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When the bees are gone, in four years we will be gone.

beesNatural Society Portland, Oregon has joined at least seven other cities in banning the usage of neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that many scientists think is behind colony collapse disorder and the premature death and dysfunction of many bees and other pollinating insects. The ban applies to all city lands and will be enforced despite the opposition of some nearby farmers who claim neonicotinoids are critical for producing their food crops.

Neonicotinoids are highly neurotoxic, sharing a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, resulting in their paralysis and death. Pollinating insects are essential for the growth of numerous crops, including apples, plums, broccoli, peppers, cabbage, Brazil nuts, and cashews.

In 2008, neonicotinoids were scrutinized for their environmental impact in Germany, where they were linked with several adverse ecological effects. In 2013, the EU and some other European countries banned use of certain members of the neonicotinoid family.

Meanwhile, the USDA took a broad look into the decline of bee colonies in the country. Their report highlighted the fact that in 1990, there were 3 million bee colonies. By 2013, that number had dropped to 2.5 million, demonstrating that the collapse is a long-term issue. Though their report was dire for insects and people, it did not offer any immediate solutions. Soon after it was released, the EPA approved a fourth generation neonicotinoid, known as sulfoxaflor, an action that left many followers of the situation dumbfounded.

In 2014, tens of millions of bees were found dead in Ontario Canada, just days after a planting of genetically modified corn. Ontario’s The Post reported that the crops were sprayed with neonicotinoids produced by Bayer CropScience. The air seeding of neonicotinoid-treated GM corn was seen as and accelerating factor in the bee losses. It is likely that in most parts of North America the reason neonicotinoids continue to be permitted is heavy influence from the chemical industry.

Because the federal government has refused to do anything about the havoc being caused by neonicotinoids, dealing with it has become the province of the states and municipalities. In 2013, Eugene Oregon was the first city to ban its use. Since then, efforts have centered around the Pacific Northwest, with Seattle and Spokane in Washington joining in.

One recent example can be seen with Amanda Fritz, Commissioner of Portland, who was successful in gaining approval of the measure to ban neonicotinoids on city lands such as gardens and municipal parks by presenting it as a public health issue requiring emergency action.

“I think we’re doing another good thing for the city of Portland, Oregon…and maybe the entire world,” she said.

Oregonians protest Nestlé's proposed bottle plant in Gorge»PLAY VIDEO

PORTLAND, Ore. — Dozens of people ascended to Hawthorne Bridge in Portland Thursday morning to protest Nestlé’s proposed bottling plant at the Columbia River Gorge.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife last week applied to transfer part of its water rights at Oxbow Springs to the city of Cascade Locks, which would free up the area for Nestlé to bottle water.

Nestlé’s plans to build the bottling plant have been stalled for years, while environmental groups protested and appealed the construction. Initially, the city of Cascade Locks had planned to exchange the water at Oxbrow Springs for city well water.

City leaders told Hood River News late last year they’re pursuing a water transfer instead of an exchange, because it would be a “simpler process.”

According to the organization “Keep Nestlé Out,” the transfer period would not require a formal public review by the Water Resources Department.

The proposed plant would employ 50 people and fill 100 million bottles annually.

Nestlé’s is facing national scrutiny after it was discovered the food and drink giant’s permit to transport water across California’s San Bernardino National Forest expired in 1988.

As I wrote in my e-mail to you, do not fast track the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Act out of committee and vote no to the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Act. It is bad for Oregon Agriculture. It is bad for Oregon Business. It is bad for Oregon’s Environment. It is bad for Oregon.

imagesThough I have long supported – and voted for – you and actively campaigned for your junior partner Jeff Merkley, like me of a multi-generational Oregon Logging and mill family and the first of that family to go to college, you people are walking on egg-shells with me over what you did to the most popular governor in the history of the State of Oregon re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term with the highest vote count ever. As a non-affiliated voter, if you weasel Democrats keep selling out to the corporations, to the Fascists, then you will join your counterparts the Republicans on my list of those I will never again vote for, regardless how qualified or well-deserved.

Trust me, I am paying attention, and I vote.

Do not fast track the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Act out of committee and vote no to the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Act. It is bad for Oregon Agriculture. It is bad for Oregon Business. It is bad for Oregon’s Environment.

It is bad for Oregon.

So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because this is the Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville in Butte County, California. Been over it many times back in my logging days. Lake Oroville has an interesting logging history: rather than the yarding (skidding) and trucking of logs out of the woods to the mill they were left to lie until the rising water floated them to a staging area and railhead at the dam.

Built a lot of houses in New York City with that lumber.
lakeorovillewaterlevel

The picture on the left is July 2011. The picture on the right is the lake today.

Felicia Marcus of the State Water Resources Board told an audience last week:

We don’t know if its going to rain next year.

We don’t know if its going to rain after that.

This Was The Hottest 3-Month Start Of Any Year On Record

You are a clear and present danger to my grandchildrens’ survival. Fear me.

