Agriculture

Bugs in Arizxona

Submitted: Jul 16, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 When it comes to the environment, those great "stewards of the land" in the Farm Bureau never fail to surprise with the stupidity of their policies..

 

“We view the tamarisk as a pest,” said Joseph Sigg, the government relations director at the Arizona Farm Bureau. “Water is an expensive input, and to the extent that we can lower it, the beetle can help.”

 

 

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Pesticides, unborn children and bees

Submitted: Jul 15, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

One rainy day, sitting in a shed in an orchard,  an old grower talked about pesticides.

"DDT?" he said. "Best pesticide in the world. Killed everything. Apply it every 28 days or after a rain and we got cleaner fruit than we'd ever seen. It started just after the war (WWII). You didn't have to set vinegar traps to see what kind of bugs you had in the orchard anymore. DDT killed EVERYTHING! So the younger generation of growers didn't have to learn anything about bugs because they didn't have to figure out what spray to use -- copper, arsenic, whatever. But DDT got Rachel Carsoned in the Sixties. That book, Silent Spring, started the environmental movement. Now they're trying to claim every frog, toad and minnow in the county is endangered, and they're winning. But she was right: DDT raised hell with the environment, thinned egg shells, caused cancer, poisoned fresh water and the ocean. But it wasn't as bad on bees and what replaced it.

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Extirpation

Submitted: Jul 14, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


"To extirpate" means to destroy completely or to extinguish. It is a fancy word used by resource-agency biologists in the past participle, "extirpated," as professional jargon for "extinction". Agribusiness, Southern Californa water agencies and state and federal resource agencies have been working together for years to extirpate the Delta smelt because it is the principle endangered species that obstructs agricultural corporations and urban water agencies from unlimited use of Delta water. Exstirpation of the Delta smelt would render moot the entire ediface of official biological opinion and state and federal judges' rulings that tend to limit the amount of water that primarily corporate agricultural interests (which use 80 percent of California's water) can legally take from the Delta. 

The federal Bureau of Reclamation may be able to guarantee at least some water to junior water-rights holders in the Westlands Water District after the Delta smelt disappears from memory. If so, the gamble that west side growers took -- to plant permanent crops without a guarantee of receiving water in dry years -- will pay off and a new "balance" will be achieved.

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Just what the world needs: incurable Swine Flu virus

Submitted: Jul 02, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Mad scientists are at it again, proudly announcing creation of a swine flu virus immune to human resistance in Madison, Wisconsin, not far from some of the swine-production centers of the nation.

Readers of Badlands may have forgotten a struggle several years ago to block establishment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of a Level 4 Biowarfare lab, rated even more dangerous than the Level 3 lab that produced this monster, as always, "for better research to find a cure." LLNL established a Level 3 lab instead.

It must be pointed out that distinctions between levels of biowarfare labs, although written, are fairly blurry in practice, according to lab watchers. In short, the public has little or no idea what these labs are producing and how dangerous their products are to surrounding communities. 

Nevertheless, to ask a question left unasked or at least unanswered by the mad Wisconsin scientists: Who paid for this research that now poses a threat to the health and safety of Madison and surrounding towns? -- blj


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How do you deal with the moral authority of ignorance? James Lee Burke, Pegasus Descending (2006), p. 473

Submitted: Jun 30, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Gov. Jerry Brown must be saved from himself, says the next state Senate leader. He needs to be talked out of starting the bullet train in the Central Valley boonies. "I don't think it makes sense to lay down track in the middle of nowhere," asserts Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles). It's illogical. No one lives there in the tumbleweeds." -- George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2914, "Next Senate leader Kevin de Leon wants Brown to rethink bullet train." 

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But lawns very much remain the norm in Southern California, and officials say it's tougher to change homeowners' outdoor watering habits than it is to get them to install low-flow toilets or water-efficient washing machines.

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Intro to human trafficking

Submitted: Jun 30, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 

Human Trafficking in California

As a diverse cultural center and popular destination for immigrants with multiple international borders, California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States. In the two years between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012, California's task forces initiated 2,552 investigations, identified 1,277 victims of human trafficking, and arrested 1,798 individuals. -- State of Human Trafficking in California, 2012

 

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Systemic political lying

Submitted: Jun 26, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The greatest threat to political democracy -- from Athens to the US "war on terrorism," -- has always been elites. Since the 18th century, democracy has arisen in step with its competition and nemesis, capitalism. Today's American elite has converted political bribery and lies into "campaign finance contributions" -- the "free speech" of money -- "spin," the political descendant of advertising. However, bribery and deceit remain what they are, fatal to democracy.

Today, we offer two comments on lying, spin and propaganda, the first from politician scientist Sheldon Wolin, the second from investigative reporter Robert Parry. Both are veterans and have personal as well as scholarly perspective on the changing forms of political lying in our culture. Wolin describes the structure of the culture that is producing systemic  political lying in America today. Parry paints a portrait of a practitioner of the form, Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy. Perhaps viewers of "Morning Joe" will remember "Rick" when he was a top Time Magazine editor presenting the Time cover of the week. Butter doesn't melt in Stengel's mouth. -- blj

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Still pathetic after all these years: US and Honey Bee colony collapse

Submitted: Jun 25, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Here are four articles about Honey bee colon- collapse disorder, one Russian, one and a partial article American, one Canadian. Scientists actually seem to have found the main cause, a class of nicotinoid pesticides applied to seeds before planting so that they provide protection against later pesticide applications and, incidently, cause serious harm to the nervous systems of bees and other creatures, including humans.

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Blunt Pitchforks' photo op in Le Grand

Submitted: Jun 21, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The problem with Le Grand's water supply is not drought; it is the large number of huge wells that have been installed for the last decade to irrigate thousands of acres of almonds and grapes planted on seasonal pasture. Politicians at the local, state and federal levels did everything money can buy to stop any opposition to these plantings, which are totally destructive to the natural habitat of 15 endangered species and which have robbed the region of much groundwater besides. And the latter will continue as rural landowners continue to mill aimlessly about in public water gatherings like the state-sponsored and funded Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, known as "Ear-Wimp" perhaps because the participants are incapable of reading anything and only listen to each others' mythological misinformation.

 

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Forked tongues and blunt pitchforks

Submitted: Jun 21, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 

Politicians and water managers spoke to farmers at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Hall of Paranoia with tongues so forked it's a wonder any coherent sentences broke the fences of their teeth. Flecks of dribbled white foam must have spewed forth from their lips as they cursed the state, the state, the state, before a frightened herd of farmers. The politicians and the water managers have a plan and a hope:  they are trying to deflect the attention of the frightened herd of sheep -- I mean farmers -- into a pitchfork bearing mob of farmers headed to the state Capitol -- headed anywhere but at local authority.

 

 

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