Administrator's blog

Weekend pickings on imperialism, impeachment, and health care

Submitted: Jun 14, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

These are a few articles that taught us last week. The conversation on American imperialism between Tom Engelhardt and William Astore produces more insight into American imperial failure every month. Patrick Cockburn's examines. Britain's foolish path in the slipstream of US imperialism heedless of consequences like Manchester. Noah Feldman and Alexander Bolton offer shrewd observations about the instability in Washington DC. -- blj

 

6-6-17

TomDispatch.com

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Neurotic aqua-utilitarian quantification

Submitted: Jun 13, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

If there is one thing that slip-slides away from easy quantification, it's water. None of its larger units of measurement, like the acre-foot, let alone a million gallons,  are easily imagined by the ordinary human being. Nor does it do much good to say that a family of four uses about an acre-foot of water a year, at least to people who remember when in the not too distant past the authorities said it took two acre-feet to achieve the same goal for the little family. And how big is a raindrop anyway?

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Poor Farmer John

Submitted: Jun 10, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Farmers are exempt from needing permits to plow their lands under the Clean Water Act. But the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, implemented by Obama in 2015, prohibits plowing below the clay beneath the topsoil that keeps vernal pools, which count as wetlands, from draining. Duarte’s land does, indeed, include some vernal pools. He said the field was plowed only from 4 to 7 inches in depth, and maybe a foot deep in one place. And farmers can till land with vernal pools as long as they don’t destroy the pool’s existence, he said.

An Army Corps inspector saw the plowing, told Duarte to stop and followed up with a cease-and-desist order. The inspector said Duarte’s hired hand was “deep ripping,” going three feet deep in some places ...

 

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Comey's statement, June 7, 2017

Submitted: Jun 07, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 If we do nothing else during this tumultuous period of national history, we should all carefully read this statement by former FBI Director James Comey because grandchildren yet unborn will be asking us what it was like to be alive when Comey's statement was written. -- blj

 

 

 

6-7-17

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Seyed "The Mendacious" Sadredin goes national

Submitted: Jun 06, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “[Sadredin] is a state officer,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator in California until last year. “He swears an oath to uphold the Clean Air Act, and yet he is actively working to undermine this important environmental law.”

 

 

4-22-17

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Climate in the Age of Resentment

Submitted: Jun 04, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is not easy to put President Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accord in perspective, perhaps because it is the new perspective, the world as it now is; and that is hard to accept. The general contour of this new perspective is that while large majorities of the public support environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water and Air acts even though they do impose limits on the capitalist economic system, today special interests have such a strong grip on at least two of the three branches of government (the judicial branch is still in question) that the United States government will no longer lead or follow intelligent environmental policies unless the sane majority regains control of -- for a start -- both political parties.

Our bar for sanity is low: stay on your medication and avoid overindulging your resentments.

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Historical reasoning in the face of menacing ignorance

Submitted: May 29, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Despite opinion to the contrary, journalists can report and very well on issues of values, ethics, morality, religion and history. Not, perhaps, right out of journalism school, but in time if they continue to look, report, read, converse, and see things first hand. Here is a pair of articles by Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK) that give us a perspective on Trump's first tour that -- first and foremost -- inspires us to continue questioning this current moment. We need to ask what is the blend of anger and fear inside that makes us recoil from the Trump regime. Is it possible anymore, after decades of total immersion in an ideology of hedonism focused on our individual "passions" and desires, to recover our own histories and the larger histories that make up the nation, so that we might find some way out of this?

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Two ghosts in the room

Submitted: May 27, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Two major law-enforcement stories recently rocked Merced. Public security is universally the fundamental job of political authorities, and these two stories were certainly full of politics.

In the first, Operation Scrapbook, top law enforcement officials in the county, starting with DA Larry Morse II, performed a sweep of Mexican gang members, primarily Sureños. A state program called VIPER procured by local legislators provided surveillance information vital to the effort according to all involved, especially  Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. When the credit was passed out, state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, seemed to have been forgotten.

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A stronger California Public Records Act proposed

Submitted: May 25, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

More importantly, the bill would allow judges to fine public agencies $1,000 to $5,000 for blatantly violating the act, such as unreasonably withholding or delaying the release of records that clearly are public. Currently, there is no penalty. 


Like the California Brown Act, which governs public meetings, local governments like Merced County are constantly trying to encroach on the clear meaning of the public's right to know about the public's business, and so must be periodically strengthened. This can take the form of expensive losses in court like Merced County's absurd temper tantrum over violations of the Brown Act that resulted in two court decisions against it. Or, it can take the form proposed in AB 1479, adding  designated staff person to handle all PRA requests thoroughly and promtly or face a fine (if the public or newspaper is willing to take the government or agency to court).

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