Category Archives: Politics

Voters Ban GMO Farming

In case you missed the headline, voters in Maui yesterday voted to ban GMO farming. This vote came despite heavy spending and political opposition from Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. From what I hear, The Maui County measure is significantly more far-reaching than any other GMO measure we have seen in the past, essentially imposing a temporary moratorium on genetically engineered crops until the county can further analyze their impact on public health and the environment. Basically, that brings to a standstill the majority of the farming being done by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, both of which operate in Maui County. A spokeswoman for the Hawaii chapter of the Center for Food Safety, a national nonprofit that has been lobbying for more regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) said, “I think this is a really strong message to the entire agrochemical industry in the state of Hawaii that we are no longer going to sit idly by and watch them expand their operations without the kinds of regulations that ensure the health and safety of people across Hawaii.” On the flip-side, pro-GMO sources said, “We are deeply concerned for the 600-plus workers and their families, local businesses, farmers and taxpayers that will be negatively impacted by the passage of this scientifically unjustified, deeply flawed and irresponsible proposal.” I’m not wanting to debate the election, but rather ask if this is just the tip of the iceberg? Remember, Hawaii is a key location for many of our nations top seed corporations and biotech research teams. Just last year, the Hawaii County Council passed a bill that banned biotech companies from starting new operations on the Big Island and further prohibited the expansion of genetically altered crops. I’m not trying to pass judgement, but from my perspective, it certainly feels like voters are starting to take more steps back away from GM crops. I just hope things haven’t spiraled too far and voters can somehow become better educated in regard to the benefits of GM crops. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out… Stay tuned!

Why You Need To Pay Attention To The Upcoming Mid-Term Elections

I’m sure you are already starting to see the political campaigns ramping up on your local t.v. and radio stations. The upcoming Nov 4th election is setting itself up to be of significant importance. I wanted to provided a few brief highlights and reasons you may want to pay closer attention to the candidates and choices that will be on your upcoming ballot.

  • Who will control the Senate? Thought by many to be the biggest ticket item. There was some early talk by many independent analysts and astute observers that the Republicans were gaining momentum and could perhaps win the Senate majority in this election. The talk now is it’s going to be crazy close, especially considering the twists and turns taking place in Kansas between incumbent Pat Roberts (R) and Greg Orman (Independent). Regardless of how the pre-polls change direction, bottom-line is the Republicans remain the slight favorite and clearly have a chance of picking up the six-seats needed to grab a majority control in the Senate. Most believe there will be a half-dozen or so races that will be within a point or two points, so it should be a nail bitter…

    • There are three Democratic-held seats that have seemed the most in jeopardy since the beginning of the campaign and remain very problematic for the party. These are the open seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia which are more than likely going to be won by the Republicans. The next three most vulnerable seats for Democrats involve incumbents in states that Republican Mitt Romney carried by 14 points or more: Mark Begich in Alaska; Mary Landrieu in Louisiana; and Mark Pryor in Arkansas. If—and it’s a big if—any of the three survive reelection, Begich would be the most likely to do so. Moral of the story… if Republicans capture Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia and beat Begich, Landrieu, and Pryor, they win the Senate—UNLESS they lose one of their own vulnerable seats. If either Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky are defeated, or if Republicans lose their open seat in Georgia, then winning the majority becomes a little more difficult. All three of these races are very close.
    • If Republicans lose one of their own, like say, Kansas, it means that they must win a purple-state race, unseating either Sens. Mark Udall in Colorado or Kay Hagan in North Carolina, or picking up an open seat in Iowa or Michigan, which is a bit more blue than purple. So, if Republicans can hold the line in red states, with no losses, they win the Senate. But, if they lose one, they have to win the political equivalent of a road game.
    • The Democrats will need to find a way to succeed in two red states this year. If they can do that — preventing Republican victories in some combination of Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana or North Carolina — Democrats can pull off a modest upset and keep control of the Senate this year. Otherwise, Mitch McConnell will probably become the Senate majority leader.
  • Will Republicans Keep Control Of The House? Regardless of which party wins control of the Senate, the Republicans will almost certainly keep control the House. The Democrats will obviously keep control of the White House. Given how far apart the two parties are on almost every major issue — climate, health care, inequality, the long-term deficit, immigration and same-sex marriage, for starters — the odds of major legislation becoming law in the next two years are scant.
  • The Majority Leader – If the Republicans win the Senate, Mitch McConell will more than likely be acting as the majority leader, and will more than likely slow climate change legislation and judicial appointments. There is also some talk the Affordable Care Act could come under some pressure if the Republicans keep control of the House and gain control of the Senate.
  • Judges & The Supreme Court – If you remember, both President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton each placed a lot of federal judges on the bench in their last two years in office. If the Republicans gain control of both the House and Senate there is some talk President Obama may not be able to do so. Over the last two decades, both parties have become more aggressive at blocking the other’s judicial nominees. If a justice were to resign or die unexpectedly in the next two years, the Obama nominee who could win confirmation from a Republican Senate would be quite different from the kind of nominee a Democratic Senate would confirm. Also don’t forget that in 2018, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will turn 85, while Justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia will turn 82. Anyone elected to the Senate this year is likely to vote on at least one Supreme Court nomination.

Bottom-line, even though this is NOT the most important vote of our lifetime, this could go down as a pivotal point in American history. There are some very big issues in the hopper right now, including and not limited to immigration reform, health care, climate change, government subsidies, etc… Imagine the differences that could come about if in 2016 the White House is won by the same party that has control of both the House and the Senate???

Why Does A Congressional Primary Matter To Wall Street?

The Eric Cantor loss in the Virginia primary definitely seemed to have a more negative impact than anyone saw coming, and here are a couple of reasons why. First, his top ten donors include private equity giant Blackstone Group, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, communications giant Verizon Wireless, major hedge fund Scoggin Capital Management and Altria Group, parent company to tobacco giant Philip Morris…recognize a pattern yet? Cantor is obviously viewed as an overall “pro-business” kind of guy and he used these corporate contributions to spend $5 million on his campaign. His winning opponent spent less than $150,000! So much for big business’ influence! Maybe more importantly though, recall the headlines from recent years past – “US Government Shuts Down Over Budget Battle.” Cantor’s loss to a relatively unknown Tea Party candidate raises some fear that the US Congress could end up being stacked with enough extremes on both the left and right that they’ll once again be deadlocked on major fiscal issues. Definitely something to keep in mind as we get closer to the mid-term elections in November.