GOP Elector won't vote Trump

SUBHEAD: Why I will not cast my electoral vote for Donald Trump says paremedic/emergency responder.

By Christopher Suprun on 5 December 2016 for the New York Times

Image above: Christorpher Supran in From original article.

I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump.

In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote.

However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.

Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year’s election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.

George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks. His leadership showed that America was a great nation. That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.

Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.

This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.

The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes.

Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence.

Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.

I have poured countless hours into serving the party of Lincoln and electing its candidates. I will pour many more into being more faithful to my party than some in its leadership. But I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.

Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief. During the campaign more than 50 Republican former national security officials and foreign policy experts co-signed a letter opposing him.

In their words, “he would be a dangerous president.” During the campaign Mr. Trump even said Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. This encouragement of an illegal act has troubled many members of Congress and troubles me.

Hamilton also reminded us that a president cannot be a demagogue. Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics.

He has surrounded himself with advisers such as Stephen K. Bannon, who claims to be a Leninist and lauds villains and their thirst for power, including Darth Vader. “Rogue One,” the latest “Star Wars” installment, arrives later this month. I am not taking my children to see it to celebrate evil, but to show them that light can overcome it.

Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s pick for national security adviser, has his own checkered past about rules. He installed a secret internet connection in his Pentagon office despite rules to the contrary. Sound familiar?

Finally, Mr. Trump does not understand that the Constitution expressly forbids a president to receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. We have reports that Mr. Trump’s organization has business dealings in Argentina, Bahrain, Taiwan and elsewhere. Mr. Trump could be impeached in his first year given his dismissive responses to financial conflicts of interest. He has played fast and loose with the law for years.

He may have violated the Cuban embargo, and there are reports of improprieties involving his foundation and actions he took against minority tenants in New York. Mr. Trump still seems to think that pattern of behavior can continue.

The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.

I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.

Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.


The deepening Deep State

SUBHEAD: It's part the massively growing “security” and surveillance matrix expanding since 9/11.

By James Kunstler on 5 December 2016 for -

Image above: Americans have reason to fear their own government spying on what they say and think. From (

One amusing angle on the news media broadside about Russia “hacking” the US election is the failure to mention — or even imagine! — that the US incessantly and continually runs propaganda psy-ops against every other country in the world.

And I’m not even including the venerable, old, out-in-the-open propaganda organs like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe (reminder: the Iron Curtain came down a quarter century ago).

Do you suppose that nobody at Langley, or the Pentagon, or the NSA’s sprawling 1.5 million square foot Utah Data Center is laboring night and day to sow confusion among other societies to push our various agendas?

The main offensive started with The Washington Post’s publication on Nov 26 of “The List,” a story calling out dozens of blogs and web news-sites as purveyors of “fake news” fronting for Russian disinformation forces. The list included Zero Hedge, Naked Capitalism, and David Stockman’s blog.

There were several whack-job sites mixed in the list for seasoning — The Daily Stormer (Nazis), (Evangelical apocalyptic), GalacticConnection (UFO shit). The rest range between tabloid-silly and genuine, valuable news commentary. What else would you expect in a society with an Internet AND a completely incoherent consensus about reality?

Pretty obviously, the struggle between mainstream news and Web news climaxed over the election, with the mainstream overwhelmingly pimping for Hillary, and then having a nervous breakdown when she lost. Desperate to explain the loss, the two leading old-line newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, ran with the Russia-Hacks-Election story — because only Satanic intervention could explain the fall of Ms. It’s-My-Turn / I’m-With-Her.

Thus, the story went, Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC), gave the hacked emails to Wikileaks, and sabotaged not only Hillary herself but the livelihoods of every myrmidon in the American Deep State termite mound, an unforgivable act.

Also interestingly, these newspapers and their handmaidens on TV, were far less concerned as to whether the leaked information was true or not — e.g. the Clinton Foundation donors’ influence-peddling around arms deals made in the State Department; the DNC’s campaign to undermine Bernie Sanders in the primaries; DNC temporary chair (and CNN employee) Donna Brazille conveying debate questions to HRC; the content of HRC’s quarter-million-dollar speeches to Wall Street banks. All of that turned out to be true, of course.

Then, a few weeks after the election, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 6393, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. Blogger Ronald Thomas West reports:
Section 501 calls for the government to “counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”
The measure has not been passed by the Senate or signed into law yet, and the holiday recess may prevent that. But it is easy to see how it would empower the Deep State to shut down whichever websites they happened to not like.

My reference to the Deep State might even imply to some readers that I’m infected by the paranoia virus.

But I’m simply talking about the massive “security” and surveillance matrix that has unquestionably expanded since the 9/11 airplane attacks, creating a gigantic NSA superstructure above and beyond the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense’s DIA, and the hoary old FBI.

A little paranoia about the growing fascist behavior of the US government is a useful corrective to trends that citizens ought to be concerned about — for instance, the militarization of police; the outrageous “civil forfeiture” scam that allows police to steal citizens cash and property without any due process of law; the preferential application of law as seen in the handling of the Clinton Foundation activities and the misconduct of banking executives; the attempt to impose a “cashless society” that would herd all citizens into a financial surveillance hub and eliminate their economic liberty.

These matters are especially crucial as the nation stumbles into the next financial crisis and the Deep State becomes desperate to harvest every nickel it can to rescue itself plus the cast of “systemically important” (Too-Big-To-Fail) banks and related institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are about to once again be left holding colossal bags of worthless non-performing mortgages, not to mention the pension funds and insurance companies that will also founder in the Great Unwind that is likely to commence as Trump hangs his golden logo over the White House portico.


As Standing Rock celebrates...

SUBHEAD: Trump advisors propose privatizing oil-rich Indian reservations on federal land for extraction.

By Tyler Durden on 5 December 2016 for Zero Hedge -

Image above: A celebration of fireworks over Standing Rock teepees after Army Corps denies easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. From (

With celebrations continuing at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest (following the "Monumental victory" following the Obama administration's decision not to grant the construction permit), it appears the Trump administration has very different ideas.

Having confirmed Trump's support for the pipeline (not to do with his investments), Reuters reports a Trump advisory group proposes the politically explosive idea of putting oil-rich Indian reservation lands into provate ownership.

As we noted last night, after months of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota, among others, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today effectively shut down the project by refusing to approve the last remaining permit required to complete a segment running under Lake Oahe.

Per Reuters, the permit denial was heavily celebrated by protesters in Cannon Ball, North Dakota but means that Energy Transfer Partners will have to go back to the drawing board to identify a new route for the last segment of the 1,172 mile pipeline that is largely already complete.

Which followed a communications briefing from Trump's transition team saying that despite media reports that Trump owns a stake in Energy Transfer Partners (ETP.N), the company building the pipeline...
Trump's support of the pipeline "has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans."

"Those making such a claim are only attempting to distract from the fact that President-elect Trump has put forth serious policy proposals he plans to set in motion on Day One," said the daily briefing note sent to campaign supporters and congressional staff.
As a reminder, Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves.

