropped out of Harvard Law School the year before to join Senator Nelson’s project, also chaired the Earth Day anniversary celebrations in 1990 and 2000. 
”[Hayes was] the one who did the unglamorous, wearisome job of starting it up,” Ralph Nader told the New York Times in 1990. “[Hayes] is an orchestrator of environmental events which were national … and now are global.”

Like Earth, Hawaiian islands are remote and surrounded by a sea that restricts passage, yet, unlike Hawaii, humans do not have ships bringing food or water to Earth. There is no Planet B. We have no other home nor do we have alternative sources of food and water.

BruceJustinAlGore1999LtrEarth day 1970 celebrations in Hawaii were led by Bruce Justin Miller and his team at University of Hawaii. The events of the first Earth Day, were called the First National Environmental Teach-In. While I do not have any pictures from that day, I ran across this letter written from Al Gore to Bruce and his team in 1999.
[Click on the pictures to expand them into larger sizes for reading or to download.]

And, these micro-fiche snippets from Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser, are illustrative of the energy and interest of folks then. Thanks to Dave Atcheson.

HonoluluAdvertiser_EarthDay1970In the Honolulu-Advertiser article was an a column advocating green practices. Notice it mentions the UH Earth Day event, and proposes ways for islanders to reduce waste by using reusable bags, making laundry soap, reducing car miles, and eliminating toxic cleaning products, and pesticides, such as DDT, etc.

Yet, here we are almost 50-years later debating those same ideas, because fossil fuel businesses have such a stranglehold on politics and people, we still cannot believe we can change our behaviors, it seems.StarBulletin04221970

 In the second article from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, dated April 22, 1970, a prophetic quote from scientist, Dr. J. Murray Mitchell Jr. who said, “…The release of increasing quantities of carbon dioxide and thermal pollution into the atmosphere threatens to change global weather and melt the polar ice, flooding wide areas. Man may begin to notice the change by the end of this century.”

For many GenX’ers, perhaps even Boomers—ahead of our time—that our society is still _talking_ about changing our behavior, almost 50-years later, reducing our waste and footprint on our only planet—still talking and not doing—induces major depression and climate angst. Yet, it is also the driving force for social improvement of our continued advocacy. As the 50th anniversary approaches of that moment when a picture of our Earth shimmering in space changed us forever, why not get involved with the Earth Day Network?

Riseup folks, we are much better than we have been programmed to believe! Stand up for the Earth on which you stand.


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Preparing for the Future of Work

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Future of Work is Here

Each generation’s ability to advance their own destinies and contribute positively to subsequent generations is dependent on their awareness of how important it is to be future focused. The hourglass of time does not stop running, and it will take all of us, starting now, to imagine and work our way beyond the past we and our ancestors have created, yet where many surprisingly find ourselves stuck.

Look… the future is coming for you. Can you imagine a future-focused—worst and best-case scenario—a scenario largely dependent upon what we do now?

Starting with a pragmatic understanding of reality, as it is today—this moment—is crucial to effectively create our dreams in the future. It has been said, if you are anxious, you are focused too much on the future. If you are, regretful or depressed, too much on the past. If you are content, then you are present focused. Too much of one and you are stuck!

Near Future Scenario
Anyone Born after 2000 and Today’s High School Students

man-76196_1920Scenario…The year is 2025. Hawaii, like most of the U.S., has accelerated their shift to a model relying upon extended family groups. College debt has continued to rise and further compromised meager savings; increased long-term debt has become an unsustainable challenge for many parents and students, alike. Little attention has been focused on what courses and degrees will result in work (or jobs) for these youngsters who have grown up in an age of uncertainty. The poor have grown poorer, educational systems have not kept up with emerging market-driven needs and the middle-class, especially has continued to erode. The U.S. world educational ranking grade remains at a “C” – i.e., the bottom of the middle of the pack.

A different scenario…The year is still 2025.

Ostock-exchange-911608_1920ur educational institutions have responded to the revolutionary needs of students and provided them with expert guidance as to the set of courses that will ensure their best options in the future. Likewise, college costs have been eased by the inclusion of more virtual courses taught by world-renowned educators who inspire as well as instruct. Targeted technical knowledge, specific skills, flexibility and lifetime learning are now embraced by highly diverse mainstream workers. U.S. world educational rankings have risen to a “B” and we are on our way to an “A” ranking.

Now, today, ask yourself:

Playbook4Teens
The Playbook for Teens is co-authored by Hawaii Wingman, Carleen MacKay, who is the originator of a series of work-focused playbooks for several generations.
  • Are your children’s schools teaching robotics and new technologies at every age and level – from kindergarten on? Do you know?
  • Are you involved with your children’s teachers – challenging them to advocate for continuous improvement in teaching methodologies?
  • Have you read Playbook for Teens on Amazon? Might you inspire high-schoolers with the real-life stories of people, just a few years older than they are; people who can demonstrate winning game plans that will matter to their own futures.
  • Are you building blocks for future-focused viable careers by helping your children to find opportunities to learn well beyond the classroom walls?

The future will be determined by what we teach our children today


Pivot to the Pacific, into YOUR future.

workforcewingmentaglogoWe are your Wingmen

Reach out to your favorite wingman—we are multi-generational coaches. You will benefit from our proven 8-Step process. Let us guide you to what you need to know and do in order to advance your career in a time of hyper-shift. We can help you implement a plan that will work for you the day after the day after tomorrow.

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow
Authors, Speakers, Emergent Workforce Experts


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Riseup

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What’s your calling?

What motivates you to get out into the urban world to stand and speak for positive vision of the future?

timrobiblogpic
My inspiring brother, Blue eyes Tim Kinslow

In 2007, as he lay in the hospital, his body succumbing to the ravages of chemo and cancer, my younger brother called me out. I was there with about 30 of his family and friends. Tim had been sitting quietly in his bed, propped up, yet with his head lowered, listening to the muffled banter from everyone. I was over at the door, opening and closing it softly so that the sudden sounds would not jar him, as he loved quiet stillness.

Suddenly, he raised his head, looked me in the eyes from across the room, and asked, “What are you doing over there, Robbie?”

Continue reading the rest of the story…


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Future of Work Trends

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Think about five short years from now, UNLESS something radical changes…

By 2021…

  1. The old will be older and broker and millions, in this fastest aging of U.S. States, will increase dependence upon younger generations amid overburdened social and healthcare systems that are ready to plunge our economy into a state-of-disaster.
  1. Gen “Z” will be out in full force – half won’t be ready and many more will be denied access to specific skills and competencies the future demands. Increased negative economic and societal challenges will increase major differences. In Hawaii, for example, college costs will continue to rise much faster than subsequent wage growth.

    wakeupwithpurpose

  2. Hawaii’s workers will not be in the full-time, “job” workforce. In the private sector, needed skills, competencies and talent will be used when needed, if needed and as often as needed. The race to a safe haven in the public sector will be overtaken by underfunded pensions. Our ability to pay for the last of the “lifetime” jobs, already standing on shaky ground, will be vulnerable to changes you might not want to experience.

