Now that statewide media (except The Garden Island) are picking up a story I broke Saturday on the creation of a Kauai pesticide/GMO study group, it's already becoming clear that facts aren't a core issue for some folks.
Take Ashley Lukens, head of the mainland-based Center for Food Safety office in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now reported her as saying:
I only think the joint fact finding process makes sense if it's a part of a much larger process that includes modest regulations for pesticide use.
In other words, it doesn't matter what the facts actually are in terms of pesticide drift and exposure, she and her pals — including Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser — already have their minds made up that more regulations are needed.
But curiously, only modest ones, and only to be imposed on the seed companies, not other pesticide users. They're laying out certain outcomes, even before the “meta question” is answered: Are people actually being harmed from pesticides being sprayed by GMO companies? And if they are, shouldn't there be more than “modest” regulations imposed?
Fortunately, however, the panel is going to look beyond just agriculture, to pesticide use in termite treatment, golf courses and other uses.
Ashley told reporter Keoki Kerr that her group wants buffer zones around schools — which the Kauai seed companies already have created voluntarily — and that a year is too long to wait for the panel's results. Well then gee, maybe you should've started with the studies, Ashley, instead of going straight for the legislation, which is falling like dominoes.
Unless, of course, that was the goal all along.
Meanwhile, some folks are trying to discredit federal Judge Barry Kurren, who is ruling on the GMO litigation because back in 2011 his wife was a trustee of The Nature Conservancy, which received contributions from DOW and Monsanto, along with many other groups and individuals. Many of them are also donors to the Center for Food Safety, including Goldman Sachs and oil heiress Anne Getty Earhart, who has a house on Kauai.
The anti-GMO groups tend to use two strategies: spread false information while resisting efforts to obtain the facts; and claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is a paid shill for biotech
But it's OK for them to be paid shills, like Ashley Lukens. Or her boss, Andrew Kimbrell, who made nearly $279,000 in 2012. Yet they'll keep asking you for more dough, ostensibly to fight the bad guys.
Still, they keep losing — because they're “controlled opposition.” A comment was left on a previous post that underscores what I've been saying for over a year now about how the whole BS anti-GMO movement played out in Hawaii:
there can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement.
There never was any big swell of resistance in Hawaii. The election results proved that. It was all made-up, manufactured, to pass crappy bills and achieve a result that never would have been obtained in the Legislature: statewide pre-emption.
In other words, ya'll been snookered — especially those of you who gave your money and votes to Gary Hooser, who is a major player in this charade.
Which brings me back to the inaugural County Council meeting, where members were immediately forced to pick sides over both the Council chair and its rules. A friend said he left the meeting feeling disgusted with both sides, characterizing it as “a reality TV show with artificial drama for the benefit of the audience.”
I don't think any of us want to return to the days when Kaipo Asing ruled the Council with an iron fist, stifling dissent and preventing bills from getting on the agenda. But it was bad form for Gary to start the session by accusing Chair Mel Rapozo of planned totalitarianism. Instead he should've waited until he actually couldn't get a bill introduced, and then gone public. Now that Mel is on the record as saying he won't squelch legal bills, there shouldn't be a problem.
Hopefully the Council will find ways to mend fences — Arryl Kaneshiro and Mason Chock were particularly diplomatic — and focus on true county business.
And finally, HECO just got purchased by a huge mainland outfit known as NextEra, which owns Florida Power and Light. Which should you make you glad that Kauai has its own little cooperative.
Meanwhile, oil and gas prices keep falling, which is great when you're filling up your tank or paying your KIUC electric bill.
But how is that going to encourage people to conserve, convert from fossil fuels, in order to address climate change?