Three different versions of the Akaka bill have been introduced in the 111th Congress in the three months from February 4 through May 7, 2009. But which one is the "real" bill? Why can't these clowns get their act together? There's much more to the story than what the media are telling.
The last time the Akaka bill came up on the floor of the Senate, in June 2006, there were two active versions of the bill. Akaka/Inouye tried a last-minute switcheroo but failed to fool their watchful colleagues. This time around there are three versions, offering even more possible shenanigans in a shell game vastly more complex than the simple 2006 switcheroo between two versions.
We've all seen the shell game, at least in movies. It's an unfair gambling game where a con artist takes a victim's money by cheating. The con man puts three shells, or overturned cups, on a box. In plain sight he appears to put a pea or marble under one of the shells. He moves the shells around while everyone watches, and then asks a gambler to choose which shell has the pea under it. The gambler puts his money on the table, and points to one of the shells. If he chooses correctly, he gets double his money back. If he chooses incorrectly, the con artist keeps the gambler's money. But of course the con artist conceals the pea in his hand, so he has full control over whether to put it under the shell chosen by the gambler. The con artist might let some gamblers win in order to build their confidence and encourage higher bets from them or others in the crowd.
First let's review what happened in 2006 with the Akaka bill switcheroo. Then we'll discuss the shell game now underway.
There was a version of the Akaka bill, S.147, already in play in the Senate in 2005. That version was scheduled for a cloture petition and floor debate immediately following the 2005 August recess. But Hurricane Katrina blew away the Senate calendar. The cloture petition scheduled for vote on Tuesday September 6, 2005 was vitiated that morning by unanimous consent because the Senate needed to devote all its attention to the hurricane emergency.
S.147 had brought forth many objections from civil rights groups and the Department of Justice. On September 16, 2005, ten days after the cloture petition was vitiated, Akaka/Inouye announced a "new and improved" version of the bill. A news release signed by both Hawaii Senators and both Hawaii Representatives was published with great fanfare in newspapers hither and yon, touting the new bill as a "negotiated settlement" with the Department of Justice that would resolve previous DOJ objections. The so-called new bill, not yet actually introduced, was immediately posted on Senator Akaka's official website. However, six days later, on September 22, DOJ greatly embarrassed the Hawaii delegation by issuing its own statement saying DOJ still had major objections and the newly proposed bill would not settle them.
The so-called new bill sat on Senator Akaka's website, publicly available for everyone to see, like a shining star on top of a Christmas tree. Akaka/Inouye made frequent mention of the new version and how it (allegedly) resolved DOJ objections. But this new version was never officially introduced in Congress until eight months later in May 2006. At that time Akaka/Inouye reached a scheduling agreement with majority leader Bill Frist (R, TN) to file a cloture petition intended to break a "hold" and stop an expected filibuster and force the Akaka bill to the Senate floor. Once the scheduling agreement was in place, Akaka/Inouye officially introduced the "new and improved" bill, S.3064, on Thursday May 25, 2006. On Friday May 26, S.3064 was given a "second reading" and placed on the calendar in the Senate, in the closing moments before adjournment for the 9-day Memorial Day recess. Naturally everyone expected the new S.3064 to be the active version of the Akaka bill.
But then Akaka/Inouye did their switcheroo. A cloture petition was filed on June 6 for debate on June 7 and vote on June 8. However, THE CLOTURE PETITION WAS FOR THE OLDER VERSION S.147, not the newer version S.3064 that had just been introduced. This peculiar development showed that S.3064 had been merely a decoy all along! S.147 contained none of the protections in S.3064 which had allegedly been negotiated with the Department of Justice, and which had been ballyhooed during the news release the previous September. During floor debate on the cloture petition, Akaka/Inouye kept telling their colleagues about the new and improved version, and complaining that criticisms of the Akaka bill did not take account of the improvements made to it. Akaka/Inouye clearly never had any intention of trying to pass the new version -- it had merely sat on Akaka's website for eight months as a decoy, and in the end was officially introduced in the Senate like a magician drawing the audience's attention by waving a magic wand in one hand while doing a switcheroo with the other hand. Isn't that amazing! Luckily Senators opposed to the bill were not as dumb as the victims of the con artist who was running a shell game a few blocks away in the slums of D.C.
Well, that was then (109th Congress). But this is now (111th Congress, 3 years later).
