It's good to read that the state Ethics Commission is warning lawmakers not to attend today's “A Taste of Ag” event. The menu sounds super yummy, and we all know how our legislators love to tie on the feed bag. However, the problem lies not with the chow, but with the hosts: the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association and Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.
As Larry Geller reports over at Disappeared News:
This event is clearly aimed at winning the hearts and minds of legislators. In addition to the fancy menu (see below) it will feature three keynote speakers representing the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association. As the sponsors clearly know, the best way to win someone’s heart is through the stomach. The keynote speakers are aimed at their minds. After all, this is their business: lobbying legislators (another interpretation of “winning hearts and minds”).
So just who is behind the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association? Well, H. Doug Matsuoka did a little digging over at his blog:
In their testimony in opposition to GMO labeling, they describe themselves as “a nonprofit trade association representing the seed industry in Hawaii.” How cool, right?
Wrong! I tried to find out more about them by researching their officers and directors.
He then goes on to present a little chart that shows where all but one HCIA official — including our own Cindy Goldstein, the DuPont/Pioneer shill — is employed:
The corporations represented listed in alphabetical order:
What we have is a who’s who of multinational GMO corporations. As much as they try to represent themselves as “agricultural” companies, note that all of them are primarily chemical companies with a major portion of their sales in poisons such as herbicides and fungicides.
We all know that these corporations have gazillions to spend on lobbying lawmakers and bullying opponents, which is why it has been virtually impossible to pass any laws regulating the GMO industry in Hawaii and elsewhere.
And while that isn't likely to change any time soon, at least Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo is putting lawmakers on notice that it's just a little too blatant to gorge on grinds at one of their events. Or as the old German proverb puts it, “Whose bread I eat his song I sing.”
What's really sad, though, is that our lawmakers can be bought for a $50 buffet, even if it is all you can eat.