Guest Column — Our Negligent Hawaii County Council

By Hugh Clark

So our continuing, confused county council is ignoring the County Charter it swore to uphold last December (see Cook Lauer’s damaging story about the ignored legislative auditor office).
So its focus is on issues usually left to state officials and scientific controls (GMO) left to the feds.
This ambitious group of folks want to direct at D.C. and Honolulu while ignoring its role as the local government policy maker. Pot holes, police functions, park operations and other lower profile needs are this group’s assigned job, not setting national policy.
Is it too much to ask these nine people to honor the charter they  pledged.
Left unanswered as well is who, specifically, is going to enforce the GMO act if it should  survive certain court challenges? Who is going to determine a 20-year-old smoker is a criminal if he is a visitor from Maui or Kauai, where it is entirely legal. One might think a single, highly isolated sate would keep a uniform policy — as determined by the legislature.
On the same day I was informed of the auditing neglect (intentional negligence?),  I became aware of a truck fire that blocked traffic Puna so workers could not reach their job sites and patients could not access the only available hospital.
In my working days (36 years on this island), I recall an on-point Puna councilman suggesting the burning need for an alternative route for Pahoa and other Puna neighborhoods to Hilo in case of eruption, runaway fire or stupid drivers.  Nothing has happened.
I submit uninterrupted travel for essential, possibly life saving, services, trumps some hazy notion about controlling science evolution.
I never favored two-year terms for this council, now I am reconsidering that position, based on these last two mostly distracted panels.
(Hugh Clark is a retired Honolulu Advertiser reporter.)

95 replies
« Older Comments
  1. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    LOL I guess by the responses you can see who eats those cheese puff balls from CUL and who’s mind is clear from eating organic nutrient rich food. These guys, I know I’d trust my heath to because these experts Ha Ha and Hawaiino they’re both biologists and have been eating GMO food for years and their thought process hasn’t dulled a bit. lol
    Probably are collect farm subsidies to use Monsanto poisons and seeds.

    Be oblivious to the corporate ripping the heart and soul out of this and BE A PART of that if you like.
    But then you could be considered a food terrorist.
    Because Frankenfoods scare me.

    I like to read a label and know if there crap inside or pick up a piece of fruit and know it doesn’t have some mutant experiment and be a guinea pig. YOU CAN.

    You can eat the shit if you like to, but don’t force it on those who don’t. You probably brush your teeth with fluoride too. Got your flu shot yet? Sheep.

  2. Robert Petricci
    Robert Petricci says:

    Your funny Richard

    Did you even read what I said, or do you just make that stuff up?

    You obviously preferring attempted character assassination to addressing the issue at hand in reading your response.

    Richard my comment addressed the regulatory corruption in the bio ag industry not study validity.

    I am talking about the revolving regulatory door and the political influence of the bio ag industry, while your response is in left field dodging the issue,babbling about me being paid or having a staff. That is nonsense, and is obviously not true. The odd part is you know that already Richard. Is that kind of BS really all you have?

  3. Doc
    Doc says:

    Bless the council, they are doing the job the State and Feds are unwilling and seemingly incapable of doing, as explained in this article.
    To Feed and Protect the World, Rein In Corporate Ag


    Yet another example of how GMOs hurt our farmers and our economy. China, the second largest corn consumer in the world, may halt corn imports from the U.S. due to the detection of unapproved GMO corn varieties in 3 recent bulk cargoes as well as several smaller container ships.

    Richard, how about this instead of geothermal?
    Minesto is proving that their Deep Green underwater tidal energy device is a cheap and effective alternative to the current norm, and may be life changing in the renewable energy field.

  4. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Robert. I read what you wrote. But, its not what you say, it’s what you do. You accused Dr Don Thomas- well respected long time UH geology professor, of being on PGV’s payroll, when you were making the anti GMO article. I know Dr Thomas, he was never on PGV’s payroll, his integrity is beyond reproach. After, you go all around pointing in the air saying everything is corrupt, you say it is ok for the county council to endanger our food security by throwing Big Island farmers under the bus. What about the rubbah slippah folks? Food and energy costs are important to them.

  5. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Thanks Doc. Your first link talks about the large industrial farmers. They are not on the Big Island for a reason. Lose money. There aren’t large tracts of flat land with deep soil in a dry place with irrigation. The anti GMO bill supposedly tries to keep the large corporations out. But the Big Island is made up of local farmers and ranchers. The anti GMO bill will make them less competitive to the other island and mainland competitors. This will lessen our food self sufficiency. The background story to your second link has to do with the Seralini rat study. Countries were being cautious. But, the Seralini study– the justification for the anti GMO movement, was just rejected by the journal of Food and Chemical toxicology. Your last link was about ocean energy. That is worth following. But for now, its an idea that needs to be proven.

