Sunday, November 27, 2016

Musings: Clear Thinking

The misinformed commentary in today's edition of The Garden Island underscores just how deeply confused and utterly misled the public remains on the pesticide-GMO issue in Hawaii.

That's not surprising. The anti-GMO movement, which has morphed into an anti-pesticide movement, is based on intentionally sowing and fertilizing lies. It's one of the best ways to whip up fear and win converts to a false cause. But it leaves people cynical, disenfranchised and ignorant when things don't go their way.

Which is what we see in today's guest opinion by educator Mark Jeffers and letter to the editor by the perennially deluded Linda Bothe. 

She unleashes one of her typically clueless rants, making such bogus claims as:

These ag companies can spray their poison near our schools, hospitals and our homes, anywhere they feel like it. We cannot complain because the law says so.

Like so many others, Linda is clueless about the many rigorous regulations imposed on  commercial pesticide use, especially restricted use pesticides. And yes, people can and do complain, which is why the pesticide enforcement officers are kept so busy.

But who can fault Linda when people who do know better — people like defeated Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser, Center for Food Safety's Ashley Lukens and Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff — continue to make like Hawaii is some wild west where pesticide use is totally unregulated and out of control? 

That is a flat out lie uttered for one purpose only: to make people afraid so these groups can hit them hard for donations.

Linda goes on:

Why do I feel like I am in the Jim Jones Cult? Just drink your Kool-Aid and everything will be fine. Are we really that gullible? This scares me to death.

Yes, sadly, you are that gullible. And so are too many of your fellow residents. Only your leader is not Jim Jones, but Hooser-Lukens. So yeah, drink their Kool-Aid. How else are they gonna get people to keep sending them money for another dose of fear?

Mark Jeffers starts by spouting nonsense about how Kauai folks supposedly stopped the Superferry and halted nuclear missile launches at PMRF. Uh, the unsuccessful PMRF protests were about launching missiles from a sacred dune, not nuclear warheads, and the ferry was halted because it violated state environmental laws. Neither issue had anything to do with county initiatives, or "home rule."

Mark then claims:

When the agri-chemical companies were accused of field testing restricted-use chemical pesticides, there were protests and the county began to take action to preserve the life of the island. County government set about building regulations and laws to preserve the life of the island and its people.

First, the seed companies are not testing any pesticides, restricted use or general, in Hawaii. This is another lie spread by Hooser, the late Tim Bynum and anti-GMO activists like Hawaii SEED, CFS and Babes Against Biotech. Pesticide testing is done in enclosed facilities on the mainland.

Second, Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 did absolutely nothing to eliminate or even reduce pesticide use in Hawaii. Its claim to "stop poisoning paradise" was total bullshit. The bill called for buffer zones and pesticide disclosure, both of which the companies voluntarily agreed to do. The protests — which were especially misguided if they were indeed based on a false belief about pesticide tests — did not result in any “building regulations and laws” being passed “to preserve the life of the island and its people.”

Jeffers then falsely asserts that "the county lost its sovereignty on this issue and now may not make law or regulate the actions of the agri-chemical seed-growers. And so, therefore, the county has now lost its ability to preserve the life of this island in that arena."

The County hasn't "lost its sovereignty on this issue," because it never had it. Indeed, the entire purpose of the bill, as well as the resulting lawsuit and appeal, was to clarify the state and federal pre-emption issue. Earthjustice, CFS and Hooser were warned against this strategy by those who said it risked giving the seed companies a definition of pre-emption that they never could have gotten from the Legislature.

But the groups took their chances, in hopes of setting a precedent in their own favor. They lost. Now they and their followers are making like they've been screwed by the seed companies and a corrupt system. No, they're just seeing the end result of their flawed legal strategy. 

It's not surprising that people like Jeffers, Boethe, Dustin Barca and other "red shirts" feel let down and disenchanted by the recent court rulings. They went in as true believers, not knowing the activists were using them as pawns in a bigger game. The movement was never intended to make Hawaii safer and cleaner. It was all about trying to shut down the GMO seed industry and set a precedent for local control.

Furthermore, the counties can regulate some actions of seed-growers — just not those related to pesticides or GMOs.

What really got me, though, was Jeffers' closing statement:

I put my hope in the clear thinking and pono actions of the children as they grow to help to preserve the life of our island home.

How are the keiki going to engage in clear thinking and pono actions when their elders — including educators like Jeffers — are setting such a poor example by demonstrating their own lack of critical thinking, their own loose grasp of the facts?

