Governor Brown's mandate to reduce residential water use, in the face of a drought approaching epic proportions, is a very small and halting step in the right direction. Cutting residential water use, particularly as regards to maintaining lush lawns and gardens in a dry land, is certainly worthwhile and long overdue.
But this is just a drop in the bucket so to speak since residential water use is but a small portion of the state's water use. No doubt there will be more to come and the shape of those things to come may involve some direly needed governmental action that runs contrary to prevailing ideology regarding private property rights and government's role in a market economy, or not.
In California we are not only up a creek without a paddle but up a dry creek without a plan. That is unless not being served water in restaurant without requesting it and cutting back a bit on watering the lawn can be called a plan. I wrote this a few days ago and things have changed since then. But are those changes enough?
There are 38 million people in California. It has the largest economy within the U.S., 8th largest in the world.
While agriculture represents less than 2% of the state's GSP it accounts for 13% all U.S. agricultural sales and a much higher percentage of fruits and vegetables as well as being the top milk producer and in the top 5 or higher for most other animal products. Apologies for the squiggly columns but my attempts to straighten them failed.
California's top-ten valued commodities for 2013 are:
Milk — $7.6 billion
Almonds — $5.8 billion
Grapes — $5.6 billion
Cattle, Calves — $3.05 billion
Strawberries — $2.2 billion
Walnuts — $1.8 billion
Lettuce — $1.7 billion
Hay — $1.6 billion
Tomatoes — $1.2 billion
Nursery plants— $1.2 billion
Some thoughts on Yves Smiths How the Discharged Ebola Patient Demonstrates the Danger of Corporatized Medicine
This week Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died. A Dallas-area hospital initially turned him away, and his death has raised questions about what might have happened if he had been diagnosed and admitted to the hospital sooner.
Poor and uninsured, Mr. Duncan presented a financial dilemma for the Dallas hospital. Even if he had insurance, private health insurers often refuse to pay emergency room providers for treatment of medical conditions that are not deemed to be sufficiently dire as to be considered an emergency. Presenting with flu symptoms does not as a rule constitute a billable emergency and as such only a non-emergency primary care provider would be paid by an insurer. As to who will pay the $500,000 for his subsequent care, I do not know but I hope for all our sakes an answer will be forthcoming.
With flu season fast approaching, this should get interesting. I’m guessing our gleaming, “best in the world”, certainly most expensive, high tech health care system with its byzantine payment schemes and unconscionable exclusions will be found wanting and in need of some adjustments.
Let us hope we are not waiting for market forces to provide accurate price discovery for pandemic/Ebola remediation/prevention in the hope that then all will be right with the world again.
Maybe a deadly pandemic is the only route to quality universal healthcare in this country. OTOH, if the ’08 crash is any indication….
Sick and Tired Residents in Southern Mexico Defend Themselves
On the main road into the Mexican town of Ayutla, about 75 miles southeast of Acapulco, about a dozen men cradling shotguns and rusted machetes stand guard on a street corner. Their faces are covered in black ski masks.
The men are part of a network of self-defense brigades, formed in the southern state of Guerrero to combat the drug traffickers and organized crime gangs that terrorize residents. The brigades have set up roadblocks, arrested suspects and are set on running the criminals out of town.....
A man who identifies himself as a lower commander in Ayutla's self-defense brigade says residents had no choice but to take up arms....
The 66-year-old cattle farmer and great-grandfather says it started at the beginning of the year. His cattlemen association was told each member had to pay 500 pesos — about $40 — to a local gang, or else.
"Everyone did as they were told," he says. "Everyone paid it."
But he says people started talking about fighting back. That's when the kidnappings started. He says the gangs snatched several heads of communities in the middle of the night. The townspeople grabbed their rifles and freed the victims. Then they started stopping cars coming in and out of town, checking IDs against lists of names of so-called "bad guys."
Authorities, while expressing sympathy, point out that the defenders are breaking the law and must stop it. Mexico, quite ironically given the cartels' easy access to guns, has much stricter gun laws than the U.S. It is well nigh impossible for the average citizen to legally obtain anything but small caliber non semiautomatic firearms. But the defenders are not stopping, quite the reverse, as other communities are adopting similar methods because, as is increasingly the case in many of our own (non 1%) neighborhoods here in the U.S., local police are incapable or unwilling either to serve or protect.
My mother and stepfather always owned and often carried guns. They worked in restaurants and later operated a janitorial service. Both occupations had them out and about in deserted urban environs during the wee hours.
