Merced County

"Innovative?" "State of the art?"

Submitted: Feb 23, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

To question the flak generated by Los Banos-based Morning Star Company, what's so innovative about lying to the state water board? Maybe it's getting caught due to neighbors' complaints. The fine is fairly hefty and that will cause Morning Star's lawyers to exert themselves greatly to gain innovative reductions in the amount of at least 30 percent, along the lines of the nearby Hilmar Cheese fine and final settlement.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has found that Morning Star's Williams plant is a "state of the art" groundwater polluter.

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Good time to plant more nuts

Submitted: Feb 06, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

State water bureaucrats are keeping the screws tight on urban water use while a few agro-plutocrats on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley lock in a guaranteed water supply 30-percent larger than the total requirement for Los Angeles and go on planting more almond orchards as the price for the Holy Nut falls. --blj

1-27-16

Valley Public Radio

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Heretics for Trump and Cruz?

Submitted: Jan 25, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The doctrine these sects preach is Christian heresy. The Christian faith—as in the 1930s under Germany’s pro-Nazi Christian church—is being distorted to sanctify nationalism, unregulated capitalism and militarism. The mainstream church, which refuses to denounce these heretics as heretics, a decision made in the name of tolerance, tacitly gives these sects credibility and squanders the prophetic voice of the church... The retreat from radicalism—in essence the abandonment of the vulnerable to the predatory forces of corporate capitalism—created a spiritual void filled by protofascist movements that have usurped Christian symbols and provided a species of faith that is, at its core, a belief in magic. This Christian heresy is currently on public display at Donald Trump and Ted Cruz political rallies.

 -- Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Jan. 24, 2016

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Holy Nut recently venerated in Modesto

Submitted: Dec 02, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

While the government compelled urban residents to let their lawns die and cut back on showers last summer,  California almond growers prevailed upon the same government to subsidize the planting of millions of new trees, all of which needed water. and will need more as they grow.  This led to the phenomenon, especially apparent here in Merced in the heart of the state almond deal, of dusty brown towns and lush green orchards in the country, irrigated with new, deeper wells causing more over-drafting and land subsidence while municipal wells in some towns dried up.

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Book review of Right out of California

Submitted: Nov 24, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
 This is an interesting review of a book, Right out of California, which argues that conflict between growers and migrant farm labor produced the peculiarly authoritarian right-wing element in "modern conservatism" (aka ideology of the wingnuts). For those who are still open enough to behold the core of California agribusiness -- exploitation of migrant labor, often foreign and with as little legal rights as possible -- without which the agro-plutocracy could not rule and its bottomlessly greedy babble about more water for themselves and all the rest of their favorite topics, paranoias, protestations of love for the Mexican people, and acts of threat and political corruption would appear to be what they are: mountains of the well known substance.

Be careful of whose stocking you consider stuffing this book into. It is recommended only for people with a greater ability to reflect than to be ditto heads because it puts into question every sacred cow that has ever ambled beneath Modesto's famous arch: Water Wealth Contentment Health -- to which there can be only reply: "Not! Not now!

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Our young turkeys of the land gobble on

Submitted: Nov 16, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “They (environmental groups) can emotionally appeal to the general-election voting base a whole lot more effectively than they can in an off-election cycle,” Koehn said.

Jeff Marchini, director of Division 1, said things are different than in 2011. If MID wants to protect its water from the environmental groups in Sacramento, switching the election years is the right thing to do, he said.

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Our friendly local Netherlands-based bank in the news

Submitted: Nov 11, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Rabobank, a Netherlands-based bank with offices throughout the San Joaquin Valley which presents itself as primarily and agricultural bank, has been involved in recent years in two major financial scandals in which for once the dairy industry doesn't figure at all. They are Mexican drug-cartel money laundering on the US/Mexico border and participation in rigging the London interbank interest-rate offer. The latter, explained below, has been a catastrophe for smaller banks.

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Federal subsidy for the Last Tango of the Dinosaurs

Submitted: Nov 01, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “If it wasn’t for having crop insurance right now, I would have lost everything three generations of Messonniers have created. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple.” ... “This was the first year ever we didn’t do any rice,” (Tom Roduner) said. “Sometimes we have a little bit. It’s so bleak this year, between the water allocation and how dry things were, it just wasn’t feasible to do any.”

-- Calix, Merced Sun-Star, Oct. 28, 2015

 

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Overdrafting credulity on the east side

Submitted: Sep 24, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Journalists shouldn't take at face value the public utterances of other peoples' consultants, for example the Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group, in the pay of the Eastside Water District, a mysterious institution that lacks any surface water to distribute.

We may be over-emphasizing a small point, but when the consultant said:

“The groundwater pumping has caused a ‘cone of depression’ and groundwater overdraft to occur,” said a report on the project by the Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group in Modesto. “This is due to the lack of a surface water supply that could offer groundwater recharge in the area and lead to a sustainable supply.”

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Sweethearts of San Luis renew their vows

Submitted: Sep 16, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

It's not really a divorce... 

 

The Westlands Water District, which provides water to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. This region is an area of polluted quick sand which devours other peoples' water, law and political representatives from the local to the federal levels, in fact devours everything but the fortunes of a plutocracy of several hundred growers.

Ordinarily we would have prefaced the newspaper account of this latest secret deal-made public between Westlands and the federal government, but there appeared such an eloquent letter in opposition from retired US Fish & Wildlife biologist, Felix Smith, that it outranked the Fresno Bee piece. The latter was a boiled over wire-service story no one was willing to sign. To give an idea of who Smith is, we prefaced his letter with a moment in his biography.

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