Down to the wire in California

Submitted: May 26, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 There is little to say about these two articles other than they are written by two of the best reporters on their subjects in the country: Bill Boyarsky on politics in California; and Ray McGovern on the state of national insecurity.  We have only this notice to add:

A Future to Believe In Fresno Rally
Sunday, May 29
Doors open at 
5:00 pm
Rotary Amphitheater at Woodward Park
7775 N Friant Rd, Fresno CA

--blj

 

 

 

5-25-16

Truthdig.com

Bernie Sanders Makes Hay With His Old-School Oratory Skills

Bill Boyarsky

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/bernie_sanders_makes_hay_with_his_old-school_oratory_skills_20160525

Before a crowd, Bernie Sanders is a terrific orator, a master of the nearly lost art of public speaking.

His skill at rousing large numbers of people with inspiring words puts him in the ranks of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. In the era of sound bites and Twitter, it was remarkable to see the old orator hold a crowd of several thousand spellbound with a speech that lasted well over an hour at the Santa Monica High School football field Monday night.

Although a substantial number of older people attended, most of the crowd were young members of the short-attention-span generation.

And most were still there when he reached his peroration, an old-fashioned word meaning “the rousing end of a speech”: “If we win California, we will march to the convention with momentum, and we will march out with the presidential nomination.”

The crowd, and the days of hard work by the grass roots that built it, show why Sanders, trailing in public opinion polls, could possibly win the June 7 California primary, dealing a blow to Hillary Clinton.


I’ve been following Sanders volunteers for months. They range from college students to older people learning the technical details of maneuvering their laptops through the computerized Sanders get-out-the-vote system.

At first, there were just a few. They contacted friends and relatives and people on prospective-voter lists assembled by the national Sanders headquarters in Burlington, Vt.

Their numbers grew into a large organization that connected through email, Facebook, other social media and barnstorms—small rallies that brought Bernie fans together.

The technology is good, but personal contact, making friends at barnstorms and forming small campaign groups are also important. So is bringing in grass-roots groups that have been campaigning for a better health care system and against climate change, fracking and trade deals. These groups gave the Sanders organization many experienced and motivated volunteers.

Among them is National Nurses United, with a membership of almost 185,000. The organization is dedicated to creating Medicare for all, improving staffing at hospitals and initiating other positive changes in health care. On Monday, members worked their way through Los Angeles in their red #Bernie Bus, signing up voters on the final day of registration.

At Monday’s rally, I talked with three nurses—Valerie Ewald of UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; Patricia Joubert of Santa Monica’s St. John’s Health Center; and Valerie Selden of Southern California Hospital in Culver City.

They were insistent that Sanders stay in the race against Hillary Clinton. “We haven’t had our primary yet,” Ewald said. “It should all count,” echoed Selden. “I think he should stay. He has to. The only people who want him to stop are the big corporations.”

I also interviewed Ken Yamazeki, a security officer who patrols West Hollywood on a bicycle. Like the nurses, he wants Sanders to remain in the race through the California primary because, he says, the competition helps the Democratic Party. And if Sanders loses to Clinton? “I shall base my move on what he (Sanders) does,” he said.

Sanders took the stage, located in the end zone of the football field. By then, the audience, which had waited hours to be admitted and screened by security, filled the seats directly in front of Sanders. The rest, their view blocked by a media platform, stood on the artificial turf in a crowd extending to the 50-yard line.

Veteran actor and song-and-dance man Dick Van Dyke, white-haired and still handsome, introduced Sanders. “In my 90 years, I have been watching the disintegration of our Democratic republic,” he said before introducing “the sanest man in the United States.”

Sanders’ speech sounded like he had written it himself. It lacked President Barack Obama’s elegance or the usual careful presidential-candidate rhetoric. That’s part of his charm.

His approach to the California initiative to legalize marijuana, on the November ballot, provided an example of his informal style. “If I lived in your state, I would vote for that initiative,” he said, adding that addictive opiates “should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal issue.” He simply dropped the drug issue into the middle of his speech, then moved on to another topic. It’s an interesting technique for keeping his listeners engaged—interposing extensive policy portions of his speech with subjects such as marijuana that will interest or excite his audience.

