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Sometimes you take your eyes off the political scene for a moment, look up at the sky, take a breath of fresh air and look down again, seeing with refreshed eyes how sordid it all is. This year there are essential political issues from the city councils to Washington – 11 years of war and the dire effects of deregulated chronic economic recession. Yet it is the genius of the political rule of the super-rich that people are forced into a moral wasteland between idiocy and cynicism.
We went out to UC Merced two weeks ago for the debate between Democrat Adam Gray and Republican Jack Mobley, candidates for the 21th Assembly District seat. The weather was pleasant. At dusk the Boondoggle Mistral was blowing softly, some boys were kicking lazy goal shots on the soccer field, people strolled down the main street of the campus, dorm residents were playing pool and ping pong and studying in their common rooms. All was well before one found one’s way to the knot of people waiting for the political debate outside the unmarked hall where it would be held.
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To us, this story of an adjudicated water settlement between Consolidated Irrigation District and the City of Selma was the most important of the day in the Valley news. Perhaps this is because it represents our near future here in Merced County, which still has a relatively decent water table. However, the treat of more deep ripped pastureland converted into orchards with gigantic pumps that tend to dry up their neighbors' wells by firms whose investment strategies might not be primarily to make a profit in agriculture; they may prefer the losses customized for the portfolios of investors that wouldn't know the difference between an almond tree and an apple tree.
Perhaps the greatest threat to groundwater in the Valley are the imperious, unregulated demands of Private Investment Itself, the Holy of Holies to planners, local elected officials and the local landowners and banks who own them in our brave new plutocracy. It is always going to produce jobs...and if it does, they don't last. Politicians parrot the Building Industy Association line that houses take less water per acre than crops, a corollary of their their fundamental argument that residential growth is inevitable. They consider this either good or Fate. It is curious that many of this churchy crowd as local elected officials believe in pagan Fate. Or is it really the Will of God that the entire Valley be sucked dry until the last carpenter dies of thirst in the tumbleweed?
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Ecological Farming Association
Vote the Dinner Party: Is this the year the food movement finally enters politics?
By Michael Pollan
This article was originally published by the New York Times on October 14, 2012.
One of the more interesting things we will learn on Nov. 6 is whether or not there is a “food movement” in America worthy of the name — that is, an organized force in our politics capable of demanding change in the food system. People like me throw the term around loosely, partly because we sense the gathering of such a force, and partly (to be honest) to help wish it into being by sheer dint of repetition. Clearly there is growing sentiment in favor of reforming American agriculture and interest in questions about where our food comes from and how it was produced. And certainly we can see an alternative food economy rising around us: local and organic agriculture is growing far faster than the food market as a whole. But a market and a sentiment are not quite the same thing as a political movement — something capable of frightening politicians and propelling its concerns onto the national agenda.
Mike Whitney, as he has done so many times before, asks the right question and provides a detailed answer. Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) and their paid minions in Congress are busy setting up the new scam with the idea of wringing out whatever wealth they left in the people's hands from their last attack.
As was demonstarted during the late real estate boom/bust, we can expect no help from anyone passes as a "leader" in this devasted community. Any criticism or opposition to the forces of FIRE is considered against the American Way of Life and our Valley Way to Debt Slavery -- residental to agricultural real estate and government, from cities like Stockton and Atwater to Washington DC.
Debt, particularly subprime mortgages, bundled together and sold throughout the world as investments giving a steady stream high returns, in a regulatory environment so corrupt the world would have been better off without any "financial regulation" because it would have been more cautious -- Debt remains where the big profits are, and after a pause, the debt vendors are on the march again, realizing they can get away with anything just as long as they maintain their property title to the government.
But, don't worry: polite people don't talk about debt. Debt is your secret, your neighbor's secret, your uncle the farmer's secret, your city, your county, your stand and your nation's BIG SECRET.Read More »
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What Eric Caine, the Pussyfooting Modesto-based Merced College prof, either forgets or never knew was that Mike Wade, the prostitute, back when he had a real job as executive director of the Merced County Farm Bureau, through letters and testimony before the UC Regents, falsely claimed that there was adequate water for the UC Merced campus on site beneath the seasonal pastures.
So, in this convoluted water debate in which Wade, clearly furious that the institution about whose natural resources he "misspoke" as the politicians say, wishes to denounce the spawn he helped so ignobly to generate cockamamie "academic study" flak to broadcast and magnify the existence of what John Burton, boss of the California Democratic Party called, while he was serving as state Senate Pro Tem, the greatest "boondoggle" he'd ever seen in a long state and federal legislative career.
Caine, the pussyfooter, has been chased into this story by the UC Merced Office of Golden Bobcat Flak to defend the indefensible. The Boondoggle-at-the-Bottom will continue to taint the research for years to come. And who could trust Mike Wade after his claims for bubbling aquifers under the site of the future UC Merced, which presently gets its water from the City of Merced through pipes UC has never paid for and, as a result, has weakened the water pressure in Central Merced.
Badlands Journal editorial board
All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?
by Dave Philipps
The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis this spring.
The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that still roam the American West, rounding up thousands of them each year to keep populations stable.
But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range.
So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the last few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler named Tom Davis who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head.
The BLM has sold Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009, agency records show -- 70 percent of the animals purchased through its sale program.
Like all buyers, Davis signs contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered and insists he finds them good homes.
Inland Valley News
CA Governor Brown Signs Human Right to Water
Sacramento, CA–The basic human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water became part of state policy today when Governor Brown signed AB 685.
A.B. 685 directs relevant state agencies to advance the implementation of this policy when those agencies make administrative decisions pertinent to the use of water for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.
“Safe, affordable water is a basic essential of survival. We applaud the Legislature and the Governor for recognizing this and taking the bold action to cement it into law,” said Alecia Sanchez of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), a member of the Safe Water Alliance that has worked on this issue.
For years, grassroots activists, community leaders, faith-based groups, and dedicated environmental justice, public health and environmental organizations, drawn together by a shared commitment to improve access to safe drinking water in our poorest communities, have been advocating at the local, regional, and state level, combating powerful, entrenched interests determined not to change the status quo in California water policy.
The main pesticide employed against nematodes around Livingston, Sweet Potato Capital of California, is methyl bromide. The Montreal Protocal to ban the use of methyl bromide because it is burning a hole in the ozone layer has been signed by 196 nations. Exemptions are allowed in the US for various crops, sweet potatoes and strawberries among them, because we wouldn't want to damage the income stream of any blameless agriculturalist fumigating his soil with a gaseous compound that is burning a hole in the earth's ozone layer.
Before the discovery of this miraculous soil fumigant, more "organic" means were employed in the years when Livingston was just becoming the Sweet Potato Capital of California. Then, according to an interview with a Livingston farmer buried in the Merced Sun-Star archives, farmers would plant a field with a crop of barley and let it die unharvested, attracting and starving the nematodes, and clearing the field for a crop of sweet potatoes. The system worked until the growing number of absentee landowners in the region began raising rents so high that the good but starving farmers could not afford to fallow the field by feeding (and killing) nematodes that natural way.
The pesticide dealers descended on the sweet potato deal like another infestation, and the expensive, dangerous, and globally destructive practice of fumigating fields with methyl bromide became the norm.
Why even members of the public with good will toward agriculture could oppose the Williamson Act in its most recent form
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