Journalism

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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All floods are local

Submitted: Mar 24, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This is a fine report by Dennis Wyatt, managing editor of the Manteca Bulletin, on flooding in his vicinity, complete with a brief history of floods there. We can expect pronuncimientos from state, federal and agribusiness sources on the present weather impacts, but Wyatt's focus is the only one that really counts, because all floods are local. It remains to be seen if any paper in a northern California flood area produces a better report of what its readers need to know, now. If there is one thing you can say about journalism in San Joaquin County, it is that there are always a few reporters and editors on duty there that know water.

Badlands Journal editorial board

3-24-11
Manteca Bulletin
Flood releases swell rivers
Big runoff expected for New Melones
By Dennis Wyatt
Managing Editor
dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com
209-249-3532
http://www.mantecabulletin.com/news/article/22041/
Steady rain and continuing snow accumulation in the Sierra has prompted the Bureau of Reclamation to spill from all of their Central Valley Project reservoirs for flood control.

New Melones on the Stanislaus River was the last Bureau dam to impose flood releases. Spilling was scheduled to have started Tuesday. Rain is expected for the next four days with a high wind advisory through 5 p.m. today.

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Pivotal roles

Submitted: Mar 20, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Through the seminar, UC Merced said it's playing "a pivotal role" in helping national parks across the globe lead strategic change.-- Merced Sun-Star, March 14, 2011

Sonny Star, the local gigolo press, is strutting her stuff again. Must be spring. On the editorial page Sonny pontificates about open government laws in California, mainly the Brown Act and the state Public Records Act. In the same edition, Sonny prints the release below from UC Merced Bobcatflak Central.

The only "pivotal role" UC Merced has played to date and may ever play is anchor tenant to the worst local housing bubble in the nation. It ought to be awarded the prize for "Worst Real Estate Boondoggle of the First Decade of the 21st Century.

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Three other views on the Japanese catastrophe

Submitted: Mar 17, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Here are tfhree articles that might have escaped your attention about the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor meltdown. The first two deal with the weakness of the Japanese government and the flak issuing from the utility that owns the reactors, which is beginning to enrage the domestic and international public. They are loading down the media with information and data, presented in incomprehensible forms. But they do not answer the questions vital to the public.

Last, the view of the tragedy from Hiroshima, where several anti-nuclear activists were interviewed. One person interviewed was the incomparable reporter from The Chugoku Shimbun, Akira Toshiro, who has specialized in stories on nuclear power for 30 years. Tashiro's book, Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium, asked the question: what is the cost of sheathing bombs with depleted uranium, the cost to land, water, civilians and soldiers alike? His investigations and interviews took place in the US, the UK, Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Badlands Journal editorial board

3-16-11
The New York Times 
Flaws in Japan’s leadership deepen sense of crisis
No strong political class has emerged to take the place of bureaucrats and corporations
By KEN BELSON and NORIMITSU ONISHI
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42114871/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

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Hit 'em where they live

Submitted: Mar 12, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

"The only thing the Republicans care about is money. The only way you can touch them is through their revenue. They don't care about signs and protesters. They don't care about the opinion of the majority of the people in the state, their bottom line is money." -- Sam Hokin, Wisconsinite, small businessman

3-12-11
The Huffington Post
WI Firefighters Spark "Move Your Money" Moment
Mary Bottari
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/wi-firefighters-spark-mov_b_834879.html

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Prairie fire

Submitted: Mar 07, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

on a weekend during which "Meet the Press" would manage to introduce William E. Daley, the president's new chief of staff, who replaces Rahm Emanuel, just elected mayor of Chicago, without mentioning that both Daley's father and brother were former mayors of Chicago, or mentioning that Daley was President Clinton's chief lobbyist for NAFTA, up the road in Madison WI Michael Moore was not speaking for the plutocrat media but to an audience of demonstrators at the Wisconsin state Capitol that has ignited a prairie fire ...
Badlands Journal editorial board

3-5-11
michaelmoore.com
VIDEO: America Is NOT Broke
By Michael Moore
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/america-is-not-broke

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.

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Self-congratulation in Stanislaus

Submitted: Feb 25, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We found this editorial was more in the nature of fore-fantasy than forethought.

"If" rather than "when the economy and the housing market finally turn around," might be a firmer economic argument on which the base what follows. The finance, insurance and real estate special interests who control corporate media like McClatchy certainly weren't saying "when the speculative housing bubble bursts" a few years ago. In fact, they publicly doubted "if" the speculative bubble would ever burst.

Tfhe rest of the article deals with two Stanislaus County ordinances, both approved by voters, concerning "saving farmland."

The successful initiative that required a 1:1 mitigation for construction of prime farmland (the developer would have to provide an acre in perpetual conservation easement for every acre of farmland it develops) was upheld in state appellate court last week.
This is the latest version of the old propaganda line that developers create open space. If it had been passed in 1998 instead of 2008 it would have been something; instead it's just hypocrisy.

There is a similar flaw in the "save farmland" measure: the public would vote only on residential developments built on unincorporated, i.e. land under the land-use jurisdiction of Stanislaus County.

You can drive a locomotive through both these laws because they don't cover cities. When cities annex unincorporated (county) land, the laws no longer apply.

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The splitting sound

Submitted: Feb 06, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

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 Washington. Financial sector money poured into the campaign war chests of congressional representatives.

 

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