Friday, August 26, 2016

Musings: All About PR

It was really disturbing to see that Planned Parenthood Hawaii is a supporter of Gary Hooser's HAPA Kuleana Academy:
While I've always backed PP because of the low-cost birth control and health services it provides, it's hard to see how the Kuleana Academy fits its mission statement. 

Is Planned Parenthood Hawaii truly so awash in funds that it can afford to give money to HAPA? Are its donors apprised that their contributions are diverted to causes they may not support?

Speaking of donations, Greenpeace — the world's biggest anti-GMO fear-feaster — has released its 2015-16 annual report. As the Risk-Monger noted, 35 percent of every Euro collected goes to fundraising, and nearly all of the money is spent on salaries, media, communications and public relations:

I did not see anything on conservation programmes or actual help to the environment - reminder: Greenpeace is a lobbying organisation, and not an environmental NGO.

The same can be said of Hawaii Center for Food Safety, which despite its name does nothing to actually advance food safety — the group has said nothing about the Hepatitis A outbreak in the Islands — nor the local food production it rhapsodizes about.

But it's happy to spend dough feting the ignorance-peddling Food Babe:
Curious, that someone who thinks nothing of needlessly frightening people or disseminating misinformation to pad her own pockets should be talking about ethics. But then, the anti-GMO movement is notoriously lacking in self-awareness.

The anti-dairy commentary today by Virginia Beck offers a perfect example of those who believe they are being open-minded, even as they approach an issue with tremendous bias. Though she makes like she's trying to present both sides, her view of the Mahaulepu dairy is tainted by her own misperceptions, starting with her assumption that Ulupono “sees simply resources that can be used for profit.”

Actually, Ulupono is subsidizing the dairy as a pilot project in sustainability. It's not envisioned as a money-maker.

Like many of the misinformed, Beck seems to think the dairy is proposed for “pristine” land near the beach. Wrong. The acreage in question was cultivated in sugar for more than a century, then used as a dairy and is currently in cattle pastures that adjoin land leased by the seed companies.

Beck also worries about the dairy's water use, apparently unaware it is proposed for acreage designated as Important Ag Land largely because it has access to water. Waita reservoir is intended to be used for ag, not residential.

Beck then proposes her “thinking outside of the box” alternative:

One solution would be to plant large swathes of albizia, nitrogen fixing trees, where they could trap nitrogen runoff, and at the same time improve the microclimate for reduced water evaporation.

Uh, albizia is an invasive species that presents a severe threat to Kauai's watersheds. As the state and private landowners struggle to eradicate this pest, the last thing we want to do is plant more of it. 

Please, get back in the box until you know what you're talking about.

And that goes for The Garden Island's reporter, Jessica Else, who badly botched the story on Jimmy Pflueger, mixing up the landslide at Pilaa with the Kaloko dam break. It's worrisome to think that her many erroneous articles are creating a false record of news events on Kauai.

Although maybe I shouldn't blame Jessica. Cops and courts reporter Michelle Iracheta, the best reporter to land at TGI in a long time, recently penned a blog post about her stories being badly re-written, using such terms as “censored” and “god forbid I run anything negative against the pros office. #JustSaying”

I can't imagine how hard it must be for young reporters to have TGI Editor Bill Buley as their misguided mentor, playing God with their stories and demoralizing them in the process. As the Star-Advertiser considers staff cuts, he should be at the top of the list.

Interesting, to see how the anti-GMO groups start to scream when the shoe is on the other foot. In this case, it's farmers seeking legal fees from an activist group and organic company that intevened in the lawsuit that ultimately rejected an Oregon county's GMO ban on the same pre-emption grounds that overturned all three of the Hawaii anti-GMO initiatives.

The farmers are seeking $29,205 in legal fees from the interventors for “unnecessarily complicating the litigation.” Attorneys for the intervenors are objecting to what they characterize as fees billed for “unreasonably long hours at higher-than-normal rates.”

Ya mean, like the $600 per hour that Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety charge the taxpayers when they do anti-GMO litigation?

I wonder if the seed companies will seek similar fees from Surfrider, Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety and the others who have intervened in the Hawaii litigation.

One can only hope, because it seems like they've got money to burn.

In other anti-GMO madness, General Mills is pandering to activists, even as the company fails to take any substantive action. Specifically, the company announced that the original Cheerios will be GMO-free — a tiny concession since the oat-based cereal uses minimal GM ingredients. But its other Cheerio products, which use significant amounts of GM products, will remain status quo.

General Mills is making a statement, but only one that it can currently back without suffering any major financial impact.

