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October 23, 2007


Hummm... interesting story, huh? So can anything be done about this or is it another freebie?

Just a wee bit of a point. Katherine Armstrong is indeed entangled with the King ranch, but her Armstrong ranch is where Cheney did the deed. It is a mere 50,000 acres in the same neighborhood as the King which claims 825,000 acres. The poor, poverty stricken King Ranch sends me a catalog several times a year of the most expensive cowboy toys imaginable, including the monster King Ranch pickup rig. And it ain't run with biodiesel.

An interesting fact is that the lawyer who was shot in the face is the brother in law of James baker

Pat, a thought. When one breeds horses, it's not unusual to cross breed stock a bit closer than second cousins - when the result is successful it's called line breeding (something the King Ranch & Armstrongs are well familiar with)...BUT when it's unsuccessful it's called inbreeding. Seems to me the neighborhood is sporting a great deal of inbreeding.

Ah..., what have you got against the American Farmer and Rancher?


Are you just uninformed or just being a whatever? The point of the article is more about the ill use of our tax money that often goes to support large agri-business that a) really doesn't need it, or b) hurts the American comsumer through protectioinism of certain commodities like sugar.

I notice you like to chime in alot when no one else is around, like your Blackwater comment. Go get yourself educated.

Shit Stain Jodi,
I notice you don;t have anything to say that's on point or thoughtful. Just quips. You're like a eight year old picking a scab. Go wash your hands and change your underwear.

Thanks, Pat. (Is this the kind of thing that Mary, who had to steer her family through times of peril, would have kept and pondered in her heart?)

OT remark: The article of the day (10/23) at Wikipedia is "cardinal-nephew," a phenomenon that seems to have been especially related to courtly practices assumed by the Papacy during the decampment of Church authority from Rome to Avignon.

Those Wikipedia editors are either lucky or good.

in another deconstruction of the lunatic-
largesse of this administration's foreign policies,
i've derived a rather astonishing graphic, from the data
mentioned in a new york times article on state-
department spending for private security
contractors, in iraq -- the scale of it is
jaw-slacking, if i do say so myself

do take a look. you'll wanna' holler!

There is a book that could be written about the topic of the original post; I found a site that parallels some of the CIR critique with more about the Armstrong holdings.

...Armstrong ranch is where Cheney did the deed. It is a mere 50,000 acres in the same neighborhood as the King which claims 825,000 acres. The poor, poverty stricken King Ranch sends me a catalog several times a year of the most expensive cowboy toys imaginable, including the monster King Ranch pickup rig. And it ain't run with biodiesel.

The King Ranch used to extend all the way from Kingsville south to Brownsville, over 150 miles. They 'created' the town of Kingsville, as there isn't any other way to start a town if you own everything.

There is also no meaningful distinction between King, Armstrong, or Kleberg, maybe Armstrong is the shack in the neighborhood.

John L-that's quite the link! At the top of the pg is another link with a quote, "In 1963 Kennedy was killed most likely by an assasination network operated by the King Ranch group & Clint Murchison in Mexico. Murchison was close to Rockefeller....
Although individual men die a generation at a time, networks of families live on."

m'sail, I thought the website for that link was excessively tinfoil conjectural, but something about the narrative of a stolen election in 1948 seemed veracious. Also, the way I arrived at that link was based on some work in ag I had done, and an EIR plus literature that depict cotton as a pesticide intensive crop if managed by modern economic methods. Additionally, since there is a wave of viticulture and enology sweeping the New World, I examined that nascent industry in the places most proximal to the Armstrong locale; though with little specific luck there, as broadly speaking if cotton grows the only kind of enology feasible is the most bland of generics, plus perhaps some distilled secondary products. Still, the economic data cited for cotton I calculated exceeding a subsidy averaging $60.k/ac over those 6 years, which seemed like a surprisingly substantial support; though word is agribusiness is only profitable on a large scale; and my experience in TX was limited to mostly north parts. The Armstrong place looks only 8 sq.mi.; ours, in premium varietal land in a different western state once was 1 sq.mi. But it has been an enticing opportunity to look at border politics and the mythologizing about both US settlers' history, and their modern descendants. Concerned about economic protectionism as one of the flaws in US policy which tinges our free trade pacts, I am interested in that aspect of cotton as a commodity, having read some pretty scathing and astute remarks from posts on sites in eastern and northern Africa where second world cotton attempts to compete with our protectionist trade policies. All these elements in what began as a simple e.w. post quickly indicated to me there is a lot of material to review to give it balanced treatment.

