Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Musings: The Beautiful Bozo

Gosh, things are getting serious on the Big Island, what with Mayor Billy Kenoi declaring a state of emergency around dengue fever.

Seems it's the largest outbreak in the Islands since the 1940s, with 250 confirmed cases.

As Reuters reports, in a story inexplicably accompanied by a photo of Waikiki:

As a result of [the emergency] order people on the Big Island will be allowed to resume disposing of old tires in landfills, since tires which are left lying around are a known breeding spot for mosquitoes.

Wow. Now that's some aggressive eradication action. For sure that's gonna stop the spread.


Looks like Monsanto is getting tired of being everybody's whipping boy. Today's edition of The Garden Island features a letter from Daniel Goldstein, the company's Science Affairs Lead and Associate Medical Director, who identifies himself as a pediatrician and a father before blasting the “incorrect and misleading information” about glyphosate (Roundup) contained in two recent letters to the editor. He goes on to say:

Contrary to unsubstantiated claims, often promoted by groups with political aims, it does not cause a litany of health harms.

Talk about a losing cause. Monsanto could have folks working round the clock, and they'd still never scratch the surface of all the “incorrect and misleading information” perpetuated by “groups with political aims.”

It brings to mind testimony submitted by Zachary Hitchcock, chair of the Oahu Surfrider chapter, on the pesticide disclosure bill:

Pesticides are dangerous. A combination of chemicals and pesticides is even more so.

Hmmm. Which chemicals do you suppose he meant? Hydrogen? Oxygen? Sodium? Chloride?

And this is the group that is conducting “scientific research” on Kauai and attempting to dictate agricultural policy statewide.


Speaking of groups with political aims, Gary Hooser's HAPA might want to check out the IRS rules a little more carefully. The group is hoping to develop candidates through its “Kuleana Academy,” which bills itself as “a non-partisan candidate training program” while offering workshops in “progressive values.”

According to IRS rules (emphasis added):

Training for political campaign workers; limited to one political party— An organization that operates a school to train individuals to fill responsible positions in political campaigns does not qualify for exemption under IRC 501(c)(3) where it fails to establish that it operates on a nonpartisan basis.

In American Campaign Academy v. Commissioner, 92 T.C. 1053 (1989), the court concluded that the organization, an outgrowth of similar training programs sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee, operated for the private benefit of Republican entities and candidates, who were not members of a charitable class. Although the organization had no formal requirement that candidates for admission be affiliated with any particular political party, the evidence suggested that most of its graduates went on to work in Republican campaigns, and the organization offered no evidence of a graduate who was affiliated with a domestic political party other than the Republican party.

Ain't no way HAPA can claim its Kuleana Academy is nonpartisan. Shoots, just look at its partners:

Community Alliance on Prisons, Hawaii Americans For Democratic Action, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law & Economic Justice, Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Hawaii People's Fund, Hawaii SEED, Hawaii Thousand Friends, KAHEA, Life of the Land, Maui Tomorrow, and UNITE HERE! Local 5. 

There's not a Republican within a mile of those folks.

But isn't that just like Gary, who believes the rules never apply to him.

Similarly, the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, which claims to be an educational nonprofit, just engaged in a blatant email appeal to secure $100,000 for lobbying:

HCFS is working hard on key food and agriculture legislation. To advance this platform, HCFS staff will collectively spend over 1,000 hours empowering our members to engage in the civic process. But this work costs money. The cost to develop educational materials and conduct trainings for grassroots advocacy during legislative session is nearly $100,000.

First, it's laughable to think they're spending $100,000 on “grassroots training” – more like fly people in to testify – or educational materials. What, they're printed with 14k gold ink? But they do need to pay the salary of Director Ashley Lukens, who is a registered lobbyist.

When I ran this by an akamai friend, he referenced IRS rules — here and here — before noting:

Ashley's operation is basically a branch office of the CFS national organization. So let's say she raises $100,000 to lobby the legislature ragged. I doubt that the Hawaii CFS office operates on a $500,000 annual budget. It would have to for the $100K to represent 20% of the overall budget in keeping with the IRS stipulation. But Hawaii CFS doesn't file an independent tax return. CFS in DC does. And the $100K for lobbying could easily fit their much larger expenditures.

Put it another way: For lobbying purposes, we're "ground zero" but for tax reporting purposes, we're incidental. Or, as W.C. Fields said, "the beautiful bozo, high and dry!" 

And yet we have reporters like Nathan Eagle blithely describing CFS as a "nonprofit" and the gullible, like Michael Bishop in his rant against "industrial ag," still believing that this mainland-driven and funded anti-GMO movement is all about "home rule." 

Ya, right.


Anonymous said...

Good piece again Joan! While I think you make a good point, My friend who is attending the program said it featured speakers from all parties and even the participants in program belonged to different parties Green, Republican. Democratic and Libertarian.