Another example of this was his take on the media, which the crowd seemed to collectively despise (although individuals were friendly to me). Sanders doesn’t just refer to it as “the media.” It’s “the corporate media, which talks about everything except what is important.”

Any mention of Clinton got a strong crowd reaction. Her pulling out of a California pre-primary debate, he said, “is a little bit insulting to the people of California.” Clinton, he said, is “very nervous lately. So if you promise not to tell her, we’re going to win in California.”

As he passed the hour mark, I felt his speech was getting exhausting, especially when he circled back to same-sex marriage after a lengthy endorsement at the beginning. I don’t think he missed a single issue. “Isn’t there one problem he doesn’t have to include in this speech?” I asked a friend.

But I was in the minority. The good spirits of the crowd continued as many members walked to the train station, and they remained undiminished as we pulled out of Santa Monica and headed toward Los Angeles. Sanders had said in his speech that he plans to speak to “well over 200,000 people” in rallies such as this before the California primary.

Nobody really knows if this is possible, or how the carefully planned field organization will work in such a big state. Clinton may not be able to fire up a high school football stadium, but she has won more votes than Sanders around the nation so far. Like him, she intends to win the California primary, the nomination and the election.

 

5-23-16

Consortiumnews.com

Intel Vets Urge Fast Report on Clinton’s Emails

A group of U.S. intelligence veterans is calling on President Obama to expedite the FBI review of former Secretary of State Clinton’s alleged email security violations so the public can assess this issue in a timely fashion.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Those “Damn Emails” – “Really a Concern”

Introduction

Last Wednesday Robert Gates, CIA Director under President Bush-41 and Defense Secretary under President Bush-43, publicly commented that Secretary Hillary Clinton’s “whole email thing … is really a concern in terms of her judgment,” adding, “I don’t know what originally prompted her to think that was a good idea.”

What originally prompted her does not matter. As your Secretary of State and your subordinate, she willfully violated laws designed to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. It may be somewhat difficult for those not as immersed in national security matters as we have been to appreciate the seriousness of the offense, including the harm done in compromising some of the most sensitive U.S. programs and activities. This is why we write.

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]-->Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.<!--[endif]-->

 

 

 

 

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Pundits and others are playing down the harm. A charitable interpretation is that they have no way to gauge what it means to expose so much to so many. We do know, and our overriding concern is to protect the national security of our country from further harm. It would be a huge help toward this end, if you would order Attorney General Loretta Lynch to instruct the FBI to stop slow-walking the email investigation and release its findings promptly.

If you choose, instead, to give precedence to politics over national security, the American people will be deprived of timely appreciation of the gravity of the harm done; national security officials who do follow the rules will be scandalized; FBI investigators will conclude that that their job is more political than professional; and the noxious impression will grow that powerful people cannot be held accountable when they break the law. Worse: if the results of the FBI investigation remain under lock and key, dangerous pressures are likely to be exerted on the most senior U.S. officials by those who have the key – as we explain below.

* * *

We the undersigned Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have spent 400 years working with classified information – up to and including TOP SECRET, Codeword, and Special Access Programs (SAP). Given that experience, we believe that much of the commentary on the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton email controversy has been misplaced, focusing on extraneous issues having little or nothing to do with the overriding imperative to protect classified information.

As intelligence, military, and foreign service professionals, we are highly aware not only of that compelling need, but also of the accompanying necessity to hold accountable those whose actions compromise – whether for reasons of convenience or espionage – sensitive operations, programs and persons. In addition, we know that successful mutual cooperation with foreign intelligence services depends largely on what they see as our ability to keep secrets secret.

Background

Last August, Secretary Clinton handed over her private email server to the FBI, five months after she acknowledged she had used it for work-related emails as Secretary of State. She admitted to having deleted about 31,000 emails she described as personal. Media reports last fall, however, indicated that the FBI was able to recover the personal emails, and was reviewing them, as well as the 30,000 others she had described as work-related.

