The highlight of yesterday's court hearings on the Hawaii anti-GMO bills came at the very end.
That's when former state Attorney General Margery Bronster, now representing the seed industry, asked the federal judges to dismiss SHAKA's appeal of the overturned Maui County moratorium:
They're attempting to pursue the appeal simply to force the government to pass a certain type of law, and we don't believe that they have that right. They have not asserted an injury in fact. Instead, their injury is general to the population at large or it is purely conjectural and hypothetical.
GE plants and the parties here have been together for decades in Maui. And yet they have not asserted any specific injury or established any specific injury that would be redressed by allowing this ordinance to go into effect.
That pretty much sums it all up. And it goes for Kauai and the Big Island, too. We've heard ample accusations and anecdotes, choke complaints and concerns. But we've yet to see any specific injury, or harm, established anywhere in the Islands to warrant any of this legislation.
Hawaii has expended so much time, energy and money on this issue, and for what? So activists can move a couple of pawns in their anti-GMO chess game?
Civil Beat has finally recognized — and only because it was spelled out for them by Andrew Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety — that the Hawaii anti-GMO laws have national ramifications. Unfortunately, it has not yet occurred to reporter Anita Hofschneider to then question, gee, is that perhaps why mainland anti-GMO groups are drumming up all this huhu and humbug in Hawaii?
Of course, it's very hard for Civil Beat to report fairly on any of this when its founder-funder, Pierre Omidyar, also funds two of the litigants: Center for Food Safety and Surfrider. It's a conflict that editor Patti Epler refuses to acknowledge, much less disclose. She knows where her bread is buttered.
Councilman Gary Hooser, who skipped yet another Council session in favor of his anti-GMO mission, seems to have forgotten who butters his bread. Is it too much to expect the man to show up for the meetings he's paid to attend, rather than a court hearing where his presence is not required?
Speaking of butter, the newly formed Kuleana Coalition for Change is soliciting it — no questions asked, no disclosure required — to help influence Maui elections.
The group bills itself thusly:
The Kuleana Coalition for Change is a new Democratic based, grassroots political organization, currently filing as a 501c4 Non-Connected, Independent Expenditure Committee.
Then it explains its mission under the ironic heading of Free Speech for Maui:
The Kuleana Coalition for Change seeks to empower individuals in our community to participate in local politics without fear that their business or employment will suffer retaliation from the Power Elite, as has been the way of life here since the emergence of the plantations.
What, exactly, is the connection between free speech and anonymous campaign donations?
Here's yet another example of how utterly clueless they are:
The KCC has been established to provide our community [sic] a political force that has the ideal combination of accountability in spending and individual speech free from oppression.
Accountability in spending, with no disclosure of donors? Individual free speech that's totally anonymous?
They go on:
Donations are unlimited and our donor list is kept private. We are dedicated to exposing political and economic corruption and returning control of Maui County to the people who make it home.
With zero transparency?
And this from the very folks who demand full transparency from others, and describe themselves as “progressives,” no less.
Indeed, one of the candidates they support — Tiare Lawrence, who celebrated HC&S's demise — was featured in a Star-Advertiser puff piece entitled “Progressive faction takes on status quo.”
Yes, it's oh so progressive to be supported by a group that funnels cash from undisclosed donors to political campaigns. Does that means the Koch Brothers are progressives now, too?
The article included this revealing comment from Hooser, who previously pretended his candidate-training Kuleana Academy is “non-partisan,” as is required of nonprofits:
“The Kuleana Academy came out of a belief in the community and around the state that there is a shortage of progressive leaders who are stepping up and running for public office.”
Shoots, these guys are so progressive they don't even need to follow the law. That's just for chumps, like the corporations they oppose.
Other candidates in this “emerging progressive faction” include anti-GMO activist Fern Rosenstiel, who seems bewildered that the ugliness characteristic of her movement spurred “unbelievable hatred” on Kauai. She then whimpers:
“People won’t talk to me or meet for coffee.”
Gosh, that might make it kinda hard to get elected.
Returning to the Kuleana Coalition for Change:
Make a donation today. Be a part of the People’s Voice and participate in Maui’s positive revolution.
Oh, yes. Be a part of the “People's Voice” without ever raising your own, or even revealing your identity.
Sounds like true democracy to me. I'm so glad these “new progressives” are here to tell us not only how to farm, but also how to govern.