A Canoe Paddled by One Can’t Get Very Far

A day after the Federal court struck down the infamous anti-GMO/anti-pesticide Bill 2491, I was surprised to see content of the author’s blog today. It was titled, “I am determined to win, and they are determined to beat me.”

Just yesterday I did a post about the fracturing of the communities by poor leadership. When this issue becomes an “I” focus that he is being persecuted, how can one lead the community through repairing the damage done? Will a war still be waged by “your” crusade or it is about the community as a whole? It apparently sounds as if this pseudo-leader is not about coming to the table to talk and more about his own agenda and not for the sake of the community. That is extremely disappointing but not surprising.

The ironic thing about his post today is that he not only expresses persecutory ideations but he wants your money to keep him in his position. If we want farmers to farm and grow our agricultural industry, putting money in his kitty doesn’t help at all. What war will he wage next if it’s not this issue? How much more damage do we want this person to enact on our daily lives? It has to stop already.

County Councilman Hooser has shown his true colors when he tried to use my dad to get on another segment of PBS Insights and failed to do so. He’s about himself and not the community. From his involvement with the Hawaii Organic Farmers’ Association to his newly formed non-profit, Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, it’s all about him.  He chooses to align with activists groups like the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, who clearly are not about working together about any issue other than their own agenda.

His true nature was witnessed this weekend at the Kauai County Farm Fair by just showing up. He has supported activists that rudely attacked and disparaged any farmer who spoke up for the Kauai Farm Bureau and sat back and said nothing.  He had to gall to show up there despite all the harm he has done to the reputation of the farm bureau in general.  How does one show ones face at that event?

He never did step up to condemning threats of violence and vandalism either against farmers either.  What kind of leader stands aside and allows the mob to overtake the conversations and any attempt at collaboration?  Is that the leader we want in our community?  Has he shown any attempt to educate people about case law and what happened with the whole legal proceeding?  Nope.  Total inaction on his part completely.

Is our communities tired of fighting and ready to work together towards a common goal or do we remain fractured and dysfunctional? We need good leaders to do this that can use facts and education to do so. Those who choose to only use repetitive messaging and fail to educate people on the law and actions behind it will fail us all as a community.  They are clearly saying that they do not wish to collaborate.  A single toxic leader can only paddle his canoe alone so far in all of this.

A Cautionary Saga: Judge Kurren Invalidates the Anti-GMO Ordinance 960

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It’s breaking news that the Kauai anti-GMO law has been invalidated by Judge Kurren today.  The law is pre-empted by the state law and cannot be enforced at the county level.  Joan Conrow and Richard Ha both did great blogs today on the news.

As I followed some of the news links posted on the various Facebook pages from Hawaii News Now, Civil Beat, KITV4, and KHON2, the commentaries are so disheartening once again.  I don’t consider this ruling a win in any case.  The damage has been done towards Hawaii agriculture, farmers, scientists, and our communities.  Our communities are not healed by this ruling that was started with a huge disinformation campaign by mainland based activists.  We are still divided and people are still not well informed about the issues revolving around agriculture here.

There has been so much fear mongering and misinformation that the public has been made to be so afraid of things they just don’t understand.  Bringing up they issue of biotechnology or even mentioning genetics or basic science turns people off as they have been indoctrinated to the belief that it’s “propaganda.”  How can we move forward when the largest and loudest voices are the least informed and still trying to dictate law? These are the same people who don’t understand how laws are made with to begin with or how the legal system works and now are asking for the judge to be impeached or even harmed?!

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Screenshot from the Babes Against Biotech Facebook page. Note the disturbing commentary below.

These activists aren’t about working together towards a common goal unfortunately.  Just last week at a farmer’s rally on the Big Island, a long time GMO Free activist named Courtney Larson, was arrested and is being charged for disorderly conduct and other various charges.  When farmers are trying to figure out how to move forward after this devastation, and are at their most vulnerable state, the activists show their true colors and it isn’t pretty or full of aloha.  Is that what we need in Hawaii at a time when we have so many other issues to deal with and work through?