Anonymous said...

Another Bozo: MANCHESTER — Gov. Chris Christie told a questioner at a town hall in New Hampshire on Monday that he would enforce federal laws on marijuana even in Colorado and Washington, where the drug has been legalized.
Christie went on to joke that he wasn’t very popular when he visited Colorado last year.
When asked about his position on marijuana legalization, Christie said he told the person: “Get high now, because when I’m president, it’s over, buddy..”

Anonymous said...

"Monsanto could have folks working round the clock, and they'd still never scratch the surface of all the “incorrect and misleading information” perpetuated by “groups with political aims.”

You may not know this Joan but just like the guys you work for, the Cornell Alliance for Science, Monsanto does have people working round the clock and sadly they have political aims and a hell of a lot more money than the Babes. PS - yes I am Republican and a Babe as well.

Anonymous said...

Great job once again Joan.
Thank you for exposing these fraudsters.

Now that they're exposed, how do we get them out of here?

Anonymous said...

Wow, a doctor who works for Monsanto saying it's safe. I change my mind. There is no way it's dangerous. They wouldn't lie.

Joan Conrow said...

Well 9:57, you blew any shred of credibility you might have by a) being a "Babe" and b) claiming the Alliance for Science has people working round the clock. You clearly don't know WTF you're talking about, as is true of all the Babes I've encountered.

Anonymous said...

Joan said "as W.C. Fields said, "the beautiful bozo, high and dry!"

W.C. Fields never said that because he died in 1946 before there was a Bozo. I guess we're all Bozos on this bus when it comes to making things up -- including you.

Joan Conrow said...

Actually, Bozo was released in October 1946 and Fields died Dec. 25, 1946.

Anonymous said...

@10:36am .....I also change my mind. Why should I believe other scientists and doctors who do not work for Monsanto? What could they possibly know about Roundup? It is obvious to anyone with just a grain of intelligence that Monsanto employees are the most knowledgeable and credible about the safety of roundup. And I am also sure that working for Monsanto does not have any affect whatsoever in the objectivity of their findings. Monsanto is an honest company well-known for their integrity. They are well-loved by most people and communities around the world.

Anonymous said...

"Bozo" was in common usage starting about 1916...long before Larry Harmon was even born! So, take that, mister beatnik!I guess this land was made for people like you, and Elmer Fudd!

Anonymous said...

I reckon the Monsanto pediatrician knows more about pesticides than Dr Evslin.

Anonymous said...

@11:18AM - Maybe you missed the part where the Monsanto pediatrician provided a link to where you can read independent studies, conducted by scientists and doctors who do not work for Monsanto. Those independent studies found no health issue with glyphosate. I think the bottom line is, you just don't want to believe that, regardless of the source.

Anonymous said...

Admitting that I am the preverbal idiot in the room, here is what my small brain thinks.
I have been a practicing Buddhist for over 50 years. I sometimes fail and compromise my principles, but generally my belief is that LIFE is LIFE. Its true for humans, animals, plants and insects. It is all sacred in a sense. We should treat life with respect, at least. While I realize that some life has to take other life to survive, I think mass, organized killing (even of bugs) is the wrong way to go. Pesticides exist and will continue to exist but that does not mean my dumb heart hurts a little with every poisoned bug or bird that eats a poisoned bug.
Much like I know war is a reality and we may sort of need the Halliburton's of the world, I don't have to like or trust them.
I feel the same about Monsanto and the other companies who manufacture deadly pesticides.

Anonymous said...

Fields never said the quote about Bozo. If so you would prove it. You will not print this because you lack proof.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

Inherently "progressive values" align with the Democratic Party ideals more then the Republican Party ideals. They also align with the Green Party and the Libertarian Party...and the Aloha Aina Party....

Also inherent, you cannot talk about politics without talking about political parties. They are weaved into the fabric of the political system. Especially in Hawaii, where the lines between the local parties values overlap extensively.

Speaking of the political system, what exactly is the connection between the organizations listed and the Democratic Party?

And the reason there is not a Republican within a mile of those folks? There isn't a Republican within a mile of anyone. The party has a little over 10,000 active members in Hawaii. They have one senator and seven representatives...who actually DO have at least some progressive values...Cynthia Thielen, Andria Tupola, Mike Gabbard (oh sorry, he's a "democrat")

Anonymous said...