  6. jeremy
    jeremy says:

    Richard, thank you for the thoughtful and measured reply. Clearly my understanding of the legislation in question is lacking.

    Hawaiino wrote:
    “BTW, soon, you can bet the farm, there will be better herbicides made available that will replace it. Time, and technology, marches on. (if interested, research recent Bayer developments, their not just an aspirin company)”

    Ironically, this is absolutely true, but NOT because of any altruistic innovation on the part of the ag science industry. The widespread and avid use of herbicides like RoundUp (glyphosate) is bringing incredible pressure to bear on the natural evolution process, resulting in more and more ‘weed’ species developing resistance to these chemicals.

    Do you really think this is a race that science can win ?

    Try google with “glyphosate resistance”. I dare you.

    Nature always bats last.

  7. tia
    tia says:

    Do you know what Communism is? We’re just in a bigger cage. Obama Lies Compilation! GEORGE BUSH’S COMPILATION OF LIES A War Criminal’s Final Chapter: The George W. Bush “Lie-Bury”

    It’s just natural selection…sheep following each other into the slaughter house. Let them have their cheese flavored balls, frankenfoods, vaccines, booze, chemicals and T.V.

  8. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    Nobody wants to be poisoned….modern conventional ag and gmo ag uses huge amts. of pesticides i have seen it with my own 2 eyes for 36 years in kapoho…have even been splashed with fungicides as the gmo papaya farmers leave their fields…R ichard Ha used to spray with crop dusters in Koae banana fields back in the 70s…the neighbors were not pleased because they didnt want poisons in their catchment system…on their animals,on the aina…actually nobody on either side of this debate needs a scientist to see the extensive damage done by gmo papaya industry at kapoho hawaii…looks like napalm was dropped….thereby giving the lie to all these theory pushers that pesticides-and conventional ag are harmless..sadly most farmers are ADDICTED-to chemicals esp. poisons… 3 acre organic farm nearby grows literally tons of fruit per year…esp. avocados and breadfruit….in my 42 years of gardening-and STUDYING hawaaiian ag i have learned a farmer does not need poisons…here are some crops i have grown.kalo awa maia ulu sapotes cherimoyas,sapotess pineapple,won bok cabbge etc. with no poisons…hawaii uses 10 times more pesticides than the natl. avg. and 3 times more than Cali. ,the next highest….om maui in the mid 70s Maui land and pineapple srayed their fields with lindane and heptachlor..resulyng in the deaths of 3 neighbors due to a rare form of leukemia….MLP settled out of court….now the papaya industry is spraying poisons in full length bio suits…right next to their neighbors….this is morally wrong!

  9. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    I am asking mr ha, so called hawaii ino-loko ino?- and so called cowardly punated-use your real name-to answer my comments

  10. tia
    tia says:

    Anti-govmint? Please provide proof of a govmint!

    In UNITED STATES CODE, Title 28, in Section 3002 Definitions, it states the following:
    (15) “United States” means—
    (A) a Federal corporation;

    (*)”United States” is the “District of Columbia” incorporated.
    “The United States government is a foreign corporation with respect to a State” Volume 20: Corpus Juris Sec. § 1785, Also: NY re: Merriam 36 N.E. 505 1441 S. 0.1973, 14 L. Ed. 287

    The new “United States” includes States such as District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. It does not include the 50 states united.
    i.e. Title 26 Section 7701 Definitions (a) (9) and (10) 42 U.S.C. 405 (2)(c)(vii)

  11. sada anand kaur
    sada anand kaur says:

    All this false fear mongering by Mr. Ha & his pro-GMO gang.
    People are not going to starve on this island without GMOs & their attending pesticides.
    7 generations of farmers in my family, with 9-12 children to feed the norm, never needed pesticides or GMOs to thrive. They tended their lands & their land fed them & others. Hard farm work, yes. Survived 1930’s “Dust Bowl” yes. Survived insects & plant diseases, yes. Survived floods & hurricanes, yes.
    Only time they almost starved: English government enforced mono potato crop in Ireland (another island environment). This mistake forced literally millions of Irish to starve to death. My grandfather immigrated to mainland with nothing but his clothes on his back. My other grandfather’s family came over from Wales. My family’s creativity & strength of character fostered their successful farming lives anew.
    Life is change, rail against it if you choose. Embrace change & move forward into new coalitions of healthy relationships seems a better choice.