This is the sad, and lasting, legacy of the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

How much do you get paid Joan to keep beating the pro chemical company drum? Several of the companies do possess Experimental Pesticide Use Permits authorized for Hawaii operations. And Kauai residents stopped the Super Ferry from coming to Kauai long before the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled against them.

Anonymous said...

Do people understand that "experimental" pesticide use means using an APPROVED pesticide off label? So its like what they did on the big island with the coffee berry beetle. They used a pesticide that wasnt approved for that scenario but they wanted to see if it would work. That was the experimental designation.

Joan Conrow said...

Kauai residents only stopped the Superferry until Lingle established the "enforced security zones."

Anonymous said...

So often, on topics where opposing points of view spout their perspectives hurling arrows at one another, the battle continues to rage on and on and on.
Might it be possible to "acknowledge" that there are conflicting points of view, and rather than having blame spouted on one side and denial claimed on the other, should the following approaches be considered:
1. Take an actual look at the ways there is an array of the use of chemical derivatives available in our midst. We can go to the store and purchase items to address our battle against insects and weeds! Governmental entities use stuff to eradicate weeds along the roadside. Commercial entities do the same thing to keep their landscaping looking great. Etc., etc., etc.
2. Should we have a "round table" approach in addressing this problem collaboratively" Rather than go through the accusatory-denial exercise in futility, should we be focusing on how we may be able to cope with the problem collaboratively?
In other words, there is a degree of "responsibility" among all of us, so, indeed, this is our shared kuleana! Can we move forward with that attitude in mind?

Anonymous said...

The development of news strains of BT corn requires an experimental pesticide use permit. The corn plant itself is considered a pesticide by EPA.

Anonymous said...

It's quite disheartening when one discovers that those who are teaching our children are either ignorant of what they teach or are disingenuous liars.

Anonymous said...

Or both, 3:05 PM.

Anonymous said...

Hawaii's newspapers are terrible about publishing letters and op-ed pieces that go far beyond reasonable opinion and instead make wildly false assertions of fact. In the "post factual era" of fake news and social media propaganda, newspapers really do owe their readers and communities much better.

Anonymous said...

Stupidity is the result of two reasons - low IQ or closed minds that refuse to logically accept and process information presented. We have an abundance of it here. And yet, those with this affliction, unabashedly demonstrate it by opening their mouths or writing stupid articles.

Anonymous said...

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values.

Anonymous said...

Reading the letters in TGI brings to mind Mark Twain's quote: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

Anonymous said...

Anybody that thinks pesticides in our food cycle is safe are the ones with "low IQ or closed minds that refuse to logically accept and process information presented"

Anonymous said...

3:05 PM
It is a problem facing our children everyday as the ignorant progressive left continues to brainwash and indoctrinate all citizens at every level.

Anonymous said...

11/28 @ 6:33 AM, that is just uninformed rhetoric. Do you know there is peer-reviewed, published scientific work that demonstrates that over 99% of the pesticides we consume are produced by the plants themselves? Do you know that organic agriculture uses plenty of pesticides to produce food? Do you know about the scientific testing that is done on pesticide active ingredients, as required by law, to demonstrate the lack of harm from the compounds before they are even registered for use by the Federal government? Do you know that safety cannot be proven for anything? Do you understand the definition of the psychological concept of projection?

Anonymous said...

Any movement based on fear is bound to fail in the end. The results of the past two council elections demonstrated that people saw through the lies.

Anonymous said...

11/27 @ 2:12 PM, those are great concepts. Might I suggest two things:

1) What you are proposing lies at the very core of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which the seed companies have been practicing for years. Implementation of IPM requires credible scientific education and hands on experience.

2) A round table approach requires that everyone be fully informed, or at least be willing to take in information, as well as a commitment to engage honestly in the process. Given how the JFFG failed, how do you propose to rectify the flaws from that attempt?

Anonymous said...

I know there are conflicting studies on the pesticides.
I certainly do not have time to digest the conflicting studies, but I have sure noticed that around the same time as glyphosate became mainstream in our food supply, Americans started getting fatter and fatter. Maybe its all the diet soda (that makes you fatter than sugar soda), or maybe its the BPA in the plastic bottles. Or maybe its just the booze for a population that needs mind numbing. Perhaps its time to try reverse engineering the obesity epidemic and figuring out from there if there is a chemical cause, and then taking appropriate action.

Anonymous said...