In January, the Department of State announced that, of the 30,000 work-related emails, at least 1,340 contained classified material. The Department retroactively classified 22 of those TOP SECRET and prevented their release. Among the 22 were some that, according to media reports, included information on highly sensitive Special Access Programs (SAP).

The White House has said it will do nothing to impede the FBI investigation and possible filing of charges against Clinton, if the facts should warrant that kind of action. Inasmuch as the outcome of the investigation is bound to have major political consequences, such White House assurances stretch credulity.

By all indications, the FBI is slow-walking the investigation and mainstream media are soft-pedaling the issue. As things now stand, most Americans remain unaware of the import of this industrial-scale compromise of very sensitive national security information in Secretary Clinton’s emails.

Our concern mounted in January when the Inspector General of the intelligence community wrote to the chairs of the congressional intelligence committees that he had received from one of the intelligence agencies two “sworn declarations” asserting that Secretary Clinton’s emails contained not only CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET information, but also information at the TOP SECRET/SAP level.

In 2009, you signed an Executive Order regarding SAP (Special Access Programs), so we assume you were briefed on their extremely high sensitivity and the consequent need to sharply limit the number of people allowed to be “read-in” on them. The mishandling of SAP information can neutralize intelligence programs costing billions of dollars, wreck liaison relationships assiduously cultivated for decades, and get a lot of people killed.

‘It Wasn’t That Bad’

All those directly or peripherally involved in the investigation of the Clinton email issue know very well that it could have a direct impact on who is likely to become the next President of the United States, and they will be making decisions with that reality in mind. They know that it is with you that “the buck stops,” and they are sensitive to signs of your preferences. Those were not difficult to discern in your commencement address at Howard University on May 7, in which you strongly advocated the same basic policy approaches as those espoused by one Democratic presidential candidate – Hillary Clinton.

Your White House has also made excuses for deliberate security violations by Secretary Clinton that would have gotten senior officials like us fired and probably indicted. We look with suspicion at what we see as contrasting and totally inappropriate attempts by the administration and media to play down the importance of Secretary Clinton’s deliberate disregard of basic security instructions and procedures.

It appears that the option chosen by the White House is using the declared need for “thoroughness” to soft-pedal and delay completion of the investigation for several more months, while the corporate media sleeps on. Four months have already gone by since the smoking-gun-type revelations in the intelligence community Inspector General’s letter to Congress, and it has been well over a year since Secretary Clinton first acknowledged using an insecure email server for official business.

Another claim emanating from your White House is that Clinton was careless in managing her emails and has admitted as much, but that she has not damaged American national security. She has called it a “mistake,” but security officials of the National Security Agency explicitly forewarned her against violating basic laws and regulations designed to prevent the compromise of classified information.

NSA, FBI Have Enough Evidence

Surely, enough time has passed, and enough material has been reviewed, to permit a preliminary damage assessment. The NSA has the necessary information and should, by now, have shared that information with the FBI. Secretary Clinton’s server in her house in Chappaqua, New York, was not a secured device. Her email address incorporated her initials, “hdr” (apparently for her maiden name, Hillary Diane Rodham). It also included the “clinton” server identity, so it was easy for a hacker to spot.

Anyone with the proper equipment, knowledge and motivation might have been able to obtain access. That is what hackers are able to do, with considerable success, against government servers that are far better protected than the private email server located in her New York State home.

In fact, there have been reports that Secretary Clinton’s emails were, indeed, hacked successfully by foreigners. The Romanian hacker who goes by the name Guccifer claimed earlier this month that he had repeatedly hacked her email server. He described the server as “like an open orchid on the Internet” and that “it was easy … easy for me, for everybody.” Guccifer has been extradited from Romania and is now in jail in Alexandria, Virginia, where the FBI is said to be questioning him on the emails. There have also been credible claims that Russian intelligence and other foreign services were able to hack the Secretary’s server.

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]-->FBI Director James Comey<!--[endif]-->

 

 

 

 

FBI Director James Comey

Another argument being surfaced, in a transparent attempt to defend Secretary Clinton, has to do with intent. It is said that she did not intend to have classified information on her computer in New York and had no intention of handling secret material in a way that would be accessible to foreign intelligence or others lacking the proper security clearances and the need-to-know.