Yet, IF we straighten up and fly right… support our people,

By 2021…

  1. Old age will be re-defined and Kupuna will be encouraged to continue to contribute to the world of work – well into their 70’s, perhaps 80’s. Likewise, a shift to emerging active aging programs, such as health-focused Blue Zones project, will prove beneficial to all.generation-z_infographic
  1. Gen “Z” will have many more opportunities to learn at modest costs. Much of this learning will be online and will be augmented with the dedicated help of pensioned, older folks who will have the time and interest to actively mentor the most challenged of Gen Z’ers. And, by the way, the youngest among us will also mentor up to help Gen Y, X generations learn what they have to teach.
  1. We will all learn to manage our work lives as our businesses – not as simply jobs! We will embrace lifetime learning, a term that, once-upon-a-time, was simply granted lip service. We will grow our careers, re-align our lives in line with our own changing interests and changing technologies, re-boot old interests and help others to succeed.

We are your Wingmen

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay ::  Rob Kinslow

The Science of Consciousness & Healing

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I want to share a little-known secret for improving your quality of life, achieving deep healing and radiant health… even living longer… and better.

stream-1106336_1920(1)It’s not a new super-food.

It’s not a new yoga practice.

And, it’s certainly not a new pill…

It’s your own consciousness.   

Consciousness is the “x-factor” behind deep healing, radiant health and living a long, productive life — even as you advance into your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond!

Yes, health and longevity originate in human consciousness and finds expression in body, mind, heart and soul.

If you’re curious about WHY this is so and, more importantly, want to discover tools you can use to shape your health and happiness, connect with Dr. Marilyn Schlitz. Marilyn has been at the forefront of fascinating and game-changing work in consciousness research, integrative medicine, longevity and healing. She brings more than 30 years experience and study with leading-edge scientists, healers and shamans.ConsciousnessHealing_intro_skyscraper

On Saturday, July 23, she will present a fascinating FREE online event: Using the Power of Your Consciousness for Healing: Discover the X-Factor in Creating Radiant Health.

During this exciting event, you’ll…

  • Receive a more complete picture of how healing really happens through consciousness
  • Discover the power of expectancy in creating pain and discomfort (and what you can do to shift it)
  • Recognize the importance of loving relationships in any healing process
  • Receive insights into the remarkable new findings that show you can consciously influence your genetics, as well as your endocrine and immune system

I invite you to join me for a mind-expanding hour on how to use the power of your consciousness for health and healing. 

True holistic health is so much more than managing your weight and cholesterol and hoping for the best… Marilyn will show you how you can work with your consciousness to achieve a quality life. Register here

be-1358282_1920Using the Power of Your Consciousness for Healing you’ll receive the latest scientific insights that demonstrate the power of your thoughts, emotions and relationships in shaping your health and happiness.

You’ll also be given simple practices to apply in your daily life.

If you can’t listen live, you’ll receive a downloadable replay of the event.

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Disclosure: The link in this post is an affiliate, which means I receive a small commission if you clicknpick. Affiliate link or not, my promise is to only recommend and link to resources I believe will add value to your life and/or work.

 

Let’s talk about the Future of Work

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Enough about the past; let’s talk about the future of work.

How, when and where will we work? 21stCenturywork

We are already working full-time, part-time, on-demand, temporarily, once-in-awhile… from home, from our car, a train, plane or automobile and from across town or across the world. We work for free, for a fee, for ourselves, for the good of others, for learning and/or for the fun of it! We gain-share, bargain or are paid an hourly rate.

The speed of change is accelerating. Within a year or two, few people will ask the question we are asking.

The more you have to offer the changed market, the more choices you’ll have to work in any – or all – ways we have just highlighted.

The more you prepare to meet the demands of change, the more adaptable you’ll be. The more you will be able to accommodate swiftly moving life circumstances and interests.

What are a few of the most recent changes that have affected how, who and where some of us will work in Hawaii in the near future?

hand-1112469_1920First, take a look at the on-demand world and you’ll soon have help with everything from Spring Cleaning to furniture packing. Haven’t heard about the hundreds of on-demand companies in Hawaii? Take a look at how many home food delivery options are a short 808 call away. Want a glass of wine with your dinner? Google “home wine delivery – Honolulu.” Prepare to see well over 150 home delivery options. Your favorite food and wine will be on your table within 24 to 48 hours.

These, and many other firms are delivering services and goods in new ways that will affect you—including, how you work, where you might work, or… how you shop!

The tip of an iceberg of change is floating your way. Keep looking. A new option will emerge tomorrow or the very next day. We’ll keep you posted to many of the changes.

Speaking of changes… here’s one to watch: reasonably long-term jobs with a good company began to change in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Such jobs are now only one way of working and if trends are to be believed, also diminishing in numbers.

The On-Demand, Hyper-Shift, Work from Anywhere Economy is here. Everyone is now a business – including you!

It’s time to learn how to run You, Inc.
But, it’s a bad idea to solo,
at least until you are ready to fly without a wing-man.

Ask us how we can help you to prepare for a future that matters. Let’s #makeworkbetter, ok?

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow :: Fabian Lewis

Story of a Freelancer

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Story of a Freelancer
by Carleen MacKay
:: Rob Kinslow

In our April 5th post, we introduced you to the new world of work, to “Freelancers,” or people who work on behalf of organizations when and wherever needed.

pexels-photoBy 2020, according to a raft of experts, 40%+ of American workers will be “freelancers” in all sectors of the economy. Other experts predict the number may be as high as 50% by 2020.

Situation: This is the story of a real-life person. Our freelancer is someone who migrated from a dozen years of full-time work where he had been designated the “Employee of the Year” to being laid-off and forced to taste the painful and “Unexpected Freedom” of freelancing.outsource-1345109_1280

Goal: Although he submitted resumes for numerous full-time editorial and corporate communications positions, the response rate was low to non-existent. He was further encouraged to pursue freelancing by the lack of interest among prospective new employers, who tended to view his extensive experience and knowledge, not as an asset but as a negative option. Especially, when considered against hiring recent college graduates for a fraction of the salary, our story-teller felt he wanted or his experience deserved. He discovered the world of hiring in the new decade is not about experience and capabilities, but about casting ones portfolio within the needs of prospective clients. He learned to explore and market for this new business of freelancing.

Actions: He undertook face-to-face networking activities, while simultaneously expanding his LinkedIn profile and building a network of 500+ contacts. He accepted freelance opportunities that did not pay well, simply in order to gain experience. He began building a portfolio of work samples.

As time went by, he became adept at turning in quality work on tight deadlines, which drew the attention of new clients. Soon he landed two or three “anchor clients,” giving him a solid foundation of steady work at a respectable wage which, in turn, led to several large-scale web content projects.

