Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Musings: West by Northwest

I've been in Seattle, land of construction cranes, low gray skies, $2 million dollar homes with yard signs outlining the occupants' philosophical beliefs and coffee shops. 
In one neighborhood, I saw three coffee shops all in a row, each with its own personality, and each one bustling in the late afternoon. Even McDonald's was advertising $2 lattes and mochas.

But Seattlites need their coffee to stay awake and alert in their somnambulent, soggy climate. Fortunately, the newest dietary guidelines indicate that “habitual caffeine intake up to 400 mg per day is safe for adults,” and most people are staying within those limits. What's more, caffeine also appears to offer health benefits. Its consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
The city is also filled with restaurants featuring farm-to-fork fare. And why not? The ag-friendly corridor that stretches from Vancouver south into Oregon produces a plethora of fresh food that easily finds its way into local eateries and markets. Locally-produced, relatively inexpensive food — veggies, fruit, livestock, cheese — is such a familiar facet of life in the Northwest that folks here tend to believe everyone everywhere can — indeed, should — eat that way.

But then you have to deliver a wake up call: Uh, have you ever been to Detroit? In the winter?

Their easy acceptance of agriculture contrasts with the constant push-pull in Hawaii, where many folks claim to want local food — so long as it's not produced within sight, sound or smell of their world. That stance was perfectly personified by Dr. Monroe Richman's ill-informed, paranoic rant against the proposed Mahaulepu dairy. What's that old saying? Better to be thought a fool than to write a letter to the editor that confirms it.

Richman isn't the only one raving. It's been amusing to see the many conspiracy theories advanced against the dairy, most recently by the Hawaii Free Press, which reinterprets the press release from Hawaii Dairy Farms:

Today the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that Hawaii Dairy Farms is now required to do an Environmental Impact Statement, which revokes all of our permits and approvals to date. While this news is disappointing for Hawaii Dairy Farms, we believe it could be devastating for animal agriculture in Hawaii.

(Translation: Our boss, luxury resort developer Pierre Omidyar, has achieved his hidden goal. By voluntarily filing an EIS for our dairy farm on Kauai, Omidyar has now brought about a court ruling for the first time ever mandating EIS for farmers statewide. Next year, the Legislature will be expected to act. And the best part—Omidyar looks like the victim here when he is actually the perpetrator.

Omidyar's minions sound soooo sincere. They really have no idea what their boss is up to.)

I think the dairy's floundering and missteps are more likely due to plain old ineptitude by its parent organization, Ulupono Initiative, than any grand plan to surreptiously derail agriculture. Bankrolled by Omidyar's Ebay fortune, it represents yet another of his vanity dalliances aimed at shaping the sociopolitical climate of Hawaii. But like Civil Beat, the dream so often fails in the execution.

Shoots, Ulupono actually believes its goal for “more sustainable local food” can be realized by blowing $351,663 on do-nothing groups like Malama Kauai, the failed Utopian dream of another (though far less flush) tech entreprenuer, Chris Jaeb.

Even though it's funnelled a pile of dough into so-called “sustainable” ag projects, Ulupono hasn't been able to appease the antis. Heck, the anti-ag folks on Maui correction, Big Island, even brought over Kauai's Friends of Mahaulepu to help them oppose an Ulupono-funded dairy there by protesting at a town hall meeting last night.

Ulupono has apparently failed to realize that conflict activism is a business model for some of these groups, so they ain't never gonna be happy.

Which is why I barely raised an eyebrow when I saw this post from Ashley Lukens at Hawaii Center for Food Safety:
Gosh, Ashley, aren't you and your acolytes, and the other antis from HAPA and Hawaii SEED and and Earthjustice, going to supply our fish and food? I mean, you keep telling everybody how they can't do this or that, while demanding more local food. So when are you actually going to put your elbow grease where your mouth is?

Oh, that's right. I forgot. You don't actually produce anything other than pilikia and propaganda.

