"Man-made" droughts and other absurdities

Investor's Business Daily's recent portrait of the "man-made drought" in California is written in the idiotic tradition of that rag, which claimed last summer that the great British physicist who suffers from muscular distrophy, would be dead if he had been taken care of by the British National Health Service. Of course, he had been and credited the Service with keeping him alive.
IBD's Monica Showalter, who sees things that aren't there, writes: "On a springtime drive through the Central Valley, it's hard not to notice how federal and state governments are hell-bent on destroying the state's top export — almonds — and everything else in the nation's most productive farmland."
Assuming intent, what exactly would "federal and state governments ... hell-bent on destroying the state's top export -- almonds -- and everything else in the nation's most productive farmland" look like? We who live up here a hundred or so miles and a world away from Showalter's flakroom, do not see this. What we see is a 130-percent snow pack after three years of light rain and state and federal government water resource agencies raising weekly the estimate of how much water they can deliver for agricultural and metropolitan use.
Computers and electronics are California's top export, not almonds. And if almonds were the top export, why should we care? All the top almond-producing counties in the nation made it on yesterday's Associated Press list for the top 20 most economically stressed counties in the nation. Not that that doesn't stop almond growers from begging Congress for subsidized tractors and a new amnesty for illegal aliens -- a system of labor institutionalized in California that costs the American public billions a year.
It's unlikely Showalter saw brown grass in the San Joaquin Valley in April and before lamenting a dead almond orchard, she ought to check its age first. Sometimes farmers let old orchards die. And considering that almonds have now reached a quantity, thanks to investors looking for tax breaks and places to lose money for awhile, that is being described as "overproduction," a farmer may make more money selling water than farming an almond orchard past its prime.
Showalter drivels on:
For every fallow field, there's a sign that farmers have placed alongside the highway: "No Water = No Food," "No Water = No Jobs," "Congress Created Dust Bowl."
Another lie.
She goes on about bad law behind trying to protect Delta fish species being driven to extinction by overpumping Delta for water delivery to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and to Southern California, speaks of the commercial salmon-fishing industry as if it were minor annoyance, and then wandering over the cliff on the the numbers, but her drift is unmistakable. In Showalter's world, it is as evident as phantom government agents arriving by helicopter to create drought that Valley farmers own the water coming to them from the rivers through the canals and that if they can't use it for irrigation they should be free to sell it to Southern California.
Finally, she has Rep. Devin Nunes, Pathological-Visalia, sum it all up for us: "What they have done is try to create a green utopia in the San Joaquin Valley, and in the process they are ruining people's lives," Nunes said.
Far right code has gotten so weird and linguistically inbred that an ordinary person could be forgiven for looking at this quote and seeing the a "green utopia" is exactly what the federal Central Valley Project did for large areas of the Valley by providing irrigation water. It also saved farming areas like much of Nunes' district from completely pumping dry their groundwater. This year, with the excess coming out of the San Joaquin River, the Friant Water Users Authority will again pump excess water from this "wet year" into depleted aquifers for storage for "dry years," as it has done ever since the Friant Dam and Friant-Kern Canal were created 60 years ago.
However, as a result of a settlement agreement between the Friant authority and environmental groups, more than the usual amount of that water will flow into the San Joaquin River bed downstream from Friant, which has been dry for about 60 miles since the dam was built.
Showalter, Nunes, Hannity, Burson-Marstellar, the governor, and resource agencies and the rest of the propagandists for agribusiness (including its bankers) can lie all they want about California water. The truth is simple: its supply varies but demand for it constantly increases. This situation has attracted the people whose business it is to try to scare other people, to stampede them into public indebtedness for private gain, in this case the $12-billion state water bond on the November ballot to add to about $100 billion in other debt the state taxpayers owe Wall Street bankers.
But what if Californians and other Americans actually have pretty strong environmental values, a feeling for their local ecologies, their places, landscapes, farmscapes, and the willingness to defend these values despite the moral thuggery of Showalter, Nunes and others?
Badlands Journal editorial board

Investors Business Daily
California's Man-Made Drought...Monica Showalter
Fresno Bee
San Joaquin Valley farmers' wish list is long...Robert Rodriguez rrodriguez@fresnobee.com. Modesto Bee staff writer John Holland contributed to this report.