By the end of his first year as a freelancer, entrepreneur-696966_1920he began to reap the benefit of client recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals.

Consequences: Our freelancer is now established in a successful freelance business. Not only does he have the comfort of working from home, his daily schedule allows time to play tennis and swim laps at his neighborhood club. He is no longer dependent upon a single company for his earnings, but instead works regularly for a wide range of clients – most of whom he has never met in person and with whom he stays in contact via various online modes of communications.

Lesson: Our freelancer learned the value of persistence by making strong use of online platforms and staying in touch with prospective clients. She has become adept at establishing his brand, at creating sales documents, at maximizing his profile on LinkedIn as well as at leveraging various social connections online as well as in person. He learned to set boundaries to client requests for uncompensated hours in order to prove his worth. Eagerness to work should not be over-used to extract uncompensated commitments or outcomes.

Credible experts predict that the workplace may be dominated by Freelancers in the next decade. Here’s a snippet, summarizing these predictions, from Thomas Frey (futuristspeaker.com).

“Virtually any company that cannot find ways to do things more efficiently and reduce costs will not survive. Business colonies are an organic process of matching labor to projects for the exact duration of the contract.  No more, no less.”                                                                                                                        

Do you want to learn how to Freelance? Ask us for help!

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow

Would you like to learn about another way to work in the 21st century?

Look for our next post…


Questions? Answers? More posts by the author.
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Future of Work

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Did you know? The Future of Work is HERE and NOW…

Jobs are disappearing from the future of work

The world is saying no to many traditional jobs these days.  Take a look at the truth of Work. Ensure you have a Future of Work

  • No political party can promise you a job. At best, they attempt to create platforms that will encourage business success, thus (presumably) encouraging hiring.

  • No private sector organization will hire you full-time, if you’re not needed full-time.

  • No public sector organization or institution can afford to ignore their enormous pension debts by continuing to hire as they have in the past.

Layoffs are the future of work

  • No large company is any safer, than any smaller company in terms of providing job security. The Fortune’s 100 companies (the largest employers) have had more than double the number of layoffs than non-Fortune’s 100 companies.

  • No, invention is not a birthright. New technologies have created thousands of new jobs, while causing the loss of thousands.

Future of Work is YOU

  • No end is in sight for the economic unrest that the world is facing. Economic unrest works for and against “jobs” in this country as elsewhere.

  • If pension-less workers do not continue to work, in some capacity, later in life, our economic system will be challenged to cope.

  • No, we cannot afford to overlook the aging of America. There are millions of Americans age 65 and older. Put this in perspective, in the United States there are more people 65 and older than in each of the entire Canadian and Australian populations. This demographic will double by 2030. More than 30% of the US workforce is 50+ years young.

  • No, the U.S. workforce is no longer competitive in the high-demand areas of mathematics and the sciences. Our children are fragmented into the haves and have-nots; our boomers are under-prepared for new massively disruptive challenges, retirement requirements and longer work lifetimes.

What are you willing to do to win your battle for the Future of Work? Will you find new ways to work? Can you see opportunities embedded within the many threats? Will you dare to do something different than experience dictates?

Join us now, fasten your space-suits, summon your reserve of courage for there are many, and often better, ways to work beyond the old world of the familiar. Let us tell you the stories of the pioneers of the future who have turned tomorrow’s threats into today’s opportunities!

Visit us at NewWorkForceHawaii and explore stories of inspiration written just for YOU.

Or, contact us via our LinkedIn Profiles:

Carleen MacKay ::  Angelica Lewis :: Fabian Lewis :: Rob Kinslow

Leadership Learning from the Wheel

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Movement Model of Behavior

Learning from the Wheel of Life
Figure 1: Movement Model of Behavior

Leadership Learning:

According to my Native heritage, teachings and wisdom, recognition of Our ancestors, who’ve prepared the path of life for us, must be acknowledged. My teachers and mentors inspired me to leadership. Our relationships can include those with those who have gone before and those yet to come. Honoring and acknowledging those on whose shoulders we stand, connecting and communicating with our past and future, are fundamental practices of sustainable development. Me, you, we are all a bridge between the ancestors and those yet to come. Leadership from Learning is key.

Figure 1 shows how you may exemplify leadership learning. Read more here, or connect with me on LinkedIn


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How Dogs Make Us Better People

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Sydney Ross Singer

Medical Anthropologist

Director, Good Shepherd Foundation

There are a lot of things which I hate about people. I’m sure many people feel the same, and have their own list of things they hate about people. 

Let’s face it. As a species, we humans are a mixed bag. For every good trait we possess as a species, there is a bad one. For every human-made treasure there is a human-caused horror.

Thank goodness there are dogs. 

Big dogs, small dogs, medium dogs, dogs of all colors and breeds are Nature’s gift to humans. More than that, they are our saviors. 

What people lack, dogs provide. They are more than our best friend. They are Nature’s complement to our human nature. 

Without dogs, we would be too human. With dogs, we can become the best we can be as humans. 

You might argue that my portrayal of dogs is idealized. Admittedly, some dogs are as bad as people. However, assuming they were trained properly, in a way that respects their nature, they are ideal beings to complement humans.  

Here is my list of 10 bad human traits, and how dogs help us compensate. 

1. People don’t play enough

Sometimes, you want to play, and approach some other human to see if they want to join you, but they are busy with their own stuff and brush you off. We humans take life too seriously sometimes, and lose the desire to play and enjoy life. 

My dog is always ready to play. She can be asleep or licking herself intently, and all I need to do is ask if she wants to play, and she’ll be eager to go. So long as she is healthy, she wants to play. To a dog, life is play. If you want fun, play with a dog. 

2. People don’t show their true feelings

People are actors, so you never really know when they are trying to fool you. We humans are trained to say the opposite of what we may feel, and to do things, and say things, that we really don’t want to do, or say. Great emphasis is placed on the ability to act differently than you feel. The most admired people in the world are actors, who are essentially trained to fool people. 

Dogs never fool you. If they are looking hurt, then they are hurt. It’s not an act to get out of doing something they don’t want to do. If they like you, they show it clearly. If they don’t like you, they also show that clearly. When we are tired of people being dishonest or hard to read, hang out with a dog for some honest connection.

3. People have a hard time forgiving

There would not have to be religious instruction to “turn the cheek” if doing so was a common practice. Humans are a prideful species. Revenge and aggression are the usual ways people deal with insults and injuries from other people. Some people even hold onto a grudge all their lives. 

Dogs also get into disputes with other dogs, but typically get over it quickly. When things get too heated, they shake it off, and move on with life. When it comes to dealing with their disputes with humans, dogs typically give in, and will even apologize. It doesn’t have to have been their fault. Dogs feel badly when you feel badly, and want you to feel better. They don’t have human pride preventing them from saying they are sorry and that they want you to continue loving them.  