It had been probably 30 years since I was last in Seattle, and though it's grown tremendously in that time, it still appeals. I can understand why Hawaii folks like Seattle. It's got the same close connection with the water, and the damp grayness creates a softness similar to the Islands. Until the wind gusts, and then it's brrrr..... 
I could only smile when a group of Seattlites, walking between tall buildings, saw the clouds part, revealing a patch of sunlight. Out came the sunglasses. “Let's go stand in it,” one woman said eagerly.

Their eyes light up at the mention of Hawaii — the place that so many of them choose to visit when the winter gloom gets to them.

So I don't think they, or the other 8 million tourists who visit Hawaii every year, will be dissuaded by The Juice Media's hackneyed anti-tourism video —made, ironically, by an Aussie tourist who was “enlightened” during his visit to the Islands:

Aloha! I had the magical opportunity to visit Hawai'i at the start of the month and talk with local and native Hawaiians. They all said the biggest problem they face is the fact that so few people are aware of the history of ongoing US military occupation. So on my return to Australia, I decided to make a video about it.‬

Really? A lack of awareness about the overthrow and militarism in Hawaii is the biggest problem Hawaiians face?

I hate to break the news, but after spending a lot of time on the mainland in recent years, the hard cold fact is this: they don't give a shit about the reality of Hawaii. They just wanna get warm and have fun in the "magical" paradise that has been so successfully packaged and sold in the global marketplace.

As this gawd awful piece in the NYT makes clear.

And they're gonna keep on coming, until too many have bad experiences, or climate change kills the trades and Hawaii starts to swelter like Guam.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The No Mo Moo Pooh in Poipu legions are a fist in glove fit for the Hooser Fistees.
Different group. Same agenda. Kill Big Ag in any form. Control the Big Land Owners. No respect for law or personal property rights.
At least the Koloa Antis have a shred of diplomacy.
But again, the Hoale Local divide will thicken.
Watch the Council.Anytime a fair skinned member of the public speaks, the Council members go into Xanax mode. Eyes opened but glazed and the cell phones get immediate monitoring.
Ag is Ag. But half of the anti-dairy folks live on Ag....I guess all Ag must be a sort of pretty acceptable Ag.

Anonymous said...

And the best part—Omidyar looks like the victim here when he is actually the perpetrator... I think the dairy's floundering and missteps are more likely due to plain old ineptitud... than any grand plan to surreptiously derail agriculture.

Make up your mind. Which is it?

If it's not some some sort of grand conspiracy, then why say that it is? Hasn't there been enough dishonesty already?

Joan Conrow said...

I'm sorry you don't have good reading comprehension skills @9:34. I made it clear what my position is — and why I referenced conspiracies.

Dave Smith said...

Thanks once again, Joan, for the sorely needed local perspective. And as a former Washingtonian, you're spot-on there, too. Before I moved to Hawaii in the early '70s, there was a 90-day period during which the sun was never seen. Finally, that much-rambling NYT piece on Hawaii needs yet another correction. Either that, or the County of Hawaii will be happy to learn that the Feds have assumed control of Carlsmith park.

Anonymous said...

"I hate to break the news, but after spending a lot of time on the mainland in recent years, the hard cold fact is this: they don't give a shit about the reality of Hawaii. They just wanna get warm and have fun in the "magical" paradise that has been so successfully packaged and sold in the global marketplace."

True, very true.

Worse yet (in my opinion) are the Local Hawaiian "reporter(s)" who complain/write about traffic, high prices, high rents, etc. and then out of the opposite side of their mouth write articles to mainland newspapers/magazines about the majesty and beauty of Kauai and why everyone from around the world should come.

Complaining and pimping at the same time!!!!!! Which is it?.... Oh yeah whatever it takes to make money right.

I could name names but wont.... and no it is not Joan. You can google it for yourself.



Anonymous said...