  12. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Greg. There is a reality about living in the humid sub tropics. Because there is no winter, Insects, weeds, diseases thrive here. We cannot pretend that it isn’t true. How are we going to feed everyone using your methods? We did a snapshot apple to apple comparison of organic food prices to regular supermarket prices.
    The annual food budget for a family of five was around $20,000 for the conventional while it was $42,000 for the organic. Using safe bio tech seeds in the future we can look forward to lowering our dependency on petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides. This will result in lowering the cost of food for the rubbah slippah folks. The organic folks can apply to change the organic rules so biotech crops are allowed. You use manure from GMO fed animals. It’s up to you to change the rules. There are no credible studies that show there is any danger from bio tech developed crops.

  13. tia
    tia says:

    Hahaha! No danger from biotech pesticide laden franken foods? More corporate poisonous marketing scheme. We rubbah slippah organic farmers feed our families and communities just fine. Keep your poisons off our lands or we will sue you personally for everything you’ve got!

  14. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Greg.I am for bio tech solutions because it can reduce petroleum based pesticide usage. You seem to agree with me that less pesticide use is better.

    All the major scientific organizations in the world attest to the safety of biotech crops. And, Hawaii has the longest life expectancy and quality of life in the nation according to the CDC. So, we know that GMO’s are safe. Six of the council members attested to the safety of Rainbow Papayas. Safety of GMO’s not a safety issue, it is an education issue.

    Ino loko ino? Cruel? Heartless? More than half of Hawaiians live away from Hawaii. There are more Hawaiians in jail relative to their share of the population. This is why I always advocate for the rubbah slippah folks. If we all had to depend on expensive organics for our food, there woukd be more Hawaiians moving to the mainland. Talk about losing your land. I don’t like it that there are more Hawaiians in jail relative to our share of the population. Don’t accuse me of ino loko ino!

  15. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    First, Jeremy
    No company, not Google, Apple, Ford, Merck, none, not Monsanto, or KTA, or even Dr or Abundant Life, conducts their business for “altruistic” reasons. Likewise, no farmer is “avid” in their use of any pesticide, they are a means to an end. As far as who “bats last” I don’t know what the inning is. I do know the humans on the planet are all striving for various things, the majority for a better life for themselves AND their children (rather than either/or). As farmers this requires doing more with less, which leads to the need for technological developments such as transgenic breeding techniques. Resistance to glyphosate has been relatively slow. The weed species that have thrived under its use were as likely to have been resistant prior to it’s introduction and have simply taken advantage of a lack of competition as to be species that have “developed” resistance.
    Greg Owen
    Kapoho looks much like it did when I first drove behind the cinder cone in ’74. Actually lusher.
    Lots of memories in your post, I remember the heptachlor/Lindane issues, chemicals like those are either removed from the market or no longer used. They have been replaced by more selective, less toxic choices. Those “bio-suits” you refer to are the replacement for the old yellow rain parkas we used to wear, more comfortable and meets current standards.
    Nothing sinister about them.
    Sada Anand
    You dwell on your ancestors as if that confers some status or awareness. It doesn’t , it’s what you do, what you learn, what you contribute, that matters most. Just to clarify something we do have in common
    the Irish Potato Famine, a historic misnomer, was a famine driven by food policy, mores than the potato blight. Shiploads of grain were exported from fertile fields while common people starved. It was not the result of mono cropping potatos. But, good thing people didn’t just give up, they innovated and eventually bight resistant potato varieties were developed. Know your history, or repeat it.
    Nothing to say, your comments are either impossible to comprehend (obscure conspiracy theories) or unworthy of a response (bilous threats to a reasonable contributor to the thread).

  16. punated
    punated says:

    It’s been a strange trip to see a large group of white people on Hawaii island that aren’t farmers decide punishing local farmers and making them criminals is somehow going to “rise up” and get revenge on Monsanto and crush GMO in the bud? This should sound idiotic, even for the Hooterville politics of the county council.

    Here is a good farming story for Hawaii island. Hershey’s bought Mauna Loa macademia nut farm several years ago. It’s been known that Mauna Loa had to ship chocolate over to be melted around the macadamia nut, mostly sold to tourists to take back to the mainland. Mauna Loa also used cacao butter to make the chocolate very rich. Hershey, on the mainland, is finding cacao butter too expensive so they switch to vegetable oil. Meanwhile, they buy Mauna Loa and the chocolate for the macadamia nuts uses vegetable. Here is the kicker. That vegetable oil is corn oil, and guess what, GMO corn oil, at least third generation. So, now you have a local company that got bought out by a huge corporation that is importing GMO containing product to make the final product, a Hawaii tourism item.