4. People rarely give unconditional love

The love we feel from others can seem temporary and conditional. People are often very insecure about their relationships, worrying, for example, that they will no longer be esthetically or sexually attractive, or that age will rob them of their desirability. People worry about others stealing their loved one’s heart. Given all the acting and feigning of emotion that humans can do, their relationships are built on uncertainty and potential dishonesty. Relationships are a social contract, especially marriage, and if any of the terms of the contract are breached, then the relationship can be terminated, along with any love.

Dogs have a much greater comfort with relationships. They don’t care how you look or how gracefully you age. If you show them affection, then they will reciprocate in kind. They will take as much love as you can give, and will give as much love as you can take. They don’t require any contracts or agreements, other than the agreement that so long as you give love, they will be there to love you back. 

5. When the going gets tough, people leave

Friends come and go, depending on your particular fortune at the moment. When times are good, you have lots of friends. When times turn bad, you usually find yourself alone. When you are under attack, don’t expect anyone to come to your rescue, especially if you are not paying them to help.

Dogs never need payment to protect you. They instinctively protect their pack, which includes you. Regardless of your dog’s size, he or she will be there barking for you, defending you against any sized foe. They will stay up at night, or sleep with one ear open, guarding you from threats. When all else fails, your dog will still be by your side. 

6. People are control freaks

Humans are domesticating the Earth. That’s what we do as a species. We humanize the world, and are now aiming to humanize the moon and Mars. We see natural boundaries as challenges to overcome. We want to control our world, and to control other people. We want to control animals and plants, and the genetic code. We want to control everything that is controllable, and thereby humanize it. And we fight among ourselves over whom is ultimately in control.  

Dogs are happy playing with you, or chilling with you. They have no ambition other than to live and be with their human. They are connected to nature, and through our connection to them we renew our connection with nature. 

7. People use too much technology

Technology is great if you want to get certain things done. But the problem is that we humans aren’t very wise with the things we choose to get done. Technology magnifies our ability to control everything, without giving us greater wisdom to control ourselves or best choose how to apply our technology. Our growing technology makes us a growing threat. 

Dogs are low tech. For them, it all comes down to teeth and claws and jumping. Not much wisdom needed, once you figure out what to bite and what not to bite. They have no interest in discovering new ways to bite, claw, or jump. They are not wanting to use doggie tech to take over the world or visit the planet Pluto, despite their belief that Pluto was named after a dog. 

8. People are worried about bad breath

Breath fresheners are big business, since our culture makes a big stink about bad breath, as though we needed more reasons to feel insecure. 

Dogs love bad breath. The more they love your breath, the worse it must be. As for dogs, they only have, well, dog breath, which is not bad if their teeth and gums are healthy. Dog breath is more like ho-hum breath in humans, unless the dog has just been cleaning out the kitty litter. 

9. People need to wear clothing in public

Clothing and fashion are ways we humans redesign ourselves into a more artificial form, which we find more appealing by cultural standards. Some of these fashions change body shape, and thereby change body function, often leading to disease. The link between breast cancer and bras is one example of clothing-caused disease. Corsets, tight shoes, neckties, tight jeans, and tight underwear have all been implicated in causing disease. Meanwhile, body image disorders plague women, and increasingly more men, as they fear exposure of their bodies to the judgments of others. Some cover their bodies in shame, while others display their bodies for reasons of sex-appeal and narcissism. Our personal natures are judged by the clothes we wear, which are also badges of social placement, income level, education level, and other social markings. Being free of clothing is taboo. We cannot exist in public without clothing, a type of textile-oppression. Our identities are part textile.

Dogs are naked, unless their human has dressed them with clothing. They are unabashedly naked, too. They lick whatever needs licking, so long as it can be reached. They want to be free of tight, uncomfortable clothing, or anything that gets in the way of their movement and of their licking and bitting themselves. And they don’t mind seeing you naked, either. You can do anything naked with your dog, even defecate, and they have no problem with it. Depending on what you ate, they may even have an active interest. 

10. People have taboos

Taboos are obstacles to intelligence. You cannot intelligently discuss a taboo subject. These subjects are usually about certain eliminatory bodily functions, such as defecation or urination, or are about sexual organs and functions. There are also taboos in how you dress, what you eat, and what words you cannot say. There are also religious taboos. We humans are guided, and blinded, by many taboos, most of which we cannot even mention without discomfort. 

Dogs have no taboos, apart from stealing another dog’s bone. That’s more an unwritten law of dogs. But dogs have no hangups about bodily functions. They don’t have dress or food taboos, and can bark at anything they like with no concern about censorship or of offending anyone. How liberating is that!

Conclusion

We all have problems as humans. As a species, we have been pretty destructive of  plants, animals, people, and the environment. We can make great food, send people to outer space, and invent great things like the Slinky, but we are incomplete without our canine better half. Dogs keep us grounded, and show us how to love unconditionally. They make us play and exercise with them, and always give us honesty and integrity of spirit. They forgive us when we abuse them, and help us when we are abused by someone else. They don’t ask for much, take life as it is given to them without complaint, and live simple lives being naked and without taboos. 

We all need more of that in our lives. 

Barreling Toward a Tax Hike!

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On January 5, State Director of Finance Craig Hirai was (kind of) answering questions before the House Finance Committee on the Administration’s budget.

In response to questions on what the Administration had planned for revenue increases, he stated that the plan is “kind of embargoed right now.”

“You cannot just present the plan and say the details are embargoed,” replied Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance chair. “There is an obligation to be honest with the public, and honest with the Legislature to provide the details on what tax increase assumptions were built into the financial plan that was submitted on Dec. 21.”

“I don’t have my list with me,” Hirai said.

“So, let me just ask you then, are you planning to raise the carbon tax?”

“Possibly.”

“Are you planning to institute a sugar tax?”

“Possibly.”

“Are you planning to raise the GET [general excise tax]?”

“I don’t think so.”

In this article, we’ll provide some information on “the carbon tax,” which is most likely the “barrel tax.”

Hawaii has two kinds of taxes on fossil fuels.  One is the liquid fuel tax, which is normally paid at the pump.  We don’t think this is the “carbon tax” referred to because the fuel tax is earmarked for the State Highway Fund, which only the Department of Transportation can tap, and if this earmark is changed there may be federal consequences because the U.S. Department of Transportation contributes federal highway money to it.

The other tax is the environmental response, energy, and food security tax, which we refer to as the barrel tax.  It has a history of twists and turns.

This tax started off as the environmental response tax, imposed at 5 cents a barrel of imported petroleum product to create a fund for environmental cleanup in case of an oil spill in Hawaiian waters.

In 2010, the tax rate was increased by 2000% (!) to $1.05.  After the increase, the vast majority of the tax was used not only to shore up our general fund, but also to feed various special funds that pay for environmental conservation programs, energy and food security, and related activities. As a result of the additional responsibilities placed upon the fund, it was given its new and much longer name.  The tax increase was set to sunset in five years, on June 30, 2015.  Gov. Lingle vetoed it at the time, but the Legislature overrode the veto and enacted the change anyway.

