(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Last week, Sean Hannity broadcast live from San Joaquin Valley an astroturf rally designed to trigger water wars based on lies & transfer the health care memes to eco issues. The new CT is a whopper: President Obama, extremist environmentalists in his administration, and liberal radicals have planned for decades to turn California into a dust bowl so that the solar industry can use farmland, forcing us to buy our food from China!
The means to implement this CT is compliance with a federal law to provide instream flows to endangered or threatened fisheries. It was this temporary reduction in water availability that was characterized as an “act of domestic terror” by one of Hannity’s guests, Alan Autry (actor/former mayor):
If you would have told me that that water would have stopped, I would have believed maybe al Qaeda struck, not the federal government.
Water Crisis Reality
The reality is that there are many reasons why California has water shortages that have nothing to do with Obama or endangered fisheries. In fact, the U.S. Interior Dept. issued a Q & A “Reality Check” (pdf file) to set the record straight on our water crisis.
The Reality Check is that California is experiencing a 3rd year of severe drought due to less precipitation and run-off. The result is there is 1/3 less water available for the 25 million Californians who are supplied drinking water from the Bay Delta.
The reality is that water bubbles were created by allowing development or projects based on inflated and unrealistic paper water entitlements rather than real water supplies:
The 80-year average for Delta water is 29 million acre-feet annually. The state and feds wrote contracts promising 130 million acre-feet: 4 1/2 times reality.
Other contracts bring total export contracts to an insane 245 million acre-feet, an ocean of paper water promised to people who gauged their farms, businesses or urban water consumption accordingly.
The reality is that lax regulatory oversight caused similar false entitlements. Permits were obtained without compliance with endangered species laws that require leaving some water in the streams for critters. Thus, the permit holders were using water that should have been allocated to the critters. Years later, the courts corrected this “theft” of water, which now means there is less water available for agricultural and municipal users that relied upon the originally faulty allocations.
While Hannity and Scharzenegger want to blame our water crisis on Obama, the truth is that if farmers were required to use cost-effective irrigation practices, nearly 6 million acre-feet of water each year could be saved or more than 18 times the quantity of water left instream for fisheries.
Hannity’s Astroturf Rally
Let me set the stage because the Hannity Show was a production carefully orchestrated. The Astroturf rally was hosted by Burson-Marsteller and funded by corporate agribusiness.
Governments and corporations accused or allegedly connected to heinous human rights or environmental crimes and evildoings hire Burson-Marsteller to fix public relation disasters. B-M was hired by governments to discredit reports of genocide, disappearance of thousands of civilians, and massacres and reports of corporations linked to nuclear plant meltdowns or fatal gas leaks.
As Rachel Maddow said: “When evil needs public relations, evil has Burson-Marsteller on speed-dial:”
Whoever was the director, producer and/or script writer for the Hannity “rally”, no detail was overlooked, including the hiring of “farmworker” extras cued to scream and boo at appropriate times, while waving preprinted signs promoting the key right-wing memes for the rally.
Hannity then enters the on-location set of this exploitation production to toss the right-wing nuts plenty of lying meat intended to divide people by promoting water wars and instilling fear and hatred.
The clear message was that our water crisis is a regulatory drought caused by President Obama.
One of Hannity’s guests, Devin Nunes (R-Visalia) proclaimed that “Nowhere in the world has a democracy ever starved its own people of water. You know what country does that? Zimbabwe does that.”
Scharzenegger also blamed unemployment in the valley on a federal biological opinion that protected Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. Indeed, Scharzenegger stated this water crisis was “something that the federal government is doing to us…we are being handicapped here by federal judges, and this is the terrible thing about it.”
The terrible thing is how lies are used to scare and divide Americans, rather than work for sustainable solutions.
“Fish versus Jobs”
Holding up a large picture of a “2-inch minnow,” Hannity smirks that our water crisis is a simple matter of “fish versus jobs.” The truth is that a broad coalition of fishermen/women, Indian Tribes, farmers and environmentalists have been working to restore the salmon population in the Delta and Central Valley.
The reality is that government experts issued two biological opinions (part of the Endangered Species Law) that require a reduction of water exported from the Delta pumps in order to prevent the extinction of the Chinook salmon, which is around 3-feet (for those who think size matters), as well as steelhead, green sturgeon and delta smelt. That is, part of the water must be left in the streams for the fisheries, rather than diverted for other uses. Maintaining instream flows will also benefit other threatened species, such as “sole, crab, herring, …sturgeon, striped bass, and the southern resident population of killer whales (orcas).”
Thus, the water restrictions protect many fish, which creates jobs. The loss of one of the protected fisheries could cost the state $5.7 billion and 94,000 jobs.
“Import More Food From China”
Keeping to the script illustrated in the printed signs, another right-wing meme voiced was that food is the new oil. Just like the U.S. has become dependent upon foreign countries for oil, we will now become dependent on foreign countries for food because the “Endangered Species Act and radical environmentalists are gonna shut farming down.” Hannity does not see the reality that both farms and fisheries need water to provide the food in the U.S.
Despite claims that prices for processed tomato goods and almonds will skyrocket due to low productions, the harvests for both are predicted to be record-breaking. Moreover, “83% of all seafood consumed in America last year was imported from another country. Driving fisheries out of business will only increase food imports.”
To help the right-wing deathers make the transition from health care anger to eco anger, Hannity characterized our water crisis as “the death panel for farming.” You see, liberals and radical environmentalists that “control the Democratic Party” have been trying for decades to turn the valley into a desert to provide a location for solar energy.
Hannity claimed “It’s becoming a Dust Bowl out here” to invoke fears from the Owens Lake dust bowl. To stir up loyal Reaganites, Hannity quipped “Mr. President, turn the water on now.” In fact, Hannity said that he was “putting aside politics” because if “Barack Obama allows his environmental extremists” to “stand down and turn the water on, he’ll get the first credit” from Hannity. Really? This rally was held last week, but, as Interior Secretary Salazar noted, the “temporary pumping restrictions that were required under the Endangered Species Act ended on June 30th.”
Here’s the rally for those interested: