There is no drought in California, claims Donald Trump.

What. The. Fuck? For four years straight our snow pack was basically non-existent and our reservoirs were diminished to puddles. Yes, there’s no drought *now*, this very moment, because we had an extraordinary amount of rain and snow this year. But all indications are that drought is going to be back next year.

The other thing Donald Trump mentioned was those stupid little fish that keep the state from pumping water from the Sacramento Delta, claiming that this is why 50% of the flow of the Sacramento River ends up flowing out to sea. Well, yes, they keep the state from pumping water during the smelt’s mating season. But what keeps the state from pumping water the rest of the year, during low-flow years like last year, is the fact that the water inlets are in the Delta at basically sea level. Now, if there’s 500 gallons of water flowing in from upstream, and you pump 500 gallons of water out, what’s going to happen? Well. You’re going to end up with 250 gallons of fresh water and 250 gallons of salt water going into the pipe, because you’re going to be reversing the flow of the river and bringing in water from the (salt water) San Francisco Bay. This is because fresh water floats on top of salt water, thus you’ll get salt water intrusion underneath the fresh water.

And guess what: salt doesn’t do farmers any good. It *kills* crops, it doesn’t *sustain* crops. This is, in part, why Governor Moonbeam is trying to build those Delta tunnels so that the water inlets can be moved upstream, to well above sea level and thus well above the salt zone, in order to prevent the Delta from flowing backwards. Since the Delta is between upstream and the Central Valley where the water is needed, you have to get the water from point A to point B somehow. Thus the tunnels. Which Republicans like Trump are resolutely against, yet without which, you can’t move more water into the California Water Project because you’d be sucking in salt water.

So I don’t get it. Are the Republicans *for* being able to draw more water out of the Sacramento River and ship it downstate to thirsty farmers, or *against* being able to draw more water out of the Sacramento River and ship it downstate to thirsty farmers? Or maybe they just figure that, like King Canute, they can order the sea to cease its salt water infiltration during low-flow years. All it takes is a law, right? Like that North Carolina law that outlaws global warming, right?

– Badtux the Snarkily Baffled Penguin

This curse

Sunflower Bean, “This Kind of Feeling”, off their recent album Human Ceremony. The young Bob Dylan look-alike decides to run scales on his guitar at ultra high rates of speed:).

– Badtux the Music Penguin

My congratulations to all Republicans out there for your fine upstanding candidate, who today got the biggest, I mean THE biggest, number of delegates of any of the candidates, a number of delegates that makes him the candidate once and for all. I mean, look at that candidate. He’s a great candidate, an orange candidate, the tribble on his head is great too, the most successful candidate so far, what a fine upstanding representative of the human race, he’s YUUUUGE. And so will be his wall that he says Mexico will pay for, except now he says that the wall was metaphor, but I’m not sure that metaphor includes calling an entire nationality rapists and criminals but hey, that’s how a real man rolls, right?

So anyhow, be proud, Republicans, that you’ve finally brought H.L. Mencken’s most cynical statement about the art of practical politics to its fruition. And hey, look at his hands. Those aren’t small hands, they’re YUUUGE hands, with long and pretty fingers, he says so himself! Clearly the best qualification of all for the Presidency!

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” — H. L. Mencken

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Father John Misty, “Nancy From Now On”, from his 2012 album Fear Fun.

– Badtux the Music Penguin

The middle class is shrinking almost everywhere in America. Whether rich state or poor state, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle is increasingly falling to either side of that line.

Let’s look here in the Silicon Valley. Please. Us tech bros are getting $150K/year for being able to put together lines of code to make phone apps and web sites. Meanwhile, the sandwich artists and janitors and grocery store clerks and everybody else needed to make a place livable are getting under $15/hour, or under $30K/year. And inbetween those two extremes… a whole lot of nothing.

That’s what’s happening all over the United States. If you have some unique difficult to replace skill, you get big bucks. Otherwise you get small bucks. And there’s no inbetween anymore, no building construction jobs that pay $50K+ per year, no nothing. You either have more money than you really can spend efficiently, or you don’t have enough money to live on and are reliant on public assistance to live.

I talked about my relatives a while back, and what it was like for them being poor in the 1920’s through 1940’s, when they were subsistence farmers in Louisiana. Thing is, you didn’t need public assistance back then when you were poor the way you do now. There was a whole infrastructure to let small farmers sell small amounts of cash crops to get what little cash money they needed for things like cloth and tools, and they grew most of what they eat or traded it with other people who grew other crops so that they had a more varied diet. And health care back then was pretty much Stone Age, pretty much any serious illness was “send home with plenty of opium to make his death happy and quiet”, so that wasn’t a major expense either.

For better (better healthcare) and worse (loss of independence), we no longer live in that era. Given that, it behooves us to make sure that our society is set up so that people get sufficient money to live a decent life in the society we have, not the society we had 100 years ago. That is the best we can do to reclaim the human dignity that even the poor had back then. And our political establishment isn’t doing that.

Which enrages the victims of this bifurcation of American society. So they reach out to people who aren’t part of the establishment. Thus Donald Trump. He may be an obnoxious talking rage carrot, but he is definitely not part of the political establishment that has fucked up people’s lives. And while Bernie didn’t make it over the transom to become the candidate, the amount of support he received as someone who started out as a minor candidate at the beginning of the political season is unprecedented and has forced the Democratic Party to focus on this inequality whether it wanted to or not.

I don’t think good things will happen if Trump becomes President. As a novice at politics, he will be like most of the other political novices who have gained executive power and ended up puppets of the establishment, like Ah-nold in California or Jesse Ventura in Minnesota. And I have no faith that Clinton is going to move far from her establishment roots. On the other hand, Clinton is a pragmatist. She knows we’re building up to a blow-up if something isn’t done. In the end, she, like FDR, might be charged with saving capitalism while being hated by capitalists. Which will be as ironic for her as it was for FDR, who was the scion of a wealthy and conservative family who liked capitalism and what it had done for him very much, thank you, and was utterly flabbergasted to be considered the second coming of Eugene Debs for taking what, for him, was simple and obvious actions to save the country from disorder and ruin. I don’t know if Clinton has what it takes to be the second coming of FDR. She isn’t exactly known for inspirational speaking, she is a policy wonk who talks above the level of most of her audiences. But someone is going to have to become the second coming of FDR if the nation is to be saved… and given that Sanders didn’t make the cut, either she finds her inner FDR, or things are going to get very, very bad over the next few years.

– Badtux the No-middle Penguin

I dunno, would you?

Chuck Prophet, “Would You Love Me?” off his 2007 album Soap and Water.

– Badtux the Music Penguin

Aoife O’Donovan, “Lay My Burden Down”, off her 2013 album Fossils.

– Badtux the Music Penguin


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