In 2015, the barrel tax was expanded to encompass not only petroleum products, but any kind of fossil fuel.  Thus, non-petroleum fuels such as liquefied natural gas, propane, and coal were subjected to the tax as well.  In addition, the sunset clause on the 2000% tax increase was snipped away, making the 2010 increases permanent.

In the Department of Taxation’s most recent annual report, the barrel tax was levied on 23.8 million barrels of petroleum for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, and it was imposed on 5.9 million BTU of non-petroleum fossil fuels, taking in $26.1 million in total.

$26.1 million, however, is much, much smaller than our projected revenue shortfall (more than $1 billion for each of the next four years).  So perhaps we need to brace ourselves for another dramatic increase in the tax rate – another 2000% since they already did that once, perhaps?  Either that, or we may be in for a substantial expansion of the scope of the tax.  In either case, the culture of silence that the Administration seems to be embracing is troubling.

We will know for sure on January 25th, the date of the State of the State address, because all Administration bills will be formally introduced and thus revealed to the public at that time.

Meet 8 Year Old Kaiya Mack with a Voice and a Mission to Raise $10,000 to Help Kids in Need!

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In December 2020, Kaiya Mack launched her first music video and single featured on Reggae Ville titled  “Last Christmas” the Reggae remix, where she has already raised over $5,000 for Ronald McDonald House charities and at the same time being featured alongside the likes of Reggae Superstar Shaggy on the Pandora Very Irie Christmas Reggae Playlist.

Kaiya’s Goal is to raise $10,000 for Ronald Mc Donald House Charities and she is using BTS’s smash hit Dynamite as her rocket ship to help raise funds for other kids and families needing urgent medical attention. Kaiya was born with a rare birth defect called Gastroschisis where her intestines were outside of her body. Her family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for the first four months of her life as she had many operations. Then the family stayed there again last year when she had another operation.

Kaiya’s music has caught the attention of Soca Icon Machel Montano where his label Monk Records will be distributing her next single and music video Dynamite the Reggae Remix on Januaray 22, 2021. It was shot in Iconic Hawaii and produced by Reggae Grammy winner J Vibe. She hopes to inspire other kids like her and hit her goal of raising $10,000.

Donations are being accepted at http://support.rmhc.org. More information about Kaiya can be found at http://www.kaiyamack.com.

Money goes to the Ronald McDonald House chapters in Hawaii and the Bay area.

She’s on social media as @iamkaiyamack on IG, TikTok, Youtube, Facebook.

“We are thrilled to see Kaiya doing so well and grateful that she wants to donate a portion of her fundraiser to Ronald McDonald House Charities Hawaii. Her generosity will help us continue to provide a home-away-from-home and essential services for families staying at our Houses while their children get medical treatment on Oahu.”

RMHC Hawaii President Jerri Chong

MAGA Suppression Fosters Political Split

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I recall the night that Donald Trump was elected president. I was covering election night with a colleague, continually updating with the startling results as they came in.

To my surprise, my normally benign colleague was pumping the air with his fists and his MAGA hat came out of nowhere.

That is when it hit me as an “aha” moment.

A lot of voters that supported Trump were people often denoted by the mainstream press as residents of “flyover” country. They were white working class men and women, people whose taxes were being used to bail out the banks during the recession while they lost their homes and land. They were farmers breaking under the strain of increasing competition from other countries. They were executives who resented their taxes being used for foreign aid and failed social programs. They were workers who perceived themselves as competing with undocumented workers for work. They were wealthy, educated people that held beliefs that were espoused by Trump, who could only talk amongst themselves for fear of retribution.

Shortly after the election, people I knew proudly revealed they had voted for Trump, acknowledging each other and forming bubbles of support. Most were just glad. But some became radical supporters.

A friend that used to silence me when I spoke of politics in groups has now become a member of some GOP groups. She espouses alt platforms on her social media to gain access to information from right-wing organizations that are banned in the usual social media. Once apolitical, she is chasing the info-dragon, searching online for more contact with the alt-right. Another acquaintance uses all his free time trolling the Internet to participate in chat groups and alt-right blogs and to gain more details of the alleged conspiracy to steal the election. Still another friend who is not politically right or left has expressed support for investigating the allegations of voter fraud and strong doubts about the judiciary throwing out all of Trump’s lawsuits.

None of these people are stupid. They have never demonstrated racism to me. I don’t know what their thoughts are on the subject because it has never been up for discussion.

What I do know is that since the siege at the United States Capitol last week, all of them have become more disenchanted with the media, the government, Congress and the attempts by Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google to silence Trumpers.

When Trump was elected the results showed a rising tide of emotion that translated into votes. Polls misled America into believing that Hillary Clinton would win because, it was theorized, many were uncomfortable expressing who they really supported. Even in an anonymous poll.

Since he won, Trump supporters often bear their politics in public, pushing past doubters and waving their flags and their MAGA hats proudly in protest against the political correctness that dominated the pre-Trump era. Even in Honolulu, a bastion of Democratic politics, Trump supporters rally around the Capitol every weekend in caravan, waving flags and honking horns.

And now, with Trump fading disgraced out of the White House, that political correctness has escalated to suppression on social media platforms and censorship. The book Turner’s Rebellion has even been removed from Amazon’s platform, fearing it will cause insurrection.

It is clearly obvious that these outlets do not wish to be blamed if/when there is another siege, especially as control is being transferred from Republican to Democratic hands in the Executive and Legislative branches.

When there is repression, there arises expression. It is the irony of life, one of those things.

These mainstream attempts to suppress freedom of expression may have untold collateral damage as those who felt marginally disenfranchised before are feeling thoroughly disenfranchised now.

The largely show-impeachment of Donald Trump for a second time has also marginalized a huge group of now-very active people who feel from the bottom of their souls, that the election was stolen from them.

Freedom is the longing of the American soul. That is what we are all about. That includes freedom of expression – no matter how noxious it is – for all. When that freedom is denied, albeit by the marketplace in this case – Americans will find another way. Because the other hallmark of America is American ingenuity. We find solutions. And that is what is happening. New alt platforms are increasing daily.

With it, the disparity amidst the conversation is growing more heated. The sides are hardening; not softening. The discourse is becoming more angry. The self-righteousness of both sides is escalating with the media and the Democrats assuming that they have a mandate to power.

But power has always been intoxicating. Watch Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to see what it looks like when it’s at its peak. Arrogance is not pretty. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

By suppressing the voices of Americans who were already “flyovers” before Trump, the fallout could be unanticipated collateral damage that emerges as a new and more vitriolic group rises in its place; bitter, determined, self-righteous and armed with a new infusion of reactionary passion.

