Friday, April 25, 2014

Musings: Fooled Again

It occurred to me, as I stood in the starry darkness, watching a crescent moon consort with Venus, that the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii is not unlike the “war on terror.” Under the guise of fighting an enemy, we're being pumped with fear so our Constitutional rights can be stripped away.

Except the folks who want to permit warrantless property searches, convictions without proof, are supposedly “progressives.” I laughed aloud at the irony and a Newell's shearwater — first of the season, flying overhead — laughed, too. 

Gee, the old Who song — “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” – is still appropos today. Except instead of brown shirts, or black shirts, they're wearing yellow, and red. Shucks. Looks like we did get fooled again.

So who is backing the decidedly regressive charter amendment that would establish an all-powerful environment czar answerable to no citizen, with broad authority to trample civil rights, ban a wide range of commercial and governmental activities?

Well, Makana, making like a farmer in his spanking new overalls. And Councilman Gary Hooser, whose goal from the beginning was to pass a “mellow” ordinance — Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 — as a lead up to “the next step:” ramming through a Draconian charter amendment.
Then there's Wai Koa Plantation — the tree farm that is helping 1%'er Bill Porter dodge property taxes while he waits to sell all his ag CPRs behind Kilauea mini-golf — and Kauai Fresh Farms, the hydroponic lettuce grower it subsidizes.

We've also got the Vandana Shiva-backed Friends of Navdana, which discloses little about its activities, and SHAKA, the realtor-backed movement from Maui. And then there's the pro-2491 contingent: GMO Free Kauai, Ohana O Kauai and Surfrider, which has sadly aligned with Kauai Rising to support “rights of nature” initiatives intended to promote a “new island order” characterized primarily by litigation. Mmm, isn't that the old island order?  

Kauai Rising is the creation of Michael Shooltz, a retired East Coast banker who is also worried about smart meters and chem trails, which is how I happened upon the Kauai Sky blog, which lists the supposed health impacts of chem trails:

Aching joints, acute gastrointestinal ailments, adult onset asthma, autism, excruciating headaches fungal infections, heart problems, inability to concentrate, lower body temperatures, nosebleeds, pneumonia, sore necks [from looking up at the chem trails?], sudden extreme fatigue, twitching eyelids, upper respiratory ailments and vertigo.

And I thought, gee, those are awfully similar to the symptoms attributed to smart meter exposure:

Headaches, weakness, sleep disturbance, emotional instability, dizziness, memory impairment, fatigue, and heart palpitations.

As well as pesticide exposure, according to the alarmist new Surfrider pesticide brochure that helpfully directs folks who suspect they've been dosed with drift to call Earthjustice and join a lawsuit:

Flu-like symptoms, spacey, drunk, hungover, nauseous, low energy, asthma, allergies, diarrhea, headaches, itchy eyes, irregular periods, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeat, forgetfulness, scratchy throat, skin rash, leaky gut syndrome, cancer, early puberty, miscarriages, birth defects, ADD/ADHD, OD [?], gout, obesity.

So how do you finger just one culprit?

But getting back to Michael Shooltz, it was this piece that made the movement's strategy so clear:

In spite of the illusions of complexity presented by our corrupt, elitist system, the solution to the poisoning of Kauai is in reality quite simple. We the People just say "No", this poisoning will no longer be allowed on our island. Period. Later we can dance through laws, or lawsuits, or whatever spasms the dying System tries to foist upon us.

In other words, it really doesn't matter, as Gary has said from the start, whether the law is ever enforced, or whether you pass a bill or a charter amendment that is just, reasonable or defensible in a  court of law.

It's all about wishful thinking, getting your way, throwing tantrums, saying no. Kind of like a two-year-old.

Hey, I believe the System is dying, too, and that we desperately need change, fresh ideas, new solutions. But I don't wanna replace one crappy regime with another, which is why I haven't been able to muster an appetite for the anti-GMO movement, despite my deep concerns about pesticide use and many aspects of biotech.

Because the only thing on its menu is the same old power and control entree served up daily by the existing patriarchal system.

