Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Musings: Why, Oh Why?

An anonymous commenter yesterday asked why, when years ago I supported Gary Hooser, I'm so opposed to him now:

So for you too it seems that the GMO issue eclipses all the other good stuff he may have done in the past?

I replied:

It's not the GMO issue, per se. It's what it says about Gary as a person, his ethics and character, and none of it good. So yeah, that present day reality eclipses everything good from his political past.

The commenter responded:

So it is not the GMO issue, then why are you obsessed with it Joan? Because you get paid to do so? Da Hoos also led the transplant north shore hippies in their fight to stop the Superferry. They were loud and obnoxious also just like the fistees. Same with his gay followers. All are backed by mainland people and money. Why only now do you hate him?

First, I don't hate Hooser, or anyone. I find his behavior in the anti-GMO/pesticide movement to be despicable and dangerous, but I don't know the man aside from his actions in the political arena. Hate requires a personal connection, and there's never been one.

Second, I have never been paid to write about anything on Kauai Eclectic. The topics I choose to cover in this blog reflect solely my own interests. I focused similar scrutiny on the 2014 prosecutor race and the TVR issue.

Third, the anti-GMO movement is not analogous to either gay marriage or the Superferry, and Gary's role is far more prominent and perverse in the anti-GMO drive. No movement in Hawaii has ever employed the same abhorrent tactics as used by the anti-GM crowd — the hateful memes and social media attacks, ostracizing and shaming farm workers, frenzied fear-mongering and a deliberate disinformation campaign.
These no class, no aloha tactics, especially the mistreatment of conscientious and dedicated ag workers, turned me against the movement even before I documented the lies and dirty funding. Sadly, these same deceptive, fear-based tactics are being used throughout the world.

I continue to “obsess” over the movement, and Hooser's role in it, because it's causing great harm to our community and viable Island agriculture, with global ramifications. And worse, it's doing so wrongly and needlessly. 

There is no danger from eating or growing GM crops. Organic agriculture is not superior. There is no indication that pesticides from the seed fields are migrating off-site in anything but negligible amounts, much less causing the kind of harm that antis continue to claim, even in the wake of disproving documentation provided by a Joint Fact-Finding report that favored their cause.

It's all a bunch of shibai. It's made up by those who stand to benefit politically and economically from pushing this particular agenda — namely, the organics industry, Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, HAPA, Hawaii SEED, SHAKA, Babes Against Biotech, GMO-Free and the high-end Realtors who will gentrify and sell Hawaii land once ag is destroyed. They make it up for the ignorant sheeple to promulgate.

As I have repeatedly documented, these groups have used fear-mongering to create a cottage industry that feeds their bank accounts, egos and political aspirations. They have a vested economic interest in keeping the conflict alive. 

Consider Hooser's comments about today's court hearing on the appeals of the three anti-GMO laws, delivered at last Sunday's “Aina Warrior” rally:

It doesn't matter what matter what happens on Wednesday. We will continue to fight.”

Really? Even if you win?  It's not unlike Hooser telling me, before the passage of Bill 2491:

“It doesn't matter if it's enforced. All that matters is getting it passed.”

That's because these bills have nothing to do with human or environmental health. Those claims are merely a ploy for using Hawaii as a pawn in a national strategy that engages small, rural, easily- manipulated communities in legislative action with the intent of setting national precedents that could never be achieved on a broader scale. An example is Vermont's labeling law.

That's why anti-GMO bills were pushed only on the Neighbor Islands, rather than Oahu, where it would have much harder to monopolize the media and scam a large population.

Gary uses his title and position as Councilman to advance himself and the movement. He'd never get media coverage if he were just another failed politician, which is one reason why he needs to lose his Council seat. He also deserves defeat because he continues to lie and fear-monger.

In this video, recorded after last Sunday's march, Hooser once again reiterates claims about cancer clusters, birth defects 10 times the national average, sea urchin die-offs, children getting sick in the schools — without ever noting that these claims are either bogus, or not due to the seed companies.

Indeed, there are no cancer clusters, save for melanoma on the North Shore; no elevated rate of birth defects; not one school sickening was caused by ag and nobody knows what happened to the urchins.

Hooser admits in the video that he had no clue as to the cause for the anecdotal concerns that constituents alleged raised. But rather than try and find out, he went after the seed companies in a classic case of ready, fire...uh...bruddah, you don't even know if you get the right target.

