Last night I saw an alignment of the golden crescent moon and brilliant Venus, which reminded me of everything that is bigger and more beautiful than the tawdry world of politics. Then this morning, I read an article that helped me make sense of what's going on:
A UK, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram.
So what might this mean for our perception of “reality?”
I dunno, but I think the Star-Advertiser has lost touch with it:
Meanwhile, in that parallel universe known as the state Legislature, the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee passed some pesticide bills championed by the anti-GMO folks. As committee Chair Sen. Mike Gabbard observed:
“It's important to continue this conversation. As you can see, so many people testified. There was a lot of community interest in this bill."
Uh, hello, they were flown in to testify, Mike. Because the anti-GMO groups have big bucks to orchestrate this kind of dog and pony show, none of which they disclose. Think of it as a sort of shadow lobbying force giving an outsized voice to the less than 1% of the state's population it represents.
But if you looked at those in attendance, and read the submitted testimony — at least half of which was the canned variety — people who actually live near agricultural areas were sorely lacking.
Aside from Waimea's Klayton Kubo, who comes in handy because he's kind of brown, a color sorely lacking among the anti-GMO crowd, and can be counted upon to utter such platitudes as:
"There is no good poison. There is no good poison."
Yes, the always profound Klayton was there at the hearing, along with Gary Hooser, Fern Rosenstiel, Felicia Cowden — you know, the folks who can't get elected to office on Kauai, but still make like they're speaking for the people.
Mason Chock, meanwhile, took a tip from the Hooser handbook, using Council letterhead and staff to prepare his personal testimony.
But hey, if the state wants to blow $3 million funding the recommendations of the Joint Fact Finding Group on Kauai ag pesticides, go for it. Let the lawmakers answer to the voters for their budget decisions, especially the stupid ones. Like creating a position to run a Korean Natural Farming pilot program to see if it's the miracle cure for all those nasty diseases and pests, like coffee berry borer, coqui frogs, fireweed, ringspot virus, etc. Never mind that
it's totally unproven BS "scientific evidence of the benefits of KNF has been limited."
As Sarah Styan — one of three JFFG members who dropped out because the group's bias was so entrenched — noted in her testimony (emphasis in the original):
Having participated in the year plus-long review of all data, reports, interviews, field visits, and other information, I would like to make it very clear that the report recommendations were actually written in August of 2015, well before the group even completed its investigation and report.
When the JFF group completed the draft report, I raised the issue that the previously drafted recommendations did not match our findings; however, the facilitator Peter Adler insisted that we had agreed to the recommendations months ago and they would not be revisited or changed to accommodate what the group had learned. This was extremely disturbing.
The JFF group also received a lot of feedback from the community and experts when the draft report was released for public comment. Many reviewers noted that the recommendations were not consistent with the findings of the report. Among these were the Hawaii Department of Health, as well as the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Despite this feedback, much of which was from experts in the fields of health, agriculture, epidemiology, and scientific research, Mr. Adler and some of the JFF participants did not want to change the recommendations to ensure that they were consistent with the findings. This was alarming since participants were previously promised that relevant comments from experts and the public would be taken into consideration and the report would be modified accordingly.
As you consider this bill, I hope that you will take the JFF report and recommendations for what they are -- a vehicle for the pre-ordained and unsupported recommendations of its biased membership -- rather than what they should have been -- a good-faith effort to determine facts and develop recommendations to assist our community in making sound and well-informed policy decisions.
Kawika Winter, who also served on the JFFG, submitted his own testimony:
With my name and my intergrity [sic] I stand behind the conclusions and recommendations of the JFF report. I emplore [sic] you all do do whatever you can to enacts [sic] its recommendations via this bill and beyond.
Of course, after appearing in that propaganda film “Aina,” Kawika's name and integrity are worth about as much as his spelling.
To be fair, Gabbard isn't the only one easily suckered these days. We also had Hooser gushing over Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook — and, no, Gary, I don't have numerous fake accounts that I use to stalk you. That's just another one of your many lies. I don't have any fake FB accounts. But you have myriad enemies, and they send me stuff:
Wow. I am impressed. While he will still no doubt take plenty of shots from plenty of people on this, I am impressed by the thoughtful remarks and thorough explanation he has provided. And...you know I think he might have actually written this letter himself. I understand he has legions of writers, pr people, lawyers etc...but the letter feels genuine and heartfelt to me. He admits he made a mistake and wants to make it right. So many others in his position would just try to bull their way through, come hell or high water. Mr. Zuckerberg seems different and seems to realize Kauai is different and that the flexing of money and muscle is not pono.
Oh, yeah, I'm sure Z took time out of his busy day to pen a heartfelt exclusive mea culpa to TGI. And no doubt he's gonna do a big kumbaya with the kuleana owners — hey, maybe he can hire Peter Adler to help out! Yes, he made a mistake by filing lawsuits, so now he'll just quietly pay people money to go away. Do you really think he's going to let people like Dustin Barca cruise around his estate, claiming they're guests of the kuleana kids?
Because Kauai isn't different — money talks, and big money talks really persuasively.
But the funniest part was the bit about how “the flexing of money and muscle is not pono.” Once again we are reminded that Hooser and the antis are immune to irony and devoid of introspection.
Returning to that bizarre S-A report on tourism numbers, Sen. Laura Thielen is beginning to glimpse the glaringly obvious, as revealed in an email:
It seems like tourism is not a growth sector, in large part because the per person spending has been trending down, when accounting for inflation. So we’re in a vicious cycle where we need more people to come to Hawaii just to maintain the same revenue, in real dollars. Of course there are cyclical ups and downs, but what I’m seeing from UHERO is that when adjusted for inflation, it’s mainly a downward or flat trend.
When I speak to economists, they tend to say we need to keep adding visitors, because even if it’s not a growth sector, it’s still such a large sector that letting it go flat would create problems.
So here’s my first question. Are economists focused too narrowly on the fiscal benefits/costs of tourism, and not looking hard enough at the qualitative externalities of the industry? Granted it’s hard to quantify qualitative impacts. But 9+ million visitors a year certainly have qualitative impacts, especially on the tourist-popular communities.
Ya think? And this only now occurred to you, after years in the governor's office and Lege? OMG.