Which brings me back to that Who song:

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie
Do ya?

There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!


Anonymous said...

The reality of things around all of us there are many happy and sad people. Happy people as well as the sad will go through trials and tribulations. Unknowns will always appear whether now or in the distant future. There will go and bad discoveries, but for humanities sake. The human specie will continue to survive. Spoilers will always exist. We know that power to lead wisely is a true requirement, but trying to gain power through lies will eventually be shredded. Kauai Rising leads us to join them in an isolationist Movement. It is shameful, ignorant, selfish and manipulating. Believe it or not....If they are not suckers they must be FOOLS!

Anonymous said...

Yipee!! AP is gone! Guess her beliefs were not getting across. Now what? I'm sure standing at a street corner with a sign and a kettle would be more effective in spreading the (her) word.

Anonymous said...

Joan, You say "Hey, I believe the System is dying, too, and that we desperately need change, fresh ideas, new solutions."
Joan, how about a blog or two devoted solely to change, fresh ideas and new solutions that you Support. It is becoming quite depressing to read your blogs when you only show the negative side of those who are concerned about pesticides and GMOs. How refreshing it would be to read something positive for a change. Please, i am so tired of all this negativity and so looking forward to your providing the community with new solutions and fresh ideas. You are right about one thing....we are desperately in need of such solutions.

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Joan,

Losing one's way. It'e easy in this electronic hallucination of Amerika.

Maybe it's time for a reevaluation.
Perhaps a detoxification or intervention by loved ones.

Is it fear that drives this change in heart?

I'm not the only one to wonder.

Juan Wilson

Joan Conrow said...

Dear Juan,

Were you speaking about yourself and your "Rising" compatriots, re: the need for a re-evaluation? I intentionally chose to link Bill Porter's name to your site to demonstrate how a man that Island Breath reviled as a "tyrant," replete with Nazi video clips, is now funding your movement.

As for my heart, I am happy to report that it just keeps opening wider. Most recently aided by a lovely walk at Wailua arboretum:)

So yes, 11:30, I am planning tol devote some space to fresh ideas. I just wanted everyone to know exactly what we're dealing with, first.

Anonymous said...

Believe me or not but attaining the world of UTOPIA is a WISHING DREAM. Its like trying to grab words from the air that we breathe, just totally IMPOSSIBLE!

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe all the people I know that think there is something sinister in "chemtrails". It makes you say wtf. You would get mega comments on that topic.

Troy said...

Aloha Joah, could you please post this message instead of the last rough draft. I proof read this final draft and fixed some errors. Thanks.

Thank you Joan for your Op Eds. I have enjoyed reading them, even if I haven't always agreed. It is interesting to see people signing the petition for the 'KauiaRising' charter amendment, without having read the charter amendment. I browsed through it, after reading what you had to say and felt the same. It seems to have been written by someone living in a bubble, an affluent bubble, that doesn't seem to understand the sociologic environment of kauai. Demonizing small-scale contemporary farmers for using synthetic fertilizers/herbicides/pesticides, and establishing an advisory committee unrestrained by checks and balances to decide the uses of various agricultural products, are some issues I take with the charter amendment. Oh, and if you fail to resolve any voluntary or involuntary violations (that the advisory board has deemed a violation) you will pay 2,000 or serve a maximum year in jail, or both, for each violation. I guess we can say good bye to Hanalei commercial taro.

As much as I am an advocate for organic farming, I also realize that feeding the island's residents is the primary goal, either by contemporary methods or natural methods. I think it would be a great accomplishment to significantly reduce the percentage of imported foods, even if they were replaced by local foods grown with synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. It is a good solid step.

Change happens through slow cultural shifts, Education, knowledge, and communication all help to spur on these cultural shifts. The current charter amendment and those backing it are creating a climate of division and resentment. The holier than thou stance is not helping.

