The great theoreticians of the economy that ate Merced speak in lovingly of "creative destruction." I suppose, from the vantage point of a tenured chair in a university economics department committed to free-market ideology, it all must seem terribly exciting. The public and elected officials (currently enjoying the lowest popularity ratings since such records began), may be excused for not fully embracing our culture's universal approval of all that is "creative." The destruction is not a new problem. The modern approach began with the passage of the Poor Law during the reign of QueenElizabeth I, back when Shakespeare was writing plays.Read More »
The great bubble brains among us are buying signatures this spring for a November initiative that would suspend AB 32, California's global warming law, until the state's unemployment rate dropped below 5.5 percent. The unemployment rate, now at 12.4 percent, has not dipped below 5.5 percent since September 2007, when the speculative real estate bubble was popping, with a sound heard round the world.
The game is to blame environmental law and regulation for popping the real estate bubble. The game is to blame environmental law and regulation for what finance, insurance and real estate special interests did to the entire global economy.
Many subdivisions in this state were built by wholesale corruption of the enforcement of environmental law and regulation. Environmental law and regulation aren't foreclosing on peoples' homes.
The plutocrats who pillaged this economy are afraid that economic pain is waking people up to the massive political fraud that was the handmaiden every step of the way down. So, they hope to start a big fight among the citizens and watch the circus from their box seats as the people fight over imaginary bread.
Badlands JOurnal editorial boardRead More »
Fresno County leaders are trying to salvage a farmland protection plan that has drawn resistance from at least one small city and, ironically, from some farmers as well.-- Fresno Bee, 3-6-10
We were curious why Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Merced, was working so hard for the Westlands Water District in the recent attempt by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to put an amendment on a Senate jobs bill to suspend the Endangered Species Act on the Delta. The amendment was designed specifically to provide more water to Westlands. Cardoza seems to be representing a water district south of his congressional district and possibly to the detriment to the west side district he actually does represent, the Central California Irrigation Districts, also known as the exchange contractors, headquartered in Los Banos.
Part of the explanation may be in a donation to his 2010 campaign of $6,800 by Roll International and $5,000 from California Westside Farmers Inc.
Roll International is a holding company owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick. Roll International controls Bakersfield-based Paramount Farms and POM Wonderful, the largest citrus, nut and pomegranate operations in the nation. The Resnicks, campaign contributors to Feinstein (in larger amounts than to Cardoza), were widely reported to have persuaded Feinstein to convene a scientific panel to review the two federal resource-agency biological opinions that restrict pumping from the Delta to the west side. They were also reported to have been behind Feinstein's unfortunate proposed amendment, which was not included in the jobs bill.Read More »
Felix Smith, retired US Fish & Wildlife biologist, discovered the deformed and death wildlife at Kesterson Wildlife Refuge in western Merced County that resulted in cessation of west-side drainage of selenium-laced agricultural waste water to that site. Smith is extremely well qualified to address the senator on issues of political interference with embattled federal scientists defending the public trust and environmental law and regulation. He's seen it all.
Badlands Journal editorial board
February 19, 2010
Honorable Dianne Feinstein – Senator
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Feinstein:Read More »
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...the first truth is that the liberty of democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism -- ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way to sustain an acceptable standard of living. -- President Frankin Delano Roosevelt, "Recommendations to the Congress to Curb Monopolies and the Concentration of Economic Power" (April 29, 1938), in Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges, 2009, p.177.
CounterPunch NewsleterRead More »
Look out below...Alex Breitler
Golfer Kyle Bowers of Stockton got a birdie Thursday. But not the kind he wanted.
Bowers had just arrived at the sixth hole of The Reserve at Spanos Park early Thursday afternoon when he ducked into the bathroom, a Porta Potty-like facility with a tank.
He lifted the toilet seat and was about to do his guy thing when he saw a face staring back at him.
The ghost-like face of a terrified barn owl.
“Oh my gosh… what is that?” he thought.
It was pretty dark in there, but Bowers could see the owl bobbing its head around. He quickly guessed that the owl had gone down an unscreened vent from the roof to the tank, and couldn’t find its way back out.
For some reason, nature was no longer calling. So Bowers started calling for help.
Just reach in there and grab the bird from the back, someone told him. No way, he said, fearing the owl would whip its head around and gash his hands with its beak.
He told the cart lady who sells drinks. She didn’t know what to do. The front desk wasn’t much more help.
“I’ll be honest, the golf course didn’t want to do anything,” Bowers said.
A shadow covers the Valley. It is in the shape of a fat, blue pig with its fronttrotter outstretched to receive cash from the rich to stuff it where the sun never shines.
Historically, the Blue Dogs were the logical outgrowth of the career of former Rep. Tony Coelho, D-Merced, who preceded Gary Condit and, more importantly, who was in the go-go Eighties the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign slush fund for the Party's candidates and incumbents in the House of Representatives. Coelho got nailed for his involvement with Michael Millken, Wall Street's junk-bond king, later convicted for felonies and sent to prison. Coelho resigned rather than face an investigation and went into investment banking. When, in the course of managing Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, Coelho's "colorful" career was getting more media attention than his candidate's speeches, he resigned. An excellent study of Coelho's political career is Honest Graft, by Brooks Jackson.
The Blue Dogs have never stood for anything but money. They are no more than vultures feeding off the corpse of the Democratic Party. Coelho was at the funeral. Through the years, as the economy has grown steadily more concentrated in fewer hands, Blue Dogs dug deeper into the pockets of finance, insurance and real estate than ever, hiding as best they could from the people.Read More »
Everything about state Sen. Lois Wolk's career, from teaching high school, Davis City councilwoman and mayor, Yolo County supervisor, and assemblywoman before becoming senator expresses one overwhelming focu -- care; care for disadvantaged people, the sick, and the human and natural communities connected to the San Joaquin Delta. Even when under enormous, unfair and shameful attack from fellow politicians like our governor, the Hun, and state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Twerp-Sacramento, she has responded with measured critique and a completely classy defense -- not of herself, but the communities and natural resources she represents.
Cal Poly Professor Robert Rutherford and UC Berkeley Journalism Professor Michael Pollan are critics of agribusiness.
When Sen. Wolk discovered that a backroom deal between the Hun, Steinberg, Westlands Water District and Metropolitan had rewritten a bill to create a Delta Conservancy she had authored, she withdrew her name from it.
When Harris Ranch, one of Westlands largest landholders, discovered that Pollan would speak at Cal Poly and that Rutherford was teaching a course called "Issues in Animal Agriculture and -- even worse -- offended a Harris corporate suit by "unsolicited" comments that he thought water should be withdrawn from Westlands, Harris has threatened not to contribute $500 million to Cal Poly.Read More »