April 2017

What's National Security next to more off-stream storage?

The incoming Trump administration has appointed a Westlands’ lobbyist, David Bernhardt, to head the Interior Department transition team that will make recommendations on policies and personnel.
One of Bernhardt’s stated priorities has been “potential legislation regarding settlement of litigation” – which means the Valadao bill – according to lobbying registration records filed by Bernhardt’s firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Westlands paid the firm $245,000 last year, records show.

One of the nation's most endangered rivers runs through it

 Badlands readers have corrected our previous post on Rep. Devin Nunes, Raver-Visalia in different ways. Some considered our post nothing but evidence that we've been duped by the "Russian Conspiracy" Democrats. But the more interesting criticism raises doubts that Nunes's political gyrations for the benefit of the Trump Regime will be rewarded with a new dam on the San Joaquin River at Temperance Flats (a few miles upriver the Friant Dam). They argue, persuasively that the probably soon-to- be-former-Rep.

A knowledgeable view from the ground on the Syrian attacks

 Patrick Cockburn once again delivers a perspective on the Syrian War beyond the vortex of the furious combat of the two dominant hungry ghosts in American politics: the Republican and Democratic parties, neither of which is either republican or democratic but weirder and weirder manifestations of elitist distortion. -- blj 

Questions without answers

Below are some questions the asker does not know the answer to -- questions that are not simply inverted assertions, questions that are not mere rhetorical openings for opinions, questions that are not part of dogmatic "answers."
Do the answers constantly produced by mass media, targeted, tailormade to placate political consumers, satisfy what is political in us?
What is the political in us?
Is citizenship a privilege without obligations?

Trump's policy

 The media is filling our emptying days with conjectures about President Trump's "policy," and describing in escruciating detail the "inconstituencies" of this policy. But, actually, Trump's policy is a masterpiece of concision and constitency. It is: 

Court decides against OID for violating CEQA in fallow-for-money scheme

Modesto Bee
OID loses hard-fought fallowing lawsuit
 Garth Stapley
In a key ruling released Monday, a judge slammed the Oakdale Irrigation District for skirting state law in last year’s fallowing proposal.

Will Rep. Devin Nunes lose his office?

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, rather than some House Republicans he once characterized as "lemmings wearing suicide vests," himself rushed like a lemming to the side of President Trump with special documents and Trump's reward was to hand Nunes his political suicide vest. He might avoid the fate if he bothered to listen very hard  to constituents but so far he seems content to go down as an arrogant elitist instead. -- blj
Fresno Bee

Cock and bull; gas and missiles -- Trump does the Middle East

 The Trump administration continues to use PR and media with devastating effectiveness against critical thought. We refuse to be devastated. Below you will find a very plausible alternative "narrative" to the one that has been jammed down our throats by the government and corporate media. The moment may be chiefly useful, not so much for revealing specific details around a specific incident as a chance to see how successfully the populace is again being manipulated into war.

One morning in the Garden ...

 One morning, St. Peter was strolling in the garden when suddenly his Heavenly Meditation was disturbed by a great Godly Guffaw. Curious about this unusual levity from The One and Only, he hastened to the Divine Side.
"Lord, what so amuses You so much this morning?" he asked.
More Holy Guffaws were heard. All the Lord on High could do was point toward a valley below into which 14 rivers flowed.
"I have created this great fertile valley destined to be the most productive valley on the face of My Earth," He said, chortling.

Eine kleine Caenmusik

 Willie Brown, former California state Assembly speaker (longest serving), former mayor of San Francisco and general bon vivant, used to have lunch on Fridays in the City at a restaurant called Le Central, with several friends, including Herb Caen, legendary Chronicle columnist.
It looks like Willie picked up a few literary pointers over the cassoulet. -- wmh



Mistakes were made

 It almost seems as if in the wake of 9/11 and the creation of the Homeland Security Administration, the fear of dam sabotage has been an excuse for not doing maintenance and repair of dams and the complete failure to plan for the effects of global warming on the Sierra Nevada snowpack.

Some serious questions from the local press

This weekend we asked what other reporters and editors locally and around the state were curious about. This is a selection of articles that appeared locally in the last week.
-- blj

Modesto Bee
Can Modesto’s world religions class help bridge the divides?
Nan Austin



Let them eat debt

In reality, Cohn, Powell, and other Wall Streeters in the Trump White House are pushing Trump closer to the views of Wall Street and big business – views that are reflected in the views of “mainstream” Republicans and Democrats only to the extent the “mainstream” is dependent on the Street and big corporations for campaign money. -- Robert Reich, Truthdig, April 26, 2017