Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Musings: On Politics

The so-called “DARK Act” — a bill that barred states from adopting their own GMO labeling laws — failed to advance in the Senate today.

Anti-GMO groups cried victory, citing polls that show 82 percent of shoppers want to know if their groceries contain GE ingredients. Of course, 80 percent also want to know if there's DNA in their food.

Moral of the story: Never underestimate the stupidity — and gullibility — of the American consumer.

Oh, and just in case you had any doubts about the role of the multi-billion-dollar organic foods industry — not to mention paid social media shills — in a campaign that's supposedly all about your right to know:
Meanwhile, the dark candidate — Donald Trump — continues to pick up delegates. Most recently, he said he wouldn't be surprised if there were riots and other violence if he comes to the GOP convention a bit short of delegates and fails to win the nomination. 

Why? Because he himself would instigate it?

A friend and I were talking about Trump, and what his “popularity” means. My friend's take:

People are so disgusted with the status quo, business as usual politics, the old guard, that they're rejecting every established candidate and going for someone totally outside the political realm.

Or as I put it, Trump's the "fuck it all" candidate.

Well, it's not the first time we've seen the American voter shoot him/herself in the foot with an asinine protest vote.

Still, I can't imagine the powers that be will Trump let get that far. I was watching a really good documentary about the Black Panthers the other day, and was reminded again that powerful interests have many ways of destroying whatever threatens the status quo.

But hey, it's great for ad revenues in the meantime, with Republicans spending some $12 million in Florida ads alone. I'm so glad I don't have a TV — especially in election years.

Not that you can escape the bombardment... Which is how I came to see the ad that recounts just a few of Trump's comments about women:

On a lighter note, I did get a giggle out of this:
Yes, that's a dream alright. As in, wake up, it ain't never gonna happen. America is more likely to elect a racist, sexist reality star blowhard than a socialist.

Not that Tulsi hasn't shown herself to be a master at self-promotion with an eye for political advancement. But what's so progressive about buying into the anti-Muslim paranoia by voting for a bill that would have made it even harder for the U.S. to accept Syrian refugees?

And isn't anyone else tired of seeing angry men impotently preaching platitudes and regaling reforms that have no prayer of advancing in a polarized Congress?

Hillary, meanwhile, has that Stepford Wives look of someone who has spent a life in politics, and learned to carefully gauge every word and move.

I'd have to say this meme most closely reflects my feelings about the Presidential election  — with a hat tip to Renee Morey Kester:
True and lasting change begins within. If people funneled all the time and money they devote to politics into dealing with their own issues, society would be instantly transformed. 

But then, that's even harder than finding a good candidate.


Anonymous said...

So true.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Can we have a collective tantrum? LOL!

Anonymous said...

Politics is so polarizing that it has made our candidates extreme lunatics.

No one compromises anymore and that will never work.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just found out this info- Currently, 64 countries around the world require labeling of genetically modified foods. Unlike most other developed countries – such as 28 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China – the U.S. has no laws requiring labeling of genetically modified foods. Can you believe the stupidity and gullibility of the consumers in all those countries. The world is going crazy! Thank god for the good old US of A. We can be a world leader for other countries to emulate. Wake up world and stop labeling products which contain GMOs. Follow our example here in America. We know what is best for the world.

Anonymous said...


Mayor proposes budget increase

Keith Erickson - The Garden Island | Posted 11 hours ago

LIHUE — A preliminary 2016-17 county budget released this week by Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. proposes a $188.8 million spending plan — an increase of about 3.4 percent from the current $182 million budget.

“I am proud to say that we have balanced our budget for the second consecutive year without having to utilize the unassigned fund balance,” the mayor said. “We achieved this while meeting our financial obligations and without proposing any increases in real property tax rates.”

Budget highlights include a proposed salary increase of 4.3 percent for county workers. Last year, county wages totaled $118.45 million. Proposed wages in the mayor’s budget are $123.77 million. Wages represent about 65 percent of the total county budget. As proposed, wage increases this year include $840,000 for mid-range workers and their supervisors and $960,000 for department heads and executives.

The mayor’s 2017 budget also seeks a $2.6 million increase for police and firefighters, with $1.3 million proposed for each agency.