And now, as Reuters reports, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews.

The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership - a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.
The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property.

"We should take tribal land away from public treatment." said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. "As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country."
The plan fits with Trump’s larger promise of slashing regulation to boost energy production, but as Reuters notes, it could deeply divide Native American leaders, who hold a range of opinions on the proper balance between development and conservation. The proposed path to deregulated drilling - privatizing reservations - could prove even more divisive. Many Native Americans view such efforts as a violation of tribal self-determination and culture.
"Our spiritual leaders are opposed to the privatization of our lands, which means the commoditization of the nature, water, air we hold sacred," said Tom Goldtooth, a member of both the Navajo and the Dakota tribes who runs the Indigenous Environmental Network. "Privatization has been the goal since colonization – to strip Native Nations of their sovereignty."

Reservations governed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs are intended in part to keep Native American lands off the private real estate market, preventing sales to non-Indians.

"It has to be done with an eye toward protecting sovereignty."
The contingent of Native Americans who fear tribal-land privatization cite precedents of lost sovereignty and culture.
"Privatization of Indian lands during the 1880s is widely viewed as one of the greatest mistakes in federal Indian policy," said Washburn, a citizen of Oklahoma's Chickasaw Nation.

"With this alignment in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court," he said, "we should be concerned about erosion of self determination, if not a return to termination."


Sea Shepherd to obstruct Japanese

SUBHEAD: An attempt to stop Japan’s so-called “scientific research” program used to justify killing whales.

By Staff on 5 December 2016 for Sea Shepherd -

Image above: Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin sets sail to meet Japanese whalers. From (

After final preparations in Australia, two Sea Shepherd vessels are now on their way to the Southern Ocean to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in a bid stop their slaughter of Minke whales.

The marine conservation organization's flagship vessel the Steve Irwin departed Saturday from Seaworks, Williamstown in Melbourne, followed by its fast new patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior, which departed from Hobart, Tasmania on Sunday.

They're now on their way to the vast Southern Ocean in an effort to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet, which left Japan on November 18th, from killing its self-allocated quota of 333 Minke whales.

"With all of the hectic preparations behind us, it's good to finally be on our way to the Southern Ocean," said Captain Adam Meyerson from the bridge of the Ocean Warrior.

Fast enough to outrun any whaling ship and equipped with a powerful water cannon, Sea Shepherd predicts the Ocean Warrior will be a game-changer for their 11th whale defense campaign, Operation Nemesis.

About Operation Nemesis
Operation Nemesis is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Antarctic whale defense campaign. In Sea Shepherd’s past ten campaigns over 6,000 whales have been spared the grenade-tipped harpoons of the illegal Japanese whaling fleet.

Japan’s so-called “scientific research” program used to justify the killing of whales has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee. In 2015 the Australian Federal Court fined the Japanese whalers $AU1 million for hunting within an Australian whale sanctuary, however it remains unpaid.

This is the second time the illegal Japanese whaling fleet has returned to the scene of their crimes in the Southern Ocean since the 2014 International Court of Justice ruling. at a press conference in the port of Hobart Saturday morning Australian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said:
"Sea Shepherd shouldn’t have to be taking on the whalers again this summer. Australia won the International Court of Justice case against Japan, but unfortunately the government put trade deals ahead of whales and removed all diplomatic pressure. The Japanese whaling fleet might be able to escape and outrun the international courts but it won’t escape Sea Shepherd."
Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia said:
"It's time that Japan respected the International Court of Justice, the Australian Federal Court, and the global moratorium on commercial whaling and ended their so-called scientific lethal hunting of whales off the Antarctic coast." 
The Japanese typically hunt whales from December until March, so Sea Shepherd's vessels have been equipped to endure four months of harsh conditions at sea to protect the whales of the Southern Ocean.

"The crew has worked really hard to get the ship ready and everybody is super excited to be on our way," said Steve Irwin's Captain Wyanda Lublink.

The two Sea Shepherd vessels are carrying a total of 50 crew members from eight different countries: Australia, Germany, France, UK, Austria, Spain, Canada and the United States. "They are very much looking forward to getting down towards the Antarctic and being able to experience firsthand the stunning beauty of this part of the world. A place where illegal whaling vessels from the other side of the world do not belong."

Video above: Video describing Sea Shepherd activity on its 11th seasonal journey to protect whales from Japanese hunting vessels. From (

About Sea Shepherd Global
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

For more information, visit:

For photos and interview requests, contact:

Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director
Tel: +339 7719 7742 (EUROPE, GMT+1)

For Australia and New Zealand media requests, contact:
Adam Burling, Media Coordinator Sea Shepherd Australia
Tel : +61 409 472 922 (AUSTRALIA, GMT+11)


Army Corps denies DAPL easement

SUBHEAD: In a system that has been stacked against us, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach.

By Staff on 4 December 2016 for Standing With Standing Rock -

Image above: NoDAPL water protecotors come face to face with the militarized police on highway 1806, North Dakota, Photo Date: November 1, 2016. Photo by Rob Wilson. From (

The department of the Army will not approve an easement that will allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The following statement was released by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II.

“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.

We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause.

We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water.

We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.
We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point.

When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.

Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.

To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.

Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns.

In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16    


Moana - the Bigger Picture

SUBHEAD: Disney’s latest motion picture is a parable about climate change and indigenous rights.

By Ed Rampell on 2 December 2016 for Earth Island -

Image above: Gramma Tala speaking to her granddaughter Moana on the beach of their island of Motunui at sunset. From (

Disney’s South Pacific-set animated feature Moana — co-directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, co-creators of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, with voice characterization by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and music co-written by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda — was number one at US box offices during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

After its world premiere at LA’s AFI Fest on November 14, The Hollywood Reporter noted, “Moana scored… with $81.1 million from 3,875 theaters,” while ABC News reported it “notched the third-largest three-day Thanksgiving opening of all time.”

The optically opulent movie is about Moana (voiced by Hawaiian teenager Auli’i Cravalho), daughter of Motunui island’s Polynesian Chief Tui (New Zealand Maori actor Temuera Morrison, who starred in 1994’s Once Were Warriors).

After the Pacific Islander learns about her voyaging heritage from Gramma Tala (Maori actress Rachel House of 2016’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Moana decides to embark on an Oceanic odyssey to save her endangered isle from environmental devastation.

During her voyage she enlists the aid of the legendary demigod Maui (voiced by Johnson, who is part-Samoan), who reluctantly helps the young, feisty Moana as they cross the Pacific in a sailing canoe to fight the demonic force on a far away isle that is threatening Motunui (which can be translated as “big island”).

This is the basic plot of Disney’s sumptuously animated musical adventure, but what most reviewers have missed is that disguised in the medium of a feature-length colorful cartoon, Moana’s filmmakers have created a motion picture parable about climate change.

And emerging while Native tribes take a stand at Standing Rock against fossil fuel development and oppression of indigenous peoples, Moana is also a movie metaphor about indigenous rights. (If Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are “water protectors,” however, in Moana the Pacific protects the title character — whose name can be translated as “ocean.”)

