Monday, April 20, 2015

Musings: Rising Tides of Insanity

While reading The Garden Island's “reefer madness” guest commentary on the “dangerous risks” of medical marijuana dispensaries, I couldn't help but reflect on another commentary, this one in yesterday's The New York Times, about heroin addiction.

While Alfred P. Sarmento used TGI to denounce those who have sought medical marijuana for severe pain, making like it's just a scam to get high, Sam Quinones wrote in the NYT:

Fatal heroin overdoses in America have almost tripled in three years. More than 8,250 people a year now die from heroin. At the same time, roughly double that number are dying from prescription opioid painkillers, which are molecularly similar. Heroin has become the fallback dope when an addict can’t afford, or find, pills. Total overdose deaths, most often from pills and heroin, now surpass traffic fatalities.

If these deaths are the measure, we are arguably in the middle of our worst drug plague ever, apart from cigarettes and alcohol.

Hawaii is not immune from this plague. So why is Saramento freaking out about medical marijuana? isn't it kind of a no-brainer to hope, even pray, that people seeking pain relief through highly addictive opioid prescription drugs and heroin would instead find pain relief through medical marijuana?

Because despite Saramento's claims, the only “rising tide of insanity getting ready to hit our shores on Kauai” is the irrational fear about medical marijuana dispensaries.

The other tide of insanity has already hit, namely the freak-out about pesticides — but curiously, only those applied by biotech seed companies. Councilman Gary Hooser, wearing his HAPA hat, plans to ride that tide to Switzerland this week, apparently unaware that it's a land-locked nation. 

The purpose of his mission? Cry to the Swiss government about how Syngenta, which is headquartered there, uses pesticides in the U.S. that are banned in Switzerland. As the press release  states:

The delegation will be presenting Swiss lawmakers with a petition from Hawai‘i residents and other supporters requesting that Hawai‘i and its people be granted the same respect and protection that is granted to the people of Switzerland.

Now what, exactly, is the Swiss government supposed to do? Shut down Syngenta? Right. And why would the Swiss government give a shit, considering Syngenta is engaged in activities that are perfectly legal in the U.S.?

It wouldn't, of course. But it's all part of the show that Gary and the anti-GMO folks are putting on, replete with the usual lies, as posted on the HAPA Facebook page: “Syngenta sprays literally tons of restricted use pesticides on the tiny island of Kaua`i - next to schools, hospitals, and homes.” 

Except it doesn't. The company has voluntarily implemented buffer zones.

Sadly, though, truth-challenged HAPA will be passing off its propaganda as "educamation" to a gullible group of true believers, namely, a “European alliance of environmental organizations, trade unions and political parties tracking the activities and impacts of Swiss transnational corporations around the world.” The press release states:

The purpose of the trip is to educate this international audience on the cultural and historical context of Syngenta’s operations on Kaua‘i, the impacts of the industry’s activities, and the political and social efforts of the community to gain environmental and public health protections (i.e. through Kaua‘i Bill 2491 and state bills such as HB1514).

The HAPA delegation includes Gary, Malia Chun and Fern Rosenstiel, who is laughingly identified as an “environmental scientist.” Do you suppose Gary and Fern are still going to be making their discredited birth defect and cancer cluster claims? And will they reveal how Bill 2491 was passed via fistee mob action, and then struck down in a triumphant display of the state's pre-emptive powers? Or will they stick to the little engine that could fairy tale? 
I know it's snarky, so spare me your outraged comments, but frankly, this group is not a good advertisement for a GMO-free diet. And Malia certainly doesn't look like someone residing in a pesticide hell-hole, as she has claimed under threat of perjury in her court documents.

The press release states: 

Hooser will be speaking as an individual relating his individual experiences, thoughts and concerns and not in his official capacity.

Which means he has been reading my blog, where I've repeatedly dinged him for testifying to the state Legislature as a Councilman on issues the Council has not considered.

But if he's speaking as an individual, why is he identified first as Kauai County Councilman, and second as HAPA President? Because Gary, once again, is using his elected position to try and give some sliver of credibility to his nonprofit.

I keep waiting for HAPA, which has weighed in on the Mauna Kea telescope and other issues, to say something about the culture-appropriating Princeville project, and its recent application of herbicides — do you suppose they were manufactured by Syngenta? — to 100 acres on the Prince Course greens.

So far, HAPA has been silent. I guess it would be a bit hypocritical for HAPA communications director Elif Beall to say anything when her husband is selling real estate to the same exclusive crowd.

Which brings us back to the question we've always had about Hooser, HAPA and the rest of the anti-GMO crowd: why have they targeted only agricultural companies, which just so happen to be occupying those oh-so-desireable and still undeveloped lands on the westside?


Anonymous said...

