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Corruption Porn / Water Wars / February 13, 2010

Tommy Feinstein

This story was first published on Alternet.org

California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein showed Californians who she really serves this past Thursday, when news emerged that she was trying to ram through a massive transfer of precious water out of the hands of millions of state residents, and into the private pockets of a clique of billionaire corporate farmers.

Here’s how the San Francisco Chronicle described the swindle:

Feinstein wants to attach the proposal as an amendment to a fast-tracked Senate jobs bill. She is pitching the plan as a jobs measure to address the economic calamity in the Central Valley. It would increase farm water allocations from 10 percent last year to 40 percent this year and next, an amount that farmers say is the bare minimum they need.

Bay Area Democrats were livid, accusing Feinstein of concocting the plan in secret, upending fragile water negotiations that Feinstein has supported and pitting California’s Central Valley against its coast.

According to McClatchy, the amendment had been around for some time, and had already gone through numerous drafts when it was discovered. They were right to be upset. The water transfer would decimate Northern California’s already fragile ecosystem, threaten endangered species of fish and decrease its scarce drinking water supply.

Water is a sacred issue in California that one day will surely lead to a North-South showdown that could get ugly. Any major change in the state’s water policy is so fraught with danger and consequences, that it makes negotiations over how to divide it a long and difficult process. In our imperfect democratic system, this is how we resolve the most difficult problems we face, when different communities have so much at stake. Feinstein apparently decided that democracy wasn’t in her interests–or the interests of the rich corporate farmers she serves–so she is trying to circumvent the whole process by sneaking through legislation before anyone can figure it out. For Californians, it was an act of treason, putting the interests of Big Agro above the needs of millions of people who think she represents them. Feinstein was born and raised in San Francisco, where she rose to political prominence; now, she’s screwing her hometown region most of all.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, attacked Feinstein’s move: “Best I can see, she’s making a decision that jobs in the Bay Area and Northern California and the Peninsula south of San Francisco aren’t as important as jobs in the Central Valley [which has a fraction of the Bay Area's population].”

Feinstein’s sneakiness has something to do with serving Stewart Resnick, a Beverly Hills billionaire and one of the richest men in California. Resnick owns Fiji Water, Pom Wonderful, pesticide manufacturer Suterra and Paramount Agribusiness, the largest farming company in America and the largest pistachio and almond producer in the world. Resnick is also the brain behind a little-known water privatization scheme that brought Enron-style deregulation and privatization to California’s water market and made him one of the largest, if not the largest, private water brokers in America. He also happens to be friend and major contributor to Feinstein’s political career.

Lately he’s been putting pressure on the Senator to badger the Obama administration into loosening environmental regulations and releasing more water to California’s farmers. Feinstein complied, even handing a letter written by Resnick directly over to the White House. News of this sleazy influence-peddling sparked a closer look at Feinstein’s dealings with Resnick:

Wealthy corporate farmer Stewart Resnick has written check after check to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s political campaigns. He’s hosted a party in her honor at his Beverly Hills mansion, and he’s entertained her at his second home in Aspen.

And in September, when Resnick asked Feinstein to weigh in on the side of agribusiness in a drought-fueled environmental dispute over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, this wealthy grower and political donor got quick results, documents show.

Thanks to his generous relationship with Dianne Feinstein, a corporate farmer is successfully crusading against environmental preservation in California.

Feinstein wasn’t bothered a bit by the negative press. Anyone who followed her senate career knows she is the queen of insider relationships, marrying politics with big business, it’s something that comes naturally to a hard-hearted career politician married into the world of ruthless businessmen, bankers and corporate sharks.

Her husband of 30 years, Richard Blum, is a classic cutthroat corporate raider who made billions in hostile takeovers, buying up companies, then stripping and selling off their assets and skipping away with the profits. Blum kept some infamous company, including junk bond conman Michael Milken, who was jailed for his crime. Blum has been the subject of several media investigations into how he has profited handsomely from his wife’s political power.

