Apr 13, 2017

Wisconsin Edges Towards Medieval Times in Wastewater Management

Political corruption and public lethargy embolden corporate agriculture's plundering of public waters

Madison, Wisconsin — Gov. Scott Walker cares too much about people to see them become dependent on government for safe water and sewage systems.

So Republican thinking goes.

If people believe government is some kind of wishing well, then the next thing you know is you get Jewish socialists advocating everything from municipal sewers to safe drinking water to healthcare to vibrant public universities where then there's a whole bunch of Jews, socialists, identifying lesbians, sociologists, and Art History types infecting young minds with the democratic virus—constantly mutating, changing form and killing Jesus, (Slate Magazine), (Dreier, Huffington Post), [(Seymour Martin Lipset Ph.D., Gary Wolfe Marks Ph.D; It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, (W.W. Norton and Company)].

For the world casting eyes upon the Badger state's political culture and asking, 'what's the matter with Wisconsin?' know it's nothing that a competent Democratic Party of Wisconsin, (we don't have one of those), and the tiniest bit of increase in civic involvement among a slice of the population cannot cure.

It's that easy, though a favorable decision in the potentially landmark gerrymandering case challenging the constitutionality of Wisconsin's Republican-drawn state legislative and congressional maps that are intended to elect as many Republicans as possible would help too, [Whitford v. Gill, (Nichol), (District Court (Case 3:15-cv-00421)) (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155022 (W.D. Wis., Nov. 17, 2015)), (Redistricting legal reporting, Election Law blog), (Supreme Court of the United States, No. 16-1161, Beverly R. Gill, et al. v. William Whitford, et al.)] See Parsons for analysis on the landmark nature of this November 2016 decision, now before the Supreme Court of the United States, (No. 16-1161, Beverly R. Gill, et al. v. William Whitford, et al.).

Here's a problem with the One-Party-Republican rule for those Wisconsinites enamored of drinking safe water. Wisconsin Republicans do not care if your kids die or are hospitalized by drinking or bathing in water poisoned by huge agricultural interests that vectors manure into aquifers. Until white, rural Wisconsin voters realize this fact, rural voters will keep reelecting Republicans, (Mal Contends). [See also Ikerd, Dr. John. "The Inevitable Economic, Ecological, and Social Consequences of CAFOs." University of Missouri-Columbia.]

We should really consider the wisdom of Milwaukee's sewer socialists and how their politics matter today. That is, disposing of untreated manure and waste safely matters to human beings. In Medieval times, this focus on sanitation was not a public concern.

The latest from Wisconsin safe water warriors sees journalism and citizen action soaring:

We note again the reporting of Steven Verburg of the Wisconsin State Journal.

By David Gorski

You won't believe this one.

Verburg reports on the introduction of a new legislative bill, (Assembly Bill 226, (AB 226).

After Republicans have facilitated the contamination and depletion of your drinking water with CAFOs and other Big Ag corporate operations, AB 226 would increase the monies available to you so you can actually drink your water, and safely bathe infants, (which in Door and Kewaunee counties, for example, has resulted in the hospitalization of infants, children and adults who thought bathing in and drinking water were safe pursuits).

Here's an idea. How about we ensure that any corporate operation that pollutes and contaminates our water is not allowed to operate without the consent of the community whose families' health and lives are endangered? Guess who is sponsoring AB 226? State Rep. Scott Krug, (R-Nekoosa, Wisconsin) and State Rep. Joel Kitchens, (R-Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin), the polluters' top go-to lackeys.

On another matter, In February, Verburg reported on the only privatized of Wisconsin's 80 drinking-water public systems.

The system serves the city of Superior and charges more than twice the average of what folks pay for water now in the rest of the state.

Folks, corporate control, corporate pollution, corporate befouling and depletion are coming our way. The first step is stopping the proposed Wysocki CAFO. Then we get rid of the people in the capitol who do the work of polluters. For now, Republicans like Krug and Kitchens are working against us to encourage the polluting and depleting of our water, followed by corporate out-of-state control of our water.

