Friday, November 11, 2016

Musings: A Crack in Everything

It's been interesting, as I cruise through social media, to see that some of the people who oppose me on GMOs share my dismay about Trump, while some who support my stance on biotech crops voted for Trump.

One big difference, though, is that none of the Trump supporters attacked or shunned me for my views, unlike those in the anti-GMO camp.

Still, it reminded me again that beliefs — ideologies — serve primarily to create and enforce separation. Almost always there is some area of agreement, of like-mindedness, even among those with bitterly opposing views.

It's so critical in this deeply divided time to start finding that common ground while rejecting extremism on either end of the political spectrum. The middle needs to find and use its voice.

I speak as someone weary from three years of pitched battle with the anti-GMO extremists, as personified by Councilman Gary Hooser. The picture he chose in conceding defeat spoke volumes:
Bill 2491 was truly Gary's moment in the sun. But it was also, as a friend noted, his undoing. Though he spent more money than any other Council candidate in Kauai history — nearly $10 for every vote he got — he still wasn't able to convince a majority that he was truly working for the public good. I think Kauai voters were sick and tired of the “no compromise” stance that he represents.

Now we have to avoid staking out the same ground on the national level, as personified by KKK marches celebrating Trump, and anti-Trump protestors burning stuff as they carry signs that read “love trumps hate.”

I had lunch with a friend (and Clinton supporter) yesterday who said she wanted to understand the views of those who voted for Trump. She wanted to know more about the disaffection and despair, the alienation and anger, that led to their choice.

“I'm not ready to write off everyone who voted for Trump as a racist, sexist, zenophobic, crazy person,” she said.

Nor am I.

In working with farmers and ranchers, I've come to understand their point of view about the regulations and unfunded mandates that are strangling them. I've seen the overreach of the federal government in programs like WOTUS, the spinelessness of politicians swayed by the squeaky wheels. I've become acutely aware that “social activists” are often driven by the same quest for money and power as the corporatists.

At the same time, when I hear Trump dismissing climate change, while saying “just give me clean, pure air,” I wonder if he understands how the Clean Air Act helped accomplish that.

So yes, we do need to reassess the overreaching role of government in our lives. God knows our political system needs some serious renovation. But we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, either.

And that becomes a real concern when dealing with extremist views on any side of the political spectrum.

I truly believe, as I wrote on Wednesday, that this is the end of the world as we know it. I'm not talking about an apocolypse, though, but a profound shift in many of the programs and policies that have shaped our lives over the past half-century.

It's quite likely that some of these changes will be painful and harmful and ugly. But some may be good, even worthwhile. That's why I have no interest in joining the disempowering clench of fear that has so many in its grip. I don't want to wallow in the speculations of what might be.

I just want to watch, pay attention, and be ready to respond to what actually comes forth.

Or as Leonard Cohen, who died last night, would sing:
The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.  

But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.  


Anonymous said...


Thank you, Joan.

Kiss Freedom Goodbye said...

That Gary pic above ... On my tiny phone screen ... looks like the Trumpster, complete with the Charlie-Sheen-esq thumbs-up "Winning" !!!

Allan Parachini said...

It may be the end of the world as we know it, but the world has undergone change like this before. A difference, though, is that this time, it is our country that may be the offender on the world stage and we will have a president so ignorant of everything involved in governing and so consumed by his own ego that he will be both unwilling and unable to stop it. In fact, he may very well propel it. It's all too easy to envision an American world in which it becomes dangerous to say or read many things. Don't think it can't happen here.

We need to start and sustain an unending process of protest and resistance. Little things may help. I refuse to call him President Trump or Mr. Trump. My references to him will all be to "Donald." Whenever anyone is in Washington, we should walk past the White House and shout: "Fuck you!" If the FBI is already monitoring Joan's blog, yes, I said "Fuck you" to Donald.

But I do also agree with Beth Tokioka that there is simply no way to know how this is going to play out and history teaches that surprise is the most likely component of this evolution.

Anonymous said...

Locally I hope the new council does something like they did in Vancouver - $10,000 per year tax on empty homes. We gotta bring down rents.

John Kauai said...

It seems things are going to be changing very, very quickly. The Heritage Foundation is suppose to have a list of over 1000 executive decisions that will be undone on 20 Jan 2017.