There are three versions of the Akaka bill, all of which are now active in both the House and Senate. Bill numbers and full text for all three versions are available at the end of this essay. Protection against allowing gambling operations by the Akaka tribe was the only reason for moving from the first version of February 4 to the second version of March 25 -- the only new language in the bill was two sentences prohibiting the Akaka tribe from benefiting from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act or from any claim to inherent authority for tribal gambling; and extending that prohibition to all 50 states (but of course there are other ways tribes can get gambling, so the future Akaka tribe can probably squeeze through a loophole which only an expert on Indian law would know about).
The third version of May 7 has exactly the same two sentences to prohibit gambling as the second version of March 25; so protection against gambling has nothing to do with why the third version was introduced. Yet gambling is the only reason specifically cited by the Hawaii delegation for introducing the May 7 version; and the only reason mentioned in any of the media reports.
Here's the entire joint press release from Hawaii's Congressional delegation on May 7 explaining why they introduced the third version:
"We have been working together to enact the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act which is critical for the future of our state. After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with the version of the bill which was approved by the relevant Congressional committees and the full House in 2007. This version of the bill contains a prohibition on gaming by the Native Hawaiian Governing Entity. All forms of gambling are already illegal under Hawaii State law."
Clearly there are things happening behind the scenes but kept hidden by both the delegation and the media. Reporters who could easily do a little research are at least negligent in accepting the Hawaii delegation's cover-story about gambling without actually comparing the bills or making further inquiry. Beyond journalistic negligence, reporters might be knowingly collaborating in a cover-up. Suspicion of a cover-up by reporters and editors is reasonable since their bosses --the publishers of all the news media -- have repeatedly and vigorously editorialized in favor of the Akaka bill and have sold millions of dollars of advertising for nine years of propaganda from racial separatist institutions including OHA, Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools), the Kau Inoa racial registry, etc.
The first version of the Akaka bill in the 111th Congress, introduced February 4, 2009, was what Akaka/Inouye really wanted. They've had nine years to get it right. They had the December holidays and all of January to consult with their racial separatist client groups before introducing the bill in the new 111th Congress. They could have waited longer if they needed more time to get it right. They made a strategic decision that they could pass the most powerful (i.e., most dangerous) version of the Akaka bill among the multitude of different versions that had been introduced during a nine year period. They expect to get whatever they want simply because the Democrat majority has increased in both the House and Senate, and no Democrat has ever voted against the Akaka bill, and newly elected President Obama had said both during his campaign and after his election that he would sign the bill if Congress passes it.
But during the seven weeks after the bill was introduced, Akaka/Inouye no doubt heard a lot of opposition from Senators in states where gambling casinos are an important part of the economy for state and local governments and for Indian tribes. Senators from those states don't care very much whether gambling happens in Hawaii. But they do care deeply that the Akaka tribe would be the largest tribe in America, with 65,000 members in California and more than 100,000 members in the other 48 states outside Hawaii. The Akaka tribe could buy land in any or all of those states, put it into trust, and open competing gambling casinos. That's why Akaka/Inouye felt compelled to introduce another version of the Akaka bill on March 25, whose only change was a new section purporting to prohibit the Akaka tribe from engaging in gambling operations either in Hawaii or in any other state.
Nothing has been published about pressure behind the scenes to change the bill after March 25. The version introduced on May 7 came as a complete surprise. There must be an explanation for it, but the media have blindly parroted the Hawaii delegation's nonsense about gambling, which we have seen cannot be the reason.
The May 7 version was introduced with only the Hawaii delegation as cosponsors. It seems the Hawaii delegation made a sudden decision and felt some urgency to introduce the May 7 version without waiting to obtain the 6 non-Hawaii cosponsors in the House and 3 non-Hawaii cosponsors in the Senate who had signed on to both the February 4 and March 25 versions. Of course those cosponsors can always add their names later; but their absence on May 7 would seem to indicate the Hawaii delegation had some hidden reason for hurrying.
The Senate has had nine years to learn about the evils of the Akaka bill. Senators are increasingly aware of the threats posed by the Akaka bill not just in Hawaii but throughout America; and not only regarding gambling. For example, the Akaka bill would undermine the U.S. Constitution and worsen racial balkanization by empowering Congress to single out any particular racial group to have its own government and to acquire land and legal jurisdiction based solely on race.
A letter to editor in the Washington Times, and expanded letter to President Obama, points out that the Akaka bill would be 50% more devastating for racial balkanization in Hawaii than it would be to create a government for all 40 Million African-Americans and empower that government to negotiate with federal and state governments for money, land, and jurisdictional authority. The vastly greater proportional devastation to Hawaii comes because only 13 percent of America's people have at least one drop of African blood, whereas 20% of Hawaii's people have at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood (the sole requirement for membership in the Akaka tribe).
