Why State Legislators Shouldn’t be Proud of Home Rule

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I’ve noticed that several legislators have been celebrating the “home rule” issue when the Right the Farm act was being discussed.  Home rule essentially means that counties can enact whatever laws that they feel necessary at their level.  Many emails, tweets, and Facebook posts were posted by these leaders who decided to release their rightful reign on this issues to rogue counties like the Big Island and Kauai.

I’m not sure why these legislators are so proud of letting counties have more power in dictating farm laws when the reality is, the state has the necessary resources to enforce and enact such laws.  As I see it, these lawmakers have decided to not beef up their resources in their bills to address such issues, and failed to take care of the perceived problem, if any.

The message I get from this kind of celebration is, “I have clearly failed my constituents to take care of their concerns at my level, so I will burden the counties with such issues.”  The people asking for county laws claim that they have been failed by the state so that is why they are seeking county rule.  Why are state legislators celebrating their supposed miserable failure to take care of this issue?  If these people feel there was real harm done by the negligence of the state, why didn’t they take the state to court and sue them?

While these lawmakers keep pushing the home rule issue, they are also talking on the other side of coin about food sustainability for Hawaii and keeping the country country.  A certain handful of lawmakers have grandiose ideas of everyone in Hawaii having their own sustainable gardens to feed themselves.  Of course, these will only feed themselves and not others.  Certain lawmakers side with the keep the country country folks but don’t even take the time to hear the farmers out.

The reality is that this kind of idea is shortsighted and poorly thought out.  This will lead to many unintended consequences.  With counties having to create their own regulating bodies to enforced these rogue laws, the money has to come from their residents.  Residents will have to pay for all of this with increased taxes and fees.  With the high cost of living already an issue, who has the time and money to start up their own gardens to feed just themselves?  Financially, working a 9-5 job allows one to afford much more food than tending to a garden and more reliable for our food supply.  How are the other residents like the seniors and disabled going to bear the burden of higher costs of living?  Is this really the right way to do things for everyone?

I guess in Hawaii, we celebrate our failure to constituents by letting others make bad laws that ultimately costs everyone along the line.  It’s easy to talk about what is pono but apparently no one has really figured out how to walk the talk.

The Real Problem is not the Anti-GMO Club

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As I was talking to my husband tonight about the whole issue with agriculture and the divisiveness going on, he made a statement that really hit me.  I was complaining about how a local farmer, whose crops were getting stolen, did not want to go on television to share his story.  I explained to him that they were shy about it and didn’t want to be out there.  Then my husband said, “Well, then you guys will all lose.”  I wanted to fight back and say something but as I internalized it, he’s right.  “If the silent majority continues to not speak up, then they will ultimately lose and we all will lose.”

No one wants to be at the end of a losing battle but in reality, in some ways he’s right.  The local folks will sit back and complain about what’s going on and then do nothing about it but complain.  Where does that complaining get us?  Does it solve the problem?  No.

Whenever there is a problem, one must realize that by seeing it, we are all a part of the problem.  If we don’t recognize that, the problem can never be addressed.  While many local people are starting to become more vocal about how we are being taken over by these activists, we are not doing our part.  This loud, brazen minority has taken advantage of the culture of Hawaii and used it to their advantage.

Local style ways are pretty simple and learned from the good old plantation days where there were people from all over the world.  Koreans, Chinese, Hawaiians, Portuguese, Filipinos, and Japanese were all joined together to work on the sugar cane and pineapple fields.  There was a unique culture developed through this relationships, much of it a mixture of the cultures.  Even a special language was born through all of this called pidgin that can only be heard by local people.

The local culture was pretty simple and based in respect.  Don’t talk stink about others.  Do your work good.  Respect your kupuna or elders.  Don’t make waves or attract attention to yourself.  No make shame on your family.  Work hard.  It was laid back in its ways really.  No one wants to speak up to get others mad or gain attention to yourself, just be a part of the masses.  No make trouble, just leave it the way it is even if you don’t like it.  Over the years, a huge sense of complacency has been developing as a result.  It’s pretty evident when you see bumper stickers that state, “Ainokea.”  That says it all… I don’t care.

When you look at the low voter turn outs in our state, that just shows how people don’t even bother with the issues nowadays.  The same goes for agricultural issues here in Hawaii.  How many times have you heard a local farmer speaking out for an issue?  There are thousands of farmers here that were born and raised with long time family traditions rooted here.  Where are their voices in the whole issue?  I hardly hear or see of it but I do hear the complaints from others who don’t like what’s happening.  This really sends the message that no one wants to stick their head out about the best direction to take based on their expertise and experience.  The anti-aloha activists and their politicians have seized on this opportunity and are running the show now.  Is that what is best for Hawaii?  These are opportunists supported by ill-informed people supported by lots of outside monies?