The activists politicians are also another group of people who are feeding this unaloha spirit in our islands.  From the likes of Russell Ruderman and his fear mongering GMO articles, to Mike Gabbard sending me links to the debunked Seralini study, to Kaniela Ing and his associations with “home rule” and the SHAKA Movement, to Gary Hooser and his alliances with environmental activists, our leadership is failing us as a state.  I’ve always been taught as a leader to check out your sources and do your research about the issue to base your decisions up and that you must use facts and evidence to move forward, not emotions or trends of the moment.  The leaders’ jobs are to keep the community together and cohesive so that it can operate properly.  When leaders like these choose to side with the loudest of the bunch but refuse to use facts or come to the table to discuss issues, it does no one any favors.  They should also be doing the work of educating others with good information so fear doesn’t dominate the conversations.  It’s pretty clear poor leadership has done a lot of damage in these recent years.

Judge Kurren has made his ruling and that has set the law today.  Do we choose to accept this decision or continue fighting and completely wasting our time and energy on this issue that further divides the communities? Or do we move on and work on the actual problems that we face like our high poverty rate, education, traffic, the increasing elderly population, homelessness, food security, and so on?  I hope that we move forward and actually set out to do something meaningful for the people in our communities and use our resources wisely to make it happen.  That’s my hope and expectation!

SHAKA Movement Demands Transparency of Others But Fails Miserably Themselves

I happened to get a sponsored ad on my Facebook newsfeed today from this newly formed page, “Vote Yes, on the Maui GMO Moratorium.” After reading a post from fellow blogger, Iowa Meets Maui, on the irony of this group’s messaging who says such a law is temporary and then prints out messages of eviction, I had to put a comment on that page.  Here’s a copy of the conversation that follows.

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These groups are demanding transparency but can’t even practice what they preach themselves.  Apparently to the SHAKA Movement, they can be very honest at times when they state that the truth is “meaningless.”

So will you vote for a group that seeks for transparency and can’t do as they ask and find the truth to be meaningless?  I sure hope not.

The Needy are the People Hurt by Anti-GMO Activism

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Just the other day, Civil Beat’s reporter, Anita Hofschneider, did what I call a “fuel the fire” article about campaign spending on the GMO issue here in Hawaii.  The title was, “Donations Pour in to the GMO Debate, But Are they Being Disclosed?”  It goes on to talk about how the SHAKA Movement is fundraising and trying to influence the supposed moratorium vote and have not reported their funding properly.  It’s interesting because as you read further, then it starts to once again show how the biotech companies, who properly reported their contributions to candidates.  They, of course submitted the proper contributions according to law, and are somehow trying to be skewed in this article and tries to skewer the candidates who received money from them further fueling corporate hate.

Let’s talk totals here and simple math.  The article states that the biotech companies have spent a total of $58,000 this election cycle.  It also stated that the Center for Food Safety PAC raised some $39,000 with some 90% coming from OUTSIDE funding!  It’s not a “local” grassroots movement at all!

Monsanto and many of the other biotech companies provides thousands of jobs across our state, many of which are in the high tech sector and help to maintain the former sugar cane and pineapple plantation lands as ag land.  What has the Center for Food Safety done for the rubbah slippah folks in terms of contributing to our economy?  What have they done for our farmers across our state? I haven’t a clue because they haven’t done a thing other than bring more outside mainland money to dictate policy here.

It also is interesting to note that today the Star Advertiser did an article on the Hawaii Food Bank and the staggering figures of people who rely on it.  It’s estimated that 1 in 5 rely on the food bank for this basic necessity!  Some 123,000 household made up of 287,000 people rely on food assistance!  We have a lot of people in need in our state!  Where’s the mainland money from Dr. Bronner’s Soaps and the organic industry making an effort to make affordable food for these people?  Where’s the protest that no one should go hungry or be worried about whether or not they will eat? *chirping of crickets*

Where’s the organic feed the hungry food drive?  Where’s Vandana Shiva donating her $40K talking fees to the Hawaii Food Bank?  According to the food bank, $10 can provide 25 meals!  She’s come here at least twice and $80K would have provided some 200,000 meals!  The $20K infusion to sign the SHAKA Movement petition would have provided some 50,000 meals for the people who are needy in Maui.  The $5K that the part time resident from California who gave to the Babes Against Biotech would have provided some 25,000 meals!  The Babes Against Biotech received a total of $12,600 to fund them would have fed some 31,500 meals!  In total, if all the money being brought into to Hawaii for activism purposes are added together, 281,000 meals could have been provided to the needy!  What’s worse is that many of these donations to these activists groups are through non-profits so they are scott free of paying taxes that could have been used for social service programs like these!

