February 2017

The alt-reality of agriculture

 The latest spokesperson for the Merced County Farm Bureau appears to have been encouraged by the fabulously successful example of Kellyanne Conway to achieve an unusually high level of the dumb-dumbs, which, considering her predecessors, is actually quite a trick.
Surely, these truths are self-evident:  that the well-known substance flows downhill; and that alt-facts are just a subspecies of agribiz-facts. -- blj

Sunday: Appeals court denies administrations plea to reinstate travel ban

Is that the "so-called" U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco?
The Hill
Appeals court rejects Trump administration’s request to restore travel ban
Kyle Balluck

Terrorist attacks in the US by immigrants from Trump's target countries

 The Badlands Journal editorial board asked a question many others have asked about the immigrant-ban executive order: how many immigrants from these seven nations have committed acts of terrorism in the United States?
We read several articles but preferred this one above the others because it contains a dialogue with some disagreement but doesn't vilify. It is an understandable disagreement occurring in a moment of high political and legal pressure.
Another aspect of this story not often covered in the media is the number of terrorist attacks foiled by good intelligence.

Standing Rock in the balance

 Maybe there is both rhythm and rhyme to history instead of the tedious "repetition" people talk about. The Indians of the Northern Plains are leading again. The government is trying to tear up the little land left to them, destroy natural resources, threaten tribal sovereignty (can you imagine what Trump thinks of tribal sovereignty?), destroy sacred sites, threaten pollution of a major American river, termination and relocation.

The ban and high tech labor

Political, legal and business arguments about President Trump's travel ban saturate the airwaves this week. The saga of the neo-Goldfinger in the White House, the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government raise Constitutional issues, the vissisitudes of Trump's daughter's clothing line (as traumatic as Margaret Truman's bad reviews), the case of the President's Pick for US Supreme Court ... drama, drama, drama. Already, we miss No-Drama Obama, and his respect for institutions and viewpoints other than his own.

Crown prince of radicchio whines to the Times

 Maybe it's the drinking water. Could it be the worst air quality in the country? What kind of pesticides do they spray on radicchio? Whatever it is, it's hard to imagine why any farmers, particularly the Marchinis with their operations spread out over several prime rowcrop regions: Le Grand, Kettleman City, Watsonville, Salinas, and Yuma, would bite the hand that gorged them with the 2013 Farm Bill?1.

The name for it

 "...He doesn’t seem to care about the institutions and the laws except insofar as they appear as barriers to the goal of permanent kleptocratic authoritarianism and immediate personal gratification. It is all about him all of time, it is not about the citizens and our political traditions.” -- Timothy Snyder, Alternet.com  

What does the Border think of Trump?

“We can’t get industry to relocate to South Texas because there’s not enough water,” Hinojosa told HuffPost. “We can’t get industry to relocate to South Texas because there’s not an interstate highway. And we’re wasting our money building a freaking wall that nobody needs or wants?” -- Roque Planas, Huffington Post, Jan. 25, 2017
“Donald Trump is one thing, but it’s another when your own president is screwing the country,” said Jorge de la Cruz, a mechanic. -- David Agren, The Guardian, 1-23-17

Do the crime and beg forgiveness?

The worst thing about this journalistic foul is that everyone who subsequently acknowledged, recognized, or realized that they had violated the privacy and endangered the futures of these young students did not know what they were doing when they did it and have no idea of the harm they have caused, the anxiety and fear they have raised; they have no idea of the damage they did. For their different motives, they were all willing to violate these kids.

Serious water critique from LA ...

...which has much drinking water to lose if things go wrong in Northern California. On the one hand, these are very sober, penetrating articles that reveal major issues in the state's water-development policies. On the other hand, they don't ask more fundamental questions: Is the size of California's population good? Has population growth brought more happiness to more people" Has it created better citizens? Is California a safer place to live than it was when the Oroville Dam was built in 1968 when we had half as many people, 20 million, than we do today at 40 million? -- blj

On Mexico's other border

Bear in mind, these people are fleeing extrerme poverty and violence in Central American countries. This article describes the beginning of the very tough trip that must take through Mexico to reach the safety and opportunity of the First World, of the United States. -- blj
The Guardian
Mexican kidnappers pile misery on to Central Americans fleeing violence
Nina Lakhani in Cárdenas, Tabasco



Putting part of national security in hands of Valley-bagman Nunes is a bad idea

 A spokesman for Nunes said that he had already begun speaking to reporters to challenge the story and that, “at the request of a White House communications aide, Chairman Nunes then spoke to an additional reporter and delivered the same message.”
Unlike the others, Nunes spoke on the record and was subsequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal. -- Miller, Entous, Washington Post, Feb. 24, 2017



It's Yeltsin, stupid!

 Trump and his inner circle may imagine he is the American Putin, but once Patrick Cockburn has suggested it, it seems obvious that he is the American Boris Yeltsin instead.
I would disagree with Cockburn on only one point, that the "national decline" that might result from the election of our very own Boris avatar, His Excellency The Donald, is "calamitous." It would be a blessing for ourselves and the rest of the world. We had reached a size and strength that has attracted brutal and stupid leadership, not the wisdom to bring about an orderly "decline." -- wmh

Free market liberalism and California water, fresh and salt

 We have prefaced Dan Bacher's latest, excellent article on the San Joaquin Delta water war with this piece on neoliberalism by noted environmentalist George Monbiot because Bacher uses the term to describe the political culture of the interests who will destroy the Delta if not successfully opposed. Monbiot defines this powerful, nearly anonymous creed well and he helps us see familiar faces in a different light and understand the motives and deception more clearly.