The entire raison d’etre for Moana’s mission is that an environmental disaster has befallen Motunui. The crops are failing, the coconuts have turned black, and the lagoon’s fish have been fished out.

To restore ecological balance Moana must sail to the distant island of Te Fiti and return the “heart of Te Fiti,” a sculpted, jade-like precious gem-like stone that glows green (symbolizing Mother Nature) in order to defeat Te Kā, a fierce fiery creature threatening her home.

Te Kā’s heat and flames represent global warming; Moana and Maui repeatedly proclaim they’re not only rescuing Motunui, but “saving the world.” 

Disney’s creative team has rendered, within the animation format, an allegorical version of Pacific Islanders’ struggle against climate change, as depicted in documentaries such as Josh Fox’s How to Let Go and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.

In that 2016 nonfiction film the Pacific Climate Warriors — including islanders from Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia — form a blockade with a fleet of outrigger canoes to stop coal ships from leaving the port at Newcastle, Australia. Compelled by the fear that global warming-caused sea level rise will inundate the isles, their slogan is: “We are not drowning, We are fighting!”

Moana also expresses the revival of traditional Polynesian seafaring methods that was launched in the 1970s by the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokule’a. This movement proved that ancient Polynesians purposefully and scientifically sailed to and settled islands across the vast stretches of the Pacific by using the stars, ocean currents, winds, etc., to chart their courses.

This systematic wayfinding technique gave the lie to the racist canard that Pacific Islanders were not intelligent enough to have crossed the ocean by design and had only discovered their far-flung islands randomly and by chance.

The 1970s’ resurgence of traditional Oceanic voyaging contributed to a Pacific Renaissance of culture that inspired ethnic pride among colonized peoples at Hawaii, Tahiti and beyond, and Moana taps into this proud legacy.

Fox’s documentary also goes on location at Vanuatu and at Savaii, the big island of Samoa, the first major film to shoot there in 90 years, since Robert Flaherty made the classic silent film Moana of the South Seas.

Starting with 1922’s Arctic Circle-set Nanook of the North about Inuits’ way of life, Flaherty pioneered a form of ethno-filmmaking of  documentary-like films shot at remote locations. Moana of the South Seas, released in 1926, was his poetic follow-up to Nanook.

Disney’s 2016 animated feature probably derived its name from Flaherty’s exquisite black and white masterpiece, although in it, Moana is actually a teenaged male.

And instead of saving his island — let alone the planet — the Savaii villager’s goal is to undergo the painful traditional knee-to-navel tattooing of the “Fa’a Samoa” — the Samoan Way. Ninety years later, a cinematic highlight of Disney’s Moana are scenes in which Maui’s tattoos come to life on his body.

Some Polynesians have criticized the depiction of the ancient demigod of their pre-Christian religion, Maui, as obese. While it is true that Maui is portrayed as overweight in the film, Moana’s body type is a huge improvement over that of Disney’s other indigenous princess in 1995’s Pocahontas, where the young teenager was over-sexualized, illustrated as a voluptuous beauty, and given voice by Alaska-born Irene Bedard, an Inupiat Eskimo and French Canadian/Cree actress voted one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”

The cartoon Pocahontas was reportedly modeled on Bedard, who was about twice her character’s age at the time.
Despite the continued prevalence of South Seas celluloid stereotypes portraying Polynesian women as promiscuous, Moana — voiced by Cravalho when she was only 15 — is not sexualized in the film, and is depicted appropriately for a female character who is in early adolescence.

South Seas Cinema is a popular film genre dating back to 1898, and most of these movies set and shot in Oceania depict white characters as the protagonists, such as Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, and Mel Gibson portraying Fletcher Christian in various versions of the Bounty mutiny saga.

On the other hand, all of Moana’s human characters are aboriginal islanders co-existing in harmony with nature (at least until the ecosystem is menaced). Motunui’s inhabitants live in pre-contact Polynesia before European explorers arrived, followed by colonizers, missionaries, and merchants.

And like 2002’s Maori movie Whale Rider starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, with its spunky grrrrrrl power protagonist who confronts Maui and monsters alike, Moana also has an empowering feminist message.

The film’s relative authenticity and cultural sensitivity reflects the fact that the filmmakers traveled to the South Pacific and hired a team of Native cultural consultants to advise on the production. One advisor listed in Moana’s closing credits is Dr. Vilsoni Hereniko, a University of Hawaii professor, playwright, and moviemaker born on the Polynesian islet of Rotuma in Fiji.

Samoan-born songwriter Opetaia Foa’i — whose father is from Tokelau and mother from Tuvalu — co-created Moana’s music with Disney musical veteran Mark Mancina. All of the key cast members giving voice to the animated human characters are Polynesian, though the dramatis personae themselves are not identified as coming from any particular island group.

And according to the L.A. Times, the PG-rated, one hour and fifty-three minute Moana “will be the first Disney movie ever translated and re-recorded in Tahitian.”

Like Aesop’s Fables, Moana’s film fable has “a moral to the story.” With its rare depiction of an intact, untouched Polynesian culture, Moana shows how the issues of native lifestyles and climate change are inextricably bound up with one another; how indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by global warming.

Moana and Maui’s quest is to restore ecological balance to preserve traditional culture. Framed in the medium of computer-generated animation with some hand-drawn artwork, Moana presents an environmental, indigenous vision via mass entertainment for children of all ages.

• Ed Rampell is a L.A.-based reviewer/film historian Ed living in Oceania for 23 years who co-authored three film histories on South Seas Cinema, including The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.


The curse of the modern office

SUBHEAD: The sustainable image of the information age is a product of office work, hiding the true nature of office work.

By Kris De Decker on 22 November 2016 for Low Tech Magazine -

Image above: Financial District, Downtown Toronto. Photo by Paul Dex at Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

These days, it's rather easy to define an "office worker": it's someone who sits in front of a computer screen for most of the working day, often in a space where others are doing the same, but sometimes alone in a "home office" or with a few others in a "shared office". In earlier times, many office workers were used not for their knowledge or intelligence, but for the mere objective capacity of their brains to store and process information.

For example, "computers" were office workers who made endless calculations with the help of mechanical calculating machines. This category of office workers has become comparatively less important, because inanimate computers have taken over many of their jobs. Most office workers -- so-called "knowledge workers" -- are now paid to actually think and be creative.

There's a big chance that you are one of them. Roughly 70% of those in employment in industrial nations now have office jobs. The share of office workers in the total workforce has increased continuously throughout the twentieth century.

For example, in the USA, the information sector employed 13% of workers in 1900, about 40% of workers in 1950, and more than 60% of workers in 2000. [1][2]

The spectacular and so far unstoppable growth in the number of office workers is believed to have led to a so-called information society, an idea popularised by Fritz Machlup in his 1962 book The Production of Knowledge in the United States, and since then repeated by many others. [3]

Downtown chicagoImage above: Downtown Chicago. Photo by Charles Voogd at Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

Interestingly, there's no agreement as to what an information society actually is, but the most widely accepted definition is a society where more than half of the labour force engages in informational activities and where more than half of the GNP is generated from informational goods and services.