While there are no proposed tax rate changes for the upcoming fiscal year, revenue from real property tax is projected to increase by $6.46 million, or 5.7 percent over fiscal year 2016, according to the mayor’s office.

Of the projected increase, slightly more than half will come from growth in commercial, hotel and resort taxes. Broken down, commercial tax revenue will increase $1.8 million and hotel/resort tax will rise $1.49 million.

The mayor is proposing a $17 million capital improvement program.

Public budget discussions will run March 24 to April 12. The fiscal year starts June 1.

Carvalho will present his State of the County address on Thursday. The event will be held at 9 a.m. at the Lihue Civic Center, Moikeha Building courtyard.

DevelopmentisDigression: Mayor Carvalho wants GET or Gas tax to give himself a raise. The audacity. Wake up "locals" you get taxed more and he gets as raise.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 10:04 am

Knowitall: How about lowering taxes?! I know I know it's an amazing concept please don't call me radical or anything

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 9:57 am

jjr kauai
jjr kauai: Another proposed tax / fee increase to follow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 8:48 am

Kuaina: How about this? No pay increases for county workers. Use the money to fix the roads. The ever expanding county budget should be alarming. Especially in the area of wages. 65% of the budget is for wages for an underworked and non-productive work force. The vicious cycle continues. Forced Union membership with the county collecting dues for the unions and in turn the unions support the politicians who give them raises each year. What else would you expect Bernard to do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 7:29 am

leaveforflorida: 4.3%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who else on this island is getting this kind of pay raise?

Seniors got no increase in Social Security.

The cost of Obamacare has gone up again.

So what right does the Mayor have in giving this kind of pay raise?

There are counties in California where this kind of rampant stealing of taxpayer monies has resulted in arrests of those that have stolen money.

If the County Council approves this budget and says we are forced to because of the unions on Oahu, then the State needs its own Trump to get rid of the Elite legislatures that are stealing all of this money of the taxpayers that can no longer afford to pay the rich government workers!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 2:25 am

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, what kind of DNA are they talking about? Something that isn't supposed to be in our food? Hopefully no human DNA---------

Anonymous said...

Balanced the counties budget for 2 years in a row??? WTF are they smoking??? The counties budget is proposed to go up by 6.8 million. Over 120 million of the 188 million is going to the counties salaries. How much actually goes to solve Kauai's problem areas??? The county is going to spend another 10 million to fix Rice at when they just finished fixing it a year ago. Unions that vote these crooks in are crooks also. A thorough investigation like the 2 county of Kauai audits would show corruption.

But the Feds are going after (audit) the Kauai banks to find if they've been embezzling and funding Kauai's criminal organizations.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention prescription coverage, copayments and the cost of medications. But it's OK because Kauai's elitist (they think they are) are in need of a new rims and drug dealer tints.

The whole round blg and old big save parking lot is packed during the work week like its Black Friday. Only on Kauai has the counties work forced doubled and the results has been reduced while the budget grows. Well if they would stop fixing the same roads that they fixed the year heifer then maybe something would be accomplished.

These county idiots they the public is that dumb and aren't keeping track that every 2 years the same job (roads) get resurfaced while others are dangerously neglected. Hardy street resurfaced twice in 2 years. Rice st will be resurfaced twice in 2 years. Nawiliwili rd resurfaced 3 times in 4 years. Is the county of Kauai on Meth? Meth addicts usually are know for doing the same thing over and over again.

John Kauai said...

Why is it a conspiracy that a pro-consumer group looks for help in getting out their message while the bribery committed by the GMA in promoting the DARK act is overlooked or is OK? The GMA spent over $41M in 2013 lobbying in Washington DC. Seems like they could hire 410 bloggers for that at $100,000/year. Man being a blogger must pay really, really well.

Joan Conrow said...

John Kauai -- Who said anything about a conspiracy? I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the anti-GMO movement, which is quick to label any person who says anything positive about biotechnology as a paid shill, when it itself is paying shills. And you might want to re-examine your assumption that the organic industry, and the nonprofits set up to support it, constitute a "pro-consumer group." It's just another corporate entity looking out for its own economic interests.

Anonymous said...

