Journalism

A real tea party on the Columbia River

Submitted: Sep 18, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the ILWU, is battling a global grain-shipping corporate partnership in the Washington State port of Longview, near the mouth of the Columbia River.

 

The contenders are:

 

EGT is a joint venture of Bunge, STX Pan Ocean, and Itochu. EGT has contracted with General Construction Company, employer of Operating Engineers Local 701, to do the work that is the long-established jurisdiction of the men and women of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 21. -- Longshore and Shipping News

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No limit to greed

Submitted: Sep 01, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Executive Excess 2011: The Massive CEO Rewards for Tax Dodging

By Sarah Anderson, Chuck Collins, Scott Klinger, Sam Pizzigati

CEOs rale ot in while their corporations dodge taxes

Guns don't kill people, the old saw goes. People do.

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"The ultimate form of moral hazard" or the Federal Reserve's "finest hour"?

Submitted: Aug 28, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The article titled "Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 trillion in Fed's Secret Loans," was the result of Bloomberg business news agency's relentless quest involving numerous Freedom of Information Act requests and an act of Congress over a 3-year period. The article is destined to be famous in the annals of American journalism and will be a fundamental document of a history of these times.

It is not easy to read and demands study, rewards study.

We have included a 2009 article by Mark Pittman, who filed the first FOIA with the Fed and has since passed away. Below Pittman's article we have included  two opposing views on what "Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 trillion" means. At the very bottom we have included a passage from a Swedish novel about a financial investigative reporter about the importance of financial journalism to the future of that nation or any other.

In the case of the US financial crash and bailout, regardless of the divergence of views on the Federal Reserve's actions, perhaps a majority of the nation would now reply -- if polled -- that investigative reporting on the financial system was "too little and too late."  and had a nearly impossible task bucking the headwinds of hot air from the 450 high priests of the Free Market. 

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Visiting with Isabel

Submitted: Jul 23, 2011
By: 
Bill Hatch


 “Now we’re going to have to start all over again,” Isabel Bravo, retired long-time president of the Placer County CA chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), told me Monday. She said she’d met last week with the new police chief in her city, Roseville, and he didn’t know anything about NAMI training programs for departments to build “crisis intervention teams” so that police could identify the mentally ill, differentiate them from people either stoned or drunk, disarm them if necessary, and talk them down from “the ozone.”

Strange, I thought. Dee Dee Gunther, spokeswoman for the Roseville PD and another voice from my past as a reporter in that town, had told me the week before that the teams were alive and well in Roseville and at the county sheriff's office.

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Railroads in the West: Now and then

Submitted: Jul 18, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

7-16-11

Merced Sun-Star

High-speed rail: Ag worries over project voiced

Elected officials and growers discuss effects on farmland… AMEERA BUTT

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/07/16/v-print/1971373/high-speed-rail-ag-worries-over.html

Farmers in Merced County voiced their concerns about the impact of high-speed rail on ag land at a joint hearing organized by state senators Friday afternoon.

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who leads the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, held a joint hearing, "From Food to Rail: High-Speed Rail Impacts on Agriculture" on Friday.

Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, also attended.

The event weighed the effects on ag land by the proposed railway, intended to carry passengers between San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles by way of the San Joaquin Valley at speeds of up to 220 mph.

Cannella said the event provided a chance for politicians to hear from the agricultural community, a major part of California's economy. It generates more than $30 billion a year in revenue.

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"There will always be London"

Submitted: Jun 07, 2011
By: 
Bill Hatch

In the generation of Californians alive at the turn of the 20th century, three names have stood out and have far outlived their times: Jack London, John Muir and Lincoln Steffens. London, the great writer of fiction, journalism and socialist tracts; Muir, the father of the world conservation movement; Steffens, the great muckraker.

New York Times columnist Timothy Egan describes below what the frat boys and sorority sisters up at the state Capitol are doing to one historical monument to of the figures, Jack London. Those of us of a certain age, with roots in Sonoma County, remember the time before London's Beauty Ranch in the Valley of the Moon was made into a state historical park. Governor Pat Brown, father of the present governor, was in office then and lived with his family on H Street in downtown Sacramento in a Victorian mansion built in the 1870s. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles lamented the rundown condition of London's beautiful ranch and pilgrimages to the ruins of Wolf House were important educational outings, followed by readings of London's short stories to the young. My father gave me a collection published by Hanover House, "Jack London's Tales of Adventure," when I was 13. "There will always be London," he inscribed. It is one of the few books I have carried around for 55 years, wherever I've gone.