Some say that the information society is characterized by the use of modern IT equipment, but that does not explain the growth of office work during the first half of the twentieth century. Others have argued that there is a transition from an economy based on material goods to one based on knowledge. Their claim is that this shift from the "industrial society" to the "information society" would make the economy less resource intensive. [3][4]

Indeed, unlike workers in manufacturing, service or agricultural industries, office workers don't really produce anything besides paper documents, electronic files, and a lot of chatter during formal and informal meetings.

However, the rise of office work has not lowered the use of resources, on the contrary. For one thing, supporters of the sustainable information society ignore the fact that we have moved most of our manufacturing industries (and our waste) to low wage countries.

We are producing and consuming more material goods than ever before, but the energy use of these activities has vanished from national energy statistics. Second, modern office work has itself become a large and rapidly growing consumer of energy and resources.

The Energy Footprint of Office Work

The energy use of office work consists of multiple components: the energy use of the building itself (office equipment, heating, cooling and lighting), the energy used for commuting to and from the office, and the energy used by the communications networks that office work depends on. It also includes people who are not working in the office but who plug in their laptops in a place outside the office, which is also lighted, heated or cooled.

As far as I could find out, nobody has ever tried to calculate the energy footprint of office work, taking all these components into account. We know more or less how much energy is used by commuting and telecommunication, but we don't know how much of that is due to office work.

Most information is available for the energy use of office buildings -- the icons of today's global knowledge economy. However, even in this case information is limited because most national statistics do not distinguish between different types of commercial buildings.

The main exception is the US Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which is undertaken since 1979 and is the most comprehensive dataset of its type in the world. It further categorises offices into administrative or professional offices (such as real estate sales offices and university administration buildings), government offices (such as state agencies and city halls), banks and financial offices, and health service administrative centers. [5]

Moscow business districtImage above: Moscow International Business Center. Picture: Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

The modern, American-style office building -- a design increasingly copied all over the world -- is an insult to sustainability. Per square metre of floorspace, US office buildings are twice as energy-intensive as US residential buildings (which are no examples of energy efficiency either). [5-10]

In 2003, the most recent year for which a detailed analysis of office buildings was presented (published in 2010), there were 824,000 office buildings in the USA, which consumed 300 trillion Btu of heat and 719 trillion Btu of electricity. [8]

The electricity use alone corresponds to 210 TWh, which equals a quarter of total US electricity produced by nuclear power in 2015 (797 Twh with 99 reactors). In other words, the US needs 25 atomic reactors to power its office buildings. [11][12] From 2003 to 2012, the number of US office buildings grew by more than 20%. [5]

How Did we Get Here?
The US office building, which appeared with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, was initially quite energy efficient. From the 1880s until the 1930s, sunlight was the principal means of illuminating the workplace and the most important factor in setting the dimensions and layout of the standard office building in the US. According to the NYC-based Skyscraper Museum:
"Rentability depended on large windows and high ceilings that allowed daylight to reach as deeply as possible into the interior. The distance from exterior windows to the corridor wall was never more than 28 feet (8.5 m), which was the depth some daylight penetrated. Ceilings were at least 10 to 12 feet (3 - 3.65 m) in height, and windows were as big as possible without being too heavy to open, generally about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 - 1.5 m) wide and 6 to 8 feet (1.8 - 2.4 m) high. If the office was subdivided, partitions were made of translucent glass to transmit light." [13]
Many office buildings had window accomodating H-, T-, and L-shaped footprints to encourage natural lighting, ventilation, and cooling. This changed after the introduction of fluorescent light bulbs and air conditioning. Produced at an affordable price in the late 1930s, fluorescent lighting provided high levels of illumination without excessive heat and cost.

The first fully air-conditioned American office buildings appeared around the 1930s. The combination of artificial lighting and air-conditioning made it possible to design office space much deeper than the old standard of 28 feet. Light courts and high ceilings were ditched, and office buildings were reconceived as massive cubes -- which were much cheaper to build and which maximised floor space. [13][14]

Air-conditioning also enabled the most characteristic feature of the modern office building: its glazed façade. From the 1950s onwards, under the influence of Modernist architecture, glass came to dominate in America -- early examples of this trend are the Lever Building (1952) and the Seagram building (1958).

The US Modernist office building, a cube with a steel skeleton and glass curtain walls, is essentially a massive greenhouse that would be unbearable for most of the year without artificial cooling. Because glazed façades don't insulate well, energy use for heating is also high. In spite of all the glass, most US office buildings require artificial lighting throughout the day because many office workers are too far from a window to receive enough natural light.

Canary wharf londonImage above: Canary Wharf, London. Photo by David Iliff at Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

The arrival of electric office equipment from the 1950s onwards further increased energy use. According to the CEBECS survey, "more computers, dedicated servers, printers, and photocopiers were used in office buildings than in any other type of commercial building".

According to the latest analysis, concerning the year 2003, American office buildings were using 27.6 million computers, 11.6 million printers, 2.1 million photocopiers, and 2.5 million dedicated servers. In addition to electricity consumed directly, this electronic equipment requires additional cooling, humidity control, and/or ventilation that also increase energy use. [5, 8]

While heating was the main energy use in pre-1950s office buildings, today cooling, lighting and electronic equipment (all operated by electricity), use 70% of all energy on-site. Note that this ratio doesn't include the energy that is lost during the generation and distribution of electricity. Depending on how electricity is produced, energy use at the source can be up to three times higher than on-site. Assuming thermal generation of electricity (coal or natural gas), the average US office building consumes up to twice as much energy for electricity than for heating.

Cultural Differences
Technology alone, however, does not explain the rise of the typical air-conditioned office building, nor its high energy use today. Although fluorescent light bulbs and air conditioning soon became available in Europe, the all-glass, cube-like office building remained for a long time a uniquely North American phenomenon. In the 1920s, office work in the USA came under the influence of Frederick Taylor's 'Scientific Managament'. Time and motion studies, which had been carried out in factories since the 1880s, were now applied to office work as well. Men with stopwatches recorded the actions of (mostly female) employees with the aim of improving labour productivity.

Taylor's ideas were translated into office design through the concept of large, open floor spaces with an orderly arrangement of desks, all facing the direction of the supervisor. Private office rooms were abolished. By the late 1940s, American offices resembled factories in their appearance and methods. Although Taylorism left its mark on European offices, it was taken up with less enthusiasm and faced more resistance rooted in tradition than in the US. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Europeans rejected the application of Taylorist principles to office work more strongly, and developed their own type of office building. British office expert Frank Duffy calls it the "social democratic" office. [15, 16]

The curse of the modern office la defenseImage above: La Défense, Paris. Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

These buildings, "groundscrapers" rather than "skyscrapers", were designed like small cities, cut into separate "houses" that are united by internal "streets" or "squares". They were built with corridors and spacious rooms on either side, all naturally lit and ventilated, with employees working next to a window.