GMO issues, albeit important, are not the end all be all, or even the most important issues on the island. If Kauai ever hopes to become food sovereign, the land must be available to farmers. I have been searching for many years, to find some land where I can grow some food. I have explored lease options, ownership, even forming a community to buy growing greens (which fell through because the front money wasn't there, and the land was too expensive). The 'no farms, no food' bumper sticker is a common one, but it doesn't go deep enough. 'No land for farmers, no farms, no farms, no food', is more appropriate. These are the real issues.

Anonymous said...

Nice poster reminds me of 1950s Soviet Union art.

Anonymous said...

When you want to avoid becoming pregnant, many people use prophylactics. So using that analogy, this charter amendment and 2491 are the "protection". Now, if that turns out to have holes(like our bill), then we are left with what we tried to prevent in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Superferry was David versus Goliath, and with certain lawyers help it went away. Ever since then, every idiot with a rock think s he is David.

Anonymous said...

Juan I also would like to know what happened with Bill Porter. Did he buy you off?

Anonymous said...

Edited- Did you know that the biotech companies only take up 7% of the farmable land in Hawaii? Currently the ADC is trying to lease some 740 acres on the west side of vacant land. There was an add in the paper for organic farmers wanted to make that ag neighborhood seem like a farm on the east side recently and there is the new ag park in Kilauea that the county just passed. These are just off the top of my head.

So many make it sound like the seed companies are on all the land and no one else has any where to grow food. There is land, but people need good business plans and the money to start it up. Land owners are not going to hand out leases on good intentions.

Anonymous said...

11;30 am---i have been asking Joan the same thing! Let's get to the bottom of what she writes about, put it out for us to read and understand her reasons for the negativity on the anti gmo/pesticide/dust movement. To Ann K., if you know in your gut/heart that you are doing what you do to better Kauai and people's lives, then keep up the work! We all do things in different ways, thanks for those who are verbal and are able to speak (out loud) to whoever listens! Most of us feel the same and want help, but do it quietly and anonymously---culture curse. You have the right to your beliefs and if people don't agree, then let them disagree! Joan, like others, i think your blog is very interesting and i read it to get info on what the opposition is spewing. I, however, don't like the negativity and hitting below the belt. But then, i don't have to read your blog---so, it's my choice----we are in restless times and I feel in my gut, that Ann K. and the movement will do great things for Mother Earth!

Joan Conrow said...

8:06 -- Have you been asking me? So hard to tell you from all the other Anons. I've been quite clear about why I'm criticizing the anti-GMO movement. I've laid it out in detail over and over. But people need to be responsible for their own intense denial.

As for negativity and positivity, so often that's in the eye of the beholder. I'm not one to sugar coat bullshit because some people can't handle the truth.

Though I agree, I could certainly do without all your Anonymous pals hitting me below the belt!!

Unknown said...

Joan thank you so much for all your work at exposing the real details that are so missing in today's media. I would further add that in times past I have disagreed with you on some issues. This leads me to my point ones fears need to be balanced with clear rational thinking when it comes to GMO..... Please answer me why on GODS green earth what don't you understand what the conclusion of the entire I repeat entire rest of the civilized world except sic china has banned all I repeat all GMO from their countries.Again mahalonui for all your work but please wake up.

Joan Conrow said...

Dear Luigi, Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you usually enjoy the blog. I agree wholeheartedly with your statement: "ones fears need to be balanced with clear rational thinking when it comes to GMOs."

Which is why I'm compelled to note you are horribly misinformed if you believe all the world has banned GMOs except the US and China.

But if you don't believe me, here's an anti-GMO link:

Anonymous said...

The Makana as a farmer photo makes me want to vomit.

On the other hand, the evidence just keeps Rolling in against the GMO. Most recent links to autism.

