Kouchi, Tokioka & Kawakami Fail

SUBHEAD: It appears that the Three Corporate Amigos have, after consultation, adopted the official Monsanto spin.

By Andy Parx on 12 March 2013 for Parx News Daily -

Image above: The Three Corporate Amigos. Mashup by Juan Wilson.

It seemed like it was just going to be another nice, quiet little Kaua`i protest- a hundred or so of the same folks who always "show up" once again demonstrating against the westside "Biotech," or Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) corn-seed companies.

No one expected the 2000 people that reportedly marched in the rain this time, most of them young mothers and fathers with kids in tow- the same ones who usually have other things to do with their Saturdays but this time turned out because they're fed up with the lack of response to their worries about the air and waters contamination the industry is foisting on them as well as the lack of response from legislative and administrative authorities.

The question is whether there will be any political repercussion on the heels of this unheard of turnout. And if the outrage in the same social media that enabled the turnout is any indication the 2014 election could one incumbents will actually have to participate in.

It seems as though Kaua`i State Senator Ron Kouchi and Representative Jimmy Tokioka thought they could do what they always do- thumb-nose their constituents and instead bow down to- or bend over for- their corporate masters.

And why not- they, along with Representative Derek Kawakami, have run all but unopposed since their appointments to office with no one willing to take on Tokioka or Kawakami and just token opposition to Kouchi by a perennial Republican candidate last election.

It turns out that when the marchers asked "where's Jimmy," and "where's Ron" the answer would have been predictable if it wasn't so over the top.

The fact is that while anti-GMO demonstrators were sloshing through the rain ostensibly to get their attention, Tokioka and Kouchi were in Los Angeles where they had organized a $500 a plate fundraiser at the fancy-schmancy Coco Laurent restaurant.

It was as if it were all planned to be as offensive as possible to voters. But it turns out they weren't done by any means.

The last anti-GMO bill alive at the legislature is one that calls for labeling only imported mainland fruits and vegetables, of which it turns out there are few if any of in the stores.

How convenient. No broad-based labeling bill that would have forced all GM products to be labeled as such... not even any bills to deal with the horrific health issues that have spurred lawsuits to stop the massive use of herbicides and pesticides- which are necessitated by the GM seed-corn- that has been poisoning west-siders, according to the suit.

So back with all those $500 checks securely in their pockets, Tokioka and Kouchi- this time joined by another Kaua`i Representative, Derek Kawakami- released a position paper in response to the "stacks" of emails they've been receiving on the subject.

And in one of the most weaselly tone-deaf statements imaginable their solution (scroll to the bottom) is to let the stores do it- voluntarily.

Tokioka, apparently speaking for himself, Kouchi and Kawakami writes that he actually supported the imported produce-labeling bill. But now that they have seemingly consulted with their overlords in LA they have a new "solution."
To address this issue, one possible solution that Senator Kouchi, Representative Kawakami and I have been working on would be for individual stores/chains to adopt or implement programs of their own modeled after a program currently in place at Whole Foods Market (WFM).

What WFM has done is they offer separate sections for non-GMO products. These products as well as the shelves they occupy are clearly labeled "GMO-FREE". The products have also been certified as "GMO-FREE" by the Non GMO Project. The Non GMO Project is a non-profit organization that is independent from WFM whose sole function is to verify that non-GMO products are in fact non-GMO.

What I like about the WFM model is that there is little to no Governmental involvement. Senator Kouchi, Representative Kawakami and I have met with many of the grocery stores, including Times/Big Save, Foodland and Safeway to name a few, to encourage them to follow the WFM model. Thus far the dialogue has been productive and their responses have been positive.
Of course this is something that, if they wanted to, stores could do right now. And we all know how voluntary compliance usually works- not at all. And of course it still doesn't identify products containing GMOs, it simply allows non-GMO products to say so- something they also can do right now.

But the main point is that it appears that the Three Corporate Amigos have, after consultation, adopted the official Monsanto spin. They have also now done everything they can to offend their constituents who are finally asking the perennial question "how stupid do you think we are?"

There has never been much danger in underestimating the amount of attention paid by Kaua`i voters to the shenanigans of their legislators. But this time Monsanto's three shills apparently didn't contend with a new generation of Kauai young people who are fed up and willing to demand the right to simply to go about their lives and come home to a place with atrazine-free drinking water and where the winds don't blow Roundup and Agent Orange into their windows and children's classrooms.



Dharma Sanctuary said...

I was in the march. There were 1,000 people, give or take. No need to claim an erroneous 2,000. Andy should look after his credibility.

I know Andy has a hard on for Tokioka, but Tokioka put out an intelligent e-mail to me disclosing his support for the GMO labeling bill. Of course, appearances can deceive, so we'll have to see...

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Dharma,

I agree with your points. Tokioka, Morikawa and Kawakami sent me thoughtful responses to my testimony on HB174 too. However, the resulting senate bill is a watered down piece of nonsense.

You would think Kouchi as president of the senate as well as chair of the ag comm, backed up by other our Kauai reps, could have done better. Kouchi & Kompany sold out. Andy has that part right.

As I wrote yesterday, we need to go after the tourist industry with the undesireable aspects of GMO. (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/03/kauai-tourism-and-gmos.html)

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