GMO Joan is not local and does not represent the local perspective. She is a pasty white, loudmouth, opinionated f ing haole just like the rest.

Joan Conrow said...

@11:44 Says someone who almost certainly has haole blood. But that's OK. I make no pretenses of being either local or representing the local perspective. I'll leave that to you, since you're so articulate and excel at expressing the blatant racism always simmering in the supposed "melting pot" of cultures.

Anonymous said...

@11:44. Really? Why do you even read this blog then? Go elsewhere with YOUR f-n dumb ass attitude cause your comments are totally useless here.

John Kauai said...

Thanks for the NYT article! 20 years ago my future wife was so pissed that I insist we go to Hawaii (having lived here myself 15 years prior to that). But she had a wonderful time because we stayed away from those ridiculous luaus and high-rise hotels on Waikiki and checked out the real beauty of these islands.

You are right about the "melting pot". Even 40 years ago the jokes that "locals" (born on Oahu) told me were about a "portagee priest" holding the door open on the car to run over a "japanee". It was funny then. It didn't seem as real as it does now. It isn't funny any more.

I hope that someday we can all figure out that "We are all in this together". I guess we all have to decide if we're going to strive to be one of the oligarchs that owns everything or one who is content with what he has. Even that isn't such a simple question.

Anonymous said...

Why not build near his home on the north shore of Kauai?

There's land in Moloa'a where there use to be a dairy so why not there and why in the poipu area?

Bradley Choquette said...

I love how Joan Smashes Trolls. I'm Nebraskan, but still love her insight. Hopefully Hawaii bill SB804 dies a short death on the Senate floor; it's bad legislation for farmers big and small. Consider calling your senators, and make your voices heard..

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this dairy. I need some fresh unpasteurized milk. Why is everyone so against this? All you can get now is pasteurized milk that is not nearly as healthy as fresh unpasteurized milk. Some people will be surprised how good it tastes and makes you feel. Got my bottles ready to fill and chill.mmmmmmmmm...............

Anonymous said...

Joan, LOVE your comment at 11:53 AM, and all your retorts to those who for some bizarre reason resent you but are obsessed with you and your blog.

I'm obsessed too but it's because I always learn something and I'm laughing while learning.

Anonymous said...

Stupid doesn't even know that the milk is for other counties and won't be processed on Kauai. Drink all the omidyar/stone milk you want BIH.hahaha

Anonymous said...

Milk does the body good. Hawaii needs more...

Joan Conrow said...

After taking a week-long blog break, and receiving only a few hateful comments, I was struck anew by the toxicity of the haters who quickly returned to the comment section with this latest post. Not to mention the rude people who try to hijack my comment section with totally unrelated topics that they wish to opine upon, like John Kauai and whomever it is who cuts and pastes from TGI. I don't need these gnats buzzing around my head. So I'm thinking instead of just eliminating comments, starting with my next post.

Anonymous said...

i would rather have a dairy next to my house than a rich asshole

Anonymous said...

I think that is a good thing Joan. Too much hate around here.... or make commenters "log in and reveal their names" and the hate would die down significantly.

Anonymous said...

Ms Joan, please don't eliminate comments.
The politicians need a place to go to feel the temperature and see their names in print.

Anonymous said...

You would see your readership drop as many read and thrive on the hate and gossip contained in your comments!

Joan Conrow said...

@7:14 Well, if people are coming to the blog only to read comments, especially hateful gossipy ones, then I'd prefer to lose their readership.

Anonymous said...

