Thursday, January 26, 2017

Musings: Cloaking the Rhetoric

Following court rulings that overturned GMO/pesticide laws passed by three Hawaii counties — the Kauai County Council formally rescinded its law yesterday — activists have turned to the state Legislature, where their anti-GMO agenda is now cloaked in the rhetoric of pesticide reforms.

Anti-GMO activists have relied upon sympathizers like Sen. Josh Green, who is eying a gubernatorial run, Rep. Chris Lee, and Sen. Russell Ruderman, who appears untroubled by the conflict of interest inherent in his ownership of organic grocery stores, to introduce more than a dozen bills related to pesticides.

In keeping with the activists' anti-GMO/anti-ag mantra, these bills target farmers. Pest control and termite treatment companies, which apply more restricted use pesticides than any other group in the state are given a free pass.

Since the activists are, at core, against GMO and conventional farming, they continue to inist that only agricultural pesticide use must be monitored and controlled “to protect keiki, kupuna and the aina” — though no actual threats have been documented, even by the anti-GMO dominated Joint Fact-Finding Group (JFFG).
SB 19, which requires any person growing a crop to provide a detailed public disclosure of all pesticide use, would hit small farmers especially hard.

Other bills banning the use of chlorpyrifos and requring a stringent permit to use neonicotinoid insecticide or coated seeds directly target the seed industry, which comprises the most valuable and viable sector of Hawaii agriculture.

Another bill calls for giving each county the authority to enact pesticide laws more stringent than those imposed by the state and federal government, which could result in a tremendous financial burden on local taxpayers.

And companion Senate and House bills would allocate $3 million in each of the next two years to implement recommendations by the JFFG — even though toxicologists and other experts have said the proposals aren't warranted by report's findings.

Anti-GMO activists, armed with ample free time and buckets of mainland money, are well-poised to whip up hysteria and trot frightened baby-carrying moms before lawmakers, who typically know little about ag and even less about pesticides.

Farmers, meanwhile, find it difficult to visit the Lege because they're busy trying to pull off a crop. What's more, many have been intimidated by activists who have boycotted their products, attacked them in social media and even threatened their children at school.

I got a little taste of that myself the other day when drama queen Lauryn Rego of the anti-GMO Babes Against Biotech launched a Facebook diatribe against me. Kauai activists Gary Hooser and Jimmy Trujillo quickly piled on — and in the process revealed themselves as authoring some of the most vicious anonymous comments left on my blog. (Another offender is Joan Ben-dor, who is mad because I exposed her family's attempt to pass off its illegal TVR as legit.)

It was easy to identify Gary and Jimmy because they used the exact same language on FB as they do in my comment section. These folks are not only dishonest, cowardly and hateful, they're not too bright.

That's why good people who support Hawaii agriculture must speak up. Though it's a craven attitude that strikes at the heart of thoughtful lawmaking, legislators have already admitted they're swayed by the numbers game. The antis, by their own admission, represent less than 1 percent of the state population, but they're loud, aggressive and skilled at social media blitzes.

It's not overly dramatic to say that the future of Hawaii agriculture, rural lifestyles and extensive taxpayer dollars are on the table in the high-stakes game being waged by anti-GMO activists at the state Capitol. People who are must get involved.

Meanwhile, farmers in Europe — a region that activists tend to eulogize as an agriculture model for the world — are fighting to keep glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. The National Farmers Union (NFU) has launched a Twitter campaign warning its loss would increase production costs and carbon emissions, decrease yields and lead to environmental damage. Their action comes in response to efforts by activists to ban the popular herbicide, which farmers use to reduce the tillage that acclerates erosion and nitrogen runoff.

According to NFU vice-president Guy Smith:

“It’s interesting the scientists behind the latest scare stories are the same ones who have tried to prove GM food causes health problems.”

Speaking of health problems, the anti-ag activists who helped destroy HC&S through their unrelenting complaints about smoke from cane fires glossed over the real culprit: power plants. According to an article in the Maui News:

Three Maui facilities spewed nearly 190,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air in 2015 with the two Maui Electric Co. power plants logging the largest releases in Maui County, the Environmental Protection Agency reported.

And the loss of HC&S makes it even worse:

“With HC&S no longer available to provide power to the electric grid and with Maui residents and businesses continuing to use more electricity during typically peak evening hours in recent years, we’ve needed to run the Kahului units, including K1 and K2, to maintain reliable electrical service,” said MECO spokeswoman Shayna Decker on Friday.

Now if only we could get rid of all those nasty electic users.... And please don't be saying all we need is more alternative energy — unless you're willing to ignore all the bat and bird deaths caused by wind and solar. There is no truly green solution — aside from reducing consumption.