8:05---make the round table really, really big so more people can engage---we are not fully informed about many things---so many secrets and lies---try go ask Snowden!!!!!!

And, they use experimental pesticides here, this has been the testing ground!

Joan Conrow said...

@9:56 And, they use experimental pesticides here, this has been the testing ground!

This is a perfect example of how you are not fully informed. Did you even read the post or the earlier comments, where we specifically addressed and debunked this claim?

Anonymous said...

@7:44 you are the king of rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

11/28 @ 9:56 AM, this is 11/28 @ 8:05 AM. Joan has already correctly commented on your second statement.

Regarding your first statement, can you please elaborate? Would you agree that the secrets and lies have come from the anti-GMO/anti-pesticide crowd? It seems to me we had a "really really big round table" during the discussion preceding the passage of 2491, with a lot of people "engaging", and look what a farce that all was. How do you propose we keep the discussion respectful and fact-based?

Anonymous said...

@10:04, this is @7:54 (not @7:44 as you claim). Thank you for acknowledging my supremacy. This results from my taking the time to educate myself and investigate topics thoroughly, without a preconceived bias, drawing conclusions based upon well-documented facts. Thus, I am informed, rather than being uninformed.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:32 AM:

The obesity epidemic is caused by people sitting on their butts and not moving their bodies.

Or, using your reasoning, it may be caused by the organic industry, which coincidentally has seen a precipitous rise, along with our body fat.

Anonymous said...

@6:33, 11/28: am the one that made that statement regarding stupidity. I linked two reasons for stupidity using the mutually exclusive word "or". It was a glaring mistake because there is a mutually exclusive term "and/or" which applies to you. Suggest that you brush up on Logic 101 or mathematics where those are used before commenting and displaying your stupidity.

Bradley Choquette said...

@ 6:33, actually, our bodies can process, or remove chemicals, including pesticides. The residues they are finding are in the parts per billion. Plus, Roundup doesn't bio accumulate and is exceeded in your urine. Therefore, it is an impossibility to consume enough Cheerios to be "poisoned" by pesticides. The one exception is Organophosphates, which are in the process of being phased out.

@ 11:10 I feel your frustration with the Antis; however, it's nice to reserve childish name calling tactics to the Antis. The tactic reflects poorly on them, and hurts their cause. If pro-GMO forces sink to their level, then we are no longer be acting more mature than the Antis, and we no longer stand on higher ground (it works towards defeating our cause).... Bear in mind, I've cast a few dispersion, yet, the comments were fact based on specific things said, and I refrained from degrading the person personally. For example, "my dog wouldn't even eat Gary Hooser's organic sweet corn." We can (hopefully) point out faults in their cause without demeaning them personally.... Anyway, that is my two cents worth....

Anonymous said...

Bradley, remember when toboacco was considered "safe". How did that end up? The truth will come out and your dog will be the only one eating it.

Anonymous said...

11/28 @ 12:07 PM, just curious, do you think water is considered "safe"?

Anonymous said...

There is no way big ag would lie and skew the data nor would a scientist or a farmer whose lively hood depends on big ag . Why would they lie? It's only money. Nobody would lie for money.

Anonymous said...

I don't know offhand the woman's name, she has since passed, but she championed long and hard against DDT. She was called crazy, stupid, insane. She was vilified as an evil whacko out to endanger the population by denying them the DDT that was claimed to be perfectly safe, harmless to people. I'm sure there are people who would love to see that nice little gem of a chemical back on the shelves. Thank God for her and people like her who will stand up and question the petro chemical industry lest we would be spoon fed a whole litany of their "harmless" products, poisons!

Anonymous said...

"just curious, do you think water is considered "safe" " smoke and mirrors, like a good snake oil salesman.

Anonymous said...

11/28 @ 1:03 PM, that is you projecting your lack of integrity onto others. If you believe that about GE crops or conventional pesticides, then you have to believe that about organic products and conventionally bred crops as well. You're a typical anti who just demonstrates how correctly Joan and others describe you. Thank God there are many intelligent, credible, decent people to counter the likes of you.

11/28 @ 1:07 PM what does that have to do with todays' registered products? Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

1:47 PM, do you have an answer to the question, or are you going to continue with your histrionic deflection?

Anonymous said...

Most obesity is caused by "hand to mouth" disease and lack of exercise.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:06, Why don't you take a drink of some roundup and answer your own question.

Anonymous said...

@3:32 PM, what does that have to do with the discussion? Roundup is not a beverage and the label for it states it should not be drunk.

