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California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters

California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters

One of the big news stories neglected by both the mainstream and “alternative” media is the capture of California politics and the regulatory apparatus by Big Oil and other corporate interests in recent years – and the massive expansion of offshore drilling that has occurred in state waters under the helm of Governor Jerry Brown as a consequence of this regulatory capture.

The enormous power that Big Oil exerts over California regulators was inadvertently revealed in a March 10, 2012 article in the Santa Barbara Independent that discussed a so-called “marine protected area” created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that went into effect on January 2 of that year.

The official language for the marine protected area in the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara County, the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area, reads, “Take of all living marine resources is prohibited, except for take pursuant to operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area … ”

“The caveat, allowing marine resources to be taken near artificial structures, exists to allow oil production representatives the ability to maintain equipment, including pipelines, located in this area,” the article by Cat Heushul stated.

Unfortunately, the reporter failed to mention the even bigger story — that Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, actually served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to create this “marine protected area” and others like it in Southern California.

She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. If that is not a huge, glaring conflict of interest, I do not know what is.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

CA Judge: Twitter Can Be Sued For Falsely Advertising They Allow Free Speech

CA Judge: Twitter Can Be Sued For Falsely Advertising They Allow Free Speech

A California judge has ruled that social media giant Twitter can be sued for falsely advertising free speech. The judge said that Twitter’s policy of banning users “at any time, for any reason or for no reason” may constitute an “unconscionable contract” for a company which advertises free speech.

The judge rejected Twitter’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit from Jared Taylor, who was banned by the platform in December last year, according to Breitbart.  Taylor, a self-described “white activist” may proceed with his lawsuit against Twitter because the social media company falsely advertises free speech, yet bans users for “any or no reason.”  The judge also ruled that Twitter could be sued on the basis of misleading its users, due to the platform’s promise not to ban accounts on the basis of viewpoint or political affiliation, which is frequently violated.

“This ruling has massive implications for the platform going forward,” said Noah Peters, Jared Taylor’s lawyer. “this is the first time that a social media company’s argument that it can censor user speech has been rejected by a court.”

Taylor describes himself as a “race realist” and has defended white separatism, claiming that races are “not equal”, but his attorney says this trial is not about his client’s particular views, and that’s a correct assessment.  The trial is about Twitter’s disallowance of free speech although they use that term to advertise the social media platform.

“Our lawsuit is not about whether Taylor is right or wrong,” Peters said in February.It’s about whether Twitter and other technology companies have the right to ban individuals from using their services based on their perceived viewpoints and affiliations.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Fact-Checking the “Fact-Checkers”: Snopes & Politifact Said I’m a Big Fat Liar, But Let’s Look at THEIR “Facts”

Fact-Checking the “Fact-Checkers”: Snopes & Politifact Said I’m a Big Fat Liar, But Let’s Look at THEIR “Facts”

Last weekend when I wrote about the new bills that were turned into law in California by a mercifully-departing Governor Jerry Brown, I never expected a hub-bub. I did my research, came to some conclusions, and titled my article, “Now It’s Illegal to Have a Shower and Do Laundry on the Same Day.” That’s the link if you want to read it first. Fact-checkers Snopes and Politifact said I was a big fat liar, but let’s take a look at their “facts,” shall we?

Contrary to popular belief, no kittens were sacrificed to the devil in the writing of that article. I just sat down, did a little research, and came to some conclusions that in my eyes were (and still are) entirely reasonable. However, Snopes and Politifact disagreed rather vehemently. (About the conclusions, not the kittens. The kittens actually were a figment of my imagination, unlike anything in the article they “debunked.)

Now, before I get into fact-checking these so-called fact-checkers, let me tell you a quick personal story. Writing controversial content can be a wee bit stressful sometimes.

When the mainstream picks up on what you’ve written, you can expect a lot of hate mail.  Most of it is of the generic, “you’re an idiot” style but there are always a few overachievers.

I’d like to send out my very best wishes to the guy who hopes that my daughters and I get locked in a basement and die of thirst. You’re a stellar human being. Almost as nice as the guy who believes it would be my just desserts if I were to drown in all the water I want to waste.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

If You Think the Water Restrictions in California Are Tough, Check Out Cape Town

If You Think the Water Restrictions in California Are Tough, Check Out Cape Town

Remember earlier in the year when the news was abuzz about Day Zero in Cape Town, South Africa?  According to the press at the time, the day was looming when the city of 3.74 million people would run completely out of water. First, the date of Day Zero was heralded as April 16th, then May 11th, then June 4th.