And while we're speaking of green, I previously reported that New Zealand is very serious about biosecurity, and that includes spraying incoming aircraft that may be transporting invasive pests. This didn't sit well with anti-cane, anti-GMO and anti-Superferry activist Karen Chun:
Not nearly so inhumane as inflicting Chun on the Kiwis....

As an aside, New Zealand has also taken a practical approach to controlling the introduced possums that wreak havoc on the native flora and fauna. The super-soft, non-allergenic fur collected from harvested animals is added to wool products, while their meat is made into pet food.

Now if only we could figure out something to do with cats....


Anonymous said...

why oh why is it only agriculture use of pesticides is targeted?Thanks for some sanity and the laugh at the end.

Anonymous said...

It must make you smile to know that your targets come here and post anonymously.

They aren't even smart enough to change the language they use.


Anonymous said...

A read of Joan's blog every day keeps the blues away.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed the how many people have drowned in Hawaii so far this year? If the anti's were concerned about keeping people safe, that's where they would be putting their efforts. Their agenda has nothing to do with public safety.

Anonymous said...

Joan you are a delusional industry hack. You dropped your veil of independent journalism a long time ago. Ever since people found out that industry is paying your bills no one takes you seriously as the bias is so obvious.

Anonymous said...

Karma is a kicker---you did the same to the Babes---why shouldn't they have the right to do the same?!

Joan Conrow said...

Except industry isn't paying my bills. I know you and other activists, including Hooser, keep saying that in an attempt to discredit me, but I get ZERO money from industry. What's more, you're trying to discredit me precisely because people do take me seriously. So buzz off, because you aren't going to shut me up.

The Babes have every right to attack me -- free speech and all that. And I have every right to mock their feeble efforts.

Anonymous said...

The anti GMO crowd introduced all of us to the world of irrational ideas and 'alternate facts', fear mongering....we now call it the Trump world!!

Anonymous said...

Prove everybody wrong and disclose your donations Joan. Otherwise, stop lying about not getting money from the chem companies.

Anonymous said...

Joan, Mahalo nui for leading the movement to KEEP ROUNDUP LEGAL!!

Joan Conrow said...

@10:16 Aside from giving an anonymous hater access to my Pay Pal account, which ain't gonna happen, there's no way I could ever disclose my donations to your satisfaction.

@10:20 I'm not leading any movements, just informing folks about what's happening elsewhere. But thanks for letting us all know you're an enthusiastic supporter!

Anonymous said...

All the fistees read your blog to see if you wrote about them!

Anonymous said...

Joan's not leading the movement to keep Roundup legal, but she is leading the movement to KEEP HAWAII'S DECISION-MAKING A SANE PROCESS!

Eric Toulon said...

There's not enough meat on those cats for the most part to turn them into pet food. Unfortunately the problems not going to go away with the cat problem until the people who love their pets, at least until they're old enough to no longer be cute and therefore abandoned start being prosecuted for animal cruelty.
Wind power is really not viable for Hawaii, but PV is, and Hawaii, one of the wettest spots in the world, gets hardly any power from hydro. Could you imagine what would happen to Honolulu if they contaminated the aquifer? Dams were built for water conservation, electricity is merely a byproduct.
Our low lands used to be natural dams catching the run off but this all changed when the dikes were built, channeling excessive runoff directly out to sea, contaminating our reefs.
In the last thirty years environmentalists have repeatedly fought against dams saying that new technology is right around the corner that is going to make them obsolete and in the last thirty years how many millions of barrels of oil have been used, how badly damaged have the reefs been?

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, enough already, call what it is. Lets just ban farming and pesticides. No more farming in Hawaii. We should also ban all farming imports. We can't risk getting a bad bug into our beautiful island, and we can't use insecticides to fight them. What was that, how we going to eat? Good point but eating does not take precedent over banning farming and pesticides. Or as an alternative ban all pesticides and herbicides and let the bugs and weeds GO HOG WILD! Yeah baby natural. Our non deodorant, don't take a bath nature lovers will be absolutely in heaven. Let nature take its course.

Anonymous said...

1/26 @ 10:16 AM, prove to us you're not a pedophile. Otherwise, stop pretending otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"Kauai activists Gary Hooser and Jimmy Trujillo quickly piled on — and in the process revealed themselves as authoring some of the most vicious anonymous comments left on my blog.

It was easy to identify Gary and Jimmy because they used the exact same language on FB as they do in my comment section. These folks are not only dishonest, cowardly and hateful, they're not too bright."

Oh! This is so hilarious! I'd like to see some snap shot's of your none blog post items and the FB post items. "Bullies Exposed!"