The social democratic office building focuses on user comfort, a consequence of the fact that office workers in Europe, unlike those in the USA, obtained the right to form democratically elected workers' councils that could participate in organisational decision making. The UK, with its more American style of business, embraced the US approach in the 1980s. [15, 16]

An important difference between the "social democratic" office building and the "Taylorist" US/UK office building is that the first is usually owner-occupied, while the latter is generally a speculative building: It is built or refurbished to provide a return on investment, and rented by the room or floor.

The speculative model is gaining ground: over the last two decades, US/UK-style office buildings have finally started spreading all over Europe, and beyond. Roughly 50% of new office buildings under construction in France and Germany -- the largest European markets outside the UK -- are now speculative buildings, roughly double their share in the 1980s. [15][18]

This is bad news, because speculative office buildings exclude lower energy alternatives and raise energy use. First, in order to maximize the return on investment, they are usually designed as square or rectangular buildings with deep floor plans and low ceilings, and built as high as planning regimes allow. Naturally lit and cooled buildings require a more horizontal build and higher ceilings, both aspects that conflict with maximizing floorspace. Second, those who design speculative office buildings don't know who will occupy the finished spaces, which leads to an over-provision of services.

"Developers and letting agents focus on the 'needs' of the most demanding tenants, and hence what is required for an office to be marketable to any tenant", write the authors of a recent study that looks into the energy demand of UK office buildings -- and concludes that 92% of such buildings are over-provisioned. Lighting, cooling and heating systems are attuned to unrealistic occupancy rates and are consequently producing more light, heat and cold than is necessary. [19][20]

The Promise of Remote Working
If the high energy use of office work is questioned at all, it's usually followed by the proposal to work outside the office building. At least since the 1980s, home working has been touted as a trend with potential environmental benefits.

Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave (1980) predicted that in the near future it would no longer be necessary to build offices because computers would enable people to work anywhere they wanted. In 1984, when personal computers had become common equipment in offices, Frank Duffy stated that "many office buildings quite suddenly are becoming obsolete". [15]

Obviously, no such thing happened: in spite of the personal computer, there are now more office buildings than ever before. However, the utopian vision of a radically changed work environment is still among us.

Since the arrival of mobile phones, portable computers and the internet in the 1990s, the focus has shifted to "remote" or "agile" working, which includes working at home but also on the road and in so-called third places: coffee shops, libraries or co-working offices. [20]

These concepts suggest that offices will become meeting places for 'nomadic' employees equipped with mobile phones and laptops, how the office will become a more diverse and informal environment, or how in the near future offices may no longer be necessary because we can work anywhere and at any time. [15] According to a 2014 consultancy report:
"The term 'office' will become obsolete in the coming years. The modern workplace evolves into more of a shared workspace with flexible working arrangements that acts as more of a hub for workers on the go than an official place of work. The vast majority of jobs in most organisations can be accomplished from virtually any PC or mobile device, from just about anywhere". [21]
Frank Duffy, building further upon his 1980s predictions, writes in Work and the City (2008):
"The development of the knowledge economy and achievement of sustainability will both be made possible by the power of information technology... Office work can be carried out anywhere... In the knowledge economy more and more businesses, both large and small, will be operated as networks, depending at least as much on virtual communications as on face-to-face interactions. Networked organisations do not need to operate, manage or define themselves within conventional categories of workplaces or conventional working hours." [16]
Does it Matter Where We Work?
On the face of it, more people working outside the office has obvious potential for energy savings. Home workers don't have to travel to and from the office, which can save energy -- after all, commuting has also become energy-intensive since the democratisation of the car in the 1950s. Furthermore, home office workers tend to use less energy for heating, cooling and lighting than they do in the office, a finding that corresponds with the fact that office buildings consume double the energy per square metre of floorspace compared to residential homes. [22]

However, there are many ways in which the environmental advantages of remote working can disappear or become disadvantages. First, remote workers make use of the same office equipment, the same data centers and the same internet and phone infrastructure as people working in an office -- and these are now the main drivers behind the increasing energy use of office buildings.

In fact, a networked office would surely increase energy use by communication services, because face-to-face meetings at the office are replaced and complemented by virtual meetings and other forms of electronic communication.

In Work and the City, Frank Duffy recalls his participation in a videoconferencing talk, expressing his awe for the quality of the experience. What he doesn't seem to realise, is that the Cisco Telepresence system that he was using requires between 1 and 3 kW of power (and 200W in standby) at either side [25], plus the energy use of routing and switching all those data through the network infrastructure.

FrankfurtImage above: Frankfurt, Germany. Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

Second, if work is done not at home but in third places, people might actually increase their energy use for transport when they visit different working spaces during the day. They might work from home in the morning and drive to the office in the afternoon, or they might go to the office in morning and to a co-working space later in the day.

Likewise, if organizations shorten the distance between the office and the office worker by inviting them to work in shared spaces closer to their home, employees might actually decide to go live further away from their new working space, and keep the same time budget for commuting. [20]

Third, for an employee working at home, on the road, or in a third place, the heating, cooling and lighting of that alternative workspace is now often an extra load because his or her now empty space in the office is still being heated, cooled and lit. In most cases, today's home and remote workers occasion additional energy consumption. [22]

This problem is recognized by the supporters of remote working, who stress that office buildings have to adapt to the new reality of the networked office by reducing floorspace and increasing the occupancy rates. This can happen through "hot-desking", sharing a smaller amount of desks between office workers who decide not to work at home -- and hope that not everybody will show up at the same time.

Noel Cass, who investigates energy demand in offices for the UK's Demand Centre at Lancaster University, has his doubts about this approach:
"Hot-desking" requires the depersonalisation of the desk, as if it was a coffee bar or a library, and that's easier said than done. Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo, who pioneered hot-desking arrangements and whose productivity is the rationale behind this trend, have gone back to giving each employee their personal space. In fact, these companies not only left behind the "non-territorial" office, they also have recognised that productivity is best secured by physical co-presence, discouraging telecommuting.

Office spaces now tend to be conceptualised as a 'destination' with increasing amenities on the job, in an effort to attract and retain talent and encourage them to spend more time there. Examples are domestic-like interiors, gym facilities, indoor swimming pools, dry cleaners, or dentists on site. So, who knows, instead of working at home, the future could be living at the office. Obviously, increasing amenities at the office might negate the energy savings obtained by fewer and shared office desks. [20]
In sum, office work will always include buildings, commuting, office equipment and a communication infrastructure. The focus on the location of office work -- at home, in the office, or elsewhere -- conceals the real cause that impacts energy use: the high energy use of all its components.

Lujiazui shanghaiImage above: Lujiazui, Shanghai. Photo byPatrick Fischer at Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

If the commute happens, or could happen, by walking, biking, or taking a commuter train, instead of by car, the energy use advantage of working at home would be zero or insignificant. Similarly, if an office building is designed in such a way that it can be naturally lit and cooled, like in the old days, working from home would not save energy for cooling and lighting.

Finally, the use of low energy office equipment and a low energy internet infrastructure would lower the energy use regardless of where people are working. In short, for energy use it doesn't matter so much where office work happens. What really matters is what happens at these places and in between them.