Scrutinize the Big Agencies!

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There has been a lot of flip-flopping and waffling going on in government.  President Trump groused about, panned, and then finally signed a second stimulus package on Sunday, Dec. 27.  Then Gov. Ige, who previously decided to furlough public employees, put the furloughs on hold on Dec. 23 (after Congress passed the stimulus package but before President Trump signed it) knowing full well that there was nothing in the package with any designated funding for state and local governments.  The furloughs won’t start until some unspecified time in the future.  Or maybe the idea of furloughs will be scrapped.

In the meantime, there is a very real concern about balancing the state budget.  There is a projected shortfall of $1.4 billion over each of the next four years.  The furloughs, representing roughly 10% of state payroll costs, were to save $300 million, or $0.3 billion, a year.

There is still a lot of real estate between $0.3 billion and $1.4 billion a year, and we are already giving up on the $0.3?  “I know how hard state employees have been working during this difficult period and I realize how much distress this will cause our employees and their families,” Gov. Ige said when the furloughs were announced in early December.  But Governor, haven’t you seen the pandemonium at your Department of Labor?  Those of us in the private sector have been suffering.  Layoffs are at unprecedented levels.  Businesses have been shuttering.  At least when you are furloughed and suffer a day off without pay you will have a job tomorrow.  Not so if you have been laid off.

On top of the layoffs, the Governor has asked individual departments and agencies to take budget cuts between 10% and 20%.  The big departments with broader public appeal, like the Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services, take the least pain.  The small departments that aren’t politically sexy, like the Department of Taxation, take the bigger hits.

I suggest that this is exactly the opposite of what we need.

If, for example, you put one big agency, such as the Department of Education with 25,000 employees, and a small agency, such as the Department of Taxation with 300 employees, side by side, you will probably find that there is more questionable spending in the bigger agency.  It’s easier to bury things in a bigger haystack. 

We are not at all suggesting that teacher salaries be cut indiscriminately.  Far from it.  But a nonprofit like the Education Institute of Hawaii had to spend years and a lawsuit to get the DOE to release basic financial data for public-focused analysis (which analysis will probably have limited value because the data released is now several years old).  And the State Auditor recently tried to get DOE to give them answers about basic COVID-19 procedures and protocols, and loudly complained about the stonewalling it got.  With this evidence of lack of transparency, it is easy to think that there is unsavory financial information that has been and is still being hidden from legislators, the public, or both.

And then, for the Department of Taxation, do the politicians appreciate that it brings in the lion’s share of the money that nearly all agencies need to survive?  Our tax laws are not simple.  People need the Department’s help to understand and comply with them.  And there are bad actors who wouldn’t mind skipping their tax payments if they think they can get away with it; for example, we just wrote about some landlords who were recently smoked out.  A 20% cut from that department means that there will be more confused taxpayers who won’t get help and more tax scofflaws who won’t get caught.  What good are budget cuts if the revenue doesn’t come in?

Let’s put some work into finding those nonessential expenses, and maybe we can come up with a better solution.

Trump Mob Takes Over the Capitol

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I was listening to speeches being made at the United States Senate during the tallying of the electoral college votes. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) was speaking.

Suddenly, he was whisked away mid-speech, without explanation, as lawmakers were herded away by officials.

At first, amidst the confusion, I did not consider a connection between the protests going on outside the rotunda. It was unimaginable that those protestors would bring their mayhem into that dignified and historical place!

And yet, video clearly shows protestors pushing riot police out of their way, forcing themselves into the entry and climbing their way into the capitol. Further, videos show scruffy-looking white men in camo sitting on the dias and making themselves at home in Speaker Pelosi’s office.

It is reminiscent of a Third-World country.

My soul cried from deep inside. This country – this last bastion of freedom – being undermined by a bitter mob trying to overturn an election.

Four years ago, friends who know of my intense respect for the Constitution and our Founding Fathers, tried to persuade me to join them in the March on Washington movement. They knew that I had left a political party and become “Declines to State” because I do not want to tie my politics to the mercurial fabrications of trending politicians.

I refused. I respected their feelings. Yet, to me, the peaceful transfer of power is the hallmark of our democracy. I could not take part in an effort to overturn an election, no matter how surprised I was at the result.

Fact is, I disliked both candidates equally, four years ago and this time, as well. To me, our media and the cost of elections have created a situation that only the wealthiest, the loudest, the most connected, the most likely to be corrupt and indebted – can be elected. I do not believe that old Joe was the best of the bunch. In my view, he was the bottom of the barrel, but after 47 years of doing nothing, he finally had enough chits to call in and an opponent controversial enough that he finally made it. Time will tell, but it does look as if he is carrying a lot of baggage. Politicians who stay in one place gather a lot of moss; Joe Biden has been gathering moss for nearly five decades.

This year, I watched as Trump supporters in huge caravans peacefully paraded through Waikiki each weekend, flags flying, music blaring. My friends in California sent me photos of the riots and vandalism that occurred there regularly. I watched through the summer as clashes became increasingly more violent across the country between BLM and Trump people.

One woman was killed at the capitol today. (Circumstances surrounding her death, allegedly by gunshot, have not been released.) That is a tragedy! I lay her blood at the feet of the president and his minions.

I could never have imagined this, which is why, when it happened, I experienced such a profound disconnect associating the protests outside with what was happening inside the capitol.

First, the efforts to undermine the results of the election in the senate are only a show. There is no constitutional provision that allows the Senate to thwart the will of the people. Maybe Sen. Ted Cruz thinks he will find a place in Trump’s future plans or something, but his actions are little more than political theatre.

He knew that. He also knew that tensions were high, the stakes were unpredictable. And yet, he went at it with his colleagues, though GOP leaders like Sen. Mitch McConnell asked them to refrain from stirring it up.

The election results are certified by the STATES; not the legislature. Congress makes laws; they do not elect the president. We do. They do not have the constitutional authority to change the results of the election. They cannot overturn the certified results of the electoral college. Their only job is to receive the certified election results.

That would be a banana republic.

We, the people, cast our votes. We elected our president. The 39% Cruz alleged were unhappy with the results – does NOT amount to even close to 50% of the people as he claimed. Maybe he needs someone to show him a pie to illustrate 39%.

And it is of no consequence. There have been numerous challenges that have been adjudicated over the course of the election to arrive at the confirmation of Joe Biden as president. Nothing has arisen to change that. Even if Trump were to somehow mythically get one state to reverse its certified results – which cannot happen – it would not change the winner. It would still be Biden.

As I was driving, I listened as radio talk show host Sean Hannity was going at it amidst the violence, fomenting discontent, reiterating his concerns that there is a conspiracy that overturned the president’s victory. It’s crazy. Why wasn’t he saying that protestors should leave the capitol and obey the curfew? Why wasn’t he admonishing those who broke into our most sacred chambers of government?