One night years ago my mother, after locking up a restaurant she managed, was followed by a man as she walked to her car in an empty shopping mall parking lot. There was no one else in the vast lot within sight or shouting distance. She slipped her hand into her purse wherein she carried a pistol, turned to face the man, now just a few yards away. He stopped in his tracks, assessed the situation for a moment and then turned and walked away. She told me that she’d let him see his tombstone in her eyes. Adding to the tension of this event was the fact that a serial killer of women was then active in the area. She reported the incident and gave a description of the man to the police.
On another occasion she fired a gun through our front door narrowly missing my biological father's head as in contravention of a restraining order he was attempting to break in with, one can safely assume, violent intent. That was over sixty years ago yet the memory remains vivid and troubling.
I did not realize until after the coup how much the Right hated us.
Laura Allende 1974
Numerous third-world fascist regimes might as well have upon them stamped an imprint reading "Made in the USA". Chile was just one of many U.S. supported coups from 1949 on. Most had the virtue of being anti-communist and pro-U.S. corporate capitalism.
News from Chile recently caught my eye as it does from time to time since I worked with leftist refugees after the U.S. supported fascist coup on September 11, 1973 that overthrew a duly elected socialist government lead by President Salvadore Allende.
Chile's 9/11 was a deadlier and more brutal travesty than our own, particularly if one considers the relative population sizes of both countries, and with the added tragedies that the proximate perpetrators were their fellow citizens and the coup initiated 17 years of political repression all in the name of defending the western hemisphere from communism. But more truly it was in defense of Milton Friedman's Chicago School of Economics version of free-market capitalism against democratic socialism--- not to mention our own more capitalistic welfare state. Behind that lay the fear, not that Allende would seize absolute power, but that he would lose a future election and peacefully step down thus invalidating the U.S. rationalization that sometimes the only way of fighting one form of repressive totalitarianism was with another more to its liking.
The putatively good news as reported in the Buenos Aires Herald (http://www.buenosairesherald.com/...) was that a recent poll indicated that now, 22 years after Chile's return to constitutional democracy, that 35 percent of Chileans remained fearful of honestly expressing their views. But at a lesser remove from the days of the dictatorship when in the last years of the previous century and the first years of this, 70 percent of Chileans did not say what they thought.
Please continue below
One aspect of the Eurocrisis that has not gotten the attention it deserves is the way it is destroying not just jobs, but the very underpinnings of society. People who took actions that were prudent at the time are increasingly at the mercy of forces beyond their control. And this isn’t a tsunami-type disaster but a man-made one whose severity is worsened by the callous attitudes of the European elites.
Austerity Kills: How the EuroCrisis is Being Used to Break the Social Contract.
The article from which the above passage is excerpted goes on to focus on the rapid deterioration of the Greek healthcare system as one of the dire manifestations of what is happening there now.
For decades I and many I know have viewed western Europe as a model to be
emulated. Developments such as those we are witnessing there now are terribly disheartening.
You may continue the race to the bottom below the squiggle.
I've just read two diaries on the titular question,The Super Rich With Consciences: Super-Donors to Obama and Dems and Why rich progressives will not ride to the rescue. Both are well worth your time and the issue well worth your consideration. Below the fold are a selection my comments to both.
The good news as reported by Politico
JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon will be called to testify before the Senate Banking Committee in the coming weeks, the panel’s chairman announced Thursday — and Dimon plans to accept.
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said Dimon – whose firm has been under intense scrutiny after the billions of trading losses it sustained – will be invited to speak before his committee after it holds a pair of hearings on Wall Street oversight.
As for the bad news, what Politico does not deliver, Naked Capitalism does:
Since our elected officials appear unable to come up with a rebuild America jobs program for fear that this would entail relieving the rich of their layabout loot, thereby further spooking capital markets, it has fallen to the unelected Federal Reserve to do what it can--mostly, from what I can tell, by providing tax payer guarantees to and putting ever more money into the hands of those same proven misallocators of capital responsible for the financial crisis and all its attendant joys.
The Fed's Quantitative Easing 2 involves a second mass printing (or digital equivalent thereof) of $600 billion dollars. QE 1 was $2 trillion. While just the prospect of the Fed action is already causing movement in the bond markets, a recent Bloomberg poll indicates 75% of those surveyed believe the Fed action will have little or no effect on unemployment. There are other concerns. One is the Yellow Horde effect.