    The real irony is that cacao can grow very well in south Kona and Kau, much like coffee, and it would be a local product for local use and local income. But, as much as agriculture is lauded, this island is not that friendly to farming, as this recent bill clearly demonstrates.

  17. Rich Peterson
    Rich Peterson says:

    I have always found it interesting how anti-progress Progressives actually are. Recent local examples: inter island ferry, plastic bags, geothermal energy, gmo technology.

  18. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    Damon, thanks for stopping by. Do I really need to provide an explanation for that comment? You and I have distinctively different styles of covering the news. I practice journalism and you are a self-described “guy with a blog.” Those who do not like my style may prefer yours. Thus, my comment. Any other questions, feel free to call me at 938-8592.

  19. tia
    tia says:

    “obscure conspiracy theories”. Can you not read U.S. Codes, case laws and law definitions, Whinno? Perhaps not if you willingly eat frankenfoods and have toxic monkey pus and heavy metals injected into your veins.

    Economy Plumbing and Heating v. U.S., 470 F.2d 585 (Ct. Cl. 1972) “Revenue Laws relate to taxpayers [officers, employees, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government] and not to non-taxpayers [American Nationals not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Government]. The latter are without their scope. No procedures are prescribed for non-taxpayers and no attempt is made to annul any of their Rights or Remedies in due course of law. With them [non-taxpayers] Congress does not assume to deal and they are neither of the subject nor of the object of federal revenue laws.”

    PDF U.S. v. Ballard, 535 F2d 400, cert denied, 429 U.S. 918, 50 L.Ed.2d 283, 97 S.Ct. 310 (1976) “income” is not defined in the Internal Revenue Code
    26 CFR 31.3401(c)-1 – Employee
    “(a) … The term includes officers and employees, whether elected or appointed, of the United States, a State, Territory, Puerto Rico, or any political subdivision thereof, or the District of Columbia, or any agency or instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing.”

    - Internal Revenue Code (Title 26, United States Code) is not Law

    –Laureldale Cemetery Assoc. v. Matthews, 345 Pa. 239 (1946): “Reasonable compensation for labor or services rendered is not profit”
    -Schuster v. Helvering, 121 F 2nd 643: “Income is realized gain.”
    – Pollack v. Farmers Loan, 157 U.S. 429, 158 U.S. 601 (1895): The Corporate Excise Tax of 1909 was a 2% tax on PROFITS OF CORPORATIONS. The Supreme Court had, in POLLOCK v. FARMERS LOAN , in 1894, ruled as UNCONSTITUTIONAL the EXACT SAME KIND OF TAX MOST AMERICANS ARE NOW PAYING! [A direct tax without apportionment.] This decision has NEVER been overturned! Both BEFORE and AFTER the sixteenth amendment passed (?), THE COURTS SAID INCOME WAS CORPORATE PROFIT! The Separation of powers doctrine says only CONGRESS can collect a tax!

    CHRYSLER CORP. v. BROWN, 441 U.S. 281 (1979) [ Footnote 23 ] “There was virtually no Washington bureaucracy created by the Act of July 1, 1862, ch. 119, 12 Stat. 432, the statute to which the present Internal Revenue Service can be traced.”
    In Federal Crop Insurance v. Merrill, the Supreme Court ruled: “Whatever the form in which the Government functions, anyone entering into an arrangement with the Government takes the risk of having accurately ascertained that he who purports to act for the Government stays within the bounds of his authority. The scope of this authority may be explicitly defined by Congress or be limited by delegated legislation, properly exercised through the rulemaking power. And this is so even though, as here, the agent himself may have been unaware of the limitations upon his authority. See, e.g., Utah Power #& Light Co. v. United States, 243 U. S. 389, 409; United States v. Stewart, 311 U. S. 60, 70, and see generally 74 U. S. 7 Wall. 666.” Federal Crop Ins. Corp v. Merrill, 332 U.S. 380 (1947).
    Continental Casualty Co. v. United States, 113 F.2d 284 (5th Cir. 1940): “Public officers are merely the agents of the public, whose powers and authority are defined and limited by law. Any act without the scope of the authority so defined does not bind the principal, and all persons dealing with such agents are charged with knowledge of the extent of their authority,” 113 F.2d, at 286.
    Lavin v. Marsh, 644 F.2d 1378 (9th Cir. 1981): “Persons dealing with the government are charged with knowing government statutes and regulations, and they assume the risk that government agents may exceed their authority and provide misinformation,” 644 F.2d, at 1383.