In fact, most of the cereals produced by General Mills as well as most cereals produced by competitors Kellogg and Post Holdings actually contain a significantly greater percentage of GMOs than Cheerios ever did.

But hey, consumers have the right to know — that it's all about PR.


Anonymous said...

There was actually quite a bit of seed corn grown in the valley for a number of years as well. Also funny how no one from FOM talks about how one of the valley walls is being torn up. It's the new quarry for Glover. I guess it's ok to destroy the pristine valley as long it's going to pour more cement.

Anonymous said...

Weird that Planned Parenthood is backing an extremist movement that uses the same tactics as anti-abortion groups.

Luke Kambic said...

"One solution would be to plant large swathes of albizia, nitrogen fixing trees, where they could trap nitrogen runoff, and at the same time improve the microclimate for reduced water evaporation."

It sounds like Ms. Beck is confused about what nitrogen fixing plants do. Albizias fix nitrogen from the air and would likely contribute *additional* nitrogen to the runoff water:

Anonymous said...

As a society that has come to expect 100% safe food, it is appalling that groups such as the D.C.-based Hawaii Center for Food Safety (more aptly called Center for Food Producer Harassment) fail to recognize the harm they do to American farmers and consumers.

It appears that the goal of this litigation firm masquerading as a benevolent do-gooder, non profit is to ban GMOs and non-organic pesticides, making it impossible to produce food on the scale and affordability required by our population, and regardless of the many disadvantages of farming organically. And they failing to inform their followers that USDA created the organic program as a MARKETING scheme; it is not a program that promotes safer, healthier food.

I keep hoping the public will recognize the bigger picture, which to me is that as our local and mainland farms go out of business, we will be forced to obtain even more of our food from other countries. Foreign countries, like China, India, Egypt, Turkey, and Chile, often do not have the kind of strict regulatory infrastructure that we have in the U.S., and enforcement of any kind is often lacking.

Having been to many of the countries from which we are now importing food, I feel much safer eating American grown food. We shouldn't be making it impossible for our farmers to grow food for us at a price we can afford. Our food is safe and we shouldn't allow the wrongly-named Center to trick us into believing otherwise.

Hepatitis A update:
There are now 28 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Virginia linked to Egyptian strawberries used by Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchises, and lawsuits are being filed. The contaminated berries were pulled from the 96 Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in Virginia. There are more than 500 franchises across the country.

And here in Hawaii the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed that Hepatitis cases from Philippine-grown contaminated scallops reached 228 as of Wednesday afternoon, up 22 from a week ago -- 58 of the 228 victims have required hospitalization, with at least two needing liver transplants. Two Hawaiian Airline flight attendants have also been confirmed with the disease. They and other food service workers can potentially spread the virus to hundreds of people via foods and drinks. Lawyers are estimating that 10,000 or more people could eventually be included in their class action lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Why is Planned Parenthood getting mixed up with this crowd? Don't they have enough controversy on their hands?

Anonymous said...

The Waita reservoir is used by private companies who sell fishing tours. Money money money. That reservoir is State owned and belongs to all the people who want to fish there. Selfishly keeping it close making locals mad!

Oh and screw Gary and his crew. Get a real job HAPA!!! You're annoying.

Anonymous said...

Editor Bill Buley has turned the GI into a joke. A pure 2nd rate advertising rag.
The free papers have better news and stories.
Bill Burley's editorializing certainly helped Justin in the PA piece and Bill's consistent cheeerleading and glamorizing Da Hoos is pertneer a political contribution.
Ms Beck is a solid lady. She has helped many people over the years. But she is part of the NIMBY crowd. The majority of the folks in the Ant- Dairy clique are rich South Siders that would be complaining about sugar ash, tractor noise and other Ag uses.
Everyone on the island knows that this is an Ag island and Ag uses are part of it.

Da Hoos could care two cow-pies about the moo-moo's poo-poohs in Poipu. Pure political calculations. The problem is Gary....most of the condo owners don't vote. And most of them should remember that you and your doppelganger Big Boy Bynum raised taxes on them thar very condo owners with which you now align.

1:37 Another reason that we should realize the importance of the Big Land owners. They control most of the island's access, all future road plans, housing future and water's future. They also control access to most of the beaches.
Da Hoos at this week's Council meeting really tried to get some brownie points by addressing traffic issues. Sh*t Gary, we were on the same committee 20 plus years ago on Traffic...same story...same plans. No action --when you were in the Senate, you were too busy trying to get the other Reps to suck you up to Lt Gov. to ever try to put kala in the Kuhio or Kuamualii Hwy pipeline.
But everyone acknowledges ALL TRAFFIC solutions are in the hands of Big Land. Not one Council person has gone to Big Land and asked them -

"Eh Wat Bra? You going give dat land to us guys? Eh, ya know we was keeding when we went go make Ag a crime and putcha outta bizniss. We sorry."