Calculating Day Zero took into account maximum evaporation (based on temperature and wind) and existing patterns in agricultural and urban use—an equation that considered both natural and man-made conditions. (source)

Now, they’re saying the disaster has been averted for now, but that it could happen in 2019. And if you think the water restrictions in California are tough, wait until you see what they’re doing in Cape Town.

So how did Cape Town avoid Day Zero?

Day Zero was delayed by a combination of things. Fortunately, there was some rainfall, and citizens went to great effort to reduce their water usage.  There was a public campaign to basically scare Capetonians into compliance with conservation efforts.

Late last year, as the South African government faced the prospect of its largest city running out of water, they took an unprecedented gamble.

The government announced “day zero” – a moment when dam levels would be so low that they would turn off the taps in Cape Town and send people to communal water collection points.

This apocalyptic notion prompted water stockpiling and panic, caused a drop in tourism bookings, and raised the spectre of civil unrest.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where It All Began: The Dawn of “Fake News”

Where It All Began: The Dawn of “Fake News”

It has long been suggested that the first full-blown example of “fake news”—where patently false information is intentionally presented in a phony but utterly believable “news media” format in order to sway public opinion—occurred during the watershed 1934 California gubernatorial election.

The two principals were Republican incumbent, Frank Merriman, and his Democratic challenger, Upton Sinclair. Merriman, a nondescript political lightweight with no national profile, was viewed more or less by the RNC as the Party’s West Coast performing flea. As Lieutenant Governor he was jettisoned into the incumbency when Governor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph died of a heart attack in June of 1934, just months before the election.

His chief opponent, Upton Sinclair, a prairie socialist and muckraker, was the celebrated author of “The Jungle,” the best-selling expose of the Chicago meat packing industry. Because the nation was still in the stranglehold of the most debilitating economic depression in its history, Sinclair reasonably chose to base his campaign on the EPIC (End Poverty in California) project.

Put simply, EPIC was an ambitious socialist program whose goal was universal employment. Among other things, EPIC promised massive public works programs, the reorganization of the agriculture industry into farm co-ops, and virtual state control of California’s factories.

Given the overall popularity of FDR’s New Deal, and the fact that the American Left was still feeding off table scraps of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the notion of “eliminating poverty” was properly considered not only necessary but feasible.

In addition to Merriman and Sinclair, there were two other notable players: Louis B. Mayer, the powerful overlord of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), whose dominion over the movie industry permitted him to comport himself like the Sun King (think of Harvey Weinstein magnified 100 times). and the advertising-public relations firm of Whitaker & Baker.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hayward Bay Fault Line MORE DANGEROUS Than San Andreas: It’s A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Hayward Bay Fault Line MORE DANGEROUS Than San Andreas: It’s A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Scientists are now saying that the “Big One” in California may not be caused by the San Andreas fault line, but by the Hayward Bay fault line. It is now thought to be the “ticking time bomb” fault line and more dangerous than the San Andres.

The scariest scenario for the next major earthquake may not be from the San Andreas Fault (though that one still threatens), but from the Hayward Fault that runs along the east side of the San Francisco Bay. In fact, many say that the next earthquake on the Hayward Bay fault line would be “disastrous.” According toKTUV, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake along the Hayward Fault could kill as many as 800 people and injure 18,000, according to results of a new research released Wednesday.

The U.S. Geological Survey, citing findings from a simulated tremor with an epicenter in Oakland, said the disaster would cause 400 fires that could destroy 50,000 homes. Nearly half a million people would be displaced, authorities said.