Traditionally, conservatives believe in lower taxes, states’ rights, local control, fiscal responsibility. This is not that. Billion dollar border walls, ignoring environmental concerns, QAnon, Proud Boys… This is what the Founding Fathers called the tyranny of the majority – whoever yells the loudest gets heard.

I understand the frustration that some Americans felt when Trump was elected – and that finally, some said, they were heard after decades of increasingly liberal agendas. This is what it has wrought.

At this writing, Trump’s twitter account has finally been suspended.

Gaming on Hawaiian Homelands

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Recently, a sharply divided Hawaiian Homes Commission sent to Governor Ige a legislative proposal to allow limited casino gaming on Hawaiian homelands.

As Civil Beat reported, commission chair William Aila put the proposal forward as a revenue opportunity at a time when government needs it badly.

Both the Governor and legislative leaders, however, had expressed reluctance, in part because of possible unintended consequences.

Four years ago, we wrote about those consequences.  They arise because of a federal law called the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA.  President Ronald Reagan signed it into law on October 17, 1988, and, interestingly enough, the primary legislators involved in drafting it were Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Representative and then (as of 1987) Senator John McCain of Arizona, and Representative Mo Udall of Arizona.

The IGRA allows Indian tribes to conduct gaming operations in a State, even if the State doesn’t agree, under certain conditions.  Basically, you need to have an Indian tribe, Indian lands, and gambling that is permitted by the State.

We now have neither Indians nor Indian lands here.  However, there’s nothing to prevent Native Americans headquartered elsewhere from packing their bags and moving here if the opportunity is right.  Indian lands usually means a reservation, but it could be any lands over which an Indian tribe exercises governmental power, so there is nothing to prevent any of the federally recognized Native American tribes from whipping out a checkbook, buying up some land, and then calling it tribal land.

Once those elements are in place, the IGRA says that the State will need to allow casino gaming on tribal lands if it allows casino gaming anywhere else.  Those are the rules for what the IGRA calls “Class III gaming.”  Thus, if the Hawaiian Homes Commission is successful in getting our lawmakers to legalize casino gaming in Kapolei, casino gaming will be allowed in other locations in Hawaii for Indians on Indian lands. 

There will be some temporary hurdles.  A tribal ordinance permitting the gaming needs to be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission, which shouldn’t be tough for a tribe that already conducts Class III gaming in another state.  Finally, either the state and the tribe need to negotiate a compact, or deal, or the Department of the Interior needs to approve regulatory procedures over the gaming.  In other words, if the tribe and the State don’t agree to a deal the Department of the Interior can shove one down the State’s throat.

And here is the kicker.  The IGRA also provides that States are not allowed to levy taxes or fees on tribal gambling, unless specifically allowed in the compact.  Thus, not only can an Indian tribe come to Hawaii to conduct casino gambling, but it might be able to conduct the gambling free of State tax.  Here, that could be a tremendous competitive advantage over the proposed DHHL casino, where its legislative proposal specifically provides for a forty-five per cent (45%) tax on gross gaming revenues.  And that may be on top of the familiar Hawaii GET, no exemption for which is provided in DHHL’s proposal.

The reason none of this has happened yet in Hawaii is simple.  Hawaii has not allowed any form of gambling so far.  So, under the IGRA, not even Class II gaming (bingo games and similar) is allowed in Hawaii.

All of that being said, are we in Hawaii ready for Class III gaming and the consequences that may well ensue from them?

The Rich Get Richer; the Rest of Us Hang on $600 Handouts

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Watching the Sunday news program can sometimes actually be an education. What a surprise to hear a Republican Representative state that Americans don’t need a stimulus check!

I cannot imagine what world he was living in.

Perhaps it is because the gap between the haves and the have-nots has become so wide here in Hawaii that we who live on the have-not side of the gulf cannot see how, under the present circumstances, one could emerge into the light again.

The Republican senate will only grant an insulting token $600 in aid to Americans across the country – Americans who have been forced to stand down from the most basic pursuit to put food on the table and a roof over the heads of our families – through no fault of our own. We have been literally prohibited from making a living because, simply, it might kill us.

In fact, despite all of the sacrifices – it is still killing one in every 1,000 Americans. One person is dying from Covid every minute in some segments of the country.

In California, the mecca of good health and healthy living, even the most prestigious of hospitals is being overwhelmed with Covid cases. Soon, Los Angeles health care workers will begin to triage patients, rationing health care.

This is so, despite the fact that people sacrificed their jobs and their livelihoods, put their families at risk of homelessness, accrued months of overdue bills and rents – in short, sacrificed everything to prevent just this scenario.

Recall, when the virus first hit the US, that what was important was to “flatten the curve” to allow time for hospitals to gear up for a surge. It would enable the production and storage of PPE, makeshift overflow units, time to find a cure or a treatment and time to produce a vaccination.

Some medications have been found that are successful in treating some cases; PPEs have been stockpiled, though not enough; ventilators were built and stockpiled – and then rejected as a death sentence; and overflows were planned, built and dismantled. And now we have vaccinations, but they are moving out too slowly, as the timing is critical to saving any businesses that have managed to survive until now.

But over time, lockdown shifted to becoming the preferred method of control, bulldozing every small business, restaurant and independent contractor in its path. Politicians saw it as the only way to stop the negative press. But the press continues to be negative, the surge continues, people are dying anyhow and business is out of business.

Unless you are a big box store…

Today, with the national surge in cases and attendant shut-downs, small businesses are closing at a rate probably paralleling the Great Depression and surpassing the Great Recession.

In Hawaii, these are iconic businesses that have served the public for decades, like Likelike Drive In. They will never return. In their places, most likely, will be the same ubiquitous chain businesses that have survived on the Mainland, removing yet another layer of the uniquely Hawaiian landscape we recognize and love.

We haven’t even seen the second wave yet; and we are on the verge of reverting back to a Tier 1 closure that would be economically catastrophic.

In 2019 the Hawaii Tourism Authority budget was $79 million. In 2020, the state of Hawaii borrowed $1 billion from the US treasury, just for unemployment.

That begs the question: Where did all the taxpayer dollars go?

With taxes this high, people living three and four generations to a house with everyone working full-time – and many who do not own a vehicle – this is a puzzle.

Many are forced to sell their homes because their taxes exceed their ability to pay them.

Yet, the City and County of Honolulu has never updated the software and computers that run the unemployment office. The Department of Permitting and Planning cannot approve projects online – or even, approve them in a linear, predictable, timely manner; the Department of Parks and Recreation has no set schedule for maintenance for our parks; neither does the Department of Transportation for our streets.

When Covid hit, failures in government were brought to light. How is that the government can be raking in so much money? With only 1.2 million residents, services should be excellent. But nothing ever got fixed.

Why are we not running the most efficient city in the US?

Republicans in the Senate should recognize that the Trump revolution is a failure of leadership. As we hunker down once again to the covid virus and our economy disintegrates, only the wealthiest grow wealthier. The gap widens.