One can criticize the biotech companies for “buying” politicians and so on but the fact is, these companies provide jobs, donate time, money, and man hours to many community events that is never featured in the news or media.  They do a lot more that will never be seen or recognized by activists but it’s being done and many lives are being impacted by their contributions.  We can demonize the corporations, but ask yourself, who really is contributing to our people and our communities? Who provides training, employment, and benefits to many of our local folks?  The companies do. I can tell you that it isn’t the activists or their candidates!

Why aren’t our political leaders worried about feeding these people or giving them better education and employment opportunities so that they can afford to feed themselves? The labeling issue and pesticide issue are at the forefront however, is that really a priority at hand?  We can argue back and forth about what science to believe and where the important issue lies, but if we forget the basic needs of people, that is a major problem with politics today.  When one runs for office, is your platform one that will really help your local people or are you self serving to that attractive mainland money and elitism of going organic, or will you help those that can only afford Times, KTA, and Foodland?

 

 

 

The Problem with Ideology in Politics

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Hawaii is on its way to allowing a dangerous threat to influence how laws are made. That threat is called ideology.

Ideology has no basis in evidence or reason. It is based in a core set of beliefs, just like religion. As a result of these shared beliefs, many people of different backgrounds are easily swept up into this movement. Some people will easily repeat the widely held beliefs without question, while others will question and not believe those statements.

Applying ideology has been problematic in making laws as it required good reason and evidence to base the need for it. Examples where ideology was used to pass laws include slavery, no child left behind, internment of the Japanese, and discrimination of minorities throughout history. Behind each of these laws was a strong idea and belief that there was something wrong, however no real reason for the need to pass such laws.

Herein lies the problem that the people have turned to the courts to overturn such laws. The law itself cannot be discriminatory in nature to begin with. People can discriminate but the courts have shown that discriminatory laws are illegal.

When our Hawaii politicians start being influenced by ideology, it ultimately harms us all. It takes away resources and energies from the folks who have to defend themselves from these ideological assaults. Reputations are harmed and time is lost as a result. How does that make Hawaii move forward? It doesn’t!

If you think back further, has ideology in politics ever moved us forward? In some ways it has when we all share the common beliefs set forward by out founding fathers that all men are created equal. We also share the belief that we have freedom to pursue our passions and ideas. Those common ideas is what makes the U.S. the leaders in the world of innovations.

Our societies have greatly benefitted from free thinkers. From the development of the lightbulb to the plane, to cars, and to our IPhones, and even the Internet, it all came from members of our society who took on the challenge to innovate.

What would have happened if we held onto the belief that everything old is good? We would never become home to any of these innovations that revolutionized our world society. Unfortunately, there is a well-funded, highly organized group of people trying to push this idea upon Hawaii politics, and it is disturbing to me.  Knowing our roots helps us to move forward and grow as we know where we came from and where we need to go.  We cannot forget that part of us.

The basic human desire is to create, innovate, and do something. We all want to be a part of something. That is our nature. We are at a time where technology is rapidly advancing us at a pace in which we have never seen. A large population of people have not been able to keep pace with the literal explosion of information and as a result, have decided to stifle it.

We no longer live in the days of the Salem Witch hunt, however, the patterns that we are see are eerily similar. We have people fearful beyond belief about what’s happening in this world and they are ready and willing to support for the loss of lives to satisfy their need to stop this. There is no sort of evidence for them to stand upon other than this new and strange thing is inherently bad. There are real casualties happening each time the well fed, healthy witch hunters declare a win as they forget their role in the global community.  It’s selfish and harmful that we live in abundance while the rest of the world is left to suffer.

