CNN’s Zakaria calls for Jones Act repeal as part of Puerto Rico aid package
Study: Timeshares Add $5.3B to Hawaii Economy
Down to Earth, Tulsi Gabbard Cult Tied to $170M Pyramid Scheme
MIH: …Rep. Gabbard celebrated Butler (now Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupanda Paramahamsa) as her “guru dev” in a video presentation for a 2015 ISKCON anniversary event. She has been recognized as the first Hindu U.S. Congressmember, and she co-chairs the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Rep. Gabbard identifies as a Vaishnava Hindu, Karma yogi, and Bhakti yogi.
On the financial front, a key part of the Butler group’s business network - rooted in the Down to Earth vegetarian grocery chain and Hong Kong-based QNET’s alleged international pyramid scheme – is currently being scrutinized in the Supreme Court of India.
As Butler has become increasingly eccentric and reclusive, Tibby - a jet-setting international businessman with continued close ties to the Gabbards - has served as SIF’s public spiritual teacher, marriage officiant, YouTube face, meditation teacher, and international tour speaker. Tibby has led Kirtan (devotional chanting) sessions at Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu and the Bhakti Yoga Shack on Kaua‘i. Former SIF members Koviak and Ranson both say Tibby was a leader of the SIF boarding school they attended in Baguio City, Philippines.
Tibby has also allegedly been wanted by police in India on money laundering charges since 2009. He is prominently named as “absconding” in a police document filed by the Chennai City Directorate of Prosecution office. Chennai police charged Tibby with financial fraud under India’s Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes Banning Act.
Chennai-based attorney Mahesh Kanna, who has spearheaded legal action against white collar crime in India, said Tibby’s legal status in Chennai remains “absconding accused.” Tibby did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations.
Chennai police accused Tibby of conspiring with QI Group (aka QNET, GoldQuest, QuestNet, Vihaan Direct Selling, V Dimension) Co-founder and Chairman Vijay Eswaran in a case allegedly involving over US$170 million earned through an illegal pyramid scheme operated in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. The company has repeatedly changed names after facing legal trouble internationally. Tibby and Eswaran are accused of attempting to launder and diversify the pyramid scheme money through resort and construction front companies. Police froze Tibby’s Indian bank accounts.
QI Group owns Down to Earth and its parent company, Healthy’s, Inc. SIF is also heavily financially tied to Healthy’s, Inc. Although publicly available SIF tax information is limited, a 2012 990T return obtained from GuideStar shows SIF earned 96% of its profit from an installment sale of Healthy’s, Inc. stock. In 2004, SIF reported receiving a donation of Healthy’s, Inc. shares worth US $929,256….
Bismark and Eswaran were charged in the Philippines with syndicated estafa (racketeering) in a 2007 case allegedly involving US$90 million. The men narrowly legally escaped extradition from Indonesia to the Philippines on an INTERPOL warrant. The maximum legal penalty for syndicated estafa in the Philippines is death….
read … Butler's Web: Krishna, Politics, and QNET's International Pyramid Scheme
Caldwell Caught in Another Lie--Rail’s ‘Plan B’ not vetted by federal agency
SA: …State lawmakers last month approved a $2.4 billion funding package to build the full rail line to Ala Moana Center. Last week the project’s federal partners said they never determined whether a scaled-back, less costly alternative to Aloha Tower would have worked instead.
That so-called “Plan B,” which would have deferred seven rail stations in town and a key transit hub at Pearl Highlands, was proposed halfheartedly by rail officials in October 2016 as a way to potentially finish the over-budget transit project on the $6.8 billion it had available….
HART spokesman Bill Brennan confirmed that the local rail agency did not get any word from the FTA “regarding feasibility or acceptability” of Plan B.
That has Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell facing renewed scrutiny from some rail critics over testimony he gave Aug. 14 to a panel of mostly skeptical legislators, ahead of their special session to fully fund the project.
“Funding must be adequate to fully fund the project all the way to Ala Moana Center,” Caldwell told those lawmakers in his opening remarks. “The FTA will allow nothing less.”
Keli‘i Akina, president and CEO of the Honolulu-based conservative think tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, characterized Caldwell’s statement as misleading.
“After this revelation (by the FTA), it would be shocking if policymakers ignored a blatant attempt to manipulate the Legislature and conceal what was really going on behind the scenes,” Akina said in an email…..
read … Plan B
Tainted Pool of Candidates to Replace Kealoha
CB: …Four of the seven finalists come from within HPD and are current or former high-ranking HPD officers. Only two are from outside Hawaii.
The allegations raised in the federal indictment relate to actions that have been going on for years, when these four inside contenders for chief were serving closely with Kealoha and the officers who have been charged. The commission needs to thoroughly investigate their participation in or knowledge of any wrongdoing. Did they see what was going on and simply look the other way?
Questions about the suitability of one of the applicants, former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Tommy Aiu, have also recently surfaced. …
CB: How Far Will The Honolulu Police Corruption Investigation Spread?
read … Tainted
180 Tweekers Forced from Under Freeway
SA: State sheriff’s deputies this morning began breaking down one of Oahu’s most entrenched homeless encampments — below the H-1 freeway viaduct — scattering the estimated 120 remaining occupants and their dogs.
None of the people interviewed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning had any intention of moving into a shelter…..
four social service agencies counted 180 people living homeless below the viaduct last Monday. By Friday, they had counted fewer than 120 people….
read … Shelter Refusers
Newsflash: Tweekers Don’t Take Good Care of Animals
KHON: …An estimated 100 dogs and 100 cats were living underneath the viaduct.
“It’s dirty. Really, the conditions are not livable. They’ve been down there for years, and the population of these animals has exploded as they’ve inbred. We’ve got litters of puppies and litters of kittens.” …
A Hawaiian Humane Society spokeswoman said several of the dogs are emaciated and have other health issues.
Maluafiti said many of the pets taken in need lots of TLC.
“They’re sick, they’re dirty, they’re covered in fleas, probably anemic, and for the most part they’re unsocialized,” Maluafiti said….
“The homeless that are not surrendering their pet, we want to at least sterilize them,” Maluafiti said….
CB: State Plans To Clear Out Homeless Camp Under Honolulu Freeway
read … Sterilize