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?