Oh groovy. Now we have Buddhists getting into the Roundup debate. Pol Pot, Mao and the current Myanmar Buddhists certainly missed that no-kill zone. 80 million transcendent souls in a constant state of flux.
Roundup your yard and get rid of them mosquitoes. Throw some Sodium hypochlorite into all those old tires laying around your yard.
Da Hoos and his young Fistees will be a political group to reckon with. And it would be a good thing if Mel and his other do-nothing Council members got a whiff of what is happening on the island. Most young voters are against Big Ag (its cool to be an anti) and virtually all of the new-comer, raise the drawbridge folks are Anti/Closet Fistees, as well.
JoAnn, Da Hoos, Baby Hoos and Felicia could get elected. These 4 will really f*ck up the island. Imagine, bike paths out of the kazoo, hundreds of empty buses. No Ag on the west side, no new housing for the locals. And Hawaii Life realators selling all that land. A perfect bonanza.
We get the government we deserve, but today's Council/Mayor take the cake. The County is rolling in money and still the Council/Mayor appears to be in the hocus-pocus of passing the GET increase. Smoke and mirrors.
How can Da Hoos, da big Fistee himself be the ONLY Council guy to take a hard stance on NO GET raise? Ross seems to be against the GET increase, but he could easily change his mind. Excise taxes hurt every one, but especially the poor and fixed income folks. Maybe Gary is really a hero?
And then there is JoAnn Yukimura.. who fears some folks may make some money off of the CPR law she is considering. How much did Ms. Yukimura make when she created one of the FIRST Anini Agricultural CPRs....2 million?
Oh yeah, now I remember...JoAnn Yukimura put 2.2 million in her pocket selling her Ag CPR. But then she is a paragon of virtue, so it is OK. The GET increase she loves so much, won't hurt her or her many wealthy friends.
Great Balls of Bynum, Batman. Is there no integrity, honor or fairness?
It goes from worse to worser.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if they'll vote on the GET before or after the election because the council fooled the people of Kauai with the triple tax trash can from $6 a month to $18 a month after they said they wanted to only increase it to $10-$12 a month.

You all must've forgot. It's the biggest county government fraud that's been going on for far too long.

It doesn't matter to the near 1500 county welfare recipients because like the admin is proposing a 30K secretary job raise to over 70K a year; this county is the definition of Chicago style politics.

The politicians on Kauai know that only 45% of Kauai vote so it's easy to vote these flunkies back in office.

Business as usual on Kauai unless the fed gov gets involved and clean house.

Anonymous said...

6:34 pm. Yes the Feds will get involved? Really? They have a $18 trillion deficit and they will look into local government's decisions? Are you kidding me? They can't even keep their own house in order. You are clueless! Watch the show Madoff, the Feds are the biggest joke of all, no accountability at all. Just waste and crooked politics.

Anonymous said...

You can bet Nadine is dangling some big west side project in front of Kagawa to get him to relax and support the GET increase. You could see him sweating right before he went back on his word to the Mayor, Arryl and Kipukai. That's why he will not last in politics. Your word is your bond and he runs to safety and leaves his friends hanging.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen what the Feds have done in the state of Hawaii alone these past years?

They had the Mayor of Kauai and his gudots crying on Hoike and saying "we need to stick together".

You people are so...

The sky is falling!!!!!!

Get your Crayons and helmet and run little buddy run.

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for the first Republican candidate who acknowledges that global warming is real and that we need to curb government spending on the military.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 2/9 @ 10:46 AM & 2:25 PM, the entire validity of Joan's post & her position rests on whether or not Fields actually said that. But of course, if HAPA, SHAKA, Hooser et. al. make a statement that cannot be verified (or is shown to be patently false), their credibility is not in question.

Joan Conrow said...

Thank you, 5:20. It's fascinating that these critics can't find anything legit to criticize in the post so they seize on the W.C. Fields quote.

First, I referenced it as part of a direct quote. That's why it was in italics. I didn't "make it up." And second, while I can't "prove" Fields uttered that quote, he certainly could have, because the word came into use between 1915-20.


Anonymous said...

9:36. Ross ain't sweating nothing, next election he will smash Hooser, Yukimura, and Chock. Wanna bet? Make it known you want a bet there's a lot of locals who would love to take your money and rub it in your face after.

Anonymous said...

Republicans and neoliberal democrats always put this country in recessions because the rich get richer and the rest suffer.

Maybe you like it that way. I on the other hand read historical data and watch for patterns so I don't like the frequent recessions in which our country is getting accustomed to.

Everything gets rapidly inflated instead of slowly rising costs that correlate with annual pay and salary increases.

Anonymous said...

7:39am. I agree Ross will be at the top. Getting out of his commitment to the Mayor to support the GET increase was a smart move on his part.

Anonymous said...

Re Fields and Bozo, that was the name of his dog in The Fatal of Glass of Beer. Don't care for his films, so not going to watch it again for quotes. Short version, he ate the dog with mustard, IIRC.

Anonymous said...

So there! @February 9, 2016 at 10:46 AM and 2:25 PM.

Anonymous said...

Republicans deny the one pattern that matters: the rising temperature of the our planet. I don't like infrequent tradewinds or rainfall. How about you?

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH! Presidents and Congress have very little influence on economic cycles. Any politician who gives blame or takes credit is only misleading the uninformed.