Unknown said...

the other nice thing about hydro electric is it's a way of storying electricity much cheaper than transformers. Solar has an inverse peak to demand. That is, when everyone comes home from work, and cranks up the AC, they creates peak power demand; however, that's when solar output really starts to taper off. NPPD has a series of hydro electric damns. At peak production/off peak demand, they pump water from a lower dam into an upper damn with electric pumps. Later in the day, they release that water to generate electricity to meet peak power needs at dusk. Plus, recreational lakes, fishing, boating and other benefits. Yet new projects are impossible to get past environmentalist, so we'll burn more fossil fuel to meet demand....

Anonymous said...

Re; Hydro Electric
Ironically the slipperiest politician Kauai has had in a Monk Seal's age JoAnn Yukimura's husband had some absolute beautiful and sound plans for hydro at Wailua. A great plan.
He got shot down.
Hydro is the best way to go and Kauai could be completely off of all Bunker-C.

John Kauai said...

An interview with Mckay Jenkins
We’re Asking The Wrong Questions About GMOs

About his book:


There is suppose to be about 1/3 of it on Ag in Hawaii. It seems he tried to find a "better balance". He does stress eating local food though and that Americans eat horrible diets.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the giant chemical companies and billionaires FINALLY have someone looking out for them.

Syngenta and Monsanto are not "Farmers" or "Seed Companies" any more than Dow Chemical is a water purifying company. Yeah, they make water filters but describing Dow Chemical as a water filter company is dishonest and ain't going to fool any one, any more than calling Syngenta and Monsanto "Farmers" and "Seed Companies" does

We could use a little more intellectual honesty all around.

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, we could, 6:46, so why don't you start with yourself? To totally deny the agricultural and seed production components of these companies, and the fact that parent seeds are produced through farming, is a perfect example of intellectual dishonesty.

Anonymous said...

Joan, some of your readers have lost their minds (8:51 AM, 8:58 AM, 10:16 AM, 6:46 AM, etc.).

Regarding hydroelectric, there is rabid anti-hydro on Kauai, so don't hold your breath.

And what?
Who uses Bunker C on Kauai?

John Kauai said...

RE 10:11

Having attended the KIUC electrical expansion seminars several times, it is my opinion that much of the anti-hydro sentiment is because farmers are concerned with losing irrigation resources. This was certainly the case for the solar/hydro project proposed for the West Side. Despite the fact that Bissel said several times that using solar to pump the water uphill so it could be used to generate hydro at night used the same water over and over again, there was a strong undercurrent of "you're f..n' lying to me" that seemed to permeate the session as yet another guy would get up and ask the exact same question to be provided the exact same answer until it rotated around to the first questioner again.

I still find it impossible to understand the objection being raised as the two sides kept talking past each other.

There are some excellent reasons for avoiding hydro, just as there are some excellent reasons for avoiding GMO. But in both cases, one has to look at the bigger picture and seek some kind of a compromise.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad that some who call themselves environmentalists and complain about cane fires once a year that rid the fields of weeds and vermin using zero poisons, are not shedding real tears over the loss of atmospheric cleansing green fields that countered the pollution of the energy production plants. You got rid of the Yin and kept the Yang... imbalance.

Anonymous said...

John Kauai, I only read the interview with McKay Jenkins, which revealed his ignorance of the actual history of what's occurred here in Hawaii; it's pretty obvious he got a lot of his "alternative facts" from places other than Joan's blog (which has laid it all out thoroughly and accurately from the get-go).

Anonymous said...

12:32, Interesting

There were several questions answered in the link I posted. Only one related to Hawaii in general and then a short paragraph of 3 sentences relating to Kauai. The voters did win. The companies did fight back. What perhaps you are suggesting when you bring up "alternative facts" is that the companies "won" in court. At least so far.

Jenkins tells us that the issue is much more complicated than either "side" (quotes because I'm not on a "side") is willing to admit. Unfortunately, it was truncated such that the question of "what makes it complicated" was not addressed.

Anyway, I don't see anything in the article that reveals anything about Jenkins being "ignorant". Stuff was definitely "left out", but so what?

(FWIW: I hate Google and their "one account" policy, but I hardly have any control over that. so rather than responding as "John Kauai", I too am now "anonymous".)

Anonymous said...

6:31 PM, this is 12:32 PM, thanks for your thoughtful response. It may be that a thorough reading of Jenkins writing would show a more balanced perspective. I'm just saying that, as I read Jenkins' own words, he chose to condense the Hawaii issue in a heavily biased manner that causes me to question his objectivity, and at the very least his understanding of the history which is concerning because as I said, all of the story was readily available here.

Joan Conrow said...

I was very concerned about Jenkins' objectivity and also his facts after reading his article in Outside magazine, which was filled with errors and also reiterated all of the anti talking points, with no counter point of view.