The only reason these people don't want to pass a legal way to fill people's medical marijuana prescription is because their drug dealing family and friends are going to loose illegal drug sales.

Why not have legal businesses sell and tax a product that has been proven for medical use?

Probably because the small time dealers cannot afford to open legit businesses and or are criminally unable to do so.

This is from an nonuser and also someone that doesn't support marijuana use other than for medical purposes.

I got a kid who sits in class high everyday and his parents work as a nurse and one for KIUC, and they enable this addicts drug abuse. In fact they make excuses for the kid

Anonymous said...

looking at this picture of these well covered or pleasingly plump individuals makes me realize where Tim Bynum's Rice Cooker went. It is cooking for the HAPA Fistee Three. And maybe they be a gettin' the munchies.
If as portrayed in the GI, that KAUAI has close to 2,000 TWO THOUSAND medical permits..we must be saturated. That is close to 8 percent of the resident adult population. Lots of Buds be around.
And YES Joan...the MAJORITY of the Med Marrywanna permits are for horseshit maladies...A couple of Keystone Lights, a Couple of Vicodins and a big fat Doobie ---heaven on Good God's Earth.....And with the ONLY CLINIC on Kauai soon to be owned by Former Council Man, Liar, lawsuit expert, scammer Tim Bynum.....we can all get High on Kauai . Big Bad Bynums Blazing Buds and Extravaganza Pipe Shoppe...poke my eye out with Popeye's Pipe ----We deserve better than this ring of elitists telling us what to do and then profit from their own f*cking laws.
Bynum and the only weed store? When this comes true it will cause as much stir as a fart in a hurricane....Profiteers these old politicos.

Anonymous said...

I am not a criminal. I am a patient . I should be able to buy my prescription from a pharmacy and have my medical insurance pay for it.

Anonymous said...

i have a question for you, Then why is sygenta banned in swizerland if its such a good thing?

Joan Conrow said...

Who is saying it is "such a good thing?"

Unknown said...

There's an interesting video from journalist Ezra Klein regarding the legalization of Marijuana. You can watch it here:

In summary, his argument is:

According to Federal Gov't, Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug. Meaning that they classify it as more dangerous than cocaine and meth (schedule 2) and equally as dangerous as heroine. While alcohol doesn't even make the list.

However, there have been 0 recorded deaths from Marijuana from overdosing. While there are 88,000 annual deaths from alcohol- 25,000 of which are from overdosing. Being drunk increases the risk of a fatal car accident 13 times, while pot increases the risk less than 2.
Alcohol leads to violence, crime, addiction, liver failure, canver, and breaks up families.

Marijuana may not be good for you, but it's inarguably significantly less bad than alcohol. And, "it's not that pot is good, it's that the war on pot is bad."

So, if we acknowledge that people are going to always seek out mind altering substances, then the federal government should incentivize (through legalization and taxation) pot over alcohol.

Anonymous said...

Wonder which of the three owns Syngenta shares to be eligible to attend the annual meeting?

Anonymous said...

4/20 @ 1:27 PM, Syngenta is not banned in Switzerland. Google University is not doing you any favors, is it?

Anonymous said...

Does Gary know the biggest user of paraquat is Kauai Coffee, not a GMO seed company?

Anonymous said...

Any of these cartoon characters speak Swiss, French or German?
Or do they expect the euros to bow before the English speaking colonials.
Gary the idea of the Aloha shirt is NOT to tuck it in. Allow some fresh tropical air to lomi thy self.

Anonymous said...

Judging from that picture, those three will die from morbid obesity related illness long before pesticides have any ill effect, even if their rants were true.

Anonymous said...

9:11 if you're a teacher why are you reading and posting comments instead of monitoring your stoned students? Maybe the students need to be high to make it through your class.

Anonymous said...

Fat bashing much? As someone who has been a size 2 and 24 all her life... I really don't see why weight was an issue here. Not speaking to you Joan, per say, you did start it.

Anonymous said...

Some prefer a Rubenesque figure. Schwing!

Joan Conrow said...

You're right, 10:33, fat-bashing isn't nice, and I didn't mean to start it. I only wanted to point out the hypocrisy of those who denounce the chem companies for harming citizens' health, while packing paunches that are directly associated with numerous health risks, especially in a man Gary's age.

Anonymous said...

11:24 "I only wanted to point out the hypocrisy of those who denounce the chem companies for harming citizens' health, while packing paunches that are directly associated with numerous health risks, especially in a man Gary's age."

Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches. Samuel Johnson made this point when he wrote about the misuse of the charge of "hypocrisy" in Rambler No. 14:

"Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself."

Anonymous said...

@3:41, however Gary does not fit the description of the man in Samuel Johnson's quote, in any way shape or form. He IS an undeniable hypocrite. Same for his cohorts.