Maybe some Senators are angry over the switcheroo attempted in June 2006 when Akaka/Inouye called for cloture on a nastier version of the bill while trying to fool people into thinking it was the highly publicized new version introduced at the last minute as a decoy.
Indeed, that decoy is the version just now (re)introduced on May 7. And maybe the reason for introducing it at this time is to use it as a decoy once again.
The May 7 version is the one that has most of the protections forced into the bill by the Department of Justice and civil rights groups during the bill's nine year history -- protections stripped away in both the February 4 and March 25 versions. Did other Senators pressure Akaka/Inouye by saying they would support only this version, on account of the protections? Will Akaka/Inouye now actually try to pass it? Or did Akaka/Inouye introduce it once again as merely a decoy, hoping to actually pass either the February 4 or March 25 version while keeping attention focused on the May 7 version?
Here's one final note about the shell game being played by the Hawaii delegation. When any new bill is introduced the full text of the bill is normally printed in the Congressional Record covering that day, which is then available the following day on the Library of Congress website. But the Congressional Record for May 7 barely mentions S.1011 and H.R.2314 being introduced and does not provide the bill's text, even though bill text is provided there for other bills introduced both before and after it. All bills also have their text available within a day or two through the internal search engine on the Library of Congress website. Other bills introduced both immediately before and immediately after the Akaka bill, in both the Senate and the House, have their text available that way -- but not the Akaka bill. A clerk at the LOC explains that the bill must first be printed by the Government Printing Office, but that if a Senator or Representative fails to deliver it to GPO, then there's no way for GPO or LOC to get it. So it would appear that Senator Akaka and Representative Abercrombie are deliberately withholding the bills from public scrutiny.
The press release of May 7 said that the May 7 bill is identical to "the version of the bill which was approved by the relevant Congressional committees and the full House in 2007." That would indicate H.R.505 from the 110th Congress, which was also the decoy S.3064 used in June 2006 in the 109th Congress, has now become the newest S.1011 and H.R.2314 introduced on May 7 in the 111th Congress after two more powerful versions had already been introduced which the Hawaii delegation clearly prefers.
And so, dear readers, keep your eyes on which shell actually has the pea, and what the con artist is doing with both hands. In any case, even the protections in the May 7 version of the Akaka bill fail to deal with the most important issues of unconstitutionality, racial balkanization, empowerment of a secessionist movement, etc. The fundamental concept of the Akaka bill is evil and dangerous, no matter which version comes up for a vote.
A five paragraph summary of what's bad about the Akaka bill, followed by extensive references documenting all the main points.
Open letter to President Obama regarding the Akaka bill (Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill)
302-page book: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State"
A detailed history of the Akaka bill for the 109th Congress (many hundreds of pages) contains full text all significant news reports, commentaries, and versions of the Akaka bill for the period January 2005 through December 2006, including transcripts of five hours of Senate floor debates and the yeas and nays on the cloture petition. See
Here is full text of all 3 versions of the Akaka bill now formally introduced in 111th Congress:
(1) February 4, 2009 identical Senate and House bills S.381 and H.R.862
(2) March 25, 2009 identical Senate and House bills S.708 and H.R.1711
(3)May 7, 2009 identical Senate and House bills S.1011 and H.R.2314
The text of the May 7 bills is not yet available for the public to see. But according to the May 7 press release from the Hawaii Congressional delegation, it is the same as H.R. 505 from the 110th Congress, which can be found at
Hawaii Congressional delegation's joint press release of May 7, 2009 explaining why they introduced the third version of the Akaka bill in three months; from Senator Akaka's government website:
Honolulu attorney Paul M. Sullivan updated his lengthy point-by-point analysis of the Akaka bill H.R.505 in March 2007, including cartoons by Daryl Cagle. Since the new May 7, 2009 version of the Akaka bill is the same as that one, according to the Congressional delegation, it is almost certain that all the same section numbers and line numbers will be valid for the new May 7, 2009 bill.
A detailed history of the Akaka bill for the current 111th Congress contains full text all significant news reports, commentaries, and versions of the Akaka bill for the period beginning January 2009 and continuing (through December 2010)
Commentary: Akaka bill deja vu. The Akaka bill introduced February 4, 2009 is identical to the one from 2000-2001. It strips away all protections inserted in multiple amendments since then. A description of many of these protections and why they are important.
Commentary: New version of Akaka bill introduced March 25, 2009 -- multiple layers of deception. This version includes language allegedly prohibiting the Akaka tribe from having gambling operations, but still strips all the other protections inserted during nine years and still includes language contemplating Hawaii secession from the United States.
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(c) Copyright 2009 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved