Read More »
Why did this happen? Why did even the near-collapse of the financial system, and its desperate rescue by two reluctant administrations, fail to give the government any real
leverage over the major banks?
By March 2009, the Wall Street banks were not just any interest group. Over the past thirty years, they had become one of the wealthiest industries in the history of the American economy, and one of the most powerful political forces in
. Financial sector money poured into the campaign war chests of congressional representatives. Washington
Members of Congress told to increase security, Rep. Cardoza says...Michael Doyle
WASHINGTON -- The shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday struck homewith California public officials of all stripes, reminding them anew of their ownvulnerabilities.
Shortly after the shooting, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, said he and other House members received multiple e-mail warnings from Capitol Hill law enforcement officials.
“They told us to increase our vigilance, and to have more security at our public events,” Cardoza said, adding that “we will follow the recommendations of the police ...It’s a real problem,” Cardoza said of the security conundrum. “You want to be accessible, but I also care very deeply about the security of my staff and of the people who attend these public events.” Cardoza said security considerations contributed to his previous decision to relocate his Modesto and Merced congressional district offices to government buildings that already maintain a security presence.
He indicated security concerns also played into his earlier decision to curtail some public town hall meetings during the politically heated summer of 2009...
December 31, 2010 - January 2, 2011
New Year's Edition
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment
How Green Became the Color of Money
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
In the early summer of 1995, Jay Hair quietly resigned as head of the National Wildlife Federation. This Napoleonic figure had transformed a once scruffy, apolitical collection of local hunting and gun clubs into the cautious colossus of the environmental movement with more than four million members and an annual budget of nearly $100 million. By the time Hair left, the Federation enjoyed more political clout in Washington than the rest of the environmental groups combined.Read More »
Well, folks, this year's high speed rail season is over and now it's back to the peripheral canal again, but the team remains the same. It is the team that brought us UC Merced to educated us and enabled the Great Real Estate Boom and Bust that brought so much security to so many in their own homes.
When the last dollar rolls over the government presses, not worth the paper it's printed on, and the last drop of fresh water from northern California has been sliced, diced, packaged and sold like a mortgage derivative, there is one thing we can count on: the shrill whine of our leadership team, so highly cultivated in the science of dependency: "We want more!"
Badlands Journal editorial boardRead More »
“If anyone is a master’s student in international relations and they haven’t heard of WikiLeaks and gone looking for the documents that relate to their area of study, then they don’t deserve to be a graduate student in international relations,” ...Professor Gary Sick, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
Columbia University Reverses Anti-WikiLeaks Guidance
By Sam Gustin
Days after Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) caused an uproar by warning its students against linking to WikiLeaks or discussing the secret-spilling website’s latest cache of diplomatic cables online, the prestigious training ground for future diplomats has changed tack and embraced free speech.
Last week, the SIPA Office of Career Services sent an e-mail to students saying that an alumnus who works at the U.S. State Department had recommended that current students not tweet or post links to WikiLeaks, which is in the process of releasing 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables — many of them classified — because doing so could hurt their career prospects in government service.Read More »
Several years ago, a young man new to Merced but active in local politics at the time, asked a Badlands Journal reporter, “What is Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo saying? I can’t understand a word she says.” Pedrozo was the executive director of the county Farm Bureau and president of the California Women for Agriculture at the time.
The reporter replied that the poor fellow had two obstacles to overcome: experience in the interpretation of Pedrozo and the mendacious rhetoric of agribusiness. The reporter explained that the key to “understanding” Pedrozo was to realize that at any given moment on any given topic she had imperfectly memorized talking points rarely arranged in any logical order. The reporter recommended that for further clarification, the young activist should listen closely to county Planning Commissioner Cindy Lashbrook for an even more recklessly illogical rendition of public affairs. The reporter also recommended, for the full course, that the young activist study the words of Diana's brother-in-law, Supervisor John Pedrozo. And for post-graduate studies, he should consult the oratory of Supervisor Hub Walsh who, when in full cry, can become a one-man mind-altering substance.Read More »
...by any other name
Wall Street Has Already Voted
by Holly Sklar
Before Wall Street drove our economy off a cliff, bullish Citigroup strategists dubbed the United States a "plutonomy." They said, "There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the 'non-rich,' the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie."
Inequality had increased so much since the 1980s, Citi strategists noted in 2005, that the richest 1 percent of households and the bottom 60 percent had "similar slices of the income pie!" Even better, they said, "the top 1 percent of households account for 40 percent of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95 percent of households put together." And the Bush "administration's attempts to change the estate tax code and make
permanent dividend tax cuts, plays directly into the hands of the plutonomy."Read More »
Future, coalition, development, growth, land-use planning, transportion -- but some of the words rendered meaningless
As foreclosure and unemployment gnaw away at the social fabric in the crumbling tract housing of the Valley, like highly trained, professional rats babbling our language, the usual suspects of Valley leadership met and scampered through their consensual maze inside a mausoleum of commercial real estate hubris in Modesto, a city that has been ruining its promised land for 40 years with no end in sight for its wanderings in darkness. -- Badlands
Building a Future: Planning experts share wisdom at summit
By Garth Stapley - email@example.com Buzz up!
Standing alone may have served a romantic image of the great American West in years past. But for today's San Joaquin Valley, isolationism is death.
That's what planning experts said over and over when asked how the historically undervalued valley can expect to climb out of California's center rut and into a bright, vibrant future.
"The most important thing is coalition building," lobbyist Mark MacDonald said last week at a summit in Modesto, where planning specialists from near and far gathered to ponder valley strategy for hitting up money powerbrokers. "All your battles (must be) internal, before you get up to Sacramento."Read More »
MORE DOUBTS ABOUT THE DROUGHT
USDA Figures show 2009, the so-called third year of drought in
By Patrick PorgansRead More »