Denny the Mechanic speaks
"It's tough to get any particular issue dealt with in a very rapid fashion short of declaring war on somebody," Cardoza told CBS 5 on May 31st. "We don't move that fast in Congress." -- CBS5.com, June 19, 2007
Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Merced, entered public life during a period of extreme political corruption in America. Furthermore, as demonstrated by his district's top position in the rate of mortgage foreclosures in the nation, he has seen major pressure applied locally by finance, insurance and real estate special interests with splendid results for us all. His first job, for these same special interests, in the state Assembly was to get UC Merced through its regulatory hurdles. He succeeded to the extent that UC built a portion of its campus without getting through its regulatory hurdles and the state paid millions of dollars for mitigation easements that are essentially largely as mitigation. He led the successful drive to bring the Williamson Act to Merced County, "as mitigation for UC Merced," something the Act was neither written to do or in any legal way could do. However, it was a boon for developers holding large tracts of farm and ranchland. In Congress, as the rear end of the Pomboza (together with former Rep. Richard Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy), Cardoza authored and co-authored three bills to gut sections of the Endangered Species Act that were obstacles to the special interests of finance, insurance and real estate in his and Pombo's districts.
Upon Pombo's defeat and the Democratic Party takeover of Congress, it has been reported that the new chairman of the renamed House Natural Resources Committee, known when Pombo was chairman as the Resources Committee, demanded Cardoza's removal from the committee. He was given a subcommittee chairmanship on the House Agriculture Committee during a new Farm Bill year.
It is legitimate and frequently the case that professional campaign politicians don't understand issues. They are nuts and bolts mechanics of politics and are not expected to understand issues except in terms of immediate advantage or disadvantage in campaigns. It is not legitimate although also frequently the case the elected officials don't understand issues either. Since his days in the state Assembly, Cardoza has been regaling reporters with the inside skinny on the mechanics of legislation. This pablum is duly published and his constituents are none the wiser about where he stands on the issues.
We have found Cardoza to be of average intelligence although of unusual ambition. As outlined above, we have also found him to be as corrupt as his district, politically economically speaking a national disgrace. Putting the average intelligence together with the corrupt background, we conclude that Cardoza is neither intellectually equipped or morally inclined to understand an issue.
In the case of the section in the Farm Bill that would terminate local and state government efforts to defend their borders against genetic pollution from genetically modified organisms, we have no doubt that the University of California, the nation's top academic plunger into biotechnology, has told Denny the Mechanic that it favors this bill as it is.
In Cardoza's mind, probably it would be tantamount to a declaration of war actually to do the homework to take a responsible position on GMO crops. Although "troubled" (suitably modified by adverbs chosen by his current flak), Cardoza votes to send young Americans to kill and be killed in Iraq.
"We don't move that fast in Congress,"
says Denny the Mechanic.
In the first place, Congress doesn't declare war anymore. In the second place, the US will have lost two wars in Western Asia and killed over a million people before it speaks criticism of a lobby as rich as the biotechnology industry.
Cardoza is wrong on this section of the Farm Bill. He was wrong on the ESA in three bills. He was wrong pushing so hard for a UC campus whose only tangible academic asset is its memorandum of understanding with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of weapons of mass destruction. He was wrong on UC-induced development that has created the present financial, insurance and real estate whirlpool in his district.
Badlands editorial staff
Congress may end ban on genetically modified crops...John Lobertini...6-19-07
(CBS 5) SACRAMENTO Congress is now considering a bill that would eliminate bans on genetically modified crops. Four California counties have such bans in place. It used to be organic farmers only worried about pesticides and chemicals. But now they argue that genetically engineered crops threaten the purity of fruits and vegetables and the products they make. In California, Marin, Mendocino, Santa Cruz and Trinity counties have already taken a stand and have passed their own bans. The conflict is between those who think it's okay to genetically alter plants and animals and those who don't. The ban was slipped into the farm bill late in the process. Central Valley Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) is concerned it won't receive the proper debate. "It's tough to get any particular issue dealt with in a very rapid fashion short of declaring war on somebody," Cardoza told CBS 5 on May 31st. "We don't move that fast in Congress."
