So much to sigh about, like Senate Bill 1342, which would allow the state government to seize your assets — including land — for conviction of petty misdemeanors like harassment, attending a protest or having a couple of joints. Here comes da clampdown. As Big Island Now reports:
“S.B. 1342 expands asset forfeiture to petty misdemeanors, which means that individuals who commit minor crimes, such as trespassing on private property or staying in a park after hours, are subject to asset forfeiture,” said Laurie Temple, a staff attorney and legislative program director for the ACLU of Hawaii.
The way forfeiture works is they snag your stuff and you've gotta prove it wasn't used in a crime. Sen. Malama Solomon, one of the architects of the PLDC, introduced this crappy bill, which is so bad that even Hawaii Island Prosector Mitch Roth labeled it “Draconian.” Yet it's still headed for the Judiciary committee. Ever get the feeling lawmakers aren't really working for you?
Meanwhile, Hilo High School librarian Amy Okuyama doesn't want Big Island peace activist Jim Albertini to say anything bad about the military or give information on how to protest its activities when he speaks to students there next month. In an email sent to instructor Joseph Watts, Okuyama writes:
I respect Mr. Albertini and the freedom of speech, but within the library, I want assurance that he will be objective and factual. I'm concerned that this will not be the case for the simple fact that Mr. Albertini not known for his objectivity and is very out-spoken about his views. If the presentation will be strictly informational with zero negative slants, I will be fine with having the speaker. However, if it turns into a forum of Mr. Albertini's personal negative views/examples to our students, I will be against library use for the subsequent presentations. Again, I welcome him, providing he remains objective and dispassionate, just present the facts of the "history of military presence in HI. etc...." without diversion into any negative viewpoints.
Of course, just the facts is pretty damn damning, as I've reported at length. But since when does a school librarian get to be an arbiter of campus free speech? Is she, a self-described “military mom,” even able to determine what is truly a "negative viewpoint" or "objective?" Meanwhile, the recruiters and JR-ROTC get to present their propaganda unchecked. And we wonder why kids don't learn any critical thinking skills....Not that we actually want them to have any.
The St. Regis Hotel made some new enemies on Friday night when it set off fireworks from the beach for a private party, creating a din that folks as far away as Haena and Wainiha likened to military bombs or continuous loud thunder. One resident termed it “Totally rude and intrusive.” But since when has that stopped any activity that caters to the North Shore tourists?
As a beekeeper — and human who likes to eat — I'm getting very nervous about the future of honey bees. The most recent alarm was sounded by San Francisco Gate, which reports there's a shortage of crucial pollinators for the soon-to-bloom California almond crop. Some 2 million bee colonies are trucked to the Central Valley from all around the nation, but even that's not enough to meet the demand. Already reeling from drought, colony collapse disorder, loss of forage due to ethanol production, transit shock and pesticide exposure, the poor bees must work faster and harder.
You know, the highly efficient industrial model, applied to animals and agriculture. As UC Davis bee specialist Eric Mussen so astutely notes:
"When you stress them far enough, the bees just give in."
Meanwhile, the slave laborers are fed sugar and GMO high fructose corn syrup because their keepers steal all the honey. Not surprisingly, some beekeepers lost 75 to 99 percent of their hives this past winter, and many of the surviving hives are weak. But instead of saying, OK, let's step back a minute and change this sick scene, the high-pesticide-using almond growers are looking at ways to ace honey bees out of the picture, as in developing a "self-compatible" almond tree, which can set nuts using pollen transferred among its own flowers, thereby needing fewer bees.
But in the meantime, the almond industry still depends on bees, so they'll pay the beekeepers more to work their bees harder and then kick 'em all aside when they've sucked every last drop of honey and energy from them.
Because who the fuck needs nature, anyway? We've achieved better living through chemicals. Or so the seed-mutilating chemical companies would like us to believe.
Not everyone, however, is drinking that Kool-Aid. It's really good to see the younger generation, and especially the local kids, speaking out against pesticides and GMOs, as in this rap video by Hood Prince, "Monsanto, You Gotta Go." And Syngenta, DOW, DuPont, BASF and all the rest.
If you'd like to get up to speed on the whole GMO issue, check out the primer I did for Honolulu Magazine back in 2005. I posted it over on my other site, PIKO. At the time it was published, Hawaii had hosted more than 4,500 open-field tests for experimental GMO plants — more than any place in the world — and the seed industry was valued at about $50 million in Hawaii. It's now worth $220 million, as in quadrupled in eight years, as in getting more and more entrenched.
As I reported then, people were asking such questions as:
What is being grown, and where? Will transgenics harm people, animals, the environment? Do the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks? Are existing regulations adequate, or properly enforced? Can GMOs be prevented from going places where they're not supposed to be?
Sadly, we're still asking the same questions, because nobody — not our lawmakers, not state or federal regulators — are making them cough up any answers. Sigh....
But eventually, it's all gonna come out.