"Meanwhile, autism rates in Europe have remained virtually flat for the last decade. Recent estimates in European countries range from 1 in 5,000 in Germany to 1 in 700 in Portugal. So what are Americans doing to harm themselves and their children's brains that Europeans aren't, besides watching Fox News?
No one knows for sure, but one thing to consider is the massive increase in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the concomitant upsurge in pesticide and herbicide use.
David Vogel, professor at the Haas School of Business and in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, points out that between 1960 and 1990, American health, safety, and environmental regulations were more stringent, risk averse, comprehensive, and innovative than those adopted in Europe. Vogel's book, The Politics of Precaution, explains that since around 1990, global regulatory leadership has shifted to Europe.
With many types of environmental risks, extreme conservative ideologues in the US have brought regulatory protection of public health to a screeching halt. America's failure to deal with the climate crisis is probably the most conspicuous casualty. But what is happening to the brains of our children may be just as important."

Anonymous said...

In an attempt to curb the some of the bullshit such as the assertion "what don't you understand what the conclusion of the entire I repeat entire rest of the civilized world except sic china has banned all I repeat all GMO from their countries", here's a useful link to a compendium of the GE constructs and countries that have accepted them so you can see for yourself, April 26 12:32, Some of you folks should so some WORK instead of parroting dumbass stuff you picked up on a Mercola flack-blog, Kauai Rising or some other shill for this nonsense. This provides some very useful information if you want, but it requires a little more application than some commenters apparently invest.

Anonymous said...

3:40, that's not "evidence." It's conjecture to sell someone's book. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

3:40 Can you provide a source for your statement? That would be most helpful so we don't continue the practice of just taking someone's word for it. Mahalo in advance.

Anonymous said...

3:40 Specifically the autism claim.

Unknown said...

Joan please pardon my embellishment of the facts. I meant to say most of the civilized world to include outright bans, limited bans & imports along with many variations of GMO use. These countries comprise most of the EU including Ireland, Austria,Germany,France,Italy,Portugal,Spain,Hungary,Greece,Luxembourg,Thailand, now Russia & Bulgaria also. Japan's people are resisting GMO. Peru has recently banned GMO, where South America has widespread GMO use.
Then how about the reports from IMF watchdogs about cotton farmers in India committing suicide at a rate of 1000 a month because of crop failure creating insurmountable debt as, each was forced to use GMO seeds from Monsanto who made their government a sweetheart deal.
Others with some bans or limits include Phillipines,Saudia Arabia,Egypt,Brazil.Algeria,Paraguay.
Not all but quite an impressive list that is growing by the day. Recently Monsanto stock is getting rocked by all these reports so their spin doctors will continue to personally attack their opponents with the well proven concept of divide & conquer. This makes all of us the losers.So maybe I'm not as horribly uninformed as You suspect. Again your work is greatly appreciated by those of us who are paying attention.mahalonui

Anonymous said...

There is no scientific proof of bad health results from GMO, including autism.
The variance in autism by diagnosis by country has a lot to do with diagnostic substitution.
Science is a hard master for all of us. Facts are facts. Conjecture is conjecture.
I eat organic, but I know that "organic" may be a bunch of BS. It just makes me feel better about myself. I

Anonymous said...

Luigi- To make it easier for people to understand- FACT- The EU ALLOWS GMOs, there may be restrictions. The USA also has restrictions on GMOs.

Anonymous said...

I heard they will be serving very delicious Kool Aid at the free event with Makana ;)

Luke Kambic said...

The E.U. imports millions of tons of GM soybean meal from the US and South America every year. Pressure from activist groups has made it impractical to grow the crops on European soil, even in the countries where no formal bans exist. That's one small part of the reason that Europe as a whole is a net importer of food.

I think it's a shame that most antis aren't willing to discuss 'GMOs' on a trait-by-trait basis, or at least distinguish between the two big traits. Roundup-ready crops have led to more use of roundup. There's no disputing that.

But Bt crops require less insecticide. That's literally the selling point for the technology. If it didn't work, farmers wouldn't keep buying the seeds year after year.

I imagine the cornfields of Kauai are a special case, because the crops are being grown for seed, and in a tropical environment (and of course the seed companies grow plenty non-GMO corn too).

The possibility of banning RR/stacked traits and keeping Bt almost never gets discussed. The debate ends up resting on ill-considered generalizations.