Maybe if Da Hoos is absent from the Council Big Land might listen...but get rid of JoAnn and Gary's best little Fistee boy Mason too.

Anonymous said...

The National Inventory of Dams lists Waita as owned by Grove Farm Co. and not the state. DLNR is the state's regulatory agency for dams, perhaps causing confusion among commenters and Ms. Beck. The 3 mgd is not a huge draw on Waita's capacity, either, and its purpose is listed as irrigation.It has nothing to do with county water and facilities reserve charges. When you write an article like Ms. Beck's, a bit more research would be useful before you jump to conclusions. But this kind of expository sloppiness is characteristic of and encouraged by TGI's editorial bent and coverage- shades of 2491, the JFFG, Carl Berg's Kukae Wai/Kai and the Moo Poo Manifesto. You don't have to be a scientist to handle the subject better than Garden Island- wide awake will do.

Aria Juliet Castillo, Program Manager, Kuleana Academy said...

Neither Planned Parenthood nor Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii have given any funds to Kuleana Academy or to HAPA.

However, as an Alliance Education partner, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii has provided Kuleana Academy with a speaker to share about its advocacy for public policy that promotes and protects reproductive health, rights and justice through voter education, candidate endorsement, lobbying, and public education.

Kuleana Academy is a leadership development program for those who want to serve in public office. Our Alliance Education Partners provide insight on the issues that they are working on and the ways in which they work on them with lawmakers.

Our Alliance Education partners offer support to the program in a variety of ways that may not be monetary, including providing educational materials, speakers, mentorship, and program resources.

Joan Conrow said...

Thank you for clarifying that Planned Parenthood isn't giving Kuleana Academy money. However, your use of their name confers an endorsement beyond merely providing a speaker. I understand Gov. Waihee and Sen. Schatz also were speakers, yet they are not listed as partners. Is Planned Parenthood aware its name is being used to imply support for HAPA/Kuleana? Also, if you practiced the transparency you demand of others you would disclose your funding sources so that we can all see who really does fund HAPA, aside from. CFS, which is also listed as as a partner.

Anonymous said...

As of this afternoon when I called, Planned Parenthood Hawaii was not aware of their partnership with the Kuleana Academy Alliance Education.

I doubt very much that Planned Parenthood is a sponsor or endorser, supporter, or "partner", as most people would interpret the term.

PP is funded in large part by federal dollars and it better not be funding or supporting HAPA. I don't work this hard to have my taxes go to that lying, cheating, aloha-destroying fake nonprofit.

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised that HAPA continues to use deceptive practices to advance their agenda.

Joan Conrow said...

Thank you, 6:04. When I contacted PPH today, they also seemed unaware of the connection, but I was referred to their PR person in Seattle, who had gone for the day. It will be interesting to hear the "official response."

Anonymous said...

It's sad to see a once venerable newspaper like the Garden Island being driven into the ground by sloppy reporting and poor management. Why hire out of state reporters who have no knowledge of this island or it's people when they could find local journalist?

Anonymous said...

It's been going on for at least a decade now.

Aria Juliet said...

Yes, Planned Parenthood Votes Hawaii and Northwest is aware that they are an alliance education partner. They, along with our other education partners are not listed as a "sponsor", "supporter", or "funder" for Kuleana Academy, anywhere.

John Kauai said...

How many people her subscribe to the TGI? I don't but often feel like I should. I know that when I pickup a hard copy of the paper, I take a bit more time to examine it. $11/month, maybe I should just consider it a charity so that Joan has something to rant about. :^) (and what fun would we be missing without those rants?)

Speaking of China, several years ago Syngenta convinced a bunch of farmers in the midwest to plant a version of their GMO corn that was suppose to be sold to China even though China was clear in stating they were not going to approve that version. A number of farmers took a real hit. The little interaction I have with farmers I know makes it sound like they are still under a lot of pressure with GMO having little to do with the source of this pressure. Now China is buying Syngenta. Conspiracy Theory: China colluded with Syngenta to bankrupt American farmers so larger corporations (Monsanto, Supermarket to the world) could gain more control over America's food supply.

India has had trouble with wheat shortages. (They have some name for wheat that is a unique strain that is used in many of their news articles. Unfortunately, I can't recall that name so can't find the more interesting stories.) One of the causes for their problems is tariffs imposed moving goods between states. There ends up being a lot of spoilage. So 'ingredient news' is reporting a surge in Indian imports.

