Public Health and Safety

More bad news from MID

Submitted: Aug 01, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This would have been a far more useful story if the reporter had bothered to ask and record the answers to these simple questions: did the California Environmental Protection Agency investigate the allegations against Merced Irrigation District? What did it find? What enforcement action was or might be taken? A quote "cannot comment because of an ongoing investigation" from CEPA would have added a nice symetry to the story.

As it is, what we have is a brief report of a legal brief filed on behalf of an aggrieved employee of MID and a whole lot of reporter dodging by an agency that finds it extremely difficult to comply with a California Public Records Act request.

MID's latest managing director is a member of the family of an MID board member who doesn't pay her bills. Director Suzy Hulgren parlayed a few public rants against Riverside Motorsports Park promoter, John Condren, lies and financial double-dealing into a seat on the board, with the help of the Merced County Farm Bureau and California Women for Agriculture. She was, however, unsuccessful as the frontwoman for the farm bureau and CWA in the attempt to bankrupt her partners in the RMP lawsuit, San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center and Protect Our Water, or to financially damage two law firms, Don E. Mooney and Associates and Sproul and Troost, who represented the petitioners against the race track project.

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And where is American democracy?

Submitted: Jul 15, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Reading Sheldon S. Wolin's Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, is an eery experience and so we are grateful for this lengthy review of the book, written by Chalmers Johnson, author of the Blowback Trilogy. It is an eery book in part because it was published in the last year of the reign of George II, and it conjures up that period in every paragraph. Wolin's knowledge of the history of American politics is so thorough that, in the course of holding up the Bush regime to the light of deep trends and themes in our political history, he redeems American political science in one book. Democracy Inc. justifies our curiosity, craving and desperation of knowledge of our own political system in a period in which it is even hard to see the mirrors for all the smoke. He reminds us of the courageous intellectual history and democratic tradition of American society until 30 years ago, and the inseparable bond of intellectual and political life as vital to democracy as democracy is to it.

We got interested in Wolin's book as a result of reading about it in columns by Chris Hedges, who interviewed Wolin for his latest book, Empire of Illusion.

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Revolting

Submitted: Jun 18, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Porky Stables

 

On June 17, residents of the 18th congressional district of California were informed by McClatchy Chain local outlets that a new star was rising in the world of horse racing, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Pimlico Kid-Merced.

 

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"Absolutely!"

Submitted: Jun 15, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

"I think it's actually a brilliant opinion in that it finally says we have to look at the big picture here, and not that endangered species trump everything," said Roger Marzulla, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who frequently sues the federal government over endangered species rules. "Don't we have to take some other things into consideration here?"
Others question the logic of requiring scrutiny of species protection rules under a second environmental law.

"It doesn't make any sense to do environmental analysis on the back end when you're trying to help the environment," said Holly Doremus, a professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. "What he's (Federal Court Justice Oliver Wanger) saying is the agencies have to find absolutely the least burdensome way to save the species." -- Contra Costa Times, 6-14-10

We have taken "the big picture" for, in Bob Marley's words, "four hundred years," during which the species were offered absolutely no way to avoid massive destruction at the hands of an economic (and legal system) that was "absolutely" into "absolute" exploitation of natural resources, species, and anything else on which a profit could be made.

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Not a boondoggle!

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Boondoggle -- a trivial, useless or wasteful expenditure, usually of public funds.

In the current economic climate, critics have suggested that high-speed rail is a boondoggle. They couldn't be more wrong. The lack of funding may slow down the project, but it will eventually become a reality.
Projects of this magnitude must not be stopped by economic cycles. Our economy will rebound and one day high-speed rail will be an important part of California's transportation mix.

At first we were reassured by these wise, confident words from the McClatchy Co.'s Fresno outlet. We also dismissed the cynical comment that Fresno won't call this project a boondoggle right up to the time some other Valley city is chosen for the site of the heavy maintenance yard. Virtually every city along the proposed routes are bidding for that yard because it would appear to be the most tangible benefit in the whole project.

Why, in fact, "high-speed rail will be an important part of California's transportation mix." Who or what power would ordain it to come into existence? Who is it that even wants it? Isn't it the same small group of leaders that believed to fervently against reality that the speculative housing boom would never bust? Isn't it the same group of brainwashed leaders who always say the same thing at the same time and hope to hoodwink the citizens into believing unison means truth?

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Broken promises -- comments on water decision by Felix Smith

Submitted: May 27, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


                               Area of Origin Protection:

                            A Promise that has been Broken  

by Felix Smith, May 25, 2010

 

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The U.S. Department of Westlands

Submitted: May 26, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We were deeply gratified that on the same day it announced a truly rotten federal court decision on the Delta pumps, one that will cause more damage to the endangered spring run of salmon and more economic damage to residents of the Delta and the Pacific Coast commercial fishery, the McClatchy Company’s Fresno outlet chose to run the long piece on revolving doors in resource regulatory agencies. We replied below to this act of self-righteous, hypocritical publication that becomes blatant propaganda considering its timing and place.

 

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

5-25-10

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BP and the Pentagon

Submitted: May 24, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

BP's ace in the hole is its contracts with the US Department of Defense, the largest oil consumer in the world. While the military is fighting two wars, one for oil wells (Iraq), the other for pipeline routes (Afghanistan and Pakistan), one of the Pentagon's most favored oil companies commits one of worst oil spill on record and it is still spilling, unabated. Because of BP's military contracts, the government may not impose serious sanctions on the company. It could become "a matter of national security" that BP not be punished. The wars were are fighting for oil are being fueled to a significant extent by BP from wells in the US and Gulf of Mexico.

The civilian government is helpless and is in fact continuing to permit new drilling in the Gulf. It can't stop the spill itself and has little control over BP's efforts. This situation is leading to cynical speculations about the government and BP, for example: pollution of the coastline is just a political obstacle to overcome on the way to full build out of drilling rigs in the Gulf. What is the entire population of the coast worth in comparison to the influence of a few oil companies?

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Felix Smith's letter to Sen. Feinstein

Submitted: Feb 20, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Felix Smith, retired US Fish & Wildlife biologist, discovered the deformed and death wildlife at Kesterson Wildlife Refuge in western Merced County that resulted in cessation of west-side drainage of selenium-laced agricultural waste water to that site. Smith is extremely well qualified to address the senator on issues of political interference with embattled federal scientists defending the public trust and environmental law and regulation. He's seen it all.

Badlands Journal editorial board

February 19, 2010

Honorable Dianne Feinstein – Senator

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Dear Senator Feinstein: 

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The F in California water policy

Submitted: Feb 18, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...the first truth is that the liberty of democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism -- ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way to sustain an acceptable standard of living. -- President Frankin Delano Roosevelt, "Recommendations to the Congress to Curb Monopolies and the Concentration of Economic Power" (April 29, 1938), in Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges, 2009, p.177.

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