So, if you don’t like what is happening to our agricultural industry in Hawaii, you the local born person, go walk in front of the mirror.  Don’t point your finger at the anti-GMO club and blame them.  Point that finger right at yourself and say, “Hey, you!  You are the problem.  Yep, I said it.  It’s you who don’t have the guts take a stand.  Don’t like what’s happening, eh?  Den you bettah speak up do something about it and stop wasting your energy complaining.  You da only one who going fo suffer.”

Wake up local people.  There is a new culture developing in our islands that if you don’t adapt to it, you’ll have to pay the price for your silence.  It’s time for the local folks who don’t say anything to speak up, vote, and say something to help your fellow long time local farmers.  If you don’t, who will?

One way to start is to sign the petition to speak up for farmers!

 

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Where’s your Integrity & Leadership Hooser, Bynum, Yukimura, & Furfaro?

As I followed the last hearing Thursday for the Kauai County Council to decide on whether to override the veto of the controversial Bill 2491, it was no surprise that the events leading up to it would be chaotic.  When you see the kind of commentary that the anti-GMO club has spewed out all over the social media and beyond, their behavior of the day is of no surprise.

Grown adults being rude to others and making accusations and threats against their perceived foe.  Essentially this made them bullies all in the name of misinformation and ideology about biotechnology.  The most disturbing part of the whole event was that it was clear that none of the leaders who supported this bill ever acknowledged the threats and violence made to seed workers, scientists, and the mayor.  It was completely ignored as if it was what they wanted to happen.  They did have to state to news outlets that those folks were not representative of the anti-GMO movement.  Sure.

What was supposed to happen on Thursday was a vote to put an end to the issue for once and all.  That did not happen when it was recognized that they did not have the vote to push this override through.  It was then decided that there would be a deferral and then a vote after the 7th council member was appointed even though they decided on an earlier meeting to vote with 6 members.  That maneuvering would give them enough votes for the override.  Note that they had early agreed to no defer it any longer but suddenly backpedaled on it.

That backpedalling is a classic example of the lack of leadership and integrity of those serving in public office.  They took an oath to uphold the laws and serve impartially to the best of their duties.  Are they really doing that in this case?  These four people promised the public, not just the anti-GMO activists, to uphold those duties to do what is in the best interest of the community.  Obviously, they have no integrity by what we’ve seen by their actions.  That is really a sad, sad day for Hawaii.

We teach our kids to be honest and true to our word.  We value conducting ourselves in an ethical manner in all of our actions.  We value honestly and integrity in our children.  Those lesson in turn help to develop a conscience in them so that they know right from wrong.  We, the adults show them this and are the example to folks.  However, in the case of the county council, those basic rules and values are forsaken and what we see upon us is the mess they’ve created.  These lost leaders have thrown the whole community into a divided one by choosing to ignore the evidence and prefer to align with activists with an obvious agenda.  They have also taken advantage of local style of not speaking up and listening to the loudest of the bunch.

The short term consequence might mean that this kind of bill gets passed but the long term issues will be much more costly for all.  These leaders have lost sight of where the evidence leads us and how we’re going to get there.  The leadership needs to guide us based on what the evidence shows, not what a bikini clad activist or a mixed martial arts fighter demand.  These activists are only about taking and not about providing options and solutions to the most valuable folks in our society today, and that is the farmers and scientists.

As much as they may have tons of testimony and hours of videos of testimonies asking for such a law, don’t forget to consider how that meal you just had got to your table.  That testimony didn’t get it there, it was a farmer and that’s the one you should be listening to.  Our leaders owe it to our farmers to stand their ground an listen to the right people to make he best decision for all.

My Adventures with the Anti-GMO Club

I remember back last year when the hot topic issue was the labeling of GMOs in the legislature.  I really didn’t care too much about it until I got meme after meme about the dangers of GMOs from a Facebook friend of mine.  I thought, wow, this must be bigger than I expected.

Having worked on the research myself, I knew the safety and testing and had no qualms about it.  I even ate the transgenic stuff myself and the PRSV infected papaya as green papaya salad with no problem.  DNA was nothing I considered terrifying because I knew what is was and what it does.  So when I heard that papayas were now being touted and “poison” and “dangerous,” I thought I’d better learn about this issue more.

One of my first searches on the internet about these so called claims of dangers was on the claims of these movies being watched.  The searches come up chock full of Natural News, Collective Evolution, Green Med Info, Institute for Responsible Technology and so on.  After sorting through all of that stuff, I found this blog talking about the anti-GMO movement.  The more I learned about the issues from Bt genetic engineering, organic farming, and regulation, the more I realized that the information was so easily distorted by the social media.