  20. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    Richard i was not referring to you with’loko ino’- i know you are kupuna….i was just trying to make a play on words with hawaino or whatever fake name that guy calls himself…and at least you are up front with your name and opininions ‘ Its the mark of a superior mind to diagree and remain friendly’….i dont feel that way about those two fakes punated aand hawaiino…and richard why not get on the bandwagon and GROW ORGANICALLY….there is actually a lot of money to be made in organic crops…why dont the papaya farmers grow other crops….there are so many that do well in Puna….avocados,citrus,mango-the fungus resistant kind-breadfruit ,bananasetc etc-the best farm i know of is alohilani on railroad avenue-producing huge amts. of food using both organic and IPM. open your horizons…quit damaging the aina and all the living things…make money ETHICALLY

  21. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    oh yeah richard…i wear RUBBAH SLIPPER everytime… and sometimes boots when i hou hana…..and let me know if you want me to take you on a tour of the best organic farms in my neighborhood….

  22. jeremy
    jeremy says:

    Hawaiino, you wrote:
    “No company, not Google, Apple, Ford, Merck, none, not Monsanto, or KTA, or even Dr or Abundant Life, conducts their business for “altruistic” reasons.”

    Agreed, but seems to contradict your earlier claim:
    ““GMO” development is, unequivocalably (sic) for good purposes…to improve the growing of crops for people.”

    Big ag-science companies being, well, BIG and corporate law being what it is, I have a *really* hard time believing that the corporate entities are concerned with anything other than, principally, their bottom line. Sure, the individuals doing the science may believe they are doing good work for humanity, but ultimately that work is made to serve the needs of the *corporation*.

    Also, your claim “Resistance to glyphosate has been relatively slow.” seems contradicted by this industry endorsed report (among others):
    (handy url in case you didn’t do the google search I suggested)

    …which states “Although the total number of glyphosate-resistant weed species is low, the number of species is increasing at an alarming rate…”

    Leading me to: Regardless of the mechanism (weeds evolving resistance or weeds already resistant moving in), the end result is *the same*, namely, more and more glyphosate resistant weeds in farmers’ fields. Necessitating more and more involved methods of attempted weed control. Where does it end ?

    Whenever anyone talk of “progress”, I have to wonder “for whom” and “at what cost”.

    With respect.

  23. jeremy
    jeremy says:

    Rich Peterson said:

    “I have always found it interesting how anti-progress Progressives actually are.”

    Correspondingly, I am perpetually perplexed at how Conservatives have completely and utterly forgotten how to conserve. Recent examples would include natural resources, and the environment. Funny, huh ?

  24. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Greg. The Pahoa School Complex is number one in the state for participation in the free/subsidized lunch program–89% of the students participate. For some, it is their main meal. The very farmers you criticize supply food for the kids. A little bit ago, I gave everyone of the kids in the first grade a clamshell of our grape tomatoes to take home. The stories a teacher told me was heartbreaking. We should be looking at how we can take care of all of us.

  25. tia
    tia says:

    Richard, how those kids would appreciate 1 organic tomato so much more than a bushel of pesticide/fungicide/cides sprayed tomatoes that would compromise their delicate immune system leading to a plethora of diseases later in life. THAT, is heartbreaking.

  26. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:


    Your suspicions that the nature of corporations is antithetical to ethical behavior and that if they have the status of being “big” it is intrinsically “bad” may lead to your selecting information to support these concerns. But, you seem to be open minded so…
    I did do the Search you originally selected. I had done it previously, on my own. I had seen the study you provided the link for, when I saw it dated 2006 I sought more recent ones. However, in reading that article, which I did, I noted that the weed species count on the vertical axis of the graph amounted to “6”, and the “dramatic increase” described was the leap from “2” to “6”, which I did not find that alarming. The reason is that, as every farmer who has weeded a field knows, there are a myriad of weed species( definition , a plant growing out of place) ready to take advantage of open soil, nutrients, and moisture that a farmer supplies when cultivating a crop.
    The authors note, on pg 6, that ” the majority of weed escapes… are not due to glyphosate resistance”. “Escapes” In this context means escaping the effects of glyphosate application.
    This is what I was referring to my statement.
    Large scale,what are called “factory farmers” adapted t their practices when glyphosate resistant crops were made available. It generated a huge migration to ” no till” techniques, which may be familiar to those who practice or have read Fukuokas “one Straw Revolution”
    No till techniques, when coupled with mono herbicide application, is a primary culprit in the phenomena we are discussing. Here is a quote from a 2013 article on the same subject;
    “…ISU’s Owen said the solution is simple: “Stop doing what you are doing” and start deploying more diverse weed management strategies that incorporate some combination of crop rotation, cover crops, manual tillage and a broader range of herbicides less dependent on glyphosate.”

