You all remember The Citizens Against The Maui County Farming Ban, the fake citizen’s group founded by Maui’s local radio personality Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, that in 2014 spent $8 Million of Monsanto’s and Dow’s money spreading lies about the GM Moratorium?
Well, not only is Tom back on the air with big corporate backing, we are now seeing the influence of conservative political forces like ALEC, The Franklin Center for Gov and Public Integrity and the Koch Brothers in the convoluted notions offered in an op-ed piece from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii printed today in the conservative run Maui News.
This viewpoint infers that the only agriculture of value in Hawaii is large-scale, corporate-backed, chemically-dependent Ag that feeds no one and strips resources and profits out of the islands, with only toxic chemicals left behind.
The Grassroot Institute says it promotes Libertarian principles of small government but it seems that they do so not to empower individuals to express themselves and control their own and their community’s destinies but rather they do so to allow off-island controlled corporations (endowed with the rights of free speech under the disastrous Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision) to do whatever they feel will generate the most profits, at the expense of the well-being of the people who actually live here.
Large scale, corporate controlled, chemically-dependent agriculture, as it has evolved over the past 25 years or so, is exploitative and never was sustainable. It is dying on Maui for the same reasons it is dying on the mainland and in countries that are standing up to the World Bank’s and Monsanto’s influence: consumers want to eat clean food and don’t want to be poisoned by the Military Industrial Complex that is attempting to take over control of the world’s food supply and profit from the sale of dangerous chemicals.
As people who make Maui our home we have the responsibility to stand up to these external economic and political forces, to protect our fragile environment and Tourist economy from the fallout of rampant chemical exposure, and to support the transition back to local, affordable and sustainable food production, so that we can return to growing 90% of what we eat rather than importing it.
How disingenuous for the libertarian Grassroot Institute to overlook the fact that HC&S’s sugar production on Maui was financially viable only through Federal subsidies and price supports. That’s small government?
Maui Causes’s Mission:
Most agricultural land in Hawaii was essentially stolen from the Hawaiian people by the children of the missionaries, who, the saying goes, “came here to do good and ended up doing very well”.
Over the years a few corporations and big money interests have become the beneficiaries of that theft and they are now doing all they can to protect their entitlement to exploit Hawaii’s people and natural resources.
These pages are dedicated to exposing off-island influence, stripping away their entitlement, and returning control of Hawaii to the people who make it their home.
Exposing Conservative and Corporate Influence:
The Grassroot Institute has ties to very well funded conservative groups like the ALEC-connected, Franklin Center for Gov and Public Integrity and has been funded by CATO (Koch Brothers). Malia Zimmerman, the secretary of the institute’s board of directors, is also a co-founder of “Hawaii Reporter” a networked news organization funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, publisher of the site “Watchdog.org,” is a national 501(c)(3) journalism organization based in Bismarck, North Dakota and started in 2009. <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-1> According to a previous iteration of the organization’s website, the group’s mission involves “networking and training independent investigative reporters, as well as journalists from state based news organizations, public-policy institutions & watchdog groups.” <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-2> The Franklin Center funded state reporters in more than 40 states as of August 2011, <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-3> and in 34 states as of May 2013. <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-2013_list-4> Despite their non-partisan description, many of these websites have received criticism for their conservative bias. <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-5>  <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-6>
At a time when there are fewer and fewer statehouse reporters — as of the American Journalism Review’s most recent count in 2009, there were 355 in the entire country, down from 524 in 2003, <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-7> bluntly called a “statehouse exodus” by the same journal <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-8> — former Reuters chief White House correspondent Gene Gibbons described the rush of groups like the Franklin Center to fill the gap as follows: “an army of Internet start-ups, some practicing traditional journalism in a new medium, others delivering political propaganda dressed up as journalism — are crawling all over the picnic. . . . At the forefront is the one-year-old Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity . . .” <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-GibbonsKennedy-9>