Then there's the papaya, which has nothing at all to do with roundup-ready or Bt.

pat said...

JoanI'm 8:06 and from reading your blog i understand that your problem with the antigmo movement is the people who run it and the people who put $ into it who you refer to as hypocrites. Also, that some of them are doing it for selfish motives. Okay, i get that, but i need more. For me, the above is not enough to justify your intentions. I see the movement as one to protect our land and the creatures who live on this earth----and to me, that is the bigger picture! Sorry to get you to the point where you have to use words like "bullshit", which, in my eyes, demeans who you are.

Joan Conrow said...

You've barely scratched the surface "Pat" with no last name.

My other, larger problems with the anti-GMO movement: it uses the tired, regressive, confrontational strategies of the entities it claims to oppose; it intentionally disseminates bullshit in an attempt to confuse, obscure and alarm; it's ineffective; it passed a legally flawed bill and now it's advancing an illegal charter amendment; many of its members are single-issue ideologues; it diverts attention and resources from other critical land use issues; it's harming agriculture, either intentionally or inadvertently; it's caused a huge rift in our community that many of its members seem either oblivious to or in denial about; it celebrates jingoism and oversimplifies complex issues. Did I mention it's ineffective?

And finally, you know nothing about my "intentions," or who I am, so spare me the bullshit.

Joan Conrow said...

Oh, and I forgot this one: It's unbearably sanctimonious.

Anonymous said...

Joan....I am so glad you have a sense of Humor, but seriously its so medicinal! So what's wrong with saying "bullsit" its an astonishing and satisfying opinion in describing a person or group of people are full it!

Anonymous said...

Can i add? It was largely a waste of time and money and discourages people in the future to be active by adding in all the crap instead of keeping it simple and real.For those that support pesticide reform, this creates a chasm that complicates civil discourse and real possibilities for change.
I understand it is not civil to spray poisons near schools, but i seem to remember the companies did enact restrictions.With real dialogue, who knows? The soundbites are disingenuous when the truth is bad enough.
The intentions of the bill and charter is unclear when they are written to not withstand legal scrutiny,they are written to fail . Those who dreamed the scheme are well aware while the innocent kids who really want changes were led to an impossible extreme.
Organic Momma

Anonymous said...

"Oh, and I forgot this one: It's unbearably sanctimonious."

Wow. You summed up the whole problem in two words (because everything else flows from that). Way to go. Unfortunately, however, there is no solution to that.

Anonymous said...

If 2481 were approached by properly, it would have called for the studies first then if anything negative came out of the studies, it would be pono to consider legislation to resolve the problems. But no, the anti's had to sow fear and dread in the less than astute populace and claim without proof guilt. I'd love to hear the whining if our courts used that process.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if these seed companies had any presence at the global horizons human trafficking farms, and if so, why they failed to speak up.

Unknown said...

So often I resonate with your blog's viewpoint because it seems well thought out...even for "musings". This time, tho, you've missed the mark, sadly. You are assuming facts, making connections that do NOT exist in reality. You didn't bother to research (as you obviously did for the TVR situation)the relationships, the intention or the vision of Kaua`i Rising and yet you vilified Michael Shooltz. Your mis-information is creating MORE division and discontent within our community. I have long admired your willingness to stand with the Kanaka Maoli and the land; I'm puzzled why you would jump to these irresponsible conclusions without getting first hand information. Many folks look to you for truth- please find it for yourself and then share what you know.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Makana for supporting GMO cotton with those bibs...

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for Ms. Conrow's response to Ms. Herndon's observations....
4 days waiting.

Joan Conrow said...

Actually, I wasn't going to say anything, because Sandy is a nice, though misguided, lady. But since you pressed….

I'm not sure what research was needed aside from actually reading the charter amendment, which I did. The group's intentions have no bearing; the only thing that matters is the dreadful language in its dreadful charter amendment. As for its vision, and Michael Shooltz, I'm well acquainted with both from his previous, and equally absurd, "contribution" to island politics: the Kauai Food Bill of Rights, which I lampooned last year.