But while intent might be relevant in terms of punishment, it does not change the fact that as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, then Senator Clinton had clearances for classified information for years before becoming Secretary of State. She knew the rules and yet as Secretary she handled classified information carelessly after a deliberate decision to circumvent normal procedures for its safeguarding, thus making it vulnerable to foreign intelligence, as well as to criminal hackers.

Anyone who has ever handled classified material knows that there are a number of things that you do not do. You do not take it home with you, you do not copy it and share it with anyone who does not have a clearance and a need-to-know, you do not strip off the classification marks and treat it as unclassified, and you do not transfer it to another email account that is not protected by a government server.

If you have a secured government computer operating off of a secure server that means that what is on the computer stays on the computer. This is not a matter of debate or subject to interpretation. It is how one safeguards classified information, even if one believes that the material should not be classified, which is another argument that has been made in Clinton’s defense. Whether or not the classification is unnecessary is not your decision to make.

Apart from the guidelines for proper handling of classified information, outlined in Executive Order 13526 and 18 U.S.C Sec. 793(f) of the federal code, there is some evidence of a cover-up regarding what was compromised. This itself would be a violation of the 2009 Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Numerous messages both in New York and in Washington have reportedly been erased or simply cannot be found. In addition, the law cited above explicitly makes it a felony to cut and paste classified information removing its classification designation. Retaining such information on a private email system is also a felony. In one of Secretary Clinton’s emails, she instructed her staff simply to remove a classification and send the information to her on her server.

So the question is not whether Secretary Clinton broke the law. She did. If the laws are to be equally applied, she should face the same kind of consequences as others who have been found, often on the basis of much less convincing evidence, guilty of similar behavior.

Some More Equal Than Others

Secretary Clinton’ case invites comparison with what happened to former CIA case officer Jeffrey Sterling, now serving a three-and-a-half-year prison term for allegedly leaking information to New York Times journalist James Risen. Sterling first came to the media’s attention when in 2003 he blew the whistle on a botched CIA operation called Operation Merlin, telling the Senate Intelligence Committee staff that the operation had ended up revealing nuclear secrets to Iran. When in 2006 James Risen published a book that discussed, inter alia, this amateurish cowboy operation, the Department of Justice focused on Sterling as the suspected source.

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]-->Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.<!--[endif]-->

 

 

 

 

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

In court, the federal prosecutors relied almost entirely on Risen’s phone and email logs, which reportedly demonstrated that the two men had been in contact up until 2005. But the prosecutors did not provide the content of those communications even though the FBI was listening in on some of them. Risen has claimed that he had multiple sources on Operation Merlin, and Sterling has always denied being involved.

Jeffrey Sterling was not permitted to testify in the trial on his own behalf because he would have had to discuss Operation Merlin, which was and is still classified. He could not mention any details about it even if they were already publicly known through the Risen book. No evidence was ever produced in court demonstrating that any classified information ever passed between the two men, but Sterling, an African American, was nevertheless convicted by an all-white jury in Virginia based on “suspicion” and the presumption that “it had to be him.”

The contrast between the copious evidence – some of it self-admitted – of Secretary Clinton’s demonstrable infractions, on the one hand, and the very sketchy, circumstantial evidence used to convict and imprison Jeffrey Sterling, on the other, lend weight to the suspicion that there is one law for the rich and powerful in the United States and another for the rest of us.

Failing to take steps against a politically powerful presidential candidate and letting her off unscathed for crimes of her own making, while an institutionally unprotected Jeffrey Sterling sits in prison would be a travesty of justice not dissimilar to the gentle wrist-slap given Gen. David Petraeus for giving his mistress extremely sensitive information and then lying to the FBI about it.

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]-->Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)<!--[endif]-->

 

 

 

 

Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)

Your order to then-Attorney General Eric Holder to let Gen. David Petraeus off easy created a noxious – and demoralizing – precedent in the national security community indicating that, whatever the pains taken at lower levels to prevent compromise of duly classified information, top officials are almost never held accountable for disregarding well-established rules. These are some of the reasons we are so concerned that this is precisely the direction in which you seem to be leaning on the Clinton email issue.