I appreciate what Joan has to say. However, I cannot stop this feeling that from now on we are going to practice Calvinism in our government. If you're rich it is because God wants you to be rich. If you're poor it is because God wants you to be poor. From now on, it is "every man for himself".

I believe this attitude is exemplified by a friend who is generally a nice guy but who is against Universal Health Care because he believes a large number of people will go to the doctor "just for fun".

It will be interesting to see how Trump's infrastructure plan is allocated. Infrastructure has been put off for way too long. I wonder though if there is going to be a lot of "vig". Or perhaps Trump will tell the builders that they didn't do it right and then not pay them. Maybe that would take care of the Honolulu Train. :-)

Anonymous said...

@ 9:45 am

Anonymous said...

Alan P who is for big government control and is trying to insinuate himself obsequiously into the Elite Government circles, don't got no clue.
He pushed for a permanent Charter Review Commission, another expensive group of secret elitists who will try to change the island into their image.
At least some of the current politicians remember the old ways. The days when a citizen got clear answers from Planning or Water as Tutu tries to get one house for her grandkids.
Fergit it Tutu. The new County has no respect. They will not give you any clear answers. Shucks, even after spending 5000 dollars with an engineer you are still in limbo.
The old days of hard work, dust sweat and tears were rewarded with a plantation home and good neighbors. Today hard work, blood and tears gets you a 2000 dollar crackerbox rental with dog-barking neighbors. Oh you can buy it maybe, for $600,000...think of that o- over a half a million for a shit house, all because guys like Alan P, Gary JoAnn Mason and a very small limp-dick Council don't allow more homesites.
Still the JoAnn, Parachini, Mason and Gary's ghost will all try to keep housing at a minimum so only their rich retirees can have peace in their Estates.
They come, they live, they try to change Kauai into little Rodeo Drives and then after a while move back to the mainland....damage done. No love for the people, they don't even want their ashes to be spread on the island they tried to turn into cute little wealthy Coffee Shoppe enclaves.
No housing, no roads....and the Planners constantly take property rights with no explanation or courtesy.
Fact- There is no housing because our Planners make the Developers go thru Hades for years and never reveal how many units they can build until the end. Million dollar pay your $2000 rents, stay stuck in traffic....nobody cares.

And we all know that with the stroke of a pen hundreds of build-able lots could be created over night...just go back to Jimmy Tehada's ADU law. That Ag land can't grow diddly anyway. That old scrap Ag land that the Plantations threw away in the 1920s, where we have crammed a little house into every steep hill and valley.
Let us build some homes Council, let us build.
And keep weird dudes like conniving Alan P away from any power. He don't got no respect.

ekcoll said...

Joan, I disagree. Cohen would have sung The Future

Joan Conrow said...

Possibly. Or maybe Waiting for a Miracle.

Anonymous said...

How can a 1 billion project bump up to 11+ billion in 10 years?

The greedy unions and politicians fleecing the tax payers.

Let it collapse and bury every single one of them.

Fuck the greedy crooked unions and politicians in the state of Hawaii and the rest of this country. Fuck em all

Anonymous said...

Alan's knees so dirty he'll be spitting out the Mayor's creme puffs for years.

Unknown said...

From my perspective, the feeling of both sides of the presidential elections can be summed up by the last two songs on Pink Floyd's "Division Bell" album.

For the Clinton supporters: "Lost for Words".

For the Trump supporters: "High Hopes".

John Kauai said...


How can you blame the unions? They haven't gone on strike. The contractor knew how much they were going to have to be paid. Did that somehow change?

I will agree that the politicians may be on the take. How do we find out?

But I would mostly hold the contractor responsible for the cost overruns. When I worked at Martin building rockets, we'd give a presentation to the Air Force (or NASA) promising all kinds of great stuff. And then at a later date, "oops". I just did networking so the only thing I was responsible for purchasing was the routers and those came in at the promised price.

We should remember though, sometimes "stuff happens".

Anonymous said...

1 Billion to 11 Billion, sometimes stuff happens is your answer to the fleecing? Sometimes stuff happens like 9 million for Wailua bridge end up costing over 45 million for the county of Kauai? What I see is fraud, waste and abuse and all you see is a slight mark up. The difference between you and I, is I'm on the side of being ripped off like most and you are on the other side ripping the people off. Also like how Ron Kouchi bought land from his former business partner and how Derek Kawakami voted for the legalization of marijuana sales when his daddy was applying for the license but people don't know is that he and his former campaign manager Chiba (convict) has more things in common then what people know. One day you all will find out.