But of course he had the right target, because the movement was intended all along to destroy GMO ag — not determine if there was any validity to the concerns.

Hooser claims the four seed companies operating on Kauai “use more restricted use pesticides on those fields than they use anywhere. Anywhere.” Now that is a flat out lie.

He also claims that he and citizens are pushing this legislation “for the right to protect ourselves.” But from what? And if their fear is pesticides, why are they targeting only ag products, when pest control companies use far more?

Hooser continues:

It's reasonable to ask them for disclosure. It's reasonable to ask for modest buffer zones. And we can take that information and study it to determine if those heart defects are a result of this industry or not, determine if the increased cancer rate is there or not. We need the disclosure to do the studies.

But wait. The companies have been voluntarily providing disclosure and buffer zones for a couple of years now. And it's already been determined that there is no increased rate of cancer or heart defects. It's time to move on.

Hooser concludes:

Knowledge is power. The more knowledge the community has, the more informed they are, the better decisions they can make, and they can hold these companies accountable. They're suing us today for the right to spray poisons next to schools and not tell us about it.

And that's why I focus on Hooser, and this issue. I want people to have knowledge, and thus power, so they aren't scammed by opportunistic demagogues and special interests. I want them to make better decisions, rather than blindly follow faux leaders. And I want them to hold people like Ashley Lukens, Paul Achitoff, Nomi Carmona, Fern Rosenstiel, Margaret Wille, Autumn Rae Ness, Jeri DiPietro, Mark Sheehan, Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte, Gary Hooser, etc., accountable for the financial and social damage they've inflicted on our communities.

Because there are lots of reasons why the seed companies — and other farmers — are suing over these poorly written anti-GMO laws. And not one of them has anything to do with the desire to surreptitiously poison school kids.

Nor, as Gary claims, is it about “small communities stepping up to regulate big industry. That's what they're concerned about.”

No. They and other "agvocates" are concerned about fanatical biotech activists frightening people into railing against a safe and beneficial method of agriculture. They're concerned about the influence that fear and fanaticism has on politicians, who impose illegal and arbitrary restrictions on a well-regulated industry, with no regard for common sense or science.

And locally, they're very concerned about the total mischaracterization of agriculture and  demonization of farm workers by people who don't know a shovel from a spade.  

All of that bothers me, too, which is why I write so often about this issue. I just keep hoping people will wake up.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kauai would be a better place if Da Hoos was not re-elected. Granted.
It would also be better if JoAnn and Mason left as well.
But as we know the demographics are changing. There are enough fad followers and new wealthy residents that are against Ag, Dairy and anything that provides jobs. The retirees want Kauai to be their little paradise, unchanged from when they granted the island with their magnificent presence. After all, these elite newcomers can teach the poor locals really good stuff. And the new-comers have alliance with real Locals like the real estate brokers, fellow Fistees and other malahini elites. And the elites vote as a bllock..Mason. Joann. Gary.
Lost are the peoples connection to the land. JoAnn kills local housing and pushes locals into apartments. Mason wants them to walk in the woods, Gary wants them to march.
The other 4 including the Mayor just want the locals to watch Hoike and see them spend enormous amounts of money on absolutely nothing.
There is no vision. There is not one Politico that stands and says to the Mayor "we will not spend on more penny until you cut cost, review your processes and give substance, like new roads, housing and lower taxes.
I challenge anyone to give an example of what the Council/Admin has done in ten years. A few bus stops? More empty buses?/..................nothing.
The last major benefit given to the people was Kusaka and Baptiste's Bike path. Expensive or not, this bike path will give joy and beach access to thousands of Kauai people and is a real achievement. Exercise, beach, walk, bike or just stand and stare. The Bike Path is the only good thing in the last 50 years. And it will be there forever. Full Beach Access. (not like Pilaa and other beaches)
No vision, no honor, no service. Just high taxes, quibbling and fewer land rights.
Never let anyone from the County or State on your land for any reason, let'em get a warrant.they are not your friends..these spies are out to see what you or your neighbors have and they will cite you for an illegal chicken coop or tool shed. Mike Dahilig and his quest for power over all of the land. And Mel and the boys just watch and don't understand the power grab. Council, like Children in a sand box that think the cat turds are cookies. Smells like, looks like, taste like....oh my great glorious God it is we been eatin' sh*t. Logic.
At least Bob Cariffe picked up opala on the roadside.