It took 3 years but finally some Hawaii Avocados are going to make it to the mainland:

Anyway, the USA isn't going to import major amounts of corn, wheat, rice or soybeans. That's not to say none of these will be imported since we are talking about commodities and large variations in available hybrids.

Is there a Citizens Group, other than Glenn Mikens, organized to deal with the traffic problem, by-pass the county council, and go to "big land" and work with them? Maybe this group could talk to the Ulepono Initiative and get them to pay for it? Then the FoM would have something else to bitch about.

Joan Conrow said...

@John: Conspiracy Theory: China colluded with Syngenta to bankrupt American farmers so larger corporations (Monsanto, Supermarket to the world) could gain more control over America's food.

Big problem with that theory: Why would seed/pesticide companies want to bankrupt their customers? They need farmers to buy their seeds and other products. And why would Syngenta collude to help its competitors?

Maybe my next "rant" should be against people who use my blog to post inane comments because they wouldn't otherwise have an audience.

And Aria Juliet, your hairsplitting semantics also seemed to mislead Civil Beach, which reported: "The academy was launched this year with the support of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Planned Parenthood...." So it seems you are indeed creating the impression that PP is a HAPA/Kuleana supporter, when that apparently is not the case.

Anonymous said...

I like your last paragraph John. And I'm sure after all these years standing alone ole Bear kickin Mickens could use a little organized back up! Good thinking J

Anonymous said...

"Ulepono", John Kauai. Look ule up.and don't use it again unless you are referring to yourself.

John Kauai said...

Joan said:

"Maybe my next "rant" should be against people who use my blog to post inane comments because they wouldn't otherwise have an audience. "

Not a bad idea. It is your blog. Whatever makes you happy. I appreciate the opportunity to further look into the stuff you write about.

Back to the CT, bankrupting farmers was what the Great Depression was all about. The banks moved in and took over the land. In the '60s one could have an 80 acre farm and do something with it. Now you have to run over 3500 acres. (There are smaller farms, but they often have a negative income.) Put a couple of those independents out of business and take the land then rent it out to some other guy who is "just better enough". The few farmers I know who are still in the business are very unique, industrious people, but even so it still feels like they are just barely hanging on.

In 1960 there were 15,000,000 farmers. In 1990 it had dropped to 2,900,000. In 2007 2,100,000.

One bankrupts a farmer for the same reason they issue a fraudulent mortgage to an unqualified buyer and then foreclose on it. It is profitable.

If I gave the impression that only China was bankrupting farmers, I did not mean to.

You may find this LA times article on China's desire to control more farm land of interest.

Anonymous said...

Hey we know that John has to get a "dig in while being the peace dude".

His concperacy theory(s) is/are silly, and not even a little bit thought out. And that he writes more words on Joan's blog than Joan herself is indicative of johns nature.

However, I don't want this to be about John, and I suspect he was making adig on Mikens. I just want this to be about correcting our traffic nightmares! John knows I will blast him every way. But, I liked his last paragraph. Even if he misspelled.

Please John, this is not about you. This is about sharing information please. Tell us what you know buddy, not endless links.

John Kauai said...

I apologize for the links. You don't have to follow them.

Joan does a good job of embedding additional information into her posts and I usually follow those links. I need to because I'm pretty ignorant of the happenings on Kauai. and "Anonymous" doesn't help when he/she posts some cryptic reference to something I've never heard of. It is embarrassing to me when "everyone else" seems to know what that reference is.

Anyway, if I have something to share, I like to back it up so that you can decide whether or not the link I refer to is crap -- or good.

Anyway, who really 'KNOWS' anything. Trump's VP, Mike Pence, 'KNOWS' that Climate Change is a hoax. For me to not think him a complete idiot, I have to formulate some kind of Conspiracy Theory.

Another version of the "CT" I proposed: China played Syngenta making them believe that the new GMO version would be approved before the harvest. When it wasn't Syngenta found itself having to defend several lawsuits. Now the Chinese are buying them. Is that because the Chinese have deep pockets to cover those law suits? I would think Trump supporters would like this version. Or is it because the TPP is about to be passed through Congress (in a Lame Duck session) and that will allow the Chinese (owners) to tell American Farmers to GFY.

CTs should be fun. Isn't that what the best shows on TV depend on? CTs shouldn't be viewed as "fact" but "possibilities" that allow one to come up with a better explanation of events.

Oh yeah, I picked up pamphlets at the Syngenta and Pioneer booths. I find the "we need to feed the world" claims to be ridiculous since there are so many people starving and there already is enough people to feed the world. In Syngenta's and Pioneer's defense though, if it weren't for the politics (which I blame on the American Empire) perhaps they could (feed the world). The other stuff they put out has some good information.