Trump has taken positions that seem to be the opposite of what his supporters believe. He's favored abortion, universal health care, banning assault weapons, and gay marriage.

John Kauai said...


Are you upset that someone might have suggested you are a "paid shill"? Why such vehemence? (I would not have thought you were, even if you do get paid. I don't think that would rise to the level of being called a shill.) I'll grant you that you did not specifically use the word "conspiracy", but your post certainly suggested it.

You've staked our an extremely pro-GMO position calling 80% of Americans too stupid to understand that they have DNA.

Is it hypocrisy to "play the game"? The pro-GMO group spent $45M in CA against prop 37 which would have required labeling. I do not know Just-Label-It's budget, but I'm sure it doesn't come close to what the GMA spent on just this one campaign. (If you can find it, I'd like to know.)

While it is certain that some organic groups are pushing their product rather than being "pro-consumer" (Whole Foods, for example) Other groups such as CREDO, were against the DARK act. Is CREEDO just some "shill" because they funnel the profits they make from their phone service to organizations that their phone customers vote on?

Your attempt to make the Organic Growers into some "big bad cabal" is kind of funny since they may provide only as much as 5% of the food.

Now that retailers such as Target are getting into the organic business, are we suppose to just trust these new entries that their product is the "real deal". The USDA doesn't have enough funding now to police organic foods. (Just like the IRS doesn't have the funding to audit tax cheats.)

I find it interesting that in the same post you go on to talk about Trump after you had just used Trump's "insult and innuendo" formula for defending your pro-GMO stance.

Wanting to know what one is eating is not a huge burden on the Grocery groups. That hardly prevents one from eating GMO foods. the members of the GMA are hardly hurting because of the label-it groups.

Which brings us back once again to the Accord 3.0 reconciliation paper. Boring as hell to read, but every page says at least once something to the effect: "There was no reliable data available to us to know what the Seed Companies are doing." A cynic might ask if the seed companies themselves have a clue. If they have the data, why don't they release it?

Standard Disclaimer: I'm not pro or anti GMO. I am for transparency and science and the truthful dissemination of information.

Joan Conrow said...


Yes, it bothers me that the anti-GMO groups have called me and others shills, even though we aren't paid and are merely expressing our views. Just as it bothers me when a commenter misrepresents my words and views.

No, it's not hypocrisy to "play the game." But it is hypocrisy to pretend one isn't.

Sort of like your disclaimer, "I'm not pro or anti GMO. I am for transparency and science and the truthful dissemination of information" when everything you've written indicates otherwise.

Robin said...

John Kauai- don't shoot the messenger. Joan did not say that 80% of Americans are stupid, only that 80% of Americans polled said that food should be labeled as containing DNA. That just makes them ignorant.

The entire GMO labeling fiasco is just that. Actually, labeling would be a good thing in some regards as people would see that most of what they have been eating for the past 30 years contains some element, however small, of a GE ingredient. It is also clear from the obesity and diabetes statistics that at least 50% of Americans don't really care what they eat anyway.

If GMO labeling is required, almost every processed food will be labeled, if only to protect the producers from lawsuits. Even "organic" items will require increased scrutiny. The effect will be the same as the California law that has resulted in almost every business and product being labeled as "possibly containing chemicals that may cause cancer or may be hazardous to your health." No one pays any attention to these warnings since they are virtually everywhere. As a chemist I am all in favor of hazardous labeling, but this is not kind of blanket labeling nonsense.

John Kauai said...


What I write is to counter what I perceive to be a totally biased pro-GMO perspective. I eat GMO. GMO corn and soybeans are grown on my family farm in Minnesota.

Stupid, Ignorant, little difference to me. It was an insulting comment. The truth of which we can debate, but if it is true then proof that resolution of the GMO debate is a long, long way off.

I will allow that determining what and how to label is not simple. Neither is the reconciliation process that IMHO was a waste of Kauai money only because the seed companies can't be bothered to pay attention to the concerns of those living next to their fields. Why does it have to come down to confrontation?

FWIW: if labeling is required, it may only mean that a different tier of "GMO-free" products will be offered at a premium which most people won't be able to afford anyway.