How Much Office Work Do We Need?

In his 1986 book The Control Revolution, James Beniger states that there is a tight relationship between the volume and speed of energy conversion and material processing in an industrial system on the one hand, and the importance of bureaucratic organisation and information processing, in other words, office work, on the other hand:
Innovation in matter and energy processing create the need for further innovation in information processing and communication -- an increased need for control. Until the nineteenth century, the extraction of resources, even in the largest and most developed national economies, were still carried out with processing speeds enhanced only slightly by draft animals and wind and water power.

So long as the energy used to process and move material throughputs did not much exceed that of human labor, individual workers could provide the information processing required for its control. The Industrial Revolution sped up society's entire material processing system, thereby precipitating a crisis of control.

As the crisis in control spread through the material economy, it inspired a continuing stream of innovations in control technology -- a steady development of organisational, information-processing, and communication technology that lags industrialisation by perhaps 10 to 20 years. By the 1930s, the crisis of control had been largely contained. [1]
Although Beniger makes no reference whatsoever to sustainability issues, what he suggests here is another strategy to lower the energy use of office work: reduce the demand for it. If office work depends on the material and energy throughput in the industrial system, it follows that reducing this throughput will lower the need for office work.

A slower, low energy, and more low-tech industrial system would decrease the need for control and thus for office work. An economy with smaller organizations operating more locally, would need less office work.

CTBA MadridImage above: Cuatro Torres Business Area, Madrid. Photo by Xauxa Hakan Svensson at Wikipedia Commons. From original article.

By the 1900s, all management techniques and office tools that would be used for the next 70 years had been invented. James Beniger was not impressed by the arrival of the digital computer, which was becoming ubiquitous in offices when he wrote his book:
Contrary to prevailing views, which locate the origins of the information society in WWII or in the commercial development of television or computers, the basic societal transformation from industrial to information society had been essentially completed by the late 1930s.

Microprocessing and computer technology, contrary to currently fashionable opinion, do not represent a new force recently unleashed on an unprepared society but merely the most recent installment in the continuing development of the control revolution.

Energy utilization, processing speeds, and control technologies have continued to co-evolve in a positive spiral, advances in any one factor causing, or at least enabling, improvements in the other two. Furthermore, information processes and flows need themselves to be controlled, so that informational technologies must continue to be applied at higher and higher layers of control -- certainly an ironic twist to the control revolution. [1]
Our so-called information economy mainly serves to manage an ever faster, larger and more complex production and consumption system, of which we have only outsourced the manufacturing part. Consequently, without the information economy -- without the office -- the industrial system would collapse.

Without the industrial system, there would be no need for the information society or the office -- in fact, office work could be like it was before 1850, when the biggest bank in the US was run by just three people with a quill. [1]

The sustainable image of the information society -- as contrasted to the dirty image of the industrial society -- is built on an obsession with dividing energy use into different statistical categories, fiddling around with figures on electronic calculating tools. In other words, it's a product of office work, hiding the true nature of office work.

This article was written for The Demand Centre, one of six academic research centres funded by the Research Councils UK to address "End Use Energy Demand Reduction". This article is a shortened version of the original piece, which is on Demand's website. The Demand Centre focuses on the use of energy as part of accomplishing social practices at home, at work and in moving around. It investigates how energy demand is shaped by material infrastructures and institutional arrangements, and how these systems reproduce interpretations of normal and acceptable ways of life.

Good news for Mahaulepu ecosystem

SOURCE: Ken Taylor (
SUBHEAD: Friends of Mahaulepu have gained standing in case against Hawaii Dairy Farm.

By By Bridget Hammerquist on 3 December 2016 in Island Breath -

Image above:  Dramatic view from Mahaulepu shoreline hike with the Sierra Club. Photo by Juan Wilson.

Friends of Mhaulpe (FOM) was interviewed for coverage tonight by both KGMB-Hawaii News Now and KITV. Apparently we are going to be covered several time this evening and here's why:

Judge Kobayashi finally issued her ruling, an Order on the Summary Judgement Motions that were argued 9/12/2016. As you may recall, each of the Defendants (Ulupono Initiative, Hawaii Dairy Farms and Grove Farm's Mahaulepu Farms LLC) filed a Summary Judgement Motion seeking a Court Order to Dismiss FOM's Clean Water Act Complaint on the ground that FOM had no standing to file such a claim.

Judge Kobayashi denied the Defendants' Motion and found that Friends of Maha'ulepu does have standing and our Clean Water Act Case was validly filed.

FOM filed its Summary Judgement Motion on the ground that the evidence of Clean Water Act Violations is sufficiently clear that the court could make findings of fact in favor of FOM by way of  Summary Judgement, saving the need to prove those facts at trial. In fact, the Judge did just that.

Attached is a copy of FOM's Press Release with a link to Judge Kobayashi's Order/Decision. Watch for us on TV tonight. For those who are unable to view it, we will try to capture a link and forward it in our next hui news letter.

We will be going to trial but the issues to be proven are limited to the likely discharge as a result of their violations and the damages. The Judge found for us on three quarters of our complaint.

Thanks to all of our generous supporters who have funded this effort. Our attorneys did an exceptional job. Any donations you can make between now and the end of the year will make certain we are adequately funded (see GoFundMe/Mahaulepu link) for the upcoming trial, attorney fees and expert witness fees and costs.

Bridget Hammerquist
Friends of Mahaulepu
P.O. Box: 1654
Koloa, HI 96756

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Mahaulepu Dairy Farms Draft EIS 5/26/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii Dairy Farm faces lawsuit 6/3/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fed up with factory farming 3/25/15
Ea O Ka Aina: NZ dairy model isn't Mahaulepu 3/10/15 
Ea O Ka Aina: Ugly show at the Cow Palace 3/1/15  
Ea O Ka Aina: Dairy polluted groundwater 1/17/15
Ea O Ka Aina: No Moo Poo in Mahaulepu 10/27/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii Dairy Farm Factsheet 10/11/14 
Ea O Ka Aina: Disquiet over CAFU in Mahaulepu 9/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Grassfed Dairy Fraud 4/13/14 

Mainstreaming alternative agriculture

SUBHEAD: What it will take to mainstream small size local farming practices in America.

By Maywa Montanegro & Alistair Isles on 20 July 2016 for Ensia -

Image above: Kauai Farm Connection in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii is a two acre permaculture farm supplying a variety of produce. From (

Ensia Editor’s note: This Voices piece is published in collaboration with the academic journal Elementa. It is based on “Toward thick legitimacy: Creating a web of legitimacy for agroecology,” a peer-reviewed article published July 20 as part of Elementa’s New Pathways to Sustainability in Agroecological Systems forum.
The industrialized food system, studies have shown, is linked to greenhouse gas emissions, algal blooms, pesticide pollution, soil erosion and biodiversity loss, to name a few ecological troubles. Add to this a long list of social ills, from escalating rates of obesity to the demise of the family farmer and deadening of rural landscapes and rural economies across much of the U.S.