In our view, the sole legitimate reason for disclosing classified information springs from the only “oath” we all took – “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” When, for example, Edward Snowden saw the U.S. government grossly violating our Fourth Amendment right to be “secure” against warrantless “searches and seizures,” he gave more weight to that oath (ethicists call it a supervening value) than to the promise he had made not to disclose information that could harm U.S. national security.

Possibly Still Worse Ahead

You might give some thought, Mr. President, to a potentially messy side of this. What is already known about NSA’s collect-it-all electronic practices over the past several years strongly suggests that NSA, and perhaps the FBI, already know chapter and verse. It is virtually certain they know what was in Secretary Clinton’s emails – including the ones she thought she had deleted. It is likely that they have also been able to determine which foreign intelligence agencies and other hackers were able to access the emails.

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]--><!--[if !vml]-->Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Photo credit: The Guardian)<!--[endif]-->

 

 

 

 

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Photo credit: The Guardian)

One ignores this at one’s peril. Secretary Clinton’s security violations can have impact not only on whether she becomes your successor, but also on whether she would, in that case, be beholden to those who know what lies hidden from the rest of us – perhaps even from you.

Intelligence professionals (in contrast to the occasional political functionary) take the compromise of classified information with utmost seriousness. More important: this is for us a quintessentially nonpartisan issue. It has to do, first and foremost, with the national security of the United States.

We are all too familiar with what harm can come from blithe disregard of basic procedures designed to protect sensitive intelligence and other national security information. Yes, the lamentable unevenness in how such infractions are handled is also an important issue – but that is not our main focus in the present context.

The Truth Will Out

Not all workers at the NSA or the FBI are likely to keep their heads in the sand, as they watch very senior officials and politicians with their own agendas disregard laws to safeguard the nation’s security. We know what it is like to do the difficult, disciplined work of protecting information from being compromised by strictly abiding by what often seem to be cumbersome rules and regulations. We’ve been there; done that.

If you encourage the Department of Justice and the FBI to continue slow-walking the investigation, there is a good chance the truth will come out anyway. As you are aware, the Justice Department, the FBI, and NSA have all yielded recent patriots who, in such circumstances, decided that whistleblowing – rather than silence – was the only way to honor the oath we all swore – to support and defend the Constitution.

To sum up our concern regarding how all this plays out, if you order the Justice Department and FBI to pursue the investigation with “all deliberate speed,” so to speak, and Secretary Clinton becomes president, the juicy email secrets in the hidden hands of the NSA and FBI are likely to give those already powerful institutions a capacity for blackmail that would make J. Edgar Hoover’s mouth water. In addition, information hacked by foreign intelligence services or Guccifer-like hackers can also provide useful grist for leverage or blackmail.

Taking Care the Laws Are Faithfully Executed

We strongly urge you to order Attorney General Loretta Lynch to instruct FBI Director James Comey to wind up a preliminary investigation and tell the country now what they have learned. By now they – and U.S. intelligence agencies – have had enough time to do an early assessment of what classified data, programs and people have been compromised. Realistically speaking, a lengthier, comprehensive post-mortem-type evaluation – however interesting it might be, might never see the light of day under a new president.

We believe the American people are entitled to prompt and full disclosure, and respectfully suggest that you ensure that enforcement of laws protecting our national security does not play stepchild to political considerations on this key issue.

On April 10, you assured Chris Wallace, “I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI – not just in this [Clinton email] case, but in any case. Full stop. Period.”

We urge you to abide by that promise, and let the chips fall where they may. Full stop. Period.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Former Sen. Mike Gravel, D, Alaska; earlier, Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service, special agent the Counter Intelligence Corps.

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF Intelligence Agency (ret.), ex-Master SERE Instructor

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Todd Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ, USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Diane Roark, DOE, DOD, NSC, & professional staff, House Intelligence Committee (ret.)

Robert David Steele, former CIA Operations Officer

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA, (ret.)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

 

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Bellevue Road annexation: a report to John Q Public and Don Q Publico

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


Every reporter who has covered local government knows of issues about which, for some reason, general incoherence prevails in public utterance and the media, delivered vehemently by both elected officials and department heads. Obsequious, cynical editors require the reporters to make up something plausible, which is then edited into new incoherence by paginators. If the editors perform adequately, later on they become local government communication directors and continue their careers crafting the obsequies of democracy.