To throw caution to the wind, there are studies that link obesity to eating GMO. Just like the Golden Rice studies though (which show that the only people who are capable of digesting the food to obtain benefit from the extra vitamin A don't need that vitamin A since they get it through other sources in excess) they need to be replicated and proven. It may not be the GMO that is causing the obesity, but rather the fact that the consumer can only afford processed foods. Since processed foods that don't include GMO are difficult to come by, it would impossible to control the experiment. Which doesn't mean that GMO is innocent of the obesity epidemic.

Joan Conrow said...

John, I find it odd that you claim to eat GMOs, and say you aren't anti-GMO, but still wrote, on a previous post:

There are reasons to not want to ingest GMO crops. Being a consumer, I want to know what it is I'm eating so that -IF- I eat GMO wheat and find myself suffering from Gluten Intolerance, I'll be able to purchase a loaf of bread that isn't GMO and/or isn't sprayed with glyphosate.

As for bias, you might want to look at your own, reflected in comments such as:

Neither is the reconciliation process that IMHO was a waste of Kauai money only because the seed companies can't be bothered to pay attention to the concerns of those living next to their fields. Why does it have to come down to confrontation?

You're apparently unaware that the companies voluntarily stopped planting the field next to WCMS, offer pre-spraying notification to neighbors and impose buffer zones precisely because they do "pay attention to the concerns of those living next to their fields."

The reason we have confrontation is because people make wild, unwarranted claims while pretending they're all about truth and transparency.

And did you not know there is DNA in all food? Why the vehement reaction to me pointing out the ignorance inherent in that?

Anonymous said...

Where does your family get its seeds from?

Anonymous said...

For all of you Brewster's Millions fans:

John Kauai said...


My family rents to a family we've known for many, many years when my father took an early retirement so he could keep his job around 1980. The family-friend produces as much as two-times the bushels/acre as other farmers in the area. Our farm is a very small part of the nearly 3000 acres he operates. You may not recall that during Reagan farmers were driving their tractors into banks in protest over how they were being squeezed. One could make a living on 80 acres prior to 1980, so our friend has replaced nearly 40 other farmers. It is possible that those same economic conditions are coming together again so that even 3000 acres isn't going to be a large enough operation to remain profitable. Rather the corporations are about to take it all over.
(Just a possibility that if you disagree with I won't try to convince you of otherwise. I only ask you to temper your perspective with the events that are truly happening. And recall the 1%.)

Our friend and I often exchange data on GMO, glyphosate, etc. I appreciate that he is an outstanding farmer extremely dedicated to the profession. I think he appreciates that I am concerned about what's going on in Minnesota. In the end though, he is constrained by having to make a buck, which is very difficult since this year the price of the commodity was well below the price of production.

He is involved in at least one class-action suit against a GMO company (I recall it to be Pioneer, but it is a detail I'm not all that interested in remembering) over the fact that China rejected that variety of GMO corn. I can speculate on why China might have done this, but there is nothing to back up that speculation. The fact remains that the GMO company pressured our friend into planting this variety and falsely assured him that there would be no problem. Talk about "giant conspiracy theories".

The question of being pro or anti to GMO takes on a totally different dimension when talking about someone's livelihood -- just as it should when talking about the folks who work for the GMO companies on the West Side. That does not mean that we pretend that all GMO is good and all anti-GMO is bad. The answer is much more nuanced. The difficulty in discovering the answer is exponentially more difficult. Especially when one is getting yelled at by both sides with what can only be describe as silly innuendo, "...did you not know there was DNA in all food?" What the hell?

Anonymous said...

soooooo just saved that meme sooooo how I feel when I am in the voting booth alone with my thoughts and that pen trying to stay inside the lines of those bubbles and catching a draft from that tooooo small curtain.

Joan Conrow said...

That does not mean that we pretend that all GMO is good and all anti-GMO is bad. The answer is much more nuanced.

We agree on that, John. As for innuendo, when you throw it out, (8:37) don't be surprised when it's thrown back. And "yelled at from both sides?" Please.

John Kauai said...


Sounds like getting yelled at to me.

Perhaps I'm too sensitive.

I am happy to discover we can at least seem to agree on something. Looking forward to more agreement.

Anonymous said...