    In respect to ” when will it ever end” the answer is, hopefully, never. We are, it should be recognized, in the Anthropocene age, with all that that suggests.
    Global climate change and the need for redistribution of resources in a more equitable fashion are ventral issues. The other billions of people on the planet will not be denied the comforts we have enjoyed as a hegemonic culture.
    I don’t believe we are players in a “zero sum game” Technological solutions are critical to resolving these issues, and transgenic breeding does and will play a critical role.

    I’ll end with exhuming a favorite Bateson quote that I have referenced in a prior thread
    “we create the reality we perceive, not because there is no reality but because we select and edit (filter) the information as we receive it”
    I’ve operated a lot of irrigation systems, a critical element to good flow is to always monitor and clean your filters.

  27. Rich Peterson
    Rich Peterson says:

    Hawaiino: I tip my hat to you.

    jeremy: My experience has been that conservatives lean to being conservationists when it comes to natural resources and the environment.

  28. Purplefireweed
    Purplefireweed says:

    Regarding the retracted study, if you read the statement made by the journal, it was retracted not because it wasn’t sound science but because is was ‘inconclusive’.

    Here is the retraction statement made by Elsevier, publisher of Food and Chemical Toxicology which published and then retracted the study:

    Though the retraction noted the species of rats used is known for a higher incidence of tumors, no where does the publisher assert that the lab rats were ‘inbred’ as someone said above.

    Science studies are rarely ‘conclusive’ on their own. When the truth finally comes out, it often comes in the form of meta-analyses of the entire body of studies on a particular subject. This study is one that will hopefully become a large body of research to be studied as a whole. No one, no one at all can conclusively and truthfully state that GMOs do not cause harm to humans, other species, or the environment.

    Think about what it took to conclude that tobacco is deadly. The industry-funded science said just the opposite. For DECADES and DECADES.

    According to the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), “‘Conclusive’ results are rare in science, and certainly not to be decided by one editor and a secret team of persons using undisclosed criteria and methods. Independent science would cease to exist if this were to be an accepted mode of procedure. … Most notably, Séralini and his co-authors did not draw any definitive conclusions in the paper in the first place; they simply reported their observations and phrased their conclusions carefully, cognizant of their uncertainties. This is because the paper is a chronic toxicity study and not a full-scale carcinogenicity study … The authors did not intend to look specifically for tumours, but still found increased tumour rates.”

    ENSSER stated that all the rationales for retracting the study were considered at the outset “by the peer reviewers of the journal, who decided they formed no objection to publication” rendering the retraction a “travesty of science … [that] looks like a bow to industry.”

    Further, “Claire Robinson of GM Watch points out that the retraction “follows FCT’s appointment of Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist and an affiliate of the GMO industry-funded group, the International Life Sciences Institute, to the specially created post of associate editor for biotechnology at the journal.”

    Despite the assertions of scientific consensus on GMOs in Scientific American, Forbes, and elsewhere, in 2013 a group of over 200 international scientists signed a statement declaring that there is “no scientific consensus on GMO safety.””

    Given that there really is no scientific consensus about the human safety of GMOs, let alone the long term ecosystem effects, the Precautionary Principle seems even more prudent than ever on an island as ecologically sensitive as ours. Robert is correct that the Council took this issue up because the voice of the people spoke, not because they are shirking other responsibilities and would rather spend innumerable hours listening to hundreds and hundreds of testifiers through the many rounds of a bill becoming law. This is how the democratic process works. Bet they’re all relieved the Mayor signed off.

    If a farmer thinks like an industrialist, his/her options become very limited. Mayor Kenoi’s signing statement of the County’s commitment to a diverse plan of sustainability shows an understanding of the many options this year-round climate affords those who are willing to innovate and refuse to be dependent on industrial chemically-driven biotechnology.

    Personally, I believe ingredient labeling should include not only whether the item is GM or not, but also a list of pesticides and petroleum-based ferts used in their production.

    The above quotes from this article in HuffPost. Original sources are linked there.

  29. Ken
    Ken says:


    OK, I have endured your endless cut and paste internet posts long enough, but now you hit on a topic I know quite a bit about.

    What possible relevance is there in either being ANTI-GMO or PRO-GMO with respect to another one of your diatribes that names Economy Plumbing and Heating v. U.S.?

    This was a case of two crooked businessmen who formed a joint venture back in 1960 and bid and won a huge Government Contract for construction of dorms and other buildings at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

    Shortly into the project, they defaulted under the contract terms and the government booted them off the job.

    One of the two shady businessmen went bankrupt. He had an IRS tax levy filed against him for almost a half million for unpaid payroll taxes he never paid that was taken from the employees who worked for him, but never remitted to the government.