And onward rolls the Great Wheel of Absurdity.

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Good stories of alternative energy

Submitted: May 20, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 5-18-16

The Guardian (UK)

Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone

Zero emission milestone reached as country is powered by just wind, solar and hydro-generated electricity for 107 hours

 

 

 

 

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Political scientists are summoned to the spectacles

Submitted: May 17, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about." -- President Barack Obama, Commencement speech at Rutgers University.

Maxwell Tani, Business Insider, May 15, 2016.

 


The political season has provoked such anxiety that people are turning to political science for its perspectives. We've found two recent reviews of political science about California groundwater and the irrationality of voters.

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Rainy days and state budgets, part 1

Submitted: May 14, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This article is the first in a series by longtime water researcher and activist, Patrick Porgans, on the opposite and contradictory polls of the "500-year California drought," the state's growing gross dtate product (GDP) and its growing budget. Porgans asks a number of questions about water and finances in California: Did the drought really affect agricultural profits? Where did the water really go? Why don't the data support the claims of drought-driven economic ruin? Why do urban citizens have to subsidize agribusiness, which exports so much produce grown with subsidized irrigation water? The article is dense with facts and figures and requires reading several times to get their full impact. It can't be boiled down into either a TV sound-byte or a wire-service news story.

Enjoy the results of real sustained research on matters vital to the health of the state. -- blj


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Delta "Fix" a can of worms

Submitted: May 13, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The stink on the Delta these days isn't just the stink of fish species going extinct. Two state legislators are raising questions about how secure funding from the federal water contractors is for construction of the Delta tunnels. The Inspector General of the Department of Interior has opened an invistigation into how the federal Bureau of Reclamation, foremost enabler of gigantic water projects in the West, has been diverting funds designated for species restoration to the twin tunnels project. 

This one has the earmarks of a possible end-of-regime financial scandal the size of the Julia McDonald afffair at the end of the Bush Jr. presidential term with the added attraction of the Swan Song of Moonbeam. 

Stay tuned. -- blj


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Big bucks, big nuts and wine win: Californians lose

Submitted: May 12, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Jerry imposes permanent water restrictions on cities.

So, Jerry Brown's brave new California will be characterized by dead lawns and green orchards and vineyards, triumphantly announces Wall Street's other home newspaper.  

Monopoly financed Big Nuts and Wine win.

Californians lose.

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The weasel word

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

 

Often, we witness how public officials, squirming under mandates causing discomfort for their more powerful constituents, convert "shall" to "may" in a straightforward regulation. This effectively closes the door to enforcement and opens a door to deal-making, bribery, intimidation, and the other forms of daily corruption in government that its practitioners call "balance". But the global and local environment are already so far out of balance and the destruction resulting from this unbalanced state gains velocity every day. 

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UC Merced's newest bright, shiny thing

Submitted: May 04, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 In memory of William Trombley (1929-2009)

 

We are frankly skeptical of the UC Merced-sponsored "Climate Feedback" website, which aims at rating the scientific accuracy of media coverage of environmental issues. Apparently, the group of scientists has a special grievance against online publications. Badlands Journal, such a publication,  has reported thoroughly on the environmental damage directly caused by UC Merced and stimulated by the campus site, including environemntal permit comment letters and legal actions done by San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water (POW), the Central Valley Safe Environment Network and other public organizations.

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Rising sea level could flood the twin tunnels shortly after construction

Submitted: Apr 29, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Following the widespread oceanic observations (1) that ice packs everywhere are melting much more quickly than at first predicted, and that seas are consequently rising more quickly, Chris Clarke, the author of these two articles, puts the Delta tunnels project into the context of a Delta rapidly flooding with seawater. Viewed in this context, the tunnels project looks like the height of futility, its possible only purpose being to squeeze one more building boom out of Southern California and stimulate the production of almonds in the San Joaquin Valley to the point where every grower goes broke from over-production.

--blj

 

 

 

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