GM WATCH daily list
Farm Bill Could Cripple State Food Safety Agencies, Preempt Laws on GE Crops
Sent: Wed 6/20/07 9:41 PM
1.TAKE ACTION: Farm Bill Could Cripple State Food Safety Agencies, Preempt Laws on GE Crops
2.Groups say bill voids local bans on altered food
3.Michael Pollan on the potentially corosive power of the farm bill
EXTRACT: The smorgasbord of incentives and disincentives built into the farm bill helps decide what happens on nearly half of the private land in America... The health of the American soil, the purity of its water, the biodiversity and the very look of its landscape owe in no small part to impenetrable titles, programs and formulae buried deep in the farm bill. (item 3)
1.Farm Bill Could Cripple State Food Safety Agencies, Preempt Laws on GE Crops
House Agriculture Committee to Consider Language in the Farm Bill that Would Deny State's Rights to Protect Citizens from Risky Foods
Please take action by June 25, 2007. Thank you.
Dear Food Safety Friends,
I thought you might be interested in this Center for Food Safety e-activism campaign. The House Agriculture Committee is currently considering language in the House version of the 2007 Farm Bill that would pre-empt state's rights to protect its citizens from experimental GE crops and foods, and could eliminate a state's authority to take action in cases of food contamination.
It only takes a minute, please send an email today! This language will be considered by the House Agriculture Committee as early as June 26th.
2.Groups say bill voids local bans on altered food
By Steve Johnson
Mercury News, 20 June 2007
A coalition of 40 consumer, environmental and other groups Tuesday petitioned Congress to delete a provision in a proposed farm bill that they claim would nullify California and other state laws governing food safety and genetically engineered crops.
At issue is a section in the bill before the House Agriculture Committee that "prevents a state or locality from prohibiting an article the secretary of agriculture has inspected and passed."
The advocacy groups - including Consumers Union, Sierra Club, Center for Food Safety and Californians for GE-Free Agriculture - said the provision was quietly slipped into the bill a few weeks ago. The House Agriculture Committee is expected to consider the bill shortly after the July 4 holiday.
If the measure passes, the groups argued, it could render ineffective county laws dealing with biologically manipulated crops once the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reviewed and OK'd the crops.
The groups also claimed the measure could bar county health inspectors from condemning contaminated or otherwise substandard supermarket meat if the USDA had approved the product. But an aide to the House Agriculture Committee said that was not the provision's intent, adding that the bill probably would be amended to make it clear that local inspectors could reject bad food.
In California, four of the state's 58 counties - Santa Cruz, Marin, Mendocino and Trinity - have approved bans or other restrictions on genetically ngineered crops. At least 16 other counties have rejected such measures or passed resolutions supporting such crops.
Contact Steve Johnson at email@example.com or (408) 920-5043.
3.The Way We Live Now
You Are What You Grow
By MICHAEL POLLAN
The New York Times, April 22 2007
. . To speak of the farm bill's influence on the American food system does not begin to describe its full impact - on theenvironment, on global poverty, even on immigration. By making it possible for American farmers to sell their crops abroad for considerably less than it costs to grow them, the farm bill helps determine the price of corn in Mexico and the price of cotton in Nigeria and therefore whether farmers in those places will survive or be forced off the land, to migrate to the cities - or to the United States. The flow of immigrants north from Mexico since Nafta is inextricably linked to the flow of American corn in the opposite direction, a flood of subsidized grain that the Mexican government estimates has thrown two million Mexican farmers and other agricultural workers off the land since the mid-90s. (More recently, the ethanol boom has led to a spike in corn prices that has left that country reeling from soaring tortilla prices; linking its corn economy to ours has been an unalloyed disaster for Mexico's eaters as well as its farmers.) You can't fully comprehend the pressures driving immigration without comprehending what U.S. agricultural policy is doing to rural agriculture in Mexico.
And though we don't ordinarily think of the farm bill in these terms, few pieces of legislation have as profound an impact on the American landscape and environment. Americans may tell themselves they don't have a national land-use policy, that the market by and large decides what happens on private property in America, but that's not exactly true. The smorgasbord of incentives and disincentives built into the farm bill helps decide what happens on nearly half of the private land in America: whether it will be farmed or left wild, whether it will be managed to maximize productivity (and therefore doused with chemicals) or to promote environmental stewardship. The health of the American soil, the purity of its water, the biodiversity and the very look of its landscape owe in no small part to impenetrable titles, programs and formulae buried deep in the farm bill.