transcript of the Hannity Show with my Comments
Submitted by Lloyd_Carter on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 11:04.
Dear readers of the Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood, on Tuesday night, August 11, 2009, Sean Hannity of Fox News (AKA Faux News) did a short piece on the water problems of the western San Joaquin Valley, interviewing Rep. Devin Nunes and Comedian Paul Rodriguez, who is head of the California Latino Water Coalition. Unsurprisingly, the segment was full of falsehoods, misinformation and disinformation. My bracketed comments below are an effort to provide some balance to the slanted report. There is a link in the material below so you can watch the Hannity "fair and balanced" report and judge for yourself.
California Farmers Demand Obama's Help
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now tonight, we bring you an update on a story we covered back in May. [This part is true.]
The Central Valley of California was once considered the bread basket of America [Well, Sean, bread is made from wheat and most of that is grown in the Midwest, not Central California. However, rest assured the San Joaquin Valley remains the fruits and nuts basket of America (in more ways than one) and the salad bowl of America, because only about an eighth of the Valley is currently affected by the "drought" regulatory or natural.]. But now farms all over that region [No, Sean, farms all over this "region" have not been allowed to dry up. Other than the dead almond orchard you showed, there are few, if any, reports that farms are drying up all over the valley.] have been allowed to dry up. Now why? Because of a 2-inch minnow [I assume, Sean, you are derisively referring to the Delta Smelt as a minnow. More significantly you either deliberately, or through ignorance and failure to investigate, omit any mention of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and killer whales as fish also threatened by massive diversions from the Bay-Delta estuary. And the major economic losses suffered by the fishing industry. A momentary lapse on a critical fact, Sean?] on the endangered species list.
Now, environmentalists claim that the fish was getting caught in the water pumps [It was initially a claim, Sean, because government scientists were silenced during the Bush years but it is now a fact, testified to by numerous fishery scientists and accepted as proven by a federal judge.] that provided the farms with water, so to protect the tiny fish, the pumps were turned off. And farmers, well, they were left high and dry, and entire communities are now feeling the impact. [Lester Snow, director of the California Department of Water Resources, says the Smelt court ruling only accounts for about one-third of the cutbacks of water to the 617,000-acre Westlands Water District, which represents about 15 percent of farming in the San Joaquin Valley. The rest of the cutbacks in south of Delta water deliveries are attributable to natural drought and to the fact the Westlands is the last federal irrigation district in the Central Valley Project to get whatever water is left after senior water rights holders get their supplies.]
Some towns in the area are now facing unemployment rates of up to 40 percent. [Mendota is the only town I've heard mentioned that has a 40 percent unemployment rate. And had you done a little homework, Sean, you would have learned that Mendota has had chronic unemployment problems for decades ranging from 28 to 35 percent, even in years when Westlands got all of its water supply. Most farm worker jobs are seasonal and many farm workers go on public assistance every winter.] And many residents are now forced to visit food banks. [Hunger in the food rich San Joaquin Valley has been an ongoing problem for many years. But the people of that great area, they've had enough, and they're speaking out tonight.
And joining me live from California is Congressman Devin Munes and comedian and activist Paul Rodriguez.
• Video: Watch Sean's interview
Guys, I don't know if we can get a shot. It looks like you have over a thousand people there. Is that right? [If you watch the video carefully here, the Fox cameras never pull back to show the entire crowd. All you see are what are called "close shots" which allow for no rational assessment of the crowd size. Judge for yourself when you watch the video but it seems to be just a few hundred people. KMJ radio talk show host Ray Appleton, a fervent supporter and member of the California Latino Water Coalition, said on his show last week that he had spoken to Fox News representatives and they told him to make sure plenty of people showed up to swell the crowd. The New York Times and the Associated Press have reported the growers and a prominent farm labor contractor funding the Latino Water Coalition have paid farm workers to participate in recent rallies and marches.]
PAUL RODRIGUEZ, COMEDIAN/ACTIVIST: Well over a thousand, Sean. [How does Paul know this? Did he do a head count?] This is a testament of your message is getting to these people. They've been out here for hours. The only water this field has seen is our sweat. But it's more than we've gotten from the government.