In this election year, my wish is that people start really seeing if we want the “witch hunt” ideology based “leaders” in office. The voters sent a message to the blockers of innovation who were holding up a sword to direct and fuel mob mentality towards a technology. I don’t buy into your ideology of beliefs that are not based in facts or logic. I refuse to keep Hawaii out of touch with the world’s revolution, and I seek the cultivators of innovation to move our state forward, not backwards. I will always seek the latter as that’s the world I want my kids to have in their future.  That’s my intent in speaking out against this ideology!

Consuming Chemicals is a What We Do on a Daily Basis

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I’ve read and heard so many people tell me how they are cutting back on chemicals in their food by eating better. I can’t help but shake my head because it it telling about how people do not understand the basic concept that everything is made up of chemicals.  Our body operates on chemicals and is made up of chemicals!

As I was making cookies today, I realized how we forget about what chemicals are and how they play a part of our daily lives. To say that something is bad and dangerous because it’s a chemical is pure fear mongering at best.  Just the world alone invokes fear in those who don’t have a good grasp on the basic science of chemistry.

Take for example two important chemicals in my chocolate chip cookies, baking soda and salt. They are essential to making my cookies good but at the right amounts, they can be toxic. Hard to believe but very true.  If you remove these chemicals from your baking, you get a nice messy goo of dough that will not taste like a cookie.  They are essential for creating that reaction that bakes into a cookie.  Nor can we forget about the delicious chemicals in chocolate called theobromine and caffeine that is deadly to dogs but not to us in the right dose.

It’s also interesting to note that some seemingly “safe” chemicals aren’t as safe as we’d like them to be when you take a closer look at them.  Baking soda and salt are might higher in toxicity than a commonly known weedkiller known as Roundup.  Even the chemical found in those dark chocolate chips (caffeine and theobromine) are much more toxic than the weedkiller! What’s important to note is that the amount is what makes it toxic!  Hard to believe but very true.  Just take a look at a table outlining this.

 

So when you start to bite in to that delicious crispy chocolate cookie, remember that it is made up of chemicals and the reactions made by mixing them together.  Baking is literally a scientific experiment! Every time your take a bite of your food, remember that you’re consuming CHEMICALS!!!  Hopefully, doing this every time you eat and drink can help to alleviate your fear around it and make you realize that you’ve got some learning to do.

By the way, those cookies pictured above were quite delicious and you might just want to try mixing up your own batch of chemicals and create some reactions!  Bon appetite to chemicals!

Still Blogging A Year Later!

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It’s been nearly a year since I started this blog, and I’ve come to realize that I never quite told my story as to why I decided to start it up. Having celebrated a year of blogging, I’d like to share my story.

My journey into speaking out for my dad’s farm actually started back in 2012. I remember back then seeing tons and tons of memes on Facebook being posted by a friend who was following the Babes Against Biotech. It never bothered me much and I pretty much dismissed it for some time. It was only after seeing their memes trying to lobby to make laws that made me realize that something bad was going to happen. I called my dad and told him what I had saw and had been reading and he pretty much said, “Ah, it’s just activists. They do this all the time and they won’t get anywhere.” I implored him to start talking to his ag folks and get organized because I felt that this was something bigger than thought.

Boy, was he wrong back then as the GMO labeling law was pushed by an activist politician, Jessica Wooley. I remember a friend asking me to support her prior to her being elected and I already knew she was bad news since she was married to an Earthjustice lawyer, David Henken. My dad had many interactions with Earthjustice when trying to get the irradiator plant started to help with the export of fruit. My husband also knew the tactics of Earthjustice and how it stalled up his work in the Agribusiness Development Corporation. I knew that she was not a friend to agriculture at all even though she claimed to be.

That year was a year of constant testimony writing, and my dad having to leave the farm and go down to the legislature to testify. Many hours were lost and the activists were attacking farmers constantly online in the social media. I remember seeing any GMO article on Civil Beat being just bombarded by the antis with their same repetitive bogus links and scare studies about how bad it was. These people made up all kinds of lies about the GMO papayas and the farmers who farmed them and that was it for me. The antis made as if the biotech papaya ruined the industry and that it didn’t save it. They also made statements that any farmer who used GMOs were lazy and killing people. 2012 was the year that GMOs were bad.