    When the government settled with the two crooked businessmen for the termination of their contract, the IRS had a levy in place and the money from the government went to the IRS. Legally, that was wrong.

    After the two shady businessmen won and got the money back, the one who owed the government never paid the IRS for the back taxes.

    Then to add insult to injury, the two crooked businessmen sue the government for interest on almost 500K for over a decade – the time it took to settle the matter.

    I know – my father’s Company took over this project from the bonding company.

    Now, what does that have anything to do with GMO?

  30. sada anand kaur
    sada anand kaur says:

    Ill-mannered responses are not what is needed to mend fences & engender cooperative efforts in bringing our island community together.
    Reasoned, generous offers of assistance to all farmers/ranchers, flower growers will go long way in our ultimate coalition efforts.
    * Kindly stop all divisive rhetoric now, it is counterproductive.*
    Our energies are much better spent focusing on vigilance & guidance of our County council Ad Hoc & County Agricultural committees. Gathering
    resources to serve our worthy goals.

  31. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Thanks Neighbor.
    I can tell my grandchildren that I took a principled stance on the side of science. You mentioned my neme 12 times. Mahalo for that!

  32. jeremy
    jeremy says:

    Hawaiino: My honest appreciation for your time and effort in responding to my questions and concerns. Alas, I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this issue. The only thing you have convinced me of is your faith in the unending upward march of Progress, a faith that I do not share. This seems to me a divide that will not be bridged in the all too limiting medium of this comments section of Tiffany’s (thanks !) blog. Again, my respect to you.

    Purplefireweed: Thanks for expressing so well, along the lines of the Precautionary Principle, what I’ve been thinking. Well done.

    Rich: History would seem to agree with you – bad example on my part.

  33. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    See with your own eyes the damage done by gmo papaya industry….look at the aina by Kapoho crater….and they continue to spray their ag poisons right next to houses on water catchment systems….. i ‘googled’ pesticides used by the papaya industry…number 1 on their list was malathion which of course is a watered down version of that deadly ORGANOPHOSPHATE sarin…a stronger version of malathion is parathion found in Molokai watermelons about ten years ago….also sickened school children on oahu about 2 weeks ago…oops you guys..a little pesticide drift ….it happens all the time…no worries….oh yeah this stuff sarin is used by state terrorists in Syria a couple of months back….almost started a huge war…BUT ITS OK TO USE IT IN KAPOHO AND NEAR SCHOOLS?

  34. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:


    You’ve arrived late to this discussion, in the interests of the readers at large I’ll respond to some of your statements.
    The Elsevier letter seems to have been written under legal supervision. They avoid taking responsibility for their initial failure to adequately review the article and they with their conciliatory comments try to provide no reason for Seralini to sue them. But, alas for them, he has. It’s interesting that in the 2nd paragraph Seralini seems to be reproached by the Editor for not responding to prior contact in contrast to the editors praise for his cooperation during their review.
    You rely on ENSSER and GM Watch to support your position, they are both advocacy groups opposed to “GMO’s”. Using them is analogous to posting a press release from a “GMO” industry advocacy group.
    A quick specific, you correct a statement that Seralini had used “inbred” rats in his study. You are “correct. From Wikipedia;
    The Sprague Dawley rat is an outbred multipurpose breed of albino rat used extensively in medical research.[10][11][12][13] Its main advantage is its calmness and ease of handling.[14]”
    But there is more, again from Wikipedia;
    “A 1972 study compared neoplasms in “Sprague-Dawley” rats from 6 different commercial suppliers and found highly significant differences in the incidences of endocrine and mammary tumors…. The authors of the study “stressed the need for extreme caution in evaluation of carcinogenicity studies conducted at different laboratories and/or on rats from different sources.”[4]
    In the Wikipedia article reviewing the “Seralini Affair” the issue of the study subjects, the rats, was addressed;
    “Kings College London Professor Tom Sanders[41] wrote that since Sprague-Dawley rats are susceptible to mammary tumors when food intake is not restricted, data should have been provided about how much food the rats were fed (as well as the presence of fungus in the feed, another confounder). Sanders also wrote of this study, “The statistical methods are unconventional … and it would appear the authors have gone on a statistical fishing trip.”[42]
    The Washington Post quoted Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University and food safety advocate: “‘[I] can’t figure it out yet….It’s weirdly complicated and unclear on key issues: what the controls were fed, relative rates of tumors, why no dose relationship, what the mechanism might be. I can’t think of a biological reason why GMO corn should do this…..So even though I strongly support labeling, I’m skeptical of this study.'”[43] University of Calgary Professor Maurice Moloney, among others, went on record wondering why there were so many pictures in the study, and in sympathetic news reports about it, of treated rats with horrific tumors, but no pictures of the rats in the control group.[44]
    ENSSER, in there support for Seralini states
    ” Most notably, Séralini and his co-authors did not draw any definitive conclusions in the paper in the first place; they simply reported their observations and phrased their conclusions carefully, cognizant of their uncertainties.”
    Well, this is from Seralini’s article, from the abstract;
    “The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modi?ed maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs.”
    Seems “conclusive” to me.
    Finally, on Seralini as an advocate rather than a scientist;