So what happened to the relocalizationists? You know...the ones who want you to only eat, buy and use things that can be acquired within walking distance of your home. Did they get tired of walking? Or did they get corrupted by the mother of all devils Costco? or maybe is the was that lost cry in the wind: "peak oil"! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Does Jon Kauai even live here? He must be retired. I have seen his comments all over the net, even on major news sites. Why doesn't he just get a life. Next time you are on Kauai stop by for a beer, hope you can keep commenting up a storm from wherever you are. Thanks for representing all us Kauai folk all over the net mr Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Richman wrote a letter that I thought was quite tame. All you have to do is look at how Grove Farm was acquired to begin with and it's easy to become skeptical. In 1996 a con man named Michael James Burns Jr came to Kauai and according to people who met him began associating with the influential Gary James Baldwin a confidant to the late Senator Dan Inouye along with some of Baldwin's other associates.
By 1998 Burns was convicted and sentenced to continuous prison for five years to be furloughed in 1999 where he submitted a proposal to assess Grove Farm's value around the same time Baldiwn associate Robert Mullins would become a director at Grove Farm. In early 2000 shortly after Burns and his attorney Tom Foley met with one of the directors they were hired. In mid 2000 Burns and Foley submitted their own offer to purchase Grove Farm around the same time that the Governor who counted Baldwin amongst his most ardent supporters pardoned Tom Foley.
Of course Steve Case of AOL would get the land around the same time AOL was merging with Time Warner a merger that according to the attorney representing the California school system created massive losses to the school system alone.
AOL would end up paying a massive fine to the government and agree to cooperate around the same time that the government drops their criminal investigation into AOL. I'm sure AOL director Colin Powell whose son Michael at the FCC votes in favor of the AOL Time Warner merger approved of the fine and were quite cooperative as well. Coincidentally around the time that Powell changes his mind about the credibility of the reports about those pesky weapons of mass destruction opening the door to the invasion of Iraq. As a result of which he felt somewhat compelled to resign from the state department somewhat in disgrace if I'm not mistaken.
And if you Google Eric Shinseki and FedBid you can see how the head of the VA who is or was a director at Grove Farm did some things on Case's behalf. It appears that he got into a lot of trouble for it and had to exit the VA the same way that Powell exited the State Department.
If you go to www.conartistskauai.info it will show articles on Baldwin and his influence that provides a bit of background. As well as excerpts of arrest records and a missing person's report clearly contradicting what was reported. In 2006 after I found out about Burns whose crime spree and conviction was unreported in the paper I contacted the doctor who filed charges against Baldwin and in late 2008 he sent me his files.
Personally I think it would have been far better to let them all go to jail.
There are places the dairy could be put that wouldn't affect the community to much, to put what is really an industrial use upwind of a community that will probably affect a lot more than just Poipu. You don't think the people in Koloa will smell it? You could smell the feed lots in Greeley Colorado miles before you even got there, probably about the distance of Lawai and Kalaheo.
If this were ranching which is a more passive use or even a sugar plantation or farm which is an actual agricultural endeavor that would be one thing but this is neither of the above.
Eric Toulon

Anonymous said...

Toulon being a beneficiary of the Knudsen estate has nothing to do with the comment.

Joan Conrow said...

To the anonymous who didn't -- and won't -- get published, don't blame me for your own nastiness.

But thanks for revealing yourself as a Hooser ally, and for making me laugh with all your claims about hypocrisy and cowardice. Try look in the mirror! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for Civil Beat to cover the dairy dispute. They have so flunked the ethics and integrity test.

John Kauai said...

Joan: My apologies for admitting to "hijacking" your comments yesterday. I did, thinking that it might add to the discussion.

You moderated the comment (as you have the right to do since it is your blog) and did not passed it on.


I'll leave you guys to talk amongst yourselves.

Bradley Choquette said...

Mamma always said, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Seriously, if you can't make your point without being nasty, then your point isn't articulate enough to listen too.

Kevin Folta's FB page had some of the nastiest troll sent there by anti-gmo sites that printed false propaganda about the man. He was very reluctant about blocking people because he felt that was an encumbrance to free speech. However, he reached a point where the meaness became too much to bear and he took a long break from the conversation. Upon his return, the nastiness escalated in an effort to remove him from the conversation completely. That resulted in a conversation that resulted in the "Community Guidelines for posting" that is pinned at the top of his FB page. The nastiest of trolls ended up being banned from the page after being given a couple of warnings about their conduct.

The nice thing about making people post using a Google account (even if they use an alias like John) is you can block people on GOOGLE. You are under no obligations to subject yourself to ruthless meanness Joan.

About a yr ago, an anti accused you of fabricating the comments to your blog. You said something to the effect that your comment section was an "organic" hodge podge of differing ideas... A safe space to air differing points of view. Sometime we find a new consensus/direction, other times we do not. Out of those conversations, the pro-gmo cause has found strength in numbers and united to stand against the antis false propaganda. I bet I've had at least a dozen people thank me (via google, or FB) for offering encouragement, differing ideas and for lending my support to Hawaiian agriculture. I've made 5 new FB friends via this blog.

Please, don't let the Antis bring you down and don't show them weakness. Weakness is an opportunity to go for the jugular vein, and they'll do that by being even more nasty...

Finally, remember you have hundreds of readers that are behind you, and we have your back. Draw strength from our numbers....



Mark said...

Your comments section informs me, amuses me, impresses me, and disgusts me. It informs because you are an excellent researcher and writer. It amuses because, well, people are funny. It impresses me because you have demonstrated the courage to speak out as you do and shown the tolerance to give people a chance to express themselves even if they are not necessarily clear-thinking or reasonable. However, it disgusts me that some people are so willfully ignorant and too unthinking to make even the most reasonable response when they have an opportunity. I'd be quite pleased if you became more heavy-handed about censoring those people who don't really want to contribute in a constructive fashion. Even then, I admire you for having given them a chance up to this point. Now, though, I don't think they are worth the electrons it took for them to post and certainly not the time it takes to read their "thoughts." Thank you for being such a sound resource.

Anonymous said...

Again great work Joan, but please I implore you to not eliminate your comments section as it highlights your insights and real efforts to get at the facts. This is one great aspect of your blog it inspires & informs Mahalonui Joan, but the bad actors can go to h..., no one needs their tired act. 🖕🏾those that live in echo chambers and can't grow!

Anonymous said...

Flynn's gonna flip on Vlad's puppet! That alt-left newspaper, the Wall Street Journal (being facetious here, jk) broke the story. Will those spineless Republicans stop collaborating with a traitor or will they carry out their patriotic duty and investigate this mess?

Robin Clark said...

Joan

I encourage you to keep the comments section, but to require that commenters are not anonymous and provide a verifiable email address. That will eliminate the anti-trolls.

But I thoroughly enjoy your blog regardless of the comments. It is the second thing I look at every morning after the NYT.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Something is seriously wrong in a community where people find it necessaty to post billboards on their lawns attesting to their superior morals and political correctness. Must be that nasty weather. And all the heroin. And all the meth. And all the homeless. And all the wealthy white guilt.

Anonymous said...

The proposed dairy is not a "feed lot" type of operation.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:11 am

Yeah I feel so guilty for being a rich white person who was the first of my family to get a college education, start my own business while in tremendous debt, work my bottom off for decades, employ numerous families and put up with insane stress, saving voraciously to buy a retirement home on Kauai. Yeah I am the evil one. I should feel terrible.

Anonymous said...

Joan, please keep the comments section. Lots of good information from credible sources to counter the antis. It really helps those who have an open mind and are just looking for information. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

@5:11
But did you put up a billboard to let everyone know?

Poha said...

Howzit Joan, Love you! Poha
Seattle! Poo in the Puget, now, is it?
http://donsurber.blogspot.com/2017/03/seattle-is-biggest-polluter.html

John Kauai said...

Visitors to the Santa Cruz boardwalk would look across Monterrey Bay and seeing the Monterrey Peninsula would ask, "Is that Hawaii?" My friend who worked on the boardwalk would answer, "Yes".