I was ticked off seeing those kinds of nasty comments on the Star Advertiser and Civil Beat as well as all over the social media. I decided to start commenting on there. Well, this is Hawaii and it’s a small world and it got back to my parents that I was on there saying things publicly. My parents both told me to not speak out as it would make our farm a target. I told them, “What do we have to hide from? We already are a target whether we like it or not!” To make them happy, I changed my name online from my legal name to my alias, Joni Rose. That’s how I began my journey into speaking out for my dad’s farm and biotechnology.

What bothered me even more was when activists made as if scientists were doing something really horrible in the lab to saving a crop. I used to work as a student assistant in the lab that worked on the initial research towards saving the papayas. I was in there using my chemistry knowledge to mix buffers, set up ELISA trays, extract cucurbit viruses, plant and prep seedlings, take care of the plants in the greenhouse, go out to the fields and plant the trees, and so much more. I remember planting some several thousand seedlings over the course of a few weeks and it was hard work. The activists made as if this entire research was easy and nothing to it, which was far from the truth. I wanted the public to know the reality about all of this, and not their made up stories.

After seeing so much anti-GMO misinformation and fear mongering, I had decided it was time to officially launch something to speak out, which mean the birth of this blog. I was so fed up and frustrated that I had to speak out and this was my outlet. People needed to know my dad’s story and the stories of so many other farmers he worked with. To allow people with no farming background and a poor ability to decipher fact from fiction to dictate to farmers how to farm was totally absurd to me. It was time to be out there. I knew that it would not be easy and I’d have to worry about what activists would do unfortunately but I had to do something.

Speaking out has had it costs however. I’ve had my share of hate mail and horrible things beings said but that’s just words. These people don’t know the truth of the reality of agriculture and big picture systems thinking. They are focused on the kind of food they are going to eat because they are afraid. The worry about being poisoned but still live near the farms that were there decades before they were there. The swim in the waters around our island and then yell about the oceans being poisoned. They talk about saving the a’ina and doing what is pono, but then make false accusations against others to try to harm reputations. Their nastiness towards those who stand with the evidence only reflects on the sad mindset that has been perpetuated by politicians like Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, Kaniela Ing, Margaret Wille, and Russell Ruderman.

What has bothered me a lot was a story my brother told me about one of his workers who was barred from attending a family member’s wedding because he worked for a GMO company. Even though my dad’s farm isn’t a big ag company, just the fact that it was GMO meant that we were on the same standing as Monsanto, the perceived evil of of the antis. I could not believe that the bull was tearing families apart! Unbelievable to me. I was even more compelled to call this stuff out already.

Once 2012’s hot topic issues cooled down, 2013 was just around the corner and the conversations started turning into “GMOs means pesticides.” All I could do is smack myself in the head when I heard this. The environmentalists, who want a cleaner and greener earth, are blocking a technology that could help with decreasing pesticides?! I can’t imagine why a greenie would want to block high tech agriculture but then okay for high tech alternative energy. What an oxymoron?!

The misinformation campaigns are still continuing again this year with a new tactic of using petitions to seek laws. People from around the anti-GMO world has made their way to Hawaii to spread their “truths” and add more fear to the pot. It’s not about sitting down at the table to discuss food security and sustainability, it’s about how to take things away from our agricultural communities. There’s no fact findings given on their side, only fear which is one of the most powerful emotions used by this lobby. We can’t use fear to move forward in our state. We have to use evidence that’s available.

Here I am, an entire year later still blogging my thoughts and ideas. By speaking out, I’ve been able to network others who share my thoughts about the Hawaii we want and it gives me hope. I want my dad and brother and their workers to be able to work on the farm and keep it going for years to come and not be subject to defending their work. Farmers work so hard and are so dedicated to what they do and should be allowed their right to farm. If the activists don’t like what I have to say, then stop attacking the farmers and dividing agriculture. We can’t work divided, we all work together. That’s the Hawaii I want to see!