Anonymous said...

Yukimura slipped in. Crap.

John Kauai said...

I did say "sometimes".

I also said the contractors are probably scamming. (Remember "oops"?)

You seem to have no idea which "side" I am on.

If you have the evidence, then put them in jail. I'm more than happy to put frauds in jail. But all you offer is innuendo. We used to say "your Mama", but I've since (maybe 30 years ago) recognized that insults women. I have no clue what slang to use, but let's try this, "You are an idiot".

You see things in black and white and have your opinion of everyone who might express an opinion that doesn't exactly comport to your thoughts and opinions and beliefs. I won't deny your accusations. I have no evidence either way. I'm inclined to believe you.

Now, what are you doing about it? Slinging accusations about how "one day"?

Anonymous said...

You are a hypocrite and you obviously haven't been keeping track of all historical things that has been happening on Kauai and the state of Hawaii.

So keep on rambling about your so called higher knowledge of Kauai then the people who are born and raised here.

Happy Veterans Day TE.

Anonymous said...

That's dirt for ShayMel to use but both would be sinking in quick sand with all the dirt on these two 2018 County of Kauai Mayor candidates.

Kiss Freedom Goodbye said...

How's Trumpy gonna get his coke into the WH? Diplomatic pouch?

Anonymous said...

You insist on single family homes spread all over the place as the solution to the housing crisis. That is stupid planning and would be far more costly to provide services paid for with our tax dollars. But after reading your repetitive comments it's not a surprise.

Anonymous said...

I just love the complaints of John and Allan. Half the country has been dealing with similar complaints for the last eight years. Now it's your turn. LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

people have to live somewhere.
There are hundreds of acres behind Wallmart, which would not impact your elitist eye.
The Ag land in Kapahi and Wailua has already been punched with housing.
When you make a hundred per year and can't afford a house something is wrong.
JoAnn is all for 4 story apartments in Wailua Houselots and other areas that have existing density, but no place for footprints of single family homes.
The island has made a decision....if you have a million you can have house. We need an immediate 4,000 homes to cover the multi-generational squish which is in every neighborhood.
Life goes on. people have kids and these kids need houses.
The County goes on and raises taxes.
With the exception of the fat asses in the County this island has many people who could build homes at a reasonable price for the people.
Housing and roads, an inevitable part of life. Statistically if an area doesn't grow at least 3 percent per year it turns into itself. A negative growth.
Kauai is an exception because we have so much tourist money and wealthy part timers that take the remove a lot of the economic reality.
Someday the people will get pissed off at 2000 per month rents. Sheesh, some folks are charging $800 for a 10 by 10 bedroom, shared kitchen and pubic hair ridden bath.

Anonymous said...

530 my elitist eye? Wanting well planned development as opposed to the sprawl that you keep pushing for is hardly elitist. You must be from the Los Angeles school of urban design. Maybe you should move back.

Anonymous said...

6:43 Nope. I'm an old camp 6 trannie.

Anonymous said...

8:00, time to move to LA. They share your love of sprawl.

Anonymous said...

Finding a "solution" to the situation facing the new Council will be the challenge. Instead of saying "no can", find a "solution" so can. We supposed to have seven(7) minds in the Council. They can work together like ONE or be the SEVEN HEADED BEAST and fuck us all up. No more cats, birds, dogs issues. Housing, homeless, illegal drugs, roads, taxes are killing us. Taxes: Solid Waste, Sewer (wastewater), Gasoline, Water meter, Vehicle weight, ...did I miss any...Add em to the list. Our Council has the luxury of being on TV for all to watch, laugh or cry, swear, cheer..........the people need help

Anonymous said...

@ 8:00 AM Love it! :D

Anonymous said...

7:22 Sound like you should have ran, you get all the answers. Only talk is cheap. What is your solution to homeless, illegal drugs, solid waste? You expect the Council to fix all that like it's so easy. Get a grip!

Anonymous said...

@7:22 love your comments. Need to mitigate the problems created by the 2013-14 council. We've tossed out three of the five, but two remain. Looking forward to 2018. we'll have to replace three - Mel & JoAnn (term out) and possibly, Derek (if he runs for mayor). Waiting in the wings will be KipuKai and Gary. We need to groom at least two more candidates so Gary will not be elected - a formidable task, given the amount of money he was able to raise.