Anonymous said...

Great job Joan. Was it Bayer that made aspirins? Was it this same Bayer that bought one of the seed company? They must know something about GMO's and finding a cure for the ASS-Pains guys you mentioned in the article.

Anonymous said...

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/gmos-have-we-turned-a-corner/

Hopefully this trend will continue.

Anonymous said...

Many of us hope Gary fades from the stage just as Bynam did. We all know that if not elected, he has another job lined up being a Ho.

Anonymous said...

Excellent summation of all that's coming down the pike since 2491. I'm not a big fan of having Agrochemical companying conducting research on prime Ag lands, but seriously it's not like there's a horde of farmers lined up to use the land to produce food for our citizens. Without these big seed companies, there would be little to no Ag use on these lands and much fewer jobs. Having followed this topic for several years, I've gone from being on the fence and kind of hoping there was a nexus to health issues so that these companies would leave to a pro-GMO advocate knowing that the future of Ag worldwide depends of producing drought and incest resistant crops. Your blog has been instrumental for me to in see both side of this issue, and frankly there's no comparison in the level of factual reporting between the anti-GMO and the pro-GMO. Science has won me over and, like you, I'm having a hard time watching Hooser lead his minions against the hardworking westside citizens that are dependent on decent paying jobs at the large agrochemical companies. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I remember when the scientific community said smoking was safe

Anonymous said...

So let us break this down shall we? First of all GMO companies are being opposed around the world. True. People want labeling and GMO companies do not want labeling. True. GMO companies"voluntarily" disclose because they did not want to be ordered to do so. It was extreme community pressure that forced their hand.

Next let us look at who the people with the original complaints against the companies were. FACT; Westsider Hawaiians and LOCALS. Fact: GMO companies are from other countries and the mainland and are not local. FACT;There is not one single upper level management person on Kauai that is NOT Caucasion and born on Kauai. Not one. Fact: most locals are employed as bird chasers. They aren't "farming".

Fact: Manufacturers such as Campbell soups and thousands of others are VOLUNTARILY labeling their products if they contain GMO derivatives. Fact organic food industry is growing by leaps and bounds while GMO are shrinking worldwide due to pressure in every country from well..humanity in general.

As for the proclamation that you don't hate anyone your voluminous vociferous vilifications of people especially born and raised here locals and Hawaiian are particularly disgusting. You put down women of prominence make fun of body parts and insult people you by your own admittance do not know.

Your explanation rings shallow. You may not print this comment but I feel better writing it.( Not haole raised Kauai. But it should not matter!)

Anonymous said...

Tell a lie over and over again and idiots will believe it.

Anonymous said...

Hooser is the Trump of the Left.

Anonymous said...

Organic technology is to farming as civil war surgery was to medicine.

Anonymous said...

For decades cigarettes was commercialized as safe. Trillions of dollars of profits and millions suffering and dying from safe cigarettes. Now you tell me if cigarettes are safe.

Anonymous said...

You not so smart.

Joan Conrow said...

@7:57 Yes, let us break this down. The anti-GMO movement has been so successful with its fear-mongering and histrionics that it has convinced consumers to pay a premium for a product (organics and/or GMO-free) that is no better than its conventional counterpart.

The acreage devoted to GM crops is expanding, not shrinking, worldwide.

The anti-GMO movement is haole born and bred. Even Hooser was lauding Fern and Sol Kahn (no mention of any westside locals) for getting it going.

Your characterization of locals being employed only as "bird chasers" is far more condescending (and untrue) than anything I would ever write.

No doubt you feel better after your little spew, which you are too cowardly to own. But then, that's so typical of the antis. You like to make any kind — with no accountability or consequences.

Anonymous said...

Give 'em, Joan!!

Anonymous said...

@7:57

The top managers for Syngenta are local and most were born and raised on Kauai.

That being said, it should not matter, which is the only thing in your post that is remotely accurate.

Anonymous said...

Organic agriculture and conventional farming practices are both at it's peak in scientific evolution. Both methods benefit from much of the basic research done today. The difference is how the research is used on the farm. BT which is used as a purified product from soil bacteria directly applied to the crop. While production BT is incorporated in the DNA of GMO crops so that the plant produces the toxin and needs not be applied to the crop.