HANNITY: Well, Paul, we have had you on about this before. I want you to tell the entire story, because it's almost unfathomable. Literally, farms are drying up.
RODRIGUEZ: People don't believe it.
HANNITY: Go ahead, tell them. Tell everybody.
RODRIGUEZ: Well, the problem is the environmental laws; they're not flexible at all. The very judge that pushed this order to cut off the water said that there was no swivel room to make accommodations for human beings. You know, this fish apparently takes high priority. All the water has been held back. [All the water, Paul? That is a flat out lie. Even Westlands is getting 10 percent of its water. East Side growers are getting between 80 and 90 percent of normal deliveries. Many older irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley, with senior water rights, got a near normal allotment of water this year and some got a full allotment.]
And we're left with nothing but — right where we're at, this used to be an almond orchard. We grew some of the sweetest almonds ever. Now it's firewood. Do you want some? Nobody believes that how I got involved. My mother is from here. [Paul was speaking from Huron, in western Fresno County on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, 72 miles from Orange Cove on the East Side of the Valley, where his mother lives and his farm is located. His 40-acre farm has plenty of water available according to the Friant Water Users Authority.
HANNITY: These farmers, their farms are now dried up. [Farmers, plural, Sean? You showed only one dried up almond orchard and you never interviewed the almond grower to see why he was unable to buy water on the open market because other Westlands farmers have been buying water for their orchards. An even larger question that went unasked is why are farmers at the end of the bucket line for delivery of publicly-subsidized federal water planting permanent crops like almonds when they know they may not always get water and they have no backup plan in the event of drought. Even more interesting, growers tell me a lot of almond orchards are being pulled up by growers who want to plant a new variety that produces a larger almond, popular with consumers. Where was the farmer who owned the dead almond orchard?] There's no water; there's no production. People are losing their jobs. How many people are out of work there?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, the system varies but a lot of people here aren't working. [Now this is a doozy. I don't know what Paul means when he says the "system varies" but Rep. Nunes and a UC Davis ag-friendly professor have estimated farm job losses at up to 80,000 jobs. Professor Jeffrey Michael of the University of the Pacific says a more accurate figure is 6,000 jobs lost.] That's why we're here. We're here to show America this is our own town hall meeting here, Sean.
This is — you know, we're so wrapped up in this issue we don't have time to worry about health care, because everything around us is dead. Our way of life is dying here.
We really — we tried to have the administration come to see about us. We haven't heard. They sent the secretary of the interior here. He gave us some nice lip service and said, "Oh, we're going to do this and do that." But at the end of the thing, we didn't get no water. Our fields are drying out. Something has to be done. [Translation: We want to take Northern California water away from Delta farmers and salmon fishermen and Native Americans, who, curiously, were not represented on your show, Sean.]
HANNITY: Now Congressman, first, Paul, you were an Obama supporter. You...
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, absolutely. Like everybody else, we wanted change. We didn't think it would be this kind of change. But you know, he kept his promise, we got change.
HANNITY: All right. But where are you now? I heard you want to call Fresno County an Obama country? [This is a typo. It should read Nobama County. The Latino Water Coalition wants to gather 50,000 to 100,000 signatures to change the name of Fresno County, the nation's top farm county, to Nobama County (county not country) presumably to embarrass the president and force him to come to California and increase Delta water exports despite a federal court ruling to the contrary.] Or...
RODRIGUEZ: We want to name — we would like to name it after someone who is responsible for this. [The president is not responsible for a natural drought or the fact the Westlands growers are at the end of the federal water bucket line, Paul. Try blaming God.]
Look, we have signed a letter signed by every mayor in this whole area to President Obama, telling him that we tried to go through the chain of command. We saw the secretary of interior. We saw his assistant. We went to Sacramento. We went over there to Washington, D.C.