The dirty secret of California’s water problem is that agriculture constitutes 80% of California’s water, though only contributes 2% to California’s economy.

Yes, taking shorter showers and washing cars less often will help a little. Restricting the watering of useless lawns will help a little more. But that’s all a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the water being used by the agriculture industry.

This isn’t just a problem in California. Climate change-induced drought is a challenge across the western and southern United States and in many other countries around the world. What will we do about food production?

Of course here we do it by mail, with double super signature envelopes…

Think Progress: Just a week after Oregon became the first state in the nation to automatically register residents to vote using DMV records, California announced it may follow suit.

images (1)California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said this week that he was inspired by Oregon’s landmark law, which automatically registers every eligible resident who goes to a DMV to get a license or renew one, with the option to opt out.

“While many states are making it more difficult for citizens to vote, our neighbor to the north offers a better path,” he wrote. “One of the biggest barriers to citizen participation is the voter registration process. A new, enhanced Motor Voter law would strengthen our democracy. It would be a game changer.”

One early supporter is California Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), who told ThinkProgress, “Any measure that would make it easier for American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote is a good thing for our democracy. We need to ensure that the viewpoints and values of all Americans are represented in government.”

While Oregon’s law is expected to reach 300,000 eligible residents right away, and nearly 900,000 eventually, such a move in California could sweep millions into the political process. Padilla’s proposal could help the nearly 7 million eligible but unregistered voters in the state, many of them low-income, people of color, and younger Californians — whose participation rates are in the single digits.

“In California, an 18- or 19-year-old was more likely to be arrested than actually vote in one of the statewide elections,” California data analyst David Mitchell told KQED.

Overall, California has one of the worst rates of election participation in the country, with just over 42 percent of eligible voters turning out in last fall’s election. In Los Angeles County, just 31 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.

Washington would be wise to follow Oregon’s lead on voter registration

Yo! Walden. Fucking trust-funder punk who has never done a day’s work in your life and don’t even live in Oregon, the state you purport to represent, you have no alternative to Obamacare because it was your dog-damned plan to begin with.

You just stay in Washington DC, racist asshole, you’re not welcome here.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Investment Text

wikileaks-tpp-investment-cartoon“After more than five years of negotiations under conditions of extreme secrecy, on March 25, 2015, a leaked copy of the investment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was posted. Public Citizen has verified that the text is authentic. Trade officials from the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – are in intensive, closed-door negotiations to finish the TPP in the next few months.”The leaked text provides stark warnings about the dangers of ‘trade’ negotiations occurring without press, public or policymaker oversight. It reveals that TPP negotiators already have agreed to many radical terms that would give foreign investors expansive new substantive and procedural rights and privileges not available to domestic firms under domestic law.”

Obama is as guilty as the rest of them.

In California’s epic drought, wars over water rights continue, while innovative alternatives for increasing the available water supply go untapped.

dirty earthWars over California’s limited water supply have been going on for at least a century. Water wars have been the subject of some vintage movies, including the 1958 hit The Big Country starring Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood’s 1985 Pale Rider, 1995’s Waterworld with Kevin Costner, and the 2005 film Batman Begins. Most acclaimed was the 1975 Academy Award winner Chinatown with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, involving a plot between a corrupt Los Angeles politician and land speculators to fabricate the 1937 drought in order to force farmers to sell their land at low prices. The plot was rooted in historical fact, reflecting battles between Owens Valley farmers and Los Angeles urbanites over water rights.

Today the water wars continue on a larger scale with new players. It’s no longer just the farmers against the ranchers or the urbanites. It’s the people against the new “water barons”  – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto and the Bush family – who are buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace.

The Washington Post reports on the very sad plight of a group of millionaires who just aren’t rich enough to garner the attention from politicians that billionaires do:

images“They are only going to people who are multi-multi-millionaires and billionaires and raising big money first,” said Neese, who founded a successful employment agency. “Most of the people I talk to are kind of rolling their eyes and saying, ‘You know, we just don’t count anymore.’ ”

It’s the lament of the rich who are not quite rich enough for 2016.

Bundlers who used to carry platinum status have been downgraded, forced to temporarily watch the money race from the sidelines. They’ve been eclipsed by the uber-wealthy, who can dash off a seven-figure check to a super PAC without blinking. Who needs a bundler when you have a billionaire?

Many fundraisers, once treated like royalty because of their extensive donor networks,are left pining for their lost prestige. Can they still have impact in a world where Jeb Bush asks big donors to please not give more than $1 million to his super PAC right now? Will they ever be in the inner circle again?

“A couple presidential elections ago, somebody who had raised, say, $100,000 for a candidate was viewed as a fairly valuable asset,” said Washington lobbyist Kenneth Kies. “Today, that looks like peanuts. People like me are probably looking around saying, ‘How can I do anything that even registers on the Richter scale?’ ”

You may have made ten million dollars founding the most successful business in town since the sawmills, but to these creatures you’re no more important than I.

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