The simulated quake in the video above, known as the “HayWired scenario,” was modeled to occur at 4:18 p.m. on April 18 (yesterday). It replicates a rupture along the fault’s entire 52-mile length, from San Pablo Bay in the north to just east of San Jose in the south. According to this model, the violent shaking from the earthquake could cause the two sides of the fault to split six feet apart in some places. Some of the aftershocks would continue for several months as well. Cities in the East Bay would be hit hard, including Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, and Hayward.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Waiting for the Debris Flows

Waiting for the Debris Flows

In J.M. Coetzee’s 1980 novel, Waiting for the Barbarians, his characters sit around in an isolated colonial fort in a nameless desert country, awaiting their destiny – an invasion of the barbarians. The novel concerns its characters’ slow realization of their complicity, as agents of the Empire, in their fate. Something very similar is happening here on the eastern fringe of southern California’s Thomas Fire burn area as we await the rains and the debris flows that will surely follow – as they did, earlier in the year, with such devastating results in Montecito, further to the west.

This analogy, to fully flower, depends on two things. The first is that the fire was intensified by global warming. It came, early in December, after six years of drought, towards the end of a dry first half of the rainy season and in the midst of N.E. Santa Ana winds of unprecedented intensity. The second is that we are both culpable and complicit in the first by the fact of our living in a society driven by the burning of fossil fuels. Implicit is the connection between the two.

The motley assortment of ex-pats who populate Coetzee’s desert fort have more reason to debate the benefits or provocations of their colonial mission impacting the peoples they have (we presume) earlier displaced, although they too, even without the benefit of a course in post-colonial studies, come to accept their role in the disruption of a pre-existing social ecology and the acts of revenge this will ultimately generate. They sit and wait for an invasion by the people who, by destroying their world, they have made barbarians.

Meanwhile, in our now certified fire-safe house (but still surely vulnerable to debris flows) situated in the wildland-urban-interface, we sit and wait for other acts of weather terrorism provoked by the Empire’s eviscerations of the earth’s crust.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“What Just Hit Us?” – Bay Area Rattled By Unusual Quake Swarm, Trains Delayed

Following “strained” magma chamber concerns at Yellowstone, Bay Area residents have grown increasingly concerned this week as a swarm of well over 50 earthquakes has struck in recent days…

Culminating in at least 32 quakes in the last 24 hours as large as magnitude 3.6 which struck the East Bay town of Danville around 3pmET today.

“It’s been nuts. It wakes us up every night. We have a little dog, sleeps on the bed with us, and he freaks out all the time,” said Danville resident Christian Sommer.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains were impacted by the quakes with trains delayed.

“Looking in that general region, I’m counting 55 quakes just in the last week,” said Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist with the Geological Survey.

8 fault lines run through the bay.

Several more significant temblors then shook up Diablo area businesses at midday – the strongest being a 3.6.

“I was sitting at my desk when the first one hit,” said Danville resident Brenda Hammer. “And I thought something hit the building was my initial reaction. What just hit us?”

There was another swarm of quakes just three days ago on Tuesday.Some in the East Bay are busy retrofitting for a bigger quake.

This swarm comes just a few weeks after a 4.4 quake jolted much of Bay Area awake in January.

Drastic Pension Cuts Will Hit California, Kentucky, Other States

The CA Supreme Court will rule on pension cuts. Curiously, the court’s ruling will be irrelevant in case of bankruptcy.

California Governor Jerry Brown said legal rulings may clear the way for making cuts to public pension benefits, which would go against long-standing assumptions and potentially provide financial relief to the state and its local governments.

Brown said he has a “hunch” the courts would “modify” the so-called California rule, which holds that benefits promised to public employees can’t be rolled back. The state’s Supreme Court is set to hear a case in which lower courts ruled that reductions to pensions are permissible if the payments remain “reasonable” for workers.

“There is more flexibility than there is currently assumed by those who discuss the California rule,” Brown said during a briefing on the budget in Sacramento. He said that in the next recession, the governor “will have the option of considering pension cutbacks for the first time.”

That would be a major shift in California, where municipal officials have long believed they couldn’t adjust the benefits even as they struggle to cover the cost. They have raised taxes and dipped into reserves to meet rising contributions. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension, has about 68 percent of assets needed to cover its liabilities. For the fiscal year beginning in July, the state’s contribution to Calpers is double what it was in fiscal 2009.

“In the next downturn, when things look pretty dire, that would be one of the items on the chopping block,” Brown said.

Pension Cuts Are Coming

It’s refreshing to hear a politician admit the obvious: Pension cuts are coming.