In 2010, the National Academies of Science updated its seminal 1989 publication “Alternative Agriculture” with a fresh look at the state of food and farming in America. Its expert panel concluded, “Growing awareness of unintended impacts associated with some agricultural production practices has led to heightened societal expectations for improved environmental, community, labor, and animal welfare standards in agriculture.”

Yet that growing awareness and those heightened expectations haven’t led to alternative agricultural systems becoming the norm in the U.S. Organic has made some headway, but many organic growers have been forced to imitate industrial farming.

That is grow bigger and resort to monocultures instead of truly diversified fields, and sell to large supermarkets — forgoing many of the benefits alternative agricultural systems offer, such as natural pest control, pollination from native bees, and a smaller production scale conducive to family farmers and local food economies.

So, what gives industrialized agriculture such staying power despite its adverse impacts, even as alternatives offer such benefits? And how can more wholesome food production methods such as agroecology become conventional instead of alternative? To achieve real change in how food is produced and eaten, we need to change people’s expectations of what “normal” agriculture should look like.

What Is Normal?
The industrial food system is considered “normal” and remains intractable for many reasons, including consumer habits.

For example demanding perfectly shaped, vine-ripe tomatoes year-round, or political and economic interests like agribusinesses wielding influence through election donations and lobbying

Also because of the priorities of government departments and universities. For example, research programs favoring biotechnology over agroecology and classical plant breeding.

International trade plays an outsize role too.

Partnerships among U.S. government negotiators, multinational food companies and groups such as the Biotechnology Innovation Organization help shape deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to smooth the way for corporate-friendly trade agreements.

But beneath the global tomatoes, research budgets and trade pacts, there is something less visible that makes the industrial food system powerful: something called legitimacy.

Legitimacy is what makes one food system more credible and “normal” than another. Legitimacy is what makes it commonsensical for consumers to buy soda in Big Gulps and for companies like Walmart to advertise everyday low prices as a good thing, ignoring the hidden costs behind the cheapness. Legitimacy can be tricky to define because, while it is obvious once something has it, how to get it is not so clear.

Legitimacy is what makes it commonsensical for consumers to buy soda in Big Gulps and for companies like Walmart to advertise everyday low prices as a good thing, ignoring the hidden costs behind the cheapness. Legitimacy can be tricky to define because, while it is obvious once something has it, how to get it is not so clear.

Like a spider’s web, thick legitimacy is created by multiple strands that reinforce one another.That’s partly because legitimacy isn’t even a single thing, but depends on multiple bases.

Something can be scientifically legitimate if it meets the standards of research. It might become politically legitimate through legislative backing or government grants. Legitimacy might also result from the civic legitimacy of social trust, or the practical legitimacy of a proven practice. And people can accept something as ethically legitimate — agreeing it’s fair and right.

Industrial farming is supported by all of these types of legitimacy at once, giving it what we call “thick legitimacy.” Like a spider’s web, thick legitimacy is created by multiple strands that reinforce one another.

How can truly alternative alternatives — those that support localized food economies, biologically diverse production, and just distribution of land, water, seed and knowledge resources — gather thick legitimacy? As a start, they must not simply criticize industrial agriculture. They also need a proactive strategy for reshaping people’s expectations about what agriculture should look like and do.

Three Steps to Thick Legitimacy
Here, we’ll focus on agroecology, but what we sketch below also applies to diversified organic, biodynamic, permaculture, local, slow and other forms of alternative agri-food systems.
Agroecology can attain thick legitimacy through three interconnected pathways:
  1. build on and revise existing research practices, developing scientific legitimacy; 
  2. garner legitimacy in policy, practical and civic arenas; and 
  3. focus attention on the ethics and values of food systems themselves, which will feed back and affect all other forms of legitimacy.
Scientific Legitimacy
Agroecology is already a thriving science. Universities with agroecology departments and training programs, journals dedicated to agroecology research and international societies such as the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology show that agroecology science is increasingly accepted around the world, at least within research communities. Still, a criticism sometimes levied at agroecologists is that their science is more ideological than empirical, more aspirational than applicable.

Agroecologists can bolster the empirical basis of their science. A long-running criticism of agroecological farming is that it cannot possibly “feed the world.”

However, research is still only beginning to establish “agroecological yield.” University of California, Berkeley scientists are showing that organic systems can lag behind conventional systems by just 19 percent when it comes to productivity, and just 8 or 9 percent when farmers alternate crops year-to-year or grow several crops together in their fields.

In other words, adding more agroecological practices results in yields that are significantly better than “bare-bones” organic. And this is the case even though organic and agroecological research has been systematically underfunded. With further research into agroecology on tap, industrial food supporters will find it harder to refute evidence that agroecology is yield competitive.

While we can joust on the productivity battleground, thereby strengthening agroecology’s credibility in agricultural science and policy, we don’t have to copy the same logic that supports industrial food.

Many inventions of agribusiness, such as large-scale monoculture, are the outcome of what is known as a “productionist” mentality: the philosophy that food output should be prioritized at the expense of other agricultural values.

This productionist science has apparently accomplished a great deal (e.g., supplying pesticides, mechanized harvesters and genetically modified organisms), and it now promises to provide solutions for climate change (e.g., efficient irrigation, crop-sensing drones and GPS-driven harvesters). Such effectiveness makes industrial agriculture highly legitimate — for now.

However, it neglects a critical part of the equation: While an output-first ideology seems on its face legitimate, it disregards the fact that agricultural landscapes are complex human-nature ecosystems.

Farms that ignore or discount the connections among abiotic (minerals, nutrients, wind, precipitation, energy), biotic (living) and social (needs of farmers, habits of eaters, political economies of local and global markets) components are less resilient to unpredictable changes like California’s now frequently recurring drought.

By moving beyond the simplistic science of industrial farming to a science that embraces this complexity, we create systems that produce not just food but also resilience, stability and sustainability — in the long run a far more valuable output than the one-dimensional yield of industrial agriculture.

A final strategy to increase the scientific legitimacy of agroecology is to capitalize on the broader trend of science embracing multiple ways of knowing.

The National Science Foundation has begun awarding grants to researchers who want to pursue “transdisciplinary” science — research that combines social sciences such as ethnobotany, sociology and philosophy with natural sciences such as agronomy and ecology, and puts them into conversation with the traditional and indigenous expertise of farming communities — and other funding organizations will likely follow suit.

Agroecology is already well poised to gain traction and scientific legitimacy in these emerging programs.

Policy, Civic and Practical Legitimacy
To achieve political, policy, civic and practical legitimacy, we must learn to discuss agroecology in a way that diverse people will understand. This means putting agroecology into the frames and language of legislatures, government departments, corporations and the public at large. Right now, for example, a particularly powerful language that government officials use is “cost-benefit.”

When deciding whether to control a pesticide or whether farmers should house pregnant pigs in bigger boxes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency often employ cost-benefit analysis, a method that quantitatively compares the monetary costs and benefits of a given thing.