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The robotic digit

Submitted: May 27, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

As it turns out the Invisible Middle Finger of the Free Market in Real Estate Fraud is a robot. Go figure.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

5-26-11
propublica.org
Foreclosure Contractors Face New Scrutiny From States
by Marian Wang
http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/foreclosure-contractors-face-new-scrutiny-from-states
While federal and state officials investigating flawed foreclosures [1] have largely focused on holding the banks accountable and bringing relief to wronged homeowners, officials in a few states have begun targeting the more obscure middlemen of the foreclosure scandal.

Prosecutors in California and Illinois have sent subpoenas [2] to Lender Processing Services, one of the largest firms that processed mortgage documents for the banks. (Read more about LPS in our guide to who’s who of the foreclosure scandal [3].)

As we’ve noted [4], the firm—which helps handle more than half of all U.S. mortgages [5]—has been accused of using the same “robo-signing [6]” practices as the major banks, such as signing and notarizing documents that appeared inaccurate or invalid. Bank employees have testified under oath that they relied on LPS to vet the information [7] in foreclosure documents.

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San Joaquin Valley Uncontrollable Air Pollution Board

Submitted: May 14, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Just imagine how it feels when year after year some federal or state environmental agency or non-governmental organization like the American Lung Association,  announces once again that the south San Joaquin Valley has the worst air pollution in the nation and it is getting worse and worse, and year after year, the newspaper reporting the grim news -- in the interest of "balanced" reporting, contacts the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Board's chief spokesman, known to readers of the Valley press as "Seyed the Mendacious," who contradicts the outside authorities with news that actually, as usual, they exaggerate.
Year after year, fending off all penalties for non-compliance, the air board, more properly called the San Joaquin Valley Uncontrollable Air Pollution Board, has finally achieved the aim of its paymasters in the finance, insurance and real estate special interest community: no governmental action not carrying serious economic consequences could arrest the increase of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley.

It feels like the game is over. The Valley is now "developed" sufficiently that the yearly increase of deadly air cannot be stopped. It's done.
Forty years ago there was no blue purer than the sky over Bakersfield on a sunny day. That sky had value, but not for business. All Hail Business, which destroys and moves on if society is not so besotted with "free market" propaganda that it is incapable of defending itself against business.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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The casino option

Submitted: May 02, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Finance, insurance, real estate special interests in the north San Joaquin Valley, home of the worst foreclosure rate in the nation, are suffering high anxiety that the University of California might convert UC Merced, anchor tenant for the real estate boom and bust, into a liberal arts college.
Furthermore, this idea is being advanced on the floor of the state Senate by none other than that notorious liberal, former mayor of Berkeley and wife of the present mayor of Berkeley, state Sen. Loni Hancock.
Readers of the Sonny Star's latest brothel ballad are asked to get into the injustice of the story by recalling a quote by Ronald Reagan, while campaigning for president against President Jimmy Carter: "There you go again." That famous half whisper, that complex mixture of contempt and exaspiration, that famous Reagan attitude, the same that tear gassed UC Berkeley students from helicopters when he was governor, that same attitude, contempt and exaspiration for law that urged Reagan to enable the shipment, production, sales and distribution of crack cocaine in Hancock's district.
But Hancock's district contains even more. For example, it contains the first UC campaign, Berkeley, and the UC Office of the President, the headquarters for the entire UC system. Hancock is not acting as an adversary of the UC president or Board of Regents here. She is representing them, raising the trial balloon that must be sending all the local Mr. and Ms. UC Merceds straight to their cardiologists.

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American populist analysis of Libyan "revolution"

Submitted: Apr 21, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Ellen Brown comments below on the international banking aspects of the Libyan "revolution." Brown is an American treasure. She knows what Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz, and humdreds of thousands in the Populist Movement knew over a century ago -- some fundamental things about money. Her book, Web of Debt, about money in general and the Federal Reserve in particular, is the most readable book on the subject we have found since the financial crisis that has flattened Merced County, the San Joaquin Valley, along with countless other areas of the US, following the dismal histories of so many countries caught in the coils of debt by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. That story has affected so much of the Third World over the last 30 years. It has been marked by poverty, destruction of local economies and lately by wholesale, coordinated regional resistance, most noticeable perhaps in the US as the concerted efforts of several large Latin American countries, despite repeated coup attempts agaianst prominent leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Less known by far to the US have been similar attempts, detailed below, by African nations, in which the Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has played a major role.

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