We've gone everywhere. Everybody is paying lip service. At the end of the day our trees can't wait. Our trees are going to wait for a law — maybe passing might open. Two gates, one gate, no gates, at the end of the day, nobody is bringing us water. [This sentence makes no sense. It may be the fault of the person who transcribed it. The Two Gates reference is a Rube Goldberg engineering proposal to protect Delta fish while still allowing exports of water. It may or may not work]
HANNITY: Congressman, I mean, how is this possible? I mean, this isn't an endangered — this is — go ahead.
REP. DEVIN MUNES, R-CALIF.: [Again, Munes is a typo by the transcriber. It is Nunes.] It's unbelievable, Sean. This is — we tried on the House floor this summer about five or six different times, and we only got a handful of Democrat votes every time. Weave [No English major, here. Should be "we've."] tried to pass something. [Nunes conveniently omits saying what he really tried to do was to get the venerable Endangered Species Act suspended for a few hundred growers in the Western Valley even at the risk of causing ecological collapse in the Delta.
And look, Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House. She's from California. We have over 10 percent unemployment in California. We're sitting in trees with trees that are only 8 years old right now that are now sitting here dead, dried out. [Again, we never heard from the farmer whose orchard died. Did he already have financial problems from the collapse of almond prices due to SURPLUS? We now have 650,000 acres of almonds in the San Joaquin Valley. The price has gone from $4 a pound to $1-2 a pound. How many acres of almonds do we need?
There's a half a million acres of farmland — it's bigger than the size of Rhode Island — that's now dry because of these fools. [Where does Nunes get this figure? I've seen no official reports that half a million acres of farmland on the west side have been idled. Even Westlands officials do not claim their entire district has been dried up. And by the way, Devin, that's politically smart of you to call congressional Democrats "fools" when they are in the majority. Perhaps that is why you have never pushed a significant water bill through Congress in the last decade even when the Republicans were in control. You'll never get anything done while Nancy Pelosi is speaker. Shrill radio talk show host Ray Appleton has called her the Anti-Christ. That is sure to garner her cooperation. ]
HANNITY: I've got to — go ahead, Paul. Go ahead.
RODRIGUEZ: You know — you know, the loser here is the American people. [Not really. There has been no noticeable change in food prices because of the curtailment in production of 15 percent of the farmland in the surplus glutted San Joaquin Valley. But prices, notably milk and almond prices, have dropped due to surplus.] Because when we live in the most fertile valley on this planet. Everything you put on the ground here grows. Yet, you're going to eventually — by next spring, you're going to get your vegetables from China. And I understand they make great baby milk formula. [Nice scare tactic, Paul. The fact is significant amounts of foreign food have been imported into the United States for many years, often grown by American agribusinesses operating offshore. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the average American now eats about 260 pounds of foreign food a year, 13 percent of the average person's diet. Food imports regulated by the FDA increased from four million shipments in 2000 to 10 million shipments in 2006. Some 79 percent of the American fish and shellfish consumption comes from foreign sources. Some 32 percent of fruits and nuts consumed in America now come from overseas and 13 percent of vegetables. Shouldn't we all be dead by now from this tainted foreign food, often grown by Americans, Paul?]
MUNES: And Sean, let me add something on this. This is, you know, in China and India, and Brazil, they're building water infrastructure projects. [The Three Gorges Project in China is the most destructive hydroelectric project in human history, forcing the relocation of 100 million people. It was built for power production, not water storage.] In California, not only are we not building projects here [not true, as environmentalists know, numerous storage projects, including dams and groundwater storage, have been built in the last two decades], we're taking the projects we have, and they're shut off. They're shut off, and they're starving this valley of water. [No, Devin, cutbacks in Delta exports are not "starving this valley of water" because the East Side gets its water from several rivers originating in the Sierra Nevada Mountains south of the Delta.]
RODRIGUEZ: We'd like to have the same consideration that they have for the plants that they're building in Iraq. For crying out loud, they are getting — they're getting the water projects.
Here in this valley, look we have no other recourse, but we want to thank you a lot, Sean. Because nobody else has pointed their eye on this problem. To us there's a lot of — we understand that the president has serious problems, you know, with health care and all these other things. But to us this is our livelihood.
MUNES: All you got to do is turn the pumps on. [Hey Devin, the pumps were turned back on July 1, pursuant to the federal court order. Are you keeping up?]