When I was a wee gnome, I used to sit on the front porch with my great-grandpa and listen to him cuss in German about farm subsidies. When I asked for a translation he explained how the idiotic federal gummit paid him to not grow crops, to just let the fields lie fallow. It was that upstart Johnson he was cussing out, but blamed it on FDR. My grandpa loved ranching and farming. It hurt to not work. When his knees got so bad that he couldn't tend cattle or sheep (at about age 88)he sold off the land that had the creek running through it to keep him from buying livestock at auction. Through our own brand of "line-breeding" (yes, my grandparents were second cousins)that part of my family owned or controlled as much land in Central Texas as the Kings/Armstrongs/Kleburgs do in South Texas. Now most of it is Austin suburbs.

So Jodi, if you read my last post, you will see that some of us love and are part and parcel of the American Farm and Ranch. What we are objecting to and what my grandpa objected to was the folks who didn't NEED the money taking it, or in his case being forced to take it. For the South Texas bunch it has become a form of welfare that they rely and depend on to help fuel whatever it is it fuels. Not that they need it, but the Ag exemptions and tax breaks are important to keeping the land I suppose.

P.S. I went to school with Sarita Armstrong and didn't know she was "anybody" until her mother was appointed Ambassador to England I think it was by Nixon. We were all just hippie college kids then.

The people who 'need' subsidies to keep the land from being built on probably just need the money to maintain their lifestyle. There are ways to preserve open space that don't require the government handouts - but these are the same kind of people that want top dollar from the open-space preservation groups, 'or else they'll sell to developers'.

Gnome, your grandfather sounds like he would have been interesting to tallk with.

My my my, what have we here? A troll who can't get her Republican Talking Points straight? Better be careful Jodi, another mess up like this and you'll get kicked out of the Rethug-shill-for-hire club.

No one, and I do mean NO ONE has ever questioned the citizenship of farmers or ranchers with respect to the farm bill. No dear little troll the mantra is Family Farmers and Ranchers. You see, you need to conjure up the heartwarming image of Ma and Pa farmer surrounded by their wee little future farmers and their 100 acre spreads upon which to raise the little'uns and make a living.

These were the folks I grew up with in the upper Midwest and I can tell you they are mostly gone now, thanks to the subsidies you love so well going to huge corporate operations. Indeed it was our farming friends back in the '70s who explained to us how the farm bill was going to put them all out of business.

A good farm bill that stopped the corporate handouts, supported family-size farms and ranches, encouraged vegetable crops and reduced the all-consuming importance of King Corn and Soybeans would do pretty much everyone a world of good. Excepting of course your corporate chums who pay for your shillness.

I've been reflecting on the difference between my extended Central Texas family and the South Texas bunch that Cheney hangs with. The difference is OIL. My family's land became valuable because of real estate - location, location, location. The south Texas land has a bunch of oil under it and not much on top except for quail and dove. Hence the connection to Houston. (There is an old joke about the last category 4 or 5 hurricane to hit Texas - it came in half way between Corpus and Brownsville, right over the King Ranch - and it did 30 million dollars worth of improvements. [It really did, since it created some cuts in the barrier islands that the Corps was going to have to dig to help the Laguna Madre water quality])