Anonymous said...

And water is not a pesticide so why is that being brought up into the argument.

Anonymous said...

And water is not a pesticide so why is that being brought up into the argument?

Anonymous said...

Okay 4:36 PM, pay attention. The issue of safety was brought around tobacco, so then I posed the question regarding safety of water. More people die from water exposure every year then from tobacco exposure. Water causes billions of dollars in property damage worldwide every year. Water contains components that can be isolated and made into Weapons of Mass Destruction, and also has naturally occurring radioisotopes that cause cancer. OK so far? As another poster stated, take Logic 101 prior to posting.

You really need to educate yourself; what you are doing is not effective at all.

Bradley Choquette said...

Umm... DDT is very safe to humans. In fact, just until recently, it was still used in India. However, the product bio-accumulates. Predators that ate the bugs killed by DDT had egg shell that are too thin. Then eagles ate those dead birds and developed the same problems. That lead to the product being phased out.

As for tobacco, I don't ever remember the government ever saying those products were safe. The tobacco industry had "TV doctors" adverting the product, but the general population has alway been aware of the dangers of tobacco. Further, the general population know of the dangers of pesticides, and they realize there is little danger posed by residues in food. However, big organic is looking to capitalize on those who fall for false claims (by utilizing the same tactics the tobacco industry used years ago)...

Anonymous said...

@12:07 yes you're correct about tobacco not being safe. The difference is! A smoker continuously inhale smoke every waking moment since the time a person started smoking.

You comparing tobacco / pesticide not the same type of exposure. Smoking is excessive compulsive behavior. How do I know! My parents were addicts to tobacco, mom's still alive at 87, dad died at 73 of stomach cancer / nemonia / drowning from within. And both of them exceed the normal life expectancy (go figure).

Fear mongering before the facts. Contact FDA to expidite the testing, if not we'll be WAITING FOR IT for a looooong time.

Oh! And I've been doing pesticides since 1983. Reading n following the labels, but not smoking my pesticides every waking moment since 1983.

AND! Not even close to the amount Mr. Nebraska uses in a crop cycle.

Wish me luck in the near future (sarcasm).

Have a great week!

Anonymous said...


Mark Jeffers should not be around your kids.

Anonymous said...


I thought that was the point?

You all babble too much bout nothing?

Just what I would do if I was Lhooser or The children's puppeteer Jeffers????

Just what y'all are doing, changing the subject!

Thank you JC

Bradley Choquette said...

@ 9:09 how do you know how much chemical I use on my crops? What was that Mark Twain saying again? Seems to apply.

Now, food for thought: I rather live a long life and die of cancer from DDT exposure 40 years from now, than die of malaria today...

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time keeping up with the flow of these comments but responding to the comment @ 4:38 PM by Anonymous who said...
And water is not a pesticide so why is that being brought up into the argument?

I thought water was brought up because a Restricted Use Pesticde (RUP), chlorine, is commonly used to disinfect water in Hawaii and elsewhere......so we're all drinking a pesticide. And it's not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

It is the "chemicals" added to the Tobacco to make cigarettes what it is. Our drinking water is laced with chlorine gas to get rid of the bacteria in the water to make it "safe" for us to drink. It is the "chemicals" in the bug sprays that kills bugs, ants, roaches, wasps, you name it "chemicals" kill it. If George Washington could only see the lies being spread on this island by so called leaders of the Community....Ai soos!!!

Anonymous said...

Earth to Bradley come in, their Is no way to get malaria in Nebraska, could never happen with or without chemicals. They sprayed DDT in areas all over the U.S. that could never get malaria. Why? Your Chem buddies started the fear mongering that mosquitoes were gonna get everybody and made a huge profit poisoning the earth to eradicate the boogie man. What harms the animals will eventually make its way to the humans. Problem is men like you, who put profit above everything else and use "saving people" as your excuse don't get it.

Anonymous said...

@7:42 AM, can you please elaborate more and be more specific, it is hard to understand what point(s) you are trying to make.

Anonymous said...

We use "chemicals" in our everyday lives. The seed company's are not the only ones using "chemicals". From Haena to Mana, people use "chemicals". "chemicals" kill or make one better like in medicines. Everyone should take a good look at themselves in the mirror. Argh, hence the use of mascara, shaving lotion, hair mousse, toothpaste, facial crèmes,...the list is endless. All "chemical" related. When people get sick the first thing coming to their minds is the Seed Company. People even sued the Seed Company for dust. They did not sue when it was Sugar lands. Same fucking red dirt/dust. 8:35 you thinking too much....Ha!