Ready to start speaking up in the forums, one of the first places I started was with Civil Beat.  Little did I know that it was a haven for anti-GMO commenters.  It was amazing the sheer numbers of commenters I found on there every single article on GMOs.  Everyone was fixated on this evil called Monsanto, corporations, and poisons.  The more these repetitive comments repeated itself over and over, I started to realize how these folks just read things right off of a Google search and never even bothered to check the source.  It becomes really evident when the majority of the commenters use the same phrases over and over.

As I read the stuff from Natural News and so on I realized how easily someone with very little scientific knowledge could be beleaguered by the information presented.  I thought if I didn’t get some science background, it would be so easily believe the fearful and terrifying things being posted on these sites over and over again.  I’m too much of a skeptic to believe it and searched and read more about the so called claims and sure enough, debunked by noted scientists with ease.

Then of course, the big gem of the anti-GMO movement came the Seralini rat study.  The media was a ruckus over their final proof of the dangers.  Instead of reading the news interpretations of the study, I went straight to the study itself.  I also did searches on it by putting in “debunk Seralini study.”  And I found out a totally different side all together.  One of the first outlets to debunk his study was the media itself.  Shortly after I stumbled upon a wonderfully insightful site called Biofortified.  It had great articles by highly educated scientists and scholars.  I found it way more trustworthy than any of the other sites popping up.

After doing a lot of research and comparing articles across the internet, I’ve come to realize that the regular folks would not be able to understand half of the stuff being presented.  The Latins recognized this behavior eons ago when they coined the phrase, “Damnant quod non intelligunt.” They condemn what they do not know.  The scare mongering is so great on the anti-GMO side that it can really make you start to believe it.  Just like the phenomena when you leave a movie theater after watching a horror flick, you get a little spooked out for sometime.  Emotions are powerful strategies that work.

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The only thing with the anti-GMO messages is that if you’re on FB or Twitter a lot, you get bombarded with hundreds of images every single day from multiple sites that it becomes all you can see.  It is almost like a brain poison that these marketers know how to prey upon.  Then when you walk into the grocery store and see that clean, neat little label that proudly states, “GMO-Free,” you feel relieved.  Some things marked GMO-Free are indeed that to begin with like coconut milk and almond milk.  There’s no such thing as GM coconuts or almonds!  It’s a scam to me and I despise the fact that it makes people feel bad about their food for no reason.  And especially here in Hawaii where food is even more expensive, making the people most prone to this kind of messages only takes advantage of their lack of knowledge.

The more I talk to people who repeat the myths, the more I’m able to see where their hang ups are about this “new science.”  It really isn’t new, it is just more precise and better controlled despite the anti-GMO club claim.  We have to do more on our part to educate people about this issue.  We don’t eat like we did 100 years ago and why would we want to go back to those ways.  Research, education and scientific evidence moves us forward.  That’s the direction our society should be moving towards a better future.

The Ad Hominen Attacks of Tokyo Rose

The real Tokyo Rose

There are a certain bunch of anti-GMO club members that have taken to bombarding the social media.  If there is anything with those 3 letters on them, you can bet you’ll find them there.  There was a post yesterday in Pacific Business News having an editorial board meeting about the issues at hand in our state regarding biotechnology.  Of course, when you put a comment after all the anti-GMO activists, you will get these kind of comments.  Note that I simply asked a question in response to the post.

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What I got was not a surprise considering that these activists have taken to bombarding the social media.

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This person has even accused me of antagonizing her too!  I can’t quite figure out how but once again paranoia sets in.

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Another thread starts up too on this same link.

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I do remember how she and yet another so called farmer posted some very “nice” comments on a farm fair picture on another ag FB page.

Here’s the no aloha comments posted by these same people in response to mine.

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Unreal what these people are capable of saying publicly.  Of course I was forwarded this clip too of how I acquired my nickname.

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There is no getting through to these activists.  When they have to start attacking people personally, it really shows that there is nothing in the form of evidence to support their argument.  They can only resort to name calling or accusations of being a shill.  This clearly demonstrates that these people are unreasonable and will only be agreeable to one single demand, their way.  Working with the unreasonable will get you no where.

From the Bad Skeptic link:

“The only thing the crier o’ shill proves is that they don’t give a flying f*@k about having an actual discussion, about hearing any viewpoint but their own, or about any reality outside of the one they’re already convinced exists. Saying, “I’m right, and that’s that! Neener!” is good enough for them.”

That’s fine with me but more reason why we can’t make laws and policy according to these activists demands.