It's story time.
And as certain folks try to re-tell the tale of Bill 2491 — the GMO/pesticide regulatory measure passed by the Kauai County Council, vetoed by the mayor, overridden by the Council and overturned in court — we're getting some revisionist history.
First up is Jennifer Ruggles, a Big Island wahine (paid by the California-based Pesticide Action Network) who was on Kauai for all of four months while the shit was going down. Yet she's now positioned herself to give a talk at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, where she promises to tell “the riveting story of the movement that lead [sic] to the 2013 largest march in Kauai history in the struggle against GMO pesticide poisoning.”
Jennifer is seriously truth-challenged. In a youtube video that she posted, Jennifer makes numerous wild claims, including:
The seed companies use 72 tons of pesticides annually; they're taking up all the land so farmers who want to grow food can't get any; westside residents filed a class action suit against DuPont Pioneer over two cases of pesticide poisoning at Waimea Canyon School; the westside has 10 times the national average of a certain heart birth defect; and DDT is "used by GMO companies.”
Not one of those claims is accurate. But like Center for Food Safety's Ashley Lukens, Jennifer sure knows how to spin for dollars: Send more donations, please, and we'll tell you more BS.
Meanwhile — and such curious timing! — Councilman Gary Hooser has also come out with his own version of events surrounding 2491, in which he not surprisingly tries to position him in the best possible light. In a recent blog post that he has titled "an almost complete history of Bill Nov. 2491," he links to various videos featuring himself pontificating and politicking, as well as Chris D'Angelo's crappy reporting on the issue.
Gary also links to minutes and videos of Council meetings that led to passage of the bill in less than four months, in the wee hours of the morning, after a marathon 18-hour session, as a mob threatened to overrun the Council and a group led by former Councilwoman Lani Kawahara and others screamed outside the chambers.
It's all here, on video. Go back and look at the section of that meeting that begins at 17:49:00, just in case you're forgotten how very ugly things got — with Gary's encouragement and endorsement. Why, he even went so far as to say:
I don't blame the audience for getting riled up. I really don't.
Yeah, because that's precisely the sort of fistee action that Gary has promoted throughout this process.
Gary also said, after the vote was taken to pass Bill 2491:
I'm not happy with a lot of the bill, but we got two things the industry fought: the right to know... and the empowerment of our community. We have set an example here for other communities.
And what kind of an example was that? That bullies prevail? That ignorance rules? That special interest groups can disrupt small communities to achieve their own political ends? That a poorly written and hastily passed bill won't pass the legal sniff test? As for the right to know, that was achieved through a voluntary agreement between the companies and the state, not Bill 2491.
Yet his self-serving post won praise from someone named Sharry Douglas, who left this comment:
Wow! It’s insane when you see just how long there has been- not just stalling- but blatant sabotaging of a bill that wants to be passed, so it can do what it was created to do: allow us to be informed, so we can make healthy choices. Gary thank you for ALL that you do and for summarizing your long and challenging journey on our behalf!
Gag. Of course, those of us who lived it know this movement has never been about information, much less allowing people to be informed, which is why it's achieved neither. Rather, it's been almost entirely about blatant, intentional disinformation and fear-mongering, where it has excelled.
As the adage goes, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
And those who learn it wrong, or spin it to achieve their own ends, doom the rest of us to a re-enactment of their stupidity — unless we speak up and tell it like it is.