HANNITY: Listen, I want everybody — I don't know if anybody is going to hear me out there, guys. But I want to say this to the crowd. You know what? The people in this area need jobs. They need their farms. They need the water for their farms. And the federal government, where is Barack Obama, where is Nancy Pelosi, where is Harry Reid?
Turn the water on [The water has been turned on, Sean. Do a little homework.] and let the people in central California eat. I can't believe I'm even debating, to be honest, Paul.
RODRIGUEZ: It's ridiculous. You know, we — I have not lost faith yet. Maybe I'm a knucklehead. We have sent the letter. We're still hoping that Mr. Obama will see it in his busy schedule to come down here and visit us.
We believe that — seeing is believing. If he sees the faces on these people. Look, we're not just white or brown. We're everybody here. This is a microcosm of America here. We're farmers. We bring food to your table.
HANNITY: Let me ask you the last question. Are you going to run for office?
RODRIGUEZ: Who, me? The only thing I'm going to run is from the cops. [This was funny, Paul. I laughed. You are a funny guy.]
No, this — this area needs someone with an education. I'm not smart enough to be that. I just want water to my mom's farm, and I'm back to telling jokes.
MUNES: I'm working on him. I'm trying to get him to run, Sean. We'll keep — we're going to work on it.
RODRIGUEZ: You should run, Sean. You're the man.
HANNITY: No, no, no. Listen, I mean this sincerely. I think this is really important. And I hope the president is watching or somebody will bring this to his attention, and somebody has got to turn the water back on. [Again, Sean had you done a minimal amount of fact checking you would have discovered the pumps were turned back on July 1. We've got to save these farmers. [These "farmers" are the most heavily subsidized growers in America, receiving more subsidy money for crops, and subsidized water and power, than any other growers in America. You are a big supporter of the Heritage Foundation, Sean. Read what they have to say about farm subsidies.] We've got to save these farms. We've got to do it for the people out there.
RODRIGUEZ: Either that or put us on the endangered species list.
Thank you so much.
HANNITY: All right, guys. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. When...
RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.
HANNITY: Guys, I hope your water gets turned on soon. Thank you, all.
Unbelievable. Whatever happened to the government working for people? [The government, Sean, has done more to help the 600 Westlands growers than any other farmers in America. More than 300,000 acres of their land suffer major selenium problems and are salting up and there have been suggestions they be taken out of production for 25 years, especially since drainage from the Westlands destroyed the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge in the early 1980s. The current price tag for a drainage system for the 600 Westlands growers is $2 billion. You didn't mention a word of this on your show, Sean.]
Folks, this is an amazing time in our country's history. And I just can't believe we find ourselves, you know, even having to debate some of these things. But we're going to stay on that story. [Do some homework. Sean. Talk to the thousands of commercial salmon fishermen who are out of work. Talk to Delta farmers who have seen their water supplies degraded by salty and selenium-tainted agricultural waste water from irrigation districts north of Westlands in the western San Joaquin Valley.]
— Watch "Hannity" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!
* Lloyd_Carter's blog
Just Read 'Cadillac Desert'...
Submitted by David Decker (not verified) on Tue, 09/15/2009 - 23:04.
It tells just about all of the pertinent information on the history of Water stealing and 'gaming' of water in this area...I did not read it until 2002 and I got very angry at how I was 'made a pawn of' through my participation in this 'lurid' Farce that is the Westlands Water District. Legally those farms should have never received a drop of subsidized Federal water. The taxpayers have been paying those 'crooks and Gamers'for way too long...and they are called 'Family Farms'!!!?
The ones that I am familiar with, where set up to eventually control the allotments of water, then subvert the laws in order to 'facilitate' that subsidized water being funneled to Los Angeles. Logically I can prove that claim..., but I better have a full-armored suit on, because the stones will be many, strongly flung and well-aimed! And I am NOT an 'environmentalist'. I am a 'scientist' and an amateur 'Ecologist' by default. I was trained and hold a BS degree in Animal Science and I worked on the Westside for the majority of the 80's in that 'capacity'.
Those people have no shame...