Anonymous said...

$53,333 a month for a 3 month operation. Who the fuck approved this support a friend private business with tax payer dollars?

Shuttle pau
North Shore Shuttle to end today

1 image
Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

North Shore Shuttle vehicles like this one will no longer be moving between Princeville and Haena, as service ends today.

The Garden Island | Updated 3 hours ago

PRINCEVILLE — The North Shore Shuttle, which has transported residents and visitors between Princeville and Ke‘e Beach over the last three months, will end today.

The news was announced in a Sunday evening email from the county.

“We would like to thank the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) for providing the funding for this program, along with our other partners, Princeville Development Corp. and Hawaii Executive Transportation and their dedicated drivers and staff,” said George Costa, director of the Office of Economic Development. “Both our visitors and residents benefited from the shuttle service as it provided another transportation alternative in the Hanalei-Haena area.”

Costa said that he will continue his efforts to seek long-term funding sources from private sector partners and other grant funding opportunities for the shuttle service.

Funding for the North Shore Shuttle was provided through an HTA grant of $300,000 with $160,000 going towards the shuttle and $140,000 for cultural restoration projects in Hā‘ena.

Anyone with questions can call the Office of Economic Development at 241-4946.

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Anonymous said...

I am still trying to figure out the difference between making the efforts of "American Great Again" and taking back our island from the uninformed activist seeking to fund their hyper-sensativities as entitlements ...aren't these both grass roots movements? It took Corporate America to help us find our voices here on island and I commend them for investing in the community. They could have moved elsewhere. Its been my observance that the Democrats of the old are not the Democratic's of the new, but it seems to me that in a Democratic's world there never is an end game when I see a whole lot of end game results, Oh and here is a challenge...maybe someone can offer explanations without blaming it on a white person, just because I keep hearing about whitelash and we know that history here in the islands. This election however ugly the candidates validated to me that American has the ability to change direction if people get angry enough. Hawaii on the other hand doesn't have that ability as long as its in a one party lockdown although there was a lot of flipping going on from some long time Democrats. The silent majority i.e. grassroots got angry enough. Joan, you have been calling out injustices over the last years. How were you able support Hillary who committed injustices under oath for years or did you?

Anonymous said...

The crazy thing is that they started at the end of the busiest time for the tourist season. Sep to Nov? WTF over? You would think that they would have at least ran it from Jun-Aug which is the busiest.

They have to file a tax report if they charged the tourist to ride so where is the records? If no taxes were paid then this scam is public fraud.

I want an audit for this NO BID private business that was funded by the county of Kauai and didn't go through the procurement process and open for the public to place bids on a county created service using private entities.

Anonymous said...

7:22 The Federal government takes 25 to 35% of your income with SS and Income taxes, the State takes another 15 to 20% of your income with Income and GET taxes if we worried about taxes let's make sure we blame all the correct source(s) of our financial frustration, because Housing and College Education costs are killing all of us who don't qualify for grants or financial aid. Unlikely, but maybe Trump can do better, let's look at the glass half-full.

Anonymous said...

Your Oompa Loompa president can start by recommending a reasonable flat federal tax across the board so it wouldn't matter how much or how little you made. The pie will always be cut at say a 10% or 20% rate.

Maybe the uber rich will be more inclined to hide their fortunes in American accounts instead of tax free offshore accounts.

Please stick to the county of Kauai issues that we have the opportunity to table. If you want to talk about the federal level then you need 200,000 signatures for a petition to even be looked at.

Can't wait for the Turkey to take office!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I voted the other because out of 300 million people in America, the best we could have come up with was Hilary and Donald? Come on now the lesser of two evils is still a bad choice.

It would be like choosing between Dubya and Cheney. Who would you vote for?

Anonymous said...

11:22 a grassroots movement aided by corporate America? That's a novel concept.

Gary D. said...

Ramblings of an old haole who has been on island for 5 years and poured ~$800,000 into the local economy building a "haole house" that most of my local friends aren't comfortable in because it's too fancy...

The locals need housing and, observing where and how they live, what they buy/rent is simple/plain/small by haole standards. They do like some land to grow food, flowers, ti plants, etc. The idea of jamming them in 3/5 story walk-up apartments sounds like an urban planner's dream, not something locals would want.

