January 2015

The moral squalor of the ag labor "market"

 The moral squalor of agriculture built on the backs of defenseless undocumented workers ignored, abused and exploited by their own government, sequestered by the drug cartelized coyote/labor contractor system, exploited by the growers of California's partly hand-cultivated/picked luxury crops and isolated in their own communities, grows deeper and more hopeless every year.

Merced County Board of Supervisors, 12-16-14: Groundwater crazy train

 In its December 16, 2014 meeting, the Merced County Board of Supervisors considered a moratorium on well drilling until such time as an ordinance on groundwater may be enacted the state steps in and stops the groundwater-mining bonanza. -- blj
rtsp://mediaserver.co.merced.ca.us/board/video/2014/12-16-14_bdsupvideo.rv

Merced Development Rodeo: Ol' Hoss calls out the Mayor

Greg Hostetler remarks to Merced Mayor Stan Thurston
Oral Communications 
Merced City Council Meeting
January 5, 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZU8RDMQd7E
Hostetler's statement relates to material from the December 15, 2014 Merced City Council Meeting: http://www.badlandsjournal.com/2014-12-26/008236
Greg Hostetler (reading a prepared statement): Greg Hostetler, 2204 Crown Road.

Debt: Enriching the Very, Very Few

  Here in the midst of Moca Almond Bubbleland with an official floor unemployment rate of 15 percent (double it for the real rate and blame it on seasonal agricultural labor, our embarassment), we don't think much about manufacturing. Nevertheless, it's useful from time to time to glance over at the thinking emanating from the rusty regions of the nation that once drove the national economy. 

Groundwater in a nutshell

Merced Sun-Star
1-15-15
Letter to the editor of Merced Sun-Star:
Pat and Gerry Westfall: Water table has fallen 200 feet, stop drilling now!
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article667711...
It is urgent in Merced County to stop all new development, planting of trees and crops, on rangeland, with no way to water except to pump from the ground.

To cowboy

 A descendant of cowboys, provoked by the misuse of the word, reflects on the vocation beneath the myth.--blj
July 2008
Texas Monthly
True Grit

One more way to profit from misery on the US Mexican border

Some milestones in border history: 
Bracero Program ended, 1965
Maquiladora Program started, 1965
Massive loans at up to 25% interest, 1970's
Loan Defaults
Peso destabilized, steady rounds of devaluation
Plan de Ayala excised from Mexican Constitution. 1980's
Poorest rural villages redlined, 1980's

Drought dementia

 
Agriculture is of great economic value in Merced County. With average age of 29, six years younger than the state average, there just aren't many people in the county who remember when there was a large population of small farmers, less than half the total population of today, and harvesting was a community event with help from migrants. Today, farmers are few, the only survivors were the beloved of their bankers, and farm labor was criminalized in the mid-Sixties.

The lobbyists' boy on the US Supreme Court

 While McClatchyCo, a Sacramento institution since 1857, weeps for the sanctity of the political campaign-funding process or, more typically, makes queries as demurely as a debutante fresh out of J-school, let us be reminded of the US Supreme Court justice who was so decisive in destroying what little regulation there ever was in campaign financing: Sacramento's own Justice Anthony Kennedy, a guy with a past more colorful than his carefully cultivated, squeeky clean, nerdish image implies. -- blj

Drought dementia 2

 
The drought has revealed that all the government and hydrological science available is not going to put California water policy back together again. It is like submitting Humpty Dumpty to exhaustive scientific studies of the tensile strength of egg shells and the heights of walls. As long as the king and his men keep growing, it will just get worse.