January, 2015

Drought dementia 2

Submitted: Jan 30, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The drought has revealed that all the government and hydrological science available is not going to put California water policy back together again. It is like submitting Humpty Dumpty to exhaustive scientific studies of the tensile strength of egg shells and the heights of walls. As long as the king and his men keep growing, it will just get worse.

The total effect of groundwater regulation and associated increased expenses is going to be to put Valley agriculture 100-percent in the pockets of irrigation and water districts and federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over surface waters. The template has been in place for decades, but this will cause even more concentration of land ownership in the hands even fewer, richer growers. This neo-feudal system of agribusiness is so overwhelming that no new ideas or leadership can be generated from within it. Perhaps the bill by the two congressmen from north of the Bay Area at least won't add to the destruction. -- blj

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The lobbyists' boy on the US Supreme Court

Submitted: Jan 30, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 While McClatchyCo, a Sacramento institution since 1857, weeps for the sanctity of the political campaign-funding process or, more typically, makes queries as demurely as a debutante fresh out of J-school, let us be reminded of the US Supreme Court justice who was so decisive in destroying what little regulation there ever was in campaign financing: Sacramento's own Justice Anthony Kennedy, a guy with a past more colorful than his carefully cultivated, squeeky clean, nerdish image implies. -- blj

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Solar patches

Submitted: Jan 29, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

 

We join the writer of a letter recently published in the Merced Sun-Star in welcoming a genuine "Fortune 250" energy corporation, NGR, to Merced County.  We couldn't imagine anything as exciting short of news that Occidental Petroleum was opening a local office to manage it fracking wells. We are particularly joyful  to see that this authentic renewable energy corporation calls its plantations of solar panels "gardens" instead of the clunckier "parks." used by a German-based transnational solar corporation to describe its plan to put 1,400 acres under  glass on the west side.

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They're At It Again Department: The Rent-to-Own Scam

Submitted: Jan 28, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

The rent-to-own business appears to be a small, grubby niche of finance. People I spoke with said that the big players were not doing rent-to-own. -- Eisinger, ProPublica, January 28, 2015.

We would not have noticed this fine article from ProPublica had it not been for a situation on the street where we live that is harming the tenant of a rent-to-own house and all his neighbors. "Small and grubby" perfectly describes the owner group we call "the boys from LA" who own a gaggle of properties scattered throughout the town. But, fortunately for us, it doesn't describe our street, where neighbors are on perpetual alert for grubby doers. -- blj

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Drought dementia

Submitted: Jan 27, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Agriculture is of great economic value in Merced County. With average age of 29, six years younger than the state average, there just aren't many people in the county who remember when there was a large population of small farmers, less than half the total population of today, and harvesting was a community event with help from migrants. Today, farmers are few, the only survivors were the beloved of their bankers, and farm labor was criminalized in the mid-Sixties.

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One more way to profit from misery on the US Mexican border

Submitted: Jan 26, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Some milestones in border history: 

Bracero Program ended, 1965

Maquiladora Program started, 1965

Massive loans at up to 25% interest, 1970's

Loan Defaults

Peso destabilized, steady rounds of devaluation

Plan de Ayala excised from Mexican Constitution. 1980's

Poorest rural villages redlined, 1980's

Rise of drug cartels, late 1980's

US dumping feed corn in Mexico, 1980's

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Washington DC: The American Necropolis

Submitted: Jan 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

1-22-15

TomDispatch.com

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Washington's Walking Dead
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Global warming and your lawn

Submitted: Jan 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 


1-21-15

Vice News

Your Well Manicured Lawn Is Contributing to Climate Change

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To cowboy

Submitted: Jan 21, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 A descendant of cowboys, provoked by the misuse of the word, reflects on the vocation beneath the myth.--blj

July 2008

Texas Monthly

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Groundwater in a nutshell

Submitted: Jan 18, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Merced Sun-Star

1-15-15

Letter to the editor of Merced Sun-Star:

Pat and Gerry Westfall: Water table has fallen 200 feet, stop drilling now!

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Debt: Enriching the Very, Very Few

Submitted: Jan 14, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  Here in the midst of Moca Almond Bubbleland with an official floor unemployment rate of 15 percent (double it for the real rate and blame it on seasonal agricultural labor, our embarassment), we don't think much about manufacturing. Nevertheless, it's useful from time to time to glance over at the thinking emanating from the rusty regions of the nation that once drove the national economy. 

Manufacturing once controlled finance; now finance controls manufacturing, government and much more. As far as finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) interests are concerned, industrial agriculture is just another kind of manufacturing, except that it's easier to manipulate and has the best labor situation in the country because it's dominated by undocumented workers who must live their lives in the US in the legal shadows. 

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Merced Development Rodeo: Ol' Hoss calls out the Mayor

Submitted: Jan 08, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Greg Hostetler remarks to Merced Mayor Stan Thurston

Oral Communications 

Merced City Council Meeting

January 5, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZU8RDMQd7E

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Moyers' last interview: in the Public Trust Doctrine

Submitted: Jan 08, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 It was typical of Bill Moyers, the guy who always got it, to end his magnificent career of public broadcasting with an interview on the environment, specifically how the great American environmental law, once the envy of the world's environmentalists, has been largely corrupted -- Badlands has done some documentation on that topic -- and that the whole environmental legal edifice needs to be regrounded in  Public Trust Doctrine. Moyer's guest, Mary Christina Wood, a legal scholar from the University of Oregon, has published a book on the topic, Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, Cambridge University Press, 2013. -- blj

1-2-15

 

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Merced County Board of Supervisors, 12-16-14: Groundwater crazy train

Submitted: Jan 04, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 In its December 16, 2014 meeting, the Merced County Board of Supervisors considered a moratorium on well drilling until such time as an ordinance on groundwater may be enacted the state steps in and stops the groundwater-mining bonanza. -- blj

rtsp://mediaserver.co.merced.ca.us/board/video/2014/12-16-14_bdsupvideo.rv

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"We're the focus of the world"

Submitted: Jan 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "... I don't know how much you folks realize we're the focus of the world in regards to this drought..." Member of the public, Merced County Board of Supervisors meeting, December 16, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The moral squalor of the ag labor "market"

Submitted: Jan 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The moral squalor of agriculture built on the backs of defenseless undocumented workers ignored, abused and exploited by their own government, sequestered by the drug cartelized coyote/labor contractor system, exploited by the growers of California's partly hand-cultivated/picked luxury crops and isolated in their own communities, grows deeper and more hopeless every year.

This year we have the pronouncements of Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League and worthy successor of League-founder Harry Kubo, a man whose hatred for a union of American citizen farmworkers was legendary.

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