Well, who ever said you have a right to water?

By Don Ystad of Adams County Wisconsin

Concerned friends and neighbors,

Why is this article about an Iowa editor winning a Pulitzer important to us?  It's about perseverance in pointing out the pollution of a watershed in Iowa by upstream agricultural , and uncovering the dark money fueled by big agricultural interests to hide the truth and undermine efforts to stop the pollution.  Think about it in terms of the dark money flowing in to the last local campaign here to unseat our environment friendly Senator, this past fall's attempt by the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers, (WPVGA), to sell a junk science groundwater 'fact book', and the quarter million dollars big ag interests contributed to our representatives to further ag friendly groundwater bills. Then, remember the misleading ads by the WPVGA trying to convince us that drawing down the aquifer won't affect lakes levels, and misleading photos presented by growers at a public meeting suggesting that lakes have recovered from the effects of high cap well pumping. These people are not our friends, [The Guardian, The Independent].

This article is an important reminder about the self serving nature of the big ag lobbies as they try to hide behind the family-farmer label while destroying that very ethic.  And, it's a reminder of how our legislators pander to that lobby. But, it's also a confirmation that we may not have the support of our lawmakers or the DNR, and certainly not the big ag community, but we have two things going for us; our vote and our collective voice. We have the ultimate power if we choose to use it.

As a property owner concerned with the future of your well, your lake or your stream, you need to be an active citizen. There are local grass roots groups, and the new statewide citizens lobby available to you, among others. Get involved and protect what's important to you.

It's the only way.

Wisconsin citizens are leading the way.

Journalists are leading the way.

Know that Big Ag and its defenders care about one thing, and it isn't life. Ask Iowa's Alex Kuhn, driven to suicide by factory farm trolls and agribusiness lackeys for Kuhn's standing up for his community, families and safe water.

Consider as well the words of Gordon Stevenson, runoff chief for the Wisconsin DNR (2001-2011):

"Manure management is essentially the same as it has been since the Middle Ages; untreated manure is disposed on untreated on the landscape. We have already seen severe public health consequences from these practices and I am certain that we will see more. Much of Wisconsin’s environmental protection efforts with agriculture center on nutrient management planning. Many of my former colleagues have labored long and hard to persuade farmers to adopt the NRCS 590 Nutrient Management Standard. The problem is that 590 is not a water quality standards, it as an agronomic standard that seeks to optimize crop production. Plus evaluation of a farmer’s compliance with that standard is somewhere between difficult and impossible."

Consider the Parable of Smithfield Foods. In 1936, a family built a small hog slaughtering and packing plant in Smithfield, Virginia. Their products were very good, the plant grew and town of Smithfield came to be known as the Ham Capital of the World. During the 1980s, the company vertically integrated. In plain English, that means they not only owned the processing facilities, but they figured out that if they controlled the production of hogs as well as processing they could be more profitable. By the end of 1998, Smithfield owned not only multiple packaging plants but 460 large hog farms and had contracts with 2,100 other pork producers 12 states. Smithfield Foods had become the number one pork producer in the United States and was growing internationally. They continued to grow, aggregating the assets of American pork production into larger and fewer blocks. Next time you go shopping, checkout the pork products. You will see labels like Morrell, Farmland, Armour and others. Smithfield owns all of those companies and multiple others. On September 26, 2013, Smithfield Foods and all of its holdings were sold to another company for $7.1 billion. [Bittman, NYT] The name of the company is Shuanghui International Holdings Limited.[Shuanghui changed its name to the: WH Group (BusinessWeek)]

"Yes, a company from the People’s Republic of China now owns 26 percent of all of the assets of the American pork industry. This is the largest single Chinese purchase to date of American assets. China has successfully established an offshore economic colony on American soil. Let’s leave Virginia and Beijing and return to Wisconsin. We have dairy CAFOs in Wisconsin that are in the process of aggregating the assets of Wisconsin’s dairy industry into larger and fewer blocks. Any of those blocks can be bought and sold. I don’t believe I need to spell out why I told you the Parable of Smithfield Foods."

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