Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has again shown herself to be a master at self-promotion, positioning herself prominently in the Standing Rock conflict at a time when she can make the most of the media attention.
Shoots, she even managed to get her picture in — though not on the cover of — Rolling Stone, where she holds forth on the "meaning" of the Army Corps of Engineers decision to conduct an EIS on alternative routes for the contested pipeline.
Nothing like eclipsing the natives, who surely they know more about the issue than she, for her own political gain. Heck, she was only there for a weekend. Just long enough to make a video for her Facebook page, give interviews and capitalize on the end to the standoff.
Others are talking about where is the next fight to protect our water. There's a situation in Utah. There's a situation in New Mexico. There are people I met from Flint, Michigan who would like to see this same attention and resolve brought to resolve their situation there. You know, there's not a lack of things to do, unfortunately.
Meanwhile, what has Tulsi done to address the very real and serious water conflicts in her home state of Hawaii? Oh, that's right. There's no national media spotlight for her in the Islands. Only the fawning coverage of Civil Beat, which followed her to North Dakota.
So it grated a bit to hear Tulsi opine:
Unless we protect our water there is no economy.
Which leads me to Waikiki, where I happen to be at this moment, sitting on a balcony on the 22nd floor of the Sheraton, which is perched on the very edge of the Pacific.
Bet they're hoping global warming is a hoax.
I'm attending meetings in Waikiki, where one gets hit in the face with the reality of tourism as the economic driver in Hawaii. And also tourism as the primary consumer of natural resources in the Islands.
It's absolutely boggling to think of the water that is consumed by these rows of 1,000+-room hotels, on an island that also supports the bulk of the state's population.
Yet folks just keep on pretending the aquifer is gonna last forever and the seas are never gonna rise and we're gonna grow all our own food — organically, of course — and everybody's gonna live happily ever after.
It's all G! Have another mai tai! No worries!
Returning to the topic of media-hungry, opportunistic politicians — except in this case, we're talking about a failed politician — Gary Hooser is trying to relive his doubtful glory days with another trip to Switzerland this week:
I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Gary. Talk about pathetic. Does he truly believe that crashing the Syngenta shareholder's meeting had any impact at all, save for adding to the planet's carbon load? And does anyone, anywhere (except maybe Basel) give a shit what a few people in Basel think about what Syngenta is doing on Kauai? Especially since they don't know WTF they're talking about, if Hooser is their source of info.
It's almost as twisted as the fairy tale that the Brower family— Andrea, Rob and Laurel Brier — presented in The Garden Island today with their portrayal of St. Tim:
For exposing misconduct, challenging powerful interests, and supporting Bill 2491’s intent to protect residents from the harmful effects of pesticides, Tim was cruelly attacked in a well-funded smear campaign. False, callous ads were sent anonymously to island households from the mainland. Nobody has been held accountable, and hateful personal attacks continue even after his death in opinion pieces and blogs. Despite suffering personally, Tim always stood his ground for justice.
Oh, yes. When all else fails, play the victim card. Tim did some good things for Kauai, and he's been lauded for those accomplishments. But to claim that he was taken down because he dared to cross powerful interests — and to imply that the seed industry was behind it — is clearly revisionist history at its finest.
He lost re-election for the same reason as Gary: voters were tired of his schtick. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but I'm also not going to stand by and let people make shit up to further their own political agendas.
Returning to water issues, I was walking the beach behind Lydgate the other day. Or rather, I was trying to. Like so many beaches in Hawaii, that one is getting increasingly narrow, due to a combination of erosion and encroachment by shoreline vegetation. It's the same story at Anahola, Anini, Haena, etc.
Though it wasn't high tide, or big surf, the beach was impassable in many places.
So I found myself returning along Ke Ala Hele Makalae — the coastal path.
I wasn't crazy about the path when it was first introduced. It seemed to me another move toward gentrification, another amenity intended to cater to tourists.
But I was wrong. It's not only proven to be popular among locals, it's becoming the only way to access the coastline in places where the beaches are shrinking. Which is a good thing.
Still, it's kind of sad, too. Because walking along a concrete path just isn't the same as feeling sand beneath bare feet.
And while the fight to move the path off Wailua Beach, and onto the highway fronting Coco Palms, was distorted by false claims that it would disturb burials in the sand, it was wise to take it off the beach.
Because it's shrinking, too. Which means it wouldn't have been long before that section of the path was consumed by the sea.
So what's going to happen to tourism if Hawaii can't sell its beaches? And what's going to happen to Hawaii if it's squandered all its resources on tourism?