However, whether or not the cuts are “reasonable” is irrelevant in cases of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is under federal, not state law.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More Than 100 Are Dead As The Worst Flu Epidemic In Years Sweeps Across The United States

More Than 100 Are Dead As The Worst Flu Epidemic In Years Sweeps Across The United States 

This flu season is already off to a record-setting beginning, and many believe that it could ultimately be the worst that we have seen in decades.  In fact, it has been reported that if we stay on this current pace that this could truly be the worst flu season in more than 50 years.  As you will see below, the CDC is reporting widespread flu activity from coast to coast, and the death toll has already crossed 100.  Here in the United States, flu season usually begins in October and ends in May, and so we still have a long way to go before it is over.

Normally the mainstream media tries very hard to keep the public calm about these things, but even the Washington Post admits that we are having “a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad flu season”…

The nation is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad flu season.

Flu is widespread in 46 states, according to reports to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationally, as of mid-December, at least 106 people had died of the infectious disease.

Usually a flu outbreak is centered in one portion of the country, but this one is different.  According to the CDC, this outbreak is affecting the entire nation, and the number of cases climbed another 5.8 percent within the past week…

“Flu is everywhere in the US right now,” said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC’s influenza branch. “This is the first year we’ve had the entire continental US at the same level (of flu activity) at the same time.” It has been an early flu season that seems to be peaking now, he said, with a 5.8% increase in laboratory-confirmed cases this week over last.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pesticide Use Threatens Health in California

Pesticide Use Threatens Health in California

President Trump boasts about all the regulations that he has eliminated but he never mentions the important good that many of these rules were  doing, as Dennis J Bernstein explains.


The battle to protect farmworkers and their families from dangerous pesticides has been going on for decades. But it has always been an uphill struggle because of the power and the money behind the mammoth petrochemical industry. In 2017, farmworkers, their families continued to be exposed to toxic sprays that drift into school zones and other populated areas.

Migrant workers harvest lettuce at Lakeside Organic Gardens in Watsonville, CA on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. (USDA photo by Bob Nichols)

While there have been some improvements and restrictions at the California state level, experts and activists in the field say not nearly enough is being done. And compounding the problem, EPA Director Scott Pruitt took swift action against new regulations that were about to be put into place under President Obama

Dr. Ann Lopez, Director of the Center for Farmworker Families, based in Felton, California,has taught courses in biology, environmental science, ecology and botany in the biology department at San José City College for many years. She is an independent researcher whose research addresses the human side of the binational migration circuit from the subsistence and small producer farms of west central Mexico to employment in California’s corporate agribusiness.

Dr. Lopez has worked with over 33 farmworker families in the Salinas and Pajaro valleys. She has also studied 22 of their family farms in the west central Mexico countryside, and has received recognition and awards for her work.

Dr. Lopez,author of The Farmworkers Journey, was awarded the Human Agenda Ecological Sustainability Award in 2014 and the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc. awarded her with the Community Game Changer Award in 2015.

I spoke to Dr. Lopez on Dec. 27, 2017 at her office in Felton, California.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Flu Outbreak: Medicine Shortages And A Rising Death Toll In California

Flu Outbreak: Medicine Shortages And A Rising Death Toll In California

flu

A severe flu outbreak has struck California making the medicine used to treat the illness sparse, and filling emergency rooms with those suffering from the symptoms. The death toll is also rising rapidly as more and more people are succumbing to the virus.

According to the LA Times, health officials said Friday that 27 people younger than 65 have died of the flu in California since October, compared with three at the same time last year. Nationwide and in California, flu activity spiked sharply in late December and continues to grow. For example, the emergency room at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica typically treats about 140 patients a day, but at least one day this week had more than 200 patients mostly because of the flu, said the ER’s medical director, Dr. Wally Ghurabi. “The Northridge earthquake was the last time we saw over 200 patients,” Ghurabi said.

The flu season normally peaks in February, but experts claim that this year, it’s peaking early, and that’s why there have been so many flu victims.  The flu season is typically worst around February but can reach its height anytime from October to April. Though influenza had only killed three Californians at this time last year, it had taken 68 lives by the end of February, according to state data.

Many California doctors, however, maintain that the recent surge has been unusually severe. “Rates of influenza are even exceeding last year, and last year was one of the worst flu seasons in the last decade,” said Dr. Randy Bergen, clinical lead of the flu vaccine program for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Strong Earthquakes Hit San Francisco And Mount St. Helens And Experts Warn They May Be