Spinosad is another purified product from soil bacteria and a tool that can be used in organic agriculture developed by DOW Agrosciences and is also used in conventional ag.

A more accurate comparison would be oncology vs surgery.

Robin Clark said...

@8:42- Sorry, but science indicated that cigarettes were not safe as far back as the 1920s (chemist named Roffo). The Surgeon General report of 1957 showed scientific evidence of carcinogenicity. It was the big tobacco companies that promoted the lie that their products were "safe". Commercial claims and scientific evidence should not be confused as the former are often not backed up by the latter.

Science today says that that genetically modified food is just as safe as non-GE food. It is primarily the commercial organic food industry that is casting aspersions on GE food, not the scientific community.

The FDA just issued Whole Foods with a warning letter regarding food "prepared, packaged, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health." GE food looking better all the time!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@7:57

The top managers for Syngenta are local and most were born and raised on Kauai.

That being said, it should not matter, which is the only thing in your post that is remotely accurate.

June 15, 2016 at 9:39 AM
I call bull on that. There is zero evidence for that. Even if it is true what about the others? Since being born and raised here vs not has been the fuel for the fir for this debate it really boils down to GMO companies like all corporations trying to divide communities and operate with impunity however they please. The facts are annoying arent they? Workers at Syngenta especially are sub contract laborers chasing birds. Fully half of those are Korean Taiwanese And Mexican with some Marshalese. The companies here are owned run and operated by haoles who are not from Kauai.

How can these blatent facts be distorted?

Also, during the "war of the labels'. if the organic food industry can accept a label like that then the GMO food industry can too. Label it and know that "Big Organa" is here to stay and GMO industry loses ground every day. Consumers have spoken and the entire food industry is listening.

On the flip side the hippy slave labor camps have got to go right now!

Anonymous said...


Blogger Joan Conrow said...

@7:57 Yes, let us break this down. The anti-GMO movement has been so successful with its fear-mongering and histrionics that it has convinced consumers to pay a premium for a product (organics and/or GMO-free) that is no better than its conventional counterpart.

The acreage devoted to GM crops is expanding, not shrinking, worldwide.

The anti-GMO movement is haole born and bred. Even Hooser was lauding Fern and Sol Kahn (no mention of any westside locals) for getting it going.

Your characterization of locals being employed only as "bird chasers" is far more condescending (and untrue) than anything I would ever write.

No doubt you feel better after your little spew, which you are too cowardly to own. But then, that's so typical of the antis. You like to make any kind — with no accountability or consequences.

Then you know nothing about the jobs there. I have ohana ho were employed there in exactly that position. They told me all about what goes on there. It is a fact that Westside LOCALS had the original lawsuit and only after the kids at the school got sick and people were putting it together did Fern take it to Hooser. BTW Fern is part Hawaiian so stop calling her haole! There are more then a half MILLION Polynesians in California. Obviously you have never been to Carson City.

I will never understand your support of locals as long as they are in the feild but If they step out of it and side with another haole other then you or your pals you rip them a new hole. Now that is insulting.

I do appreciate you printing my rebuttals. I enjoy your other stands on issues but I don't like the rude personal attacks on others especially locals.

Joan Conrow said...

@11:58 -- I'm not surprised you don't understand it, because it's not the reality. I support locals in and out of the field -- if they're worthy of support. Same is true of haoles and all others.

I've actually visited all the seed companies, and seen their operations. Yes, some locals are employed as bird-chasers. But they are also employed in many other positions.

Anonymous said...

@12:58
Fern's mother is from Long Island and her late father from Australia- her bio. Pray tell, where does she get her Hawaiian blood and what do 500,000 Hawaiians anywhere have to do with what Joan said if they aren't in her family tree? Just a fact checking. Nothing personal.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they thought the long island was Molokai.

Anonymous said...

My oh My. There has always been Haole/Local tension, even with most of the kids Hapas.
But what a strange brew Bynum, Hooser, Mason, JoAnn and Jay cooked up by trying put the west side ag companies out of business and hence, loss of jobs.
Compounded by the shrieking mob from the NS.
I put this on Gary's doorstep. He is the the main Fistee and his sharp tongued li'l Fistees and their lies..always talking down to the locals.
Get every friend and family member you have and vote for people that support island values. Which have always been honesty and helping your neighbor, able to disagree on politics, but come together when there is a need.
Now the split is hard and sharp. But I'll give this to Gary and his gang, they are relentless. Relentless.

