The Garden Island has been running a poll with a loaded question that reflects the “guilty until proven innocent” mentality that underlines so many discussions about agriculture:
Do you think there will ever be enough data collected to show that the use of pesticides is harmful to the health and environment of Kauai?
It's the same skewed mindset that drives today's Civil Beat editorial, which urges the state to spend whatever it takes to find the elusive smoking gun that will prove nasty ag is poisoning the citizenry of Hawaii.
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller
But then, what do you expect from a publication funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar, who bankrolls the same activists who launched the anti-GMO/anti-pesticide/anti-ag movement in Hawaii and just hijacked the Islands' Democratic Party?
The question now is, will the Hawaii Democratic Party let itself be ruled by the self-same group of witch-hunting vigilantes who have relentlessly pursued an anti-ag agenda these past several years? Lest it's tempted, remember that by its own admission, this movement comprises just 1 percent of the state's population.
And will Gov. Ige, state Ag Director Scott Enright and lawmakers let a billionaire's vanity press pull their their strings? Lest they're tempted, remember that Civil Beat has achieved only 2 percent market penetration, a dismal readership that no doubt informs its jealous attack on competitor Star-Advertiser, now the 12th largest paper in the nation.
Though Civil Beat “reader rep” Brett Oppegaard, who studiously avoids looking at CB's glaring conflicts of interest, could find much to fault in the S-A, he focuses instead on the noise of the moped that delivers it. Then he questions whether it could possibly be that popular, since none of his students admit to reading it.
That's the same sort of unscientific bias that informs the Civil Beat editorial, which unquestioningly endorses every recommendation in the Joint Fact Finding report, post haste, and then takes a nasty poke at JFF members Sarah Styan and Gerardo Rojas, who resigned:
Big Agriculture had seats at the table as part of that volunteer group, but petulantly walked away from the process over input it found objectionable. Industry reps continue to be harshly critical of the group’s work.
Not exactly the way a truly good neighbor should behave.
Tell us, oh Civil Beat, how should a truly good neighbor behave when it has been falsely and viciously accused of crimes it didn't commit, its workers demonized and demoralized, its practices intentionally mischaracterized, a fear-mongering campaign waged by well-funded propaganda experts against its very existence? Just bend over and keep taking it? Or say no, this, is wrong, this is unfair, and I'm not going to dignify this charade with my presence?
Sarah, Gerardo and Roy Yamakawa, the other person who walked away, all left for good cause, and without petulance. Since they were the only members of the panel who didn't espouse anti-GMO/anti-pesticide or anti-“Big Ag” sentiments, their departure allowed those remaining to shift the initial assessment from “The JFF study group found no causal relationship between pesticide use and human health problems and no evidence indicating harm to flora and fauna” to “the JFF can't make any determination about anything.” That's a pretty significant spin.
It's only unfortunate that JFF facilitator Peter Adler failed to acknowledge, much less address, the concerns that prompted a third of the panel's members to leave. But then, to do so would have required him to admit his own failings and bias in this process. And that might jeopardize his ability to secure more fact-finding work.
Neither Civil Beat, nor the antis it represents, have been able to explain the sole focus on agriculture:
Beginning steps outlined in the report are appropriate now, but the 2017 Legislature must address the data gaps head on and require those businesses using toxic chemicals in farming to meet a new level of disclosure that the public both wants and deserves.
The JFF itself found that ag applies just 23 percent of the restricted use pesticides on Kauai, compared to 41 percent by pest control companies and 36 percent for water purification using chlorine. With the Good Neighbor Program, we already know what ag is using, how much and how often. How can anyone seriously whine about data gaps — and then ignore 77 percent of the RUP use?
But in any case, it's not lack of data that is "fueling the deepest fears regarding pesticide use," as Civil Beat maintains. It's a relentless, well-funded, well-organized, fear-mongering political campaign waged by the anti-GMO movement and financed in part by Omidyar.
Which is why Hawaii folks — especially locals and kanaka — need to wise up and realize that at core, this isn't about GMOs and pesticides, or even land and water. It's about social and political control —with wealthy whites, like Omidyar and his antis, keen to grab the reins of power. [Clarification: Omidyar is not white. He's Iranian. However, the general reference still holds for many of the antis.]
Last weekend's Hawaii Democratic Convention offered a serious heads-up on how those dynamics are playing out. As longtime political commentator Richard Borreca observed:
Hawaii’s new Democratic Party chairman, Tim Vandeveer, is a former unexploded-ordnance technician, which is a good thing, because today’s party is a ticking time bomb.
Vandeveer, active in the Keep the Country Country movement that fought to block development along the Windward and North Shore Oahu areas, over the weekend won election as party chairman, thanks to hundreds of enthusiastic Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters joining the party.
With Sanders’ troops inside, old-time Democrats are asking what do they want and will they stay.
What do they want? Whatever bumper sticker slogans their social media echo chamber advocates. Will they stay? Not likely. Most are about as committed to the Democratic Party as they are to farming. Heck, look at Bernie, who adopted the mantle solely to facilitate his presidential run. But they'll wreak havoc while they can, with no thought to the consequences of their actions, like the demise of agriculture, the ascent of Donald Trump.
Though Vandeveer had the numbers to become chair, he captured a plurality of only about 30 percent of the delegates. To win, he employed scorched earth tactics that effectively dissed much of the party infrastructure, prompting many party faithfuls to wonder how he'll be able to effectively fundraise.
The powers that be need to figure how much they're willing to concede to the insurgents, which though loud, organized and focused, comprise a fringe faction.
If the Dems roll over, they'll end up in the short term — like as soon as Clinton becomes the Presidential nominee — with a weak and divided party. But in the long term, we'll all suffer with these folks at the helm, imposing levels of elitism and social engineering that will make the Big Five look like pussycats.
Don't say you weren't warned.