    “Séralini held a press conference on the day the study was released that also included an announcement of the release of a book and film about the study; selected journalists were given access to the paper prior to the press conference, and each writer was required to sign a confidentiality agreement that prevented them from discussing the paper with other scientists before the embargo expired. The agreement included a penalty for non-compliance: “A refund of the cost of the study of several million euros would be considered damages if the premature disclosure questioned the release of the study”

    Serlini and his ilk discredit the scientific process and do no favors to opponents of “GMO’s” who use their shoddy work to support their beliefs.

  35. tia
    tia says:

    In case you didn’t notice, this thread is not about GMO’s. So, from all those supreme court cases and congressional records, that’s all you got out of it?

  36. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    This thread should be coming to an end soon….
    So, I’ll finish (I think, unless someone really says something stupid) with this.
    To Jeremy, Companies make profits by conferring benefits on those who choose to purchase their products. The customer then determines if the benefits are worth the cost and then choose whether to continue as customers. I have been loyal to Dr Bronner for more than 30 years, irrespective of their political position on “GMO’s”. Their peppermint soap works for me, the eucalyptus not so much.
    To Tia or sada an and, or whoever praised and prized “Nature”
    Nature provided us with malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, AID’s, venomous snakes, stone fish, and poisonous platypus, along with poison ivy, cyanide laced almonds, and some mushrooms that will kill you quickly. If you get bit by a Tasmanian devil, or a Komodo dragon, you’re likely to die from rabies or gangrene. Nature is harsh when warm and cool mix to create killer typhoons.
    No vegetable you eat now, including “heirloom” are in any way similar to their original phenotype or genotype. They are all highly modified(selected) even including local kalo. All the grains, all the fruits, all the potatoes, all the livestock, all the dogs, all the horses, and even a few of the people are the result of a long running, sustained breeding and selection process.
    Read ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ for an overview.
    To All:
    One of the advantages glyphosate resistant crops confer to farmers is that they can practice ” no till” systems of crop management. This saves soil from being eroded and fuel from being consumed to operate plows and harrows. However it can lead to a proliferation of weeds that were never susceptible to glyphosate and it allows for the survival of those variants of target weed species that express resistance to glyphosate. The reasons for this are nothing kills a weed faster than being unrooted, overturned and buried, or chopped up. But these take a lot of labor, or energy, and farmers seek efficiency in order to survive, and hopefully prosper.
    How many acres do you think are currently fallow on the Big Island? Out of 2.5 million total acres, almost a million of which are classified Agriculture, we had about 120,000 in sugarcane at one point. ALISH maps show maybe 160,000 acres suitable for cropping.
    I doubt that 10,000 acres are in any kind of productive use. I don’t count the biofuels that are a placeholder for maintaining AG tax rates.

    One big reason they are fallow is that there is NO crop with sufficient market value to entice farmers to risk time and treasure to produce them. That’s a fact that can be empirically tested. Drive the island. I have farmed here all my life and I have wracked my brain to come up with a crop that could be grown on all those under utilized acres. Have you got one? Only say yes if you are actually capable of taking the risk and doing it. Anyone can say “Jatropha” or “sweet potatoes” but it takes a lot more than “waha” to make it happen.

    Bill 113 reduces the options to find or develop a crop to fill those acres. Bill 113 was frequently supported/defended by references to Seralini’s discredited paper. He is a propagandist, pure and simple. Just look at the media circus he manipulated at the release point of his now rubbished report. Timing is everything, if the Seralini paper had been retracted or withdrawn last June this thread may never have materialized.

  37. sada anand kaur
    sada anand kaur says:

    I can clearly see my call for finding reasoned community building has fallen on deaf ears. Wishing us all patience & ability to set aside our hubris to build our future together. *Note “our hubris.”* We all have better use for our energies.

  38. tia
    tia says:

    Because someone said something really stupid, please enlighten us with how “Nature provided us with malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, AID’s” Read the AIDS Hoax?

    Ever been through a tsunami, cyclone, earthquake, hurricane? Still think science trumps nature? Ever witnessed the birth of a lamb in the fields or a human baby at home?

« Older Comments

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *