In case you don’t know what “CAFO” stands for, it is “confinement animal feeding operation”. It is claimed to be part of agriculture but in actuality it is an animal factory and should be classified as small industrial rather than agriculture.
I attended a day long conference on CAFO’s on Saturday. Most of the conference was focused on animal waste — that’s crap or poop or feces or dodo or sh–! It is a huge problem; many more times greater than the human waste in a given area. And to think that none of it is processed through a waste treatment plant as is human waste. What do you think happens to it? It gets stored in huge lagoons or in underground tanks until such a time it is spread on our agriculture crop lands. It carries with it disease organisms including antibiotic resistant ones since animals are typically dosed regularly with antibiotics (that is a whole other issue). It carries with it silage leachate, chemicals used in animal housing buildings, hormones, ammonia, heavy metals, and an abundant supply of nitrogen and phosphorous. All of this organic soup can easily contaminate ground water or be washed into nearby streams or drainage ways. What a mess….. and a sick one at that. It is not uncommon for land to receive more than the soil organisms can handle.
It gets worse. Indiana is the repository for some of the animal waste generated in Ohio. It is trucked in. It is supposed to be transferred to approved storage facilities, but too frequently gets disposed of into our streams.
Another factor is that too often the distance from a CAFO and its waste disposal is too close to commercial or residential neighbors. The odors can be oppressive and very unhealthy. Wells can become contaminated. The stink means there are things in the air that can be inhaled. Health is at risk. Would you like to live or bring children in such an environment? Stricter set back regulation are needed.
The crime of all of this is that if these operations were classified as small industrial, they would have to meet much more stringent regulations for operation and waste disposal. Some of the crap that is happening would not. Maybe it is time to push for that. Seems a reasonable answer to all but the “farmer” who operates one of these animal factories.

Presidential Character

In the days following 9/11, the world paused in grief and in honoring those who died in the collapse of the twin towers, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. Now grief flowing from the blowing out of the sky of the Malaysian plane is palpable. The world grieves. There were people from many countries on that flight. Almost 200 were from the Netherlands. Bodies are now gradually being brought back to their homelands.
The passengers on that tragic flight included several from the United States of America. There are many in our country that feel the grief of the families of those who died from not only the USA but from around the world. That is, all but our President. He does not even have the decency to stop business as usual. He, today, is off to California for several fund raisers for the Democratic Party. He and the Party should be ashamed. Our country is better than that. It is too bad that our one most important leader is not.
I cannot wait for the time when he no longer holds the office of the Presidency. It cannot come soon enough.

Illegal Immigration Continued

I just took a hard look at a World Atlas. Allegedly, the flood of illegal alien “children” is coming from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. In looking at the Atlas, it is crystal clear that the distance to Costa Rica (right next door), Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and even Peru is less than to the United States. And all of these countries speak Spanish, the native language of most of the illegal aliens crossing the southern United States border. If the claim that poverty and crime are the driving forces for emigration from the four countries mentioned, one has to wonder why the flood is not going south as well as north. I think the belief is the United States is the land of  milk and honey. And everything is free. Otherwise why not “flee” to other countries as well. The closest country north is MEXICO. What are they doing to care for the “children” or stop them from coming north? 

It seems to me that MEXICO is a giant problem. They are acting as a highway north. It is time for that to stop. We do have leverage on MEXICO. Use it. The stopping should be at the southern MEXICAN border, not the southern US border.

And, by the way, time for the US Marine in jail in MEXICO to come home, too. Obama seems to have done nothing about this either. He is busy on Martha’s Vineyard playing golf.

More On Illegal Immigration

NoVacancyCartoon-1If you watched the news in the past couple of days, you have seen hundreds of mostly young men on top of train cars. The trains are carrying the young men from Central American countries through Mexico to the United States border by the thousands. The only response from President Barack Obama is to ask for $3.7 billion dollars to hire more judges and create more “detention” centers. We don’t hear anything about using the money to move military to the border to stop the flow of people.
One story showed Governor Rick Perry (Texas) on a gun boat on the Rio Grande river. The United States does know how to use gun boats. We used them by the hundreds in Viet Nam to patrol rivers. More are needed along with the manpower to run them. We also learned that the Border Patrol usually operates some 40-50 miles inside the United States from the border. What????? They have engaged in apprehension rather than prevention of crossing in the first place. So, more fence, drones, gun boats, airplanes, and boots on the ground are needed to stop what is happening. Perry has remained calm and reasonable. I don’t know why he is not angry as hell about what is happening to Texas.
We have enough problems in the United States without thousands of uneducated, illegal aliens flooding into the country. We have our own to feed, clothe, and find employment for. We need to get our own house in order.
The pressure for more and more immigration into countries less populated and better off economically will only continue to get greater and greater as the world’s population increases. If we do not control our borders and reduce rather than increase allowed immigration, it will be another race to the bottom.

GMO Food Labeling and Representative Todd Rokita

Representative Todd Rokita, Indiana’s 4th District Congressman, is opposed to mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs). The safety of the food on your table may be at stake.

Rep. Rokita became a co-sponsor of House Bill 4432 on June 24th, 2014. This bill is titled, “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014”, by those who oppose labeling and titled, “Denying Americans the Right-to-Know Act (DARK)” by those who favor labeling. Mandatory labeling of GMO foods is required in over 60 countries worldwide, but not in the United States. Mandatory labeling is and has been aggressively opposed by such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Bayer Crop Science, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Grocery Manufacturers Association includes nearly all of the companies that supply food products for the middle aisles of your grocery store, except those labeled “Non-GMO” or “Organic”.

Vermont recently passed mandatory GMO labeling legislation. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, with others, has filed a law suit against Vermont to block implementation of their labeling law. Vermont plans to fight.

BUT, if House Bill 4432 is passed and eventually becomes law, no state will be permitted to require GMO food labeling. That authority would be only in the hands of the federal government. This is just where big chemical/seed and food manufacturers want the authority. The federal government has not, so far, acted in favor of labeling which is why efforts in a multitude of states to require labeling have been so numerous. People are concerned about the food they put on their tables.

There are two arguments. The first is whether the public has the right to know how food is produced and what is in it or on it. This should be a no brainer. The public should know everything. No secrets.

The second argument is whether GMO foods are different from non-GMO foods. Current federal regulations say not, but there are many in the scientific community that do not agree. There are remaining disturbing questions about the long term safety of genetically engineered foods and the pesticides typically used with them.

Again, there are over 60 countries worldwide that require labeling of GMO foods. Why should we be the only ones in the dark? The answer is that big chemical/seed and big food want us to be. Representative Todd Rokita sides with them.

Illegal Minor Aliens

Oh, I know…. some do not like the word, “aliens”, but this is a word directly from federal law. Sugar coating to some other word does not change facts.
The news is reporting the United States southern border (the one with MEXICO) is being inundated with minors trying to cross into the United States illegally. Already, thousands have been rounded up and taken to camps in the United States. I don’t know whether to call them detention centers, refuge camps, or first step camps to being free in the United States. It depends upon whom is talking. Whatever they are called, it is clear that citizens in the states most affected are getting pretty angry; and rightly so.
This situation cannot continue. The United States cannot become the repository of the world’s people who do not like living in their home country for whatever reason. It seems to me it is the responsibility of home countries to fix themselves rather than be launching pads for people headed for the United States. About all other countries of the developed world have no problem with securing their borders. The problematic one for the United States is the MEXICAN border. Always has been. We now have over an estimated 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States, mostly from MEXICO. The current flood includes MEXICANS and people from countries south of MEXICO in Central America. Mexico has become the highway from Central America to the United States border.
Now it is being reported that about 3/4th of the children crossing the border have a phone number in their pocket. Upon “processing”, the phone number is being used to call people to pick up one or more of the children. No questions are being ask as to the legal status of those called. What!
The simple answer to all of this is to secure our southern border. Slam it tightly shut with whatever it takes. Then let through only those we determine have legitimate reasons to be in the United States under the law…… and it should not take several years to determine this.
In the work that I do, I am in many smaller communities in Indiana. I would have to be blind not to notice that the percentage of the population in most of those communities that is Hispanic has increased significantly. As I drive through those cities and towns, I often wonder how many of the folks I see are United States citizens and how many are illegal aliens. Just wondering. I have a hunch that once in the United States, many illegal aliens will seek out smaller communities in which to reside fully knowing that the chance of being apprehended there is much lower than in more populated places.
So, shut the border, require employers to verify citizenship or legal status (E-Verify), and empower local law enforcement to help identify people in the United States illegally. Simple and effective remedies to a ridiculous problem. Those known to be in the US illegally must be required to depart. The only rights they should have are to return to their home country and seek US entry legally. Period. And, again, it should not take years to make a determination of legal status.
As to the “children” flooding the border, they should be promptly returned to their countries of origin. No questions asked and no consideration given. Humanely treated while here and en route home; that is it. We cannot fix the world.