Anonymous said...

The seed companies are the chemical companies. They make all the products you are talking about @ 11:05. And they make our food. And they control our government with their lobbying. That's the problem.

Anonymous said...

@11:16, while many of the seed companies are divisions of companies that also make chemicals, not all of them are, and they don't necessarily make any of the chemicals mentioned by @11:05. And they don't make our food, and they certainly don't control our government with their lobbying. The problem is how you choose to perceive reality, via discarding information and facts that don't fit with your view of the world.

Anonymous said...

Really? The seed companies make Maybelline, Dawn, Colgate....Wow!

Anonymous said...

Do your research on food companies owned by Monsanto @ 1:44 pm. There aren't many they don't own.

Anonymous said...

That's not true.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/monsanto.asp

Anonymous said...

@ 2:39 PM, what part of "the problem is how you choose to perceive reality, via discarding information and facts that don't fit with your view of the world" don't you understand?

Unbelievable. But if you truly believe that, please provide the CREDIBLE evidence to prove your assertion. Otherwise, you're wasting everyone's time.

Anonymous said...

Brad @ 5:49 a.m. I'm 9:09 p.m. I hear you on your food for thought. that's my parents. they had / have a long life.

Your point about how much chemicals you and I use is besides the point that I was trying to make with the Tobacco comment. But, it's all good.

Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Because snopes.com says so, that's a credible website @ 2:54. Don't you get it? snopes rhymes with dopes?

Anonymous said...

"this is the government and big business making money exploiting their own citizens"

Anonymous said...

@ 3:35 PM, there you go again. Mind shut tight as a steel trap, you have.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that the two groups who seem to bash snopes are antis and trump voters aka anti-truth people

Anonymous said...


Jeffers is a charlatan with access to children.

Thanks Joan for calling that out.

The rest a you sound like soccer fans in SouthAfrica with those irratating blow horns.

Bradley Choquette said...

ummmm..... Earth to 8:00 am. They used DDT to kill hoards of grass hoopers that completely wiped out crops. So, DDT kept people from starving in the <a href="http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/pests_02.html>1930's</a>. That is why people live longer today: Big Pharma and Pesticides. That's also why we need to keep pesticides too.

Anonymous said...

From reading all these comments on this blog over the last few months, it seemed like you knew what you were talking about Bradley, until know. Supporting the use of DDT is out there.

Anonymous said...

There is a case to made for very rare use of DDT. Since it bioaccumulates through trophic levels, if there is one application to kill insects (let's say a major Zika Yellow fever outbreak, and you use DDT fogger truck once in a neighborhood, once in a year), there is no way there is enough DDT left from one application to migrate into/up the trophic levels to be accumulated by birds to affect their eggshells. This is one of those ultimate risk / benefit analyses.

Anonymous said...

F@#* all the birds, and other animals, only humans matter?

Anonymous said...

1:12 PM did you even read, much less comprehend, all of the posts? Are you saying DDT should never be used, even when it could be demonstrated that it would prevent an outbreak of a vector-transmitted disease, no other control measure would be effective, and there would be no negative impact on species other than the targeted insect?

Anonymous said...

@1:39 - Lost is the art of detailed analysis and comprehension, I'm with you ;)

DDT will kill just about every insect it touches in 1 application. It will not kill warm blooded or cold blooded animals (other than invertebrates) at that single use dose. It will not bioaccumulate... the word 'accumulate' has meaning :) One dose will not accumulate enough to cause widespread effects on vertebrates.

DDT is illegal to use in the USA, so it's a moot point here.

The gov't (CDC / EPA / Military) could give themselves emergency authority to use DDT if something vital to the USA was at risk from some insect. It is possible... And there is good evidence to back up no long-term effects of single use DDT in small areas (especially for mosquito control in a serious health emergency).

What about using DDT if Primary Screw worm gains a foothold in Florida? Stop one of the worst cattle pests, which the US eradicated with DDT and sterile insect releases many years ago. I don't think a lot of people realize how hard it is to farm... especially outside the US mainland.

Anonymous said...

How did this blog go from a public service announcement for GMO to glorifying DDT? What are your thoughts on DDT Joan?

Anonymous said...

I'd rather bet in he sad, and lasting, legacy of the anti-GMO movement than the the sad, and lasting, legacy of the pesticide legacy.