We could start using the language of CBA to push for more support of agroecology. For instance, if even a few million dollars more were invested in agroecology research and development, there may be ripple effects in credibility.

Long-term studies, like those of the Rodale Institute that show that ecological farming yields can match — and, in drought years, exceed — conventional yields across a period of 30 years, could persuade skeptical scientists, the media, legislators and consumers to take agroecology more seriously.

But this strategy of speaking to power is successful, in part, because of the structures of power and knowledge that currently exist. In fact, most agroecologists would say using CBA is the wrong approach. To disrupt the locked-in systems of technology, capital, policy and science, we must rethink the very criteria societies use to evaluate agricultural outcomes.

Currently, these criteria emphasize ever-growing crop and animal yields, turning fossil fuel inputs into highly productive “labor,” maximizing profit, and feeding large populations at a low cost. By these standards, industrial food is highly efficient.

Evaluated according to different criteria, however, our current food system, led by industrial farming, becomes terribly inefficient on almost all counts. In the U.S. alone, up to 40 percent of food produced is wasted somewhere from on the farm field to the household refrigerator.

Much of the food thrown away on farms is rejected because of supermarket specifications or consumer preferences. Globally, it’s thought that around a third of the food produced for human consumption every year — some 1.3 billion metric tons (1.4 billion tons) — is lost or wasted. We also do not count the “externalities” of industrial food — that is, the hidden economic costs of current production and consumption.

According to researchers at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina, for example, the cost of soil erosion in Brazil is US$242 million per year in the state of Paraná and US$212 million per year in the state of São Paulo. Meanwhile, researchers from the McKinsey Global Institute estimate that excess weight and obesity comes at a price tag of US$2 trillion in global health care costs.

Prominent international initiatives like The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity and conferences such as the True Costs of American Food have begun to make headway in exploring and tallying these externalized costs.

But we need more creative and more comprehensive criteria with which to size up our food systems.

These could include: Do farmers have food security and stable livelihoods? Are rural economies systematically replenished rather than siphoned dry of people, capital and biodiversity?

Does a farm treat its workers fairly and recycle its natural resources? Do urban and rural populations have access to affordable, culturally appropriate and nourishing food?
Although there is certainly room for improvement, agroecology is already much more likely than industrial agriculture to perform well according to these whole-systems criteria.

Ethical Legitimacy

Historian Taylor Branch’s trilogy about the evolution of the Civil Rights movement offers insights into how focusing attention on the ethics and values of food systems can begin to pare away the thick legitimacy of industrial food, and build up new thick legitimacy for agroecology. Accustomed to a culture of racist oppression,

Blacks didn’t believe they could vote, ride undisturbed in the front sections of public buses or sit on city councils.
Only when they began rejecting the normalcy of this culture — a painful process that included watching their own children beaten while they stood by — did they start exercising their moral power.

Similarly, we can withdraw our tacit consent to industrial agriculture as something normal, weakening its moral legitimacy.

We can simultaneously accept agroecology and other alternative agricultures as “conventional” — indeed, ethically better — food systems.

We can say that while we like the cheapness and availability of industrially produced food, we don’t want the pervasive labor abuses, obesity and hunger crises, environmental pollution, and resource extraction that come with this way of eating.

We can say we want something that will truly persist over time, instead of contributing to Earth’s growing burden of overstressed ecosystems and people who are unevenly stuffed and starved.

By contrast to the extractive focus of industrial farming, an ethic of renewal urges that societies revive and mend the environmental cycles on which they depend.

An ethic of renewal could help societies pivot toward a new, sustainable normal. Rejecting human dominion over nature, renewal insists upon the interdependency of all living things. Renewal means moving away from systems of input and output that equate with extraction and pollution.

It means recycling biomass, nutrients and biological resources, and regenerating cultural and ecological knowledge among communities and from one generation to the next. It means treating humans and nature as co-evolving rather than as discrete parts.

This ethic can be backed up legally and politically, enshrined as an environmental right. One example is Bolivia’s proposal in 2009 that the United Nations General Assembly enact the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (“Pachamama”). The declaration would oblige governments to “respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth.”

While the U.N. hasn’t yet passed this declaration, Bolivia, Ecuador and other Latin American countries have taken the lead on inserting similar clauses into their constitutions and laws.

The human right to food is another way to strengthen a regenerative ethic. Olivier De Schutter, former U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, says that agroecology is an essential part of achieving the right to food globally. Agroecology can enable societies around the world to make rapid progress in meeting the needs of many vulnerable peoples while maintaining the ecological and social foundations of food systems.

Many governments are now beginning to introduce anti-poverty programs aimed at those without sufficient food, such as Brazil’s Zero Hunger policy, which connects family farms with schools in some regions.

Meanwhile, La Via Campesina, a global peasant coalition, is demonstrating the practical, civic and political legitimacy of a new moral moment for agroecology. Formed in 1993 in response to free trade and globalization, LVC has grown into the largest social movement on the planet with an estimated 250 million smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fishers and indigenous peoples in 164 organizations from 73 countries. Agroecology has become an important tenet of the LVC movement, which says,
“Agroecology is the answer to how to transform and repair our material reality in a food system and rural world that has been devastated by industrial food production and its so-called Green and Blue Revolutions. We see Agroecology as a key form of resistance to an economic system that puts profit before life.”
 Gathering Momentum
The good news is, agroecology is already beginning to make headway toward thick legitimacy across the U.S.

In Ohio, David Brandt is showing skeptical neighbors that cover crops — plants such as rye, radishes and hairy vetch — can feed the soil during the corn off-season and save on fertilizer and land erosion costs. In West Oahu, the Mala Ai Opio Organic Farm is growing rows of lettuce, collard greens, oriental cabbages, beets, radishes, kale, chard and eggplants next to fruit trees.

Its student farmers are convincing other farmers across Hawaii that this indigenous intercropping technique can control the island’s plentiful pests.

In public libraries around the country, citizens are saving and exchanging seed, while gardeners are learning to remove toxic metals from urban soils. Indigenous elders and university students are practicing subtle acts of resistance with participatory research that envisions reclaiming land for public agriculture.

Very importantly, the transformers are not only or even primarily those of the white elite. Many agroecologists are Black, Latino and Asian farmers reclaiming their heritage in places from the Southern plantation states to the South Bronx.

A number are indigenous communities restoring seed and knowledge diversity. Some are formerly incarcerated individuals making new futures for themselves in urban tilth; others are entrepreneurs, busily connecting agroecological farms with food deserts, from Baltimore to Dallas.

At the moment, most Americans still accept industrial food practices as credible and authoritative, and in doing so consent to the use and existence of such practices. But movements are underway to change that.

With a focus on what’s right about agroecology, not just what’s wrong with industrial agriculture, we can turn the alternative into the everyday and the undervalued into the legitimate — and give agroecology the credibility and authority it well deserves.

Maywa Montenegro @MaywaMontenegro is a food systems researcher, University of California, Berkeley.

Alastair Iles @AlastairIles is a rofessor of environmental policy and social change, University of California, Berkeley