Maybe Gary is in Cahoots with the Mayor. Whilst we conjugate Ag, the Mayor and Mel et al get away with doing absolutely nothing. The old take the public's eye off of the ball trick, whilst they steal home plate.

Bradley Choquette said...

Robin Clark nailed the point. I'm 45 and have never heard that any kind of smoking, or tobacco was safe.

John Kauai said...

7:09
Bayer also manufactured and commercialized Heroin from 1898-1910.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My oh My. There has always been Haole/Local tension, even with most of the kids Hapas.
But what a strange brew Bynum, Hooser, Mason, JoAnn and Jay cooked up by trying put the west side ag companies out of business and hence, loss of jobs.
Compounded by the shrieking mob from the NS.
I put this on Gary's doorstep. He is the the main Fistee and his sharp tongued li'l Fistees and their lies..always talking down to the locals.
Get every friend and family member you have and vote for people that support island values. Which have always been honesty and helping your neighbor, able to disagree on politics, but come together when there is a need.
Now the split is hard and sharp. But I'll give this to Gary and his gang, they are relentless. Relentless.

Maybe Gary is in Cahoots with the Mayor. Whilst we conjugate Ag, the Mayor and Mel et al get away with doing absolutely nothing. The old take the public's eye off of the ball trick, whilst they steal home plate.

June 15, 2016 at 2:10 PM

There you guys go again! The mayor is local and Hawaiian! Mel is local and Hawaiian! Mason is local and Hawaiian! All I see are Haoles on the GMO side screaming that the Locals have to go..you just want haole to run it all.. really gets me mad!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@12:58
Fern's mother is from Long Island and her late father from Australia- her bio. Pray tell, where does she get her Hawaiian blood and what do 500,000 Hawaiians anywhere have to do with what Joan said if they aren't in her family tree? Just a fact checking. Nothing personal.

June 15, 2016 at 12:44 PM

wow really. so there are no Hawaiians from long island? Guess all the Hawaiians there didn't get the message? Try understanding the Hawaiian RACE has migrated everywhere!! Wow racist much?

Anonymous said...

You have it all wrong. It is the antis that want haoles to run everything. Fern is not part kanaka and neither is Mel

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have it all wrong. It is the antis that want haoles to run everything. Fern is not part kanaka and neither is Mel

June 15, 2016 at 5:39 PM

YOU have it wrong pal his gramma is Hawaiian. You have it wrong. NOT TRUE . Do you know them I know them personally! It is pro Gmo that is racebaiting! its You that are the haoles locals dont want GMO either!

Anonymous said...

There's so many different ethnic groups and so many mixed kids, how can some of you racists stand living here? I don't know who hates me or my kids but I probably have some common ancestry with them.

Anonymous said...

Joan have you noticed that no one else except the seed company crowd seems to share your perspective and obsession with Hooser?

Joan Conrow said...

You need to step out of the Hooser echo chamber, 7:26. You'd be surprised how many enemies Hooser has, how many people from all walks of life and professions tell me, "get him."

Anonymous said...

There's no respect to give to a bunch of haoles who want to shut down businesses and brag about it.

How can they look at themselves in the mirror and believe they're doing the right thing?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no respect to give to a bunch of haoles who want to shut down businesses and brag about it.

How can they look at themselves in the mirror and believe they're doing the right thing?

June 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM

And you are? Princess Kaiulani was hapa. Her Aunt was married to one. Second racial group here was haole. Haoles were here before Filipino Chinese Japanese and all others. Haoles have been running things since Dole and statehood. You must be a newbie or very young.

Haoles run all of the businesses.

Anonymous said...

Living on Kauai makes us Kauaian. LOL. Be nice, eat rice, don't do ice. People came from all over to work on Kauai. That is one reason I'm here. Third generation and proud to be Kauaian. Why all this commotion? Because "some" people can not get along with each other. Money, greed, jealousy, hate(lousy four letter word) prevents us from being Ohana. Our Ohana got split by red vs. blue. It did not have to be this way. Don't force anything on anyone. Don't lie. Because of money, greed, hatred some people don't care who they hurt. One day I hope these people will understand what true Ohana is. One would think that the red has free money via donations while the blue have to earn their keep. How about we all earn our keep? Why? Too hard to work. LOL