Mr. Gnome's career has taken him through the oil and gas gang in Houston, so I am familiar with that bunch and the spin-offs from there - the law firms (Baker & Botts) the service companies - Schlumberger and Halliburton, etc. Lots of money, huge egos and machismo. When OIL is no more, these people will be no more unless like some smart ones, they figure out the future things of value and start buying them up. Right now they are fighting tooth and nail to keep oil king. Which is the whole point of the Bush and Cheney administration.

well said Phred. Small farmers = diversity; ie, take the spinach scare last year where you have huge farms held under large corporate umbrellas and when a single problem raises it head; bad irrigation pipes, poor packaging, etc. the effects to human health are exaggerated from what they would be if the crops had been sourced from a larger quantity of smaller farms spread out, using different soils, irrigation, packaging, etc. We're starting here to call these small farmers' operations 'national security crops' as their diversity protects against single sourced disasters.

mainsailset -- I like the term "national security crops". I haven't heard it put that way before. The benefits of better farm policy are astonishingly widespread ranging from better economic security for farmers and their local economies to higher quality food to more affordable fruits and vegetables to crop and herd biodiversity which would be more resilient to pests and disease to environmental benefits from not having to fly food halfway around the world from producers to consumers.

By the way, did you read about the farmer in VA who was arrested for slaughtering his own meat? The FDA (or would it be USDA, not sure on this point) insist all meat be slaughtered in approved facilities. Evidently they are incapable of coming up with permitting rules that would make it possible for individual farmers to do their own slaughtering in an inspected and approved manner. I'm not opposed to upholding standards of cleanliness and food safety, but you can't convince me that individual farmers can't set up the equivalent of an FDA approved milking parlor when it comes to slaughtering their animals.

Gnome, sounds like your great-granddad had a much bigger operation than the ones I'm familiar with, but something that is common between our experiences is the sale of farm land to developers. It breaks my heart to see it, but I can't blame anyone for selling their land when they can no longer make a living farming it.

Peter Goldmark was the first that I heard to use the term National Security Crops. Incredible candidate in 2006 that couldn't overcome a very strong red part of the state. Here's a link to a great story about how he framed his platform


well worth the read.

mainsailset -- thanks so much for the link. Any chance Goldmark will try again? He sounds great!

Phr', I tend to side with the meat inspectors, having been a polysyllabic cow herder instead of the stereotypical variety, though there is a lot of similarity when it comes to persuading your herd to do your will. The search for the cotton subsidy information is delayed, but there is an interesting discussion of some impacts; the matter is more subtle both tradewise and agroeconomically. Mostly I still would do the literature research before trying to depict the beneficiaries in 2007, though some years ago comparable data for that era was here in the library. Noncellulosic corn growers are enjoying a hayday in the current farm bill. Our broadband is unavailable now, or I would delve into the earthjustice and NRdc spreadsheets on some of this material to link here.

Thanks for the comments John L. I'm curious, have you read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma? There is a section in there that discusses the slaughtering issue for locally produced meat pretty well. It just seems to me that there ought to be a better solution to the problem than what we currently have. Clearly, given the recent massive meat recalls (one of which just put Topps out of business) indicates that even the current federally approved facilities aren't really up to snuff. Granted this has a good bit to do with lax inspection and even more lax enforcement.

I agree the subsidy question is complicated (again I refer you to Pollan's book for an excellent discussion of the problem) and I am not arguing for simply flipping a switch that brings an end to corn, cotton, and soy subsidies while putting new ones in place for fruits and vegetables. However, a phased program or one with incentives could make a big difference both in terms of growing switchgrass etc. instead of corn for ethanol (which makes a big difference environmentally) and in terms of making a healthier diet more readily available to all Americans (as opposed to the cheapest food being the most highly processed and hence the worst for your health).

When your broadband comes up, please do pass along the links you mentioned... Thanks!

Bird killer Cheney is going off to shoot up some farm-raised ducks at the Clove Valley Rod and Gun Club in NY. Does anyone know if this farm gets agricultural or other subsidies from the government?

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