John Kauai, if a person (including you) does not know that food contains DNA, then yes, they are ignorant. Not an insult, merely a fact. It also implies that such a person requires much more education before they can provide a meaningful, rational comment on the issue of GE.

John Kauai said...

Are you seriously considering this a point to continue discussing to reach some kind of consensus or do you just want to present yourself to be more superior so you can maintain your absolute pro-GMO stance?

After all, you are the one who chooses to not stand behind your statements by posting solely as "anonymous" which could be any of hundreds of people. Yes, John Kauai is also anonymous, but seriously, if you wanted to know who that was, how hard could it be? And if you want to know John Kauai's position, you can find him all over the internet.

I find it incredible that you don't recognize the DNA statement about how dumb most Americans supposedly are as a putdown. I'm willing to let it slide and forgitaboutit, but I refuse to let you dig it up and pretend that you are so smart that you know the difference between "red" and "blue" when your obvious incentive is to "prove" that you are smarter than those who stand against you. In other words, stand against stupidity.

There haven't been any STUPID anti-GMO posts on this blog for me to respond to. Only one's like your's with its "I'm so smart" tone.

I am neither pro or anti GMO. My position totally depends on data that is not available. That some scientists stand up and say, "Hey, this stuff isn't good for you", gives me pause and causes me to want to find out more. You and your ilk on the other hand have decided that taking a "give me more information" position means one is anti-GMO and therefore stupid.

Fuck Off.

Anonymous said...

3:30. Overreact much?

John Kauai said...


Aren't you a prince who refuses to take a position and hides behind a double-blind curtain of being anonymous to protect him/her self from exposure.

My reply to the 2:18 comments is hardly an overreaction and if that was you, well, let me repeat, Fuck off.

If you want to be a Dick, at least be honorable enough to stand up for being a Dick. If you think I've misinterpreted your bullshit comments then have the courtesy of elaborating so that I might have a better understanding of your point and perhaps apologize for the misunderstanding.

In the mean time, if you want to be a coward and throw stones from behind the anonymous wall ... well, you remind me of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Lots of noise for people who have no ability to think for themselves.

I'm not apologizing for seeking the truth. And your comments @ 2:18 are insulting. As you purposely meant them to be to salve your own ego. "John Kauai is stupid so therefore I am smart".

It is often very difficult to admit that you just don't know.

Anonymous said...

John Kauai, this is 2:18 PM. It's too bad that you think I am presenting myself as superior or trying to prove anything; that's all on you, and I suggest you look at that, unless you are just trying to stir things up and/or deflect. IMO, there have been many anti-"GMO" posts on this blog.

Food = equals things that were once alive = things that were once alive had to have DNA in them.


Anonymous said...

I find it highly ironic that "John Kauai" criticizes someone for posting anonymously. In any case "John", the lawsuit to which you referred ('GMO', China) is against Syngenta. Essentially, they brought the trait to market after receiving approval in the US but didn't wait for China to approve (it's a big export market). Farmers planted it but could not export to China, throwing grain markets for a loop since grain with and without the trait (SYN-162) get mixed together in elevators, train cars, and ships. China has since approved the trait for imports.

Anonymous said...

Geez they want the labeling, but it's pretty simple. The companies using non GMO label and market their product. If it ain't labeled GMO free it must have GMO. Move on.

Anonymous said...

Nice baseless attack on Trump. Why don't you cover the real background of Tulsi - her family, husbands and schooling with the ties to Chris Burke and membership in his cult? I guess making up stuff about someone else is so much easier.

Anonymous said...

With all of the stories of plastics and other petro oil's being sneaked into our food by the multinationals I would like to know if there is actual DNA in my food.

Anonymous said...

The nerve. Using his own words to make him look bad. What next? Dredging up video clips of him taking the opposite stance on issues?

Anonymous said...

Yes, China had a fit over one type of gmo corn which hadn't completed China's clearance process yet. Meanwhile, it boasts about its plans to become the world's leader in biofortification. (Link previously posted on this blog.)

And yep, polls show that a majority of peeps want labeling of foods that contain dna and/or chemicals. Thereby displaying the lack of science in our educational institutions.

No reason to insult posters who point out the sad reality.