For some, homelessness is a choice. For some, welfare is a generational state of being and the only thing they know. Those statistics remain stable.

But it is us, the Americans who have small businesses, who are normally employed by those businesses, the independent contractors and entrepreneurs, who have literally lost everything.

We did nothing to deserve this condition. We resigned to it to address the covid virus… But our politicians continue to extract more blood until we are bloodless, with less and less support for the millions of us who have no recourse, no way to pay the bills.

How long will it take for Americans to recover from the hit to our credit scores? To regain our place in the job markets? To recover from the unevenness of our family economies?

How many families have dissolved in despair, turned to substances, encountered domestic abuse and child-care gaps? How many kids have missed critical experiences in learning, both socially and academically? How many universities will be able to recover?

We learned nothing from the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. We repeated the same pattern with the same results, despite the fact that we have a century of medical breakthroughs they did not have. We are as vague and disassembled as Europe was in the 1500s amidst the deadly “sweating sickness.”

Worse yet, we are discovering that even though many who have contracted the disease had little or no symptoms, the virus goes on to ravage the body for months. Symptoms with onset weeks or months after the virus concludes include numbness, forgetfulness, paranoid and schizophrenic delusions and other issues brought on apparently as the body’s immune system continues to attack the virus in the brain.

Yes. We need every dime of relief. It is going out there to all the big agencies, but little of it is going to the public. If every man, woman and child got $20,000 each, there would still be plenty left over to deal with the virus.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the vote to raise the stimulus to $2,000. Again.

Collective Bargaining Agreement: Supreme Law of the Land?

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The path leading to how to fix our battered economy has taken some crazy twists and turns.

Governor Ige, first, announced that he will furlough all state workers for two days a month to chop down the expenses required in state government.

The government employee unions cried foul, saying that the collective bargaining agreements and the laws empowering them prevent such a thing without the unions agreeing to them at the bargaining table.

The Governor, however, in his Emergency Proclamations, most recently the Sixteenth, suspended the collective bargaining laws.  Those proclamations suspend all of chapter 89, HRS.  They say, “The following specific provisions of law are suspended, as allowed by federal law … Chapter 89, HRS, collective bargaining in public employment.”

The unions, however, got the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to rule, on July 20, that the emergency proclamations did not suspend chapter 89 in its entirety, despite the language the proclamation uses.  At least one union hailed the ruling, although it does not seem to have been written.

So, this looks like a mess.  What is the actual law here, the collective bargaining agreement or the suspension of the collective bargaining law?

Recently, the Hawaii Labor Relations Board seems to have walked back its position.  In a written order filed in September in a case involving HSTA, the Board ruled that it did not have the authority to interpret HRS Chapter 127A, the statute giving governors and mayors emergency powers, or emergency proclamations.  “The Board does not take a position on whether or not any portion of any Emergency Proclamation suspends any part of HRS Chapter 89, as the Board does not have jurisdiction to consider such a question,” it wrote.

It turns out that most courts can’t weigh in on that question either.  HRS section 127A-27 says that only a three-person panel of Circuit Court judges can decide that the emergency powers statutes or emergency proclamations made under them are partly or wholly invalid, for whatever reason including unconstitutionality.  The law also says that the three-judge court is supposed to decide the matter very quickly—after all, we are in an emergency situation.

The Hawaii Labor Relations Board or any other government agency, therefore, would be acting beyond its proverbial pay grade if it tries to sweep aside the broad language in the emergency proclamation. 

If the unions want to prove that fouls occurred, namely violations of the collective bargaining law, as they claim, they need to go to a three-judge court to show that the collective bargaining law in fact has not been suspended. 

Or the Administration could go before the courts and get a judgment saying that its suspension of the collective bargaining laws is valid, so the unions and Hawaii Labor Relations Board had better back off.

If there continues to be uncertainty, then government leaders need to preserve “other options,” and we know what that means.  Senate President Ron Kouchi told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that “we’re preparing to try to find solutions that wouldn’t involve the furloughs because of the possibility that we wouldn’t prevail in a court case,” he said.  Which means that tax increases need to be on the table.

And then, of course, Governor Ige told Civil Beat that he was also contemplating some tax increase proposals “just to make everything work.”

Could we get some clarity, quick, on whether this Chapter 89 suspension is valid, so the fight over the furlough options can be decided quickly before we taxpayers are caught in the crossfire?

We the People Have No Representative Government

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It has come to this. We, the American people, no longer have a true representative form of government. We are now saddled with an assembly of people, elected to office, who simply do not understand the US constitution, its mandates, its limits, its requirements, its obligations. Our government – wholly unrecognizable from that the Constitution lays out simply does not represent the people. Period.

While we may currently have a President, who has tried his hardest to stand for the American everyman instead of the special interests, the potentates, and the oligarchs, we have a Congress that immediately forgets that their sole role is to represent their constituents and their states the microsecond after they are elected to office.

While we have a President, who has done more to give relief to the American everyman, we have nine cowards on the US Supreme Court who have abdicated their obligation to the US Constitution and, instead, have made ducking their responsibilities, inventing ways to never have to rule on questions of constitutionality, an award-winning art.

The last straw for the Judicial Branch – and I say again that they are a bunch of sniveling cowards and should serve as the catalyst for intense, rapid, and abrupt change in government at the federal level, the last straw came in their scheduling a constitutional argument related to the 2020 General Election results for after the inauguration.

“The justices this week set a reply deadline for Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the other respondents named in the case of Jan. 22. The campaign had asked for the Supreme Court to order those on the other side of the litigation to respond by Wednesday and have reply briefs from the Trump campaign submitted by Thursday. It also asked the court to rule by Jan. 6. But the court did not oblige,” it was reported.

“This means that by the time Boockvar and the others the Trump campaign is seeking to take to the Supreme Court even respond to the petition, President-elect Joe Biden will already be sworn in… At that point, the court could simply decline to hear the case, saying it is moot or impossible for them to resolve at that point.”

To put it into layman’s terms, the US Supreme Court has decided the election without issuing a ruling. They have raised a gigantic, arrogant, cowardly middle finger to the people of the United States…for a second time.

So, please, answer me this question. If we have a federal government that does not serve the people it was created to serve, why do we even have a federal government?

The Congress does not serve the people. Even as the people lose their jobs and businesses because of fake pandemic, Congress doles out $2.1 trillion to foreign entities and gives each taxpayer $600 of our own tax money back. That’s serving the people?

The US Supreme Court – as well as all the useless federal district courts and appeals courts, refuse to rule constitutionally on matters directly related to the survival of the Republic – if they rule at all, and that is supposed to be serving the public or having fidelity to the US Constitution?

We are a Union of 50 states, with 50 state constitutions that are sovereign. As it stands, we, effectively, have no federal government that represents the people.

Now that this is self-evident, we should revisit the words of our Founders:“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”