Anonymous said...

3:21 John Kauai actually lives in North Hollywood and is a virtual citizen of Kauai.

Silvia said...

That's exactly the first thing I thought when reading that nitrogen-fixing nonsense, someone doesn't have a clue of what nitrogen fixing mean :-)

Anonymous said...

John K, most farms are family owned, and most of those family owned farms are incorporated because it's the smart thing to do. The US Dept. of Ag. has the figures - no need to construct a creative theory.

Anonymous said...

John Kauai, it is very presumptuous of you to use that tag. Obviously you aren't from here. And you run on like some irritating coke head talking all big in the bathroom at 2 o'clock in the morning. You're more irritating than that dummy who talks about being legend or that da hoos guy .

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the pseudonym, John Kauai. You demean it and are not of Kauai to begin with. The depth of your ignorance about Kauai and even Hawaii seems bottomless. Try "John From Ten or Eleven Places"- the length and meandering of the name suits the nature of your posts.

Anonymous said...

Joan, can we vote him off?

Anonymous said...

We do not need to grow more food to feed the world. We need to stop wasting so much food, especially in countries like the USA. Shameful, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

9:28 Great idea. Let anonymous voters vote off one of the few commenters brave enough to use their own name. I cast my vote for keeping John.

Anonymous said...

C'mon leave Johnny K alone. He brings some good points to this great blog.

A good thing is that yesterday I converted 6 Hooser votes into 6 Brun votes. Most people don't remember that Da Hoos has always been against PMRF. His early marching days were out at Mana letting the world know that PMRF has no place on his Kauai.
We don't bring up Da Hoos non-payment of taxes anymore, since the State Tax folks let him off the hook for about 50,000. Case closed, he is tax compliant.

Guaranz Ball Bearanz, Bill Burley will do a few pictures of Gary and quote him predominately in The Garden Island soon. Gary has his Fistee 911 out, begging for votes and he has a real ace up his sleeve when he has such a colluding relationship with the editor.
Used to be- The Garden Island made an attempt to cover the facts and be fair.

Joan Conrow said...

@10:02. We need to do both: Grow more food and stop wasting it.

Anonymous said...

Joan - You write a great blog, but I'm so tired of seeing these "John Kauai" posts that I'm starting to not read the comments which I used to enjoy. Do we really need his input? I certainly don't.

Joan Conrow said...

I'd like to see John Kauai minimize and shorten his comments as it's evident that no one is quite as enamored with his ramblings as he..

Anonymous said...

You guys are overestimating Buley as someone who would actually go out of his way to build relationships with politicians, so as to slant his paper in any direction. When he in fact only cares about dogs, churches and marathons. The raging alcoholic can barely manage his staff, let alone a community newspaper.
When a new managing editor started earlier this year, he stayed for about a month, before he couldn't take Buley's abusive nature.
Earlier this month, TGI was nearly sued for libel under his guidance.
The corporate office has nearly had it with Buley. He is rumored to be leaving in the next year or so.

Anonymous said...

I actually enjoy John Kauai's comments, and I am one who agrees with Joan's perspectives 99% of the time. It's her blog and if she requests that comments be shortened, then commenters should listen to her wishes. I certainly hope he isn't deterred from commenting. What unites the fringes on either side is certitude and unwillingness to hear any opinion that differs. John Kauai appears to swing from the fringe to the middle quite a bit. A good chunk of Joan's support appears to be from those on the other side -- those who think GMOs are the Lord's answer for humanity and that climate change is a fraud. Kauai is a weird place. Thank god I'm a part-timer for life.

Joan Conrow said...

I don't think John would be easily deterred from commenting. He's welcome to write long, but the longer they are, the less likely that people will read them.

Nicole said...

We may not depend on Syngenta/Monsanto for food now, but in a climate changed future, all those saved seeds and heirloom varietals will wilt in the heat. By 2060, parts of Kansas and areas to the south will have more than 50 days a year that are 100degF or more, and by 2100, that will be true of about half the US. Also consider the effect on rainfall, and the trend I've seen that scientists are always conservative with these estimates. I wouldn't be surprised if it happens 2-3x faster than predicted.

Anonymous said...


Exactly! That is why I rarely read J.K's lengthy comments. Too much lagggggg like a slow computer. He is a smart guy but he should stay off the tangents and quit posting links. Who in the heck follows links that they need to paste to their browsers, boring. Now your links Joan are awesome. You have them highlighted and linked to the subject matter. Very professional.