In one of the scandals, Feinstein created a law that happened to steer a lot of easy taxpayer money toward her husband’s business:

On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

Then there was an even bigger scandal linking Feinstein to war profiteering in Iraq:

As chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee from 2001 through the end of 2005, Feinstein supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, financier Richard C. Blum, benefited from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee.

A crooked politician like Feinstein prefers doing deals like this out of the public eye, just like her corporate raider husband, so her attempt to secretly force through an unpopular law onto her constituency is just business as usual. Republicans sneer at her for being a San Francisco liberal, but her actual record shows that she’s about as much a liberal as Paul Bremer, privatizing by the closest thing to a decree, while talking up democracy. What’s good for the people does not matter. It’s all about stripping public wealth and privatizing state assets for maximum profit—so long as it goes to her husband’s friends.

And she’s becoming more brazen, fleecing us right out in the open with no fear of repercussion. Why should she care? It’s not like California’s voters have the power not to reelect her.

This story was first published on Alternet.org

Yasha Levine is a mobile home inhabitin’ editor of The eXiled. He is currently stationed in Victorville, CA. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com

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14 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. the Dude  |  February 13th, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Notice the unsafe firearms handling on display in the photo. What a paragon of righteousness and sound judgement you are, Senator.

  • 2. adolphhitler  |  February 13th, 2010 at 5:32 am

    this is the same cunt that has not one but two concealed carry permits but wants to take your gun away

  • 3. homer  |  February 13th, 2010 at 6:48 am

    what an ugly ass troll she is

  • 4. Heinrich Muggins  |  February 13th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Now that’s what I call “Lefties with Testes!”

  • 5. timmy  |  February 13th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Hypocrite bitch probably keep that fucker loaded in her closet in between taking it out to score/scare votes from feminine voters.

  • 6. FrankMcG  |  February 13th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    But surely the free market should be free to buy and sell water as they see fit after all it is the citizens’ right to sell off access to water and eventually the market will determine free freest freedom freedom market vote libertarian Ayn Rand Ron Paul Ron Paul.

  • 7. homer  |  February 13th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Don’t people drink bottled water in C.A. anyway? Or better yet, designer water? I know in Mexico only drunk people drink tap water.

  • 8. Iok Sotot, Eater of Souls  |  February 14th, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Wow, I hope you USAers can see the trend forming here. When your government has been bankrupted through corruption and economic depression the next step is a no-reserve auction on everything publically owned.
    The fuckers are going to do to you what they did to Russia, most of S. America etc. etc.

    I can only theorise that the lack of angry protest, civil disobedience and insurgency is due to ignorence of what these people have cooked up for you. It must be, because even a brainwashed coward will lift his obese ass off the sofa when it catches fire.

  • 9. tonyIchiban  |  February 14th, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Safety off
    Bolt closed
    Magazine inserted
    Finger on the trigger

    YEEHAW! Gun control!

  • 10. Yam Digger  |  February 14th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    What kind of unpatriotic bitch poses in America with an AK-47? No self respecting American poses with anything less that an M-16!

  • 11. Realist  |  February 15th, 2010 at 1:55 am

    She probably believed to hold a Galil AR in her hands.

  • 12. FrankMcG  |  February 15th, 2010 at 3:15 am

    “Hitler doesn’t really sound that evil. I mean if you think about it…WHOAH IS HE IMPROPERLY STOWING THAT LUGER? THAT GUY IS THE WORST!”

  • 13. jo6pac  |  February 15th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Hopefully she’ll follow little evan lead and quit.

  • 14. carl the druid  |  February 16th, 2010 at 6:44 am

    What a Democrat b8tch. This is why Democrats want to take away your guns so they can do what ever they want and California citizens with the worst anti gun laws in the union can’t do anything but take it in the ass. What kind of unpatriotic Democrat poses with an AK-47?


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