Assuming the 4,000 units needed is a decent approximation, and figuring 4 units/acre, 1,000 acres of developable ground is needed, with probably 500 of those in the greater Lihue area, based on the location of jobs. The rest need to be spread around the island.

To reap some economies of scale, the developments should probably be in at least 50 acre parcels. 5/10 parcels of 50/100 acres in the Lihue area shouldn't be a huge task, and should be able to happen with minimal impact on existing roadways. Same with added housing on the rest of the island? What am I missing??? And if I'm not missing anything, why the hell isn't it happening?

Anonymous said...

9:25am - Council can approve more land for affordable housing, illegal drugs - get the little guys no wait for the big fish, solid waste - we need new landfill 20 years ago, that is mayor problem,...what you say now. talk shit as all you seem to write.

Anonymous said...


They did the same thing with the Marathon, never checked to see if they had a GET license. When they were called on it after three years nota thing happened. How does the Kauai goverment just give away tens of thousands of dollars and not have any checks and balances to make sure our money is spent wisely.

Anonymous said...


Back atcha: Trump or Pence?

Anonymous said...

3:46. What land? Whose land? How much is your plan going to cost? How much will each unit sell for? You still talking shit! Illegal drugs, catch the big guys? Wow you must be a genius?

Unknown said...

The people carrying signs saying, "Love conquers hate" aren't the same ones who are setting fires and vandalizing property. The violent anarchists who piggyback on protest marches are a well-known phenomenon in Seattle, Portland and other west coast cities. This phenomenon has been noted by police in their reports of the vandalism that occurred at some rallies. I'm sorry it doesn't support the meme that there are bad people in both camps, but I saw it first hand at the WTO conference in Seattle (AKA the Battle in Seattle). Anarchists descended on a protest march led by environmentalists and labor groups opposed to NAFTA-like treaties. It was sad to see.

Anonymous said...

We will continue to get nothing out of this new super majority council. Now they control 5 votes out of the 7 and nothing will continue to be the norm. Maybe Kagawa will do another repeal of the barking dog law, or perhaps sponsor another Friday night lights resolution, or maybe he will name yet another park or backstop after one of his old time Japanese supporters. But nothing will get done. None of them have the balls to raise taxes, nor do they have the balls to make any serious budget cuts so the roads will not get fixed but Mel and Ross will posture and preen and give us their pompous self righteous indignation and they will blame the Mayor for everything. Arryl will continue to push through big landowner/developer giveaways like the multifamily can be built anywhere and everywhere Bill he has proposed. Brun will do what Kagawa tells him to do and Derek will set in the back of the class and do nothing because he does not want to rock any boats on his way to be Mayor. Mason will also keep quite and keep his head down staying out of the limelight while JoAnn will make noise but be even further isolated and demeaned by the boys, and I do mean boys. The General Plan approval will be the plum to be picked by Grove Farm and A&B now that they have their Super Five Super Majority.

Anonymous said...

"most of my local friends aren't comfortable in because it's too fancy..." I think something living in the house makes them uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

7:29 Sore Looser, rhimes with Hooser, Derek, Arthur, Ross, Arryl, and Mel will do great, one better than last term. All local boys, you not happy here move back to where you came from!

Anonymous said...

Aloha 7:03,
The County bought land from A&B in Eleele. It is now called Lima Ola something like that. Check into this project coordinated by the County Housing. This project has affordable housing. This is for real. Call Kanani Fu @ Housing. BTW, the shit from this project is going to the Eleele Sewage Treatment Plant. Are you a drug user? If they are no buyers.....eventually no sellers. Common Sense is not common.

Anonymous said...

@7:29PM, now that we have a new super five in the council, you're crying and criticizing its makeup even before it convenes. Nothing can be worse than the previous super five in the 2013-14 council. The harm that they did needs no explanation. You're a perfect example a twisted supporter then. For your information, it was them that named the park after the Japanese supporter (one who volunteers his time daily during the week for over 20 years). It is without a doubt the best ballpark on this island. Yes, Mel and Ross were the minority then. Your comments reek of racism and perhaps, you should take a local advice, "Go back where you came from".

Anonymous said...

7:39 No shit, sewage in Eleele goes to the Eleele Sewage Treatment Plant? Genius! No buyers, no sellers? Wow, you should run for President!

Gary D. said...

@8:04 Your reliance on anonymous ad hominem attacks (look it up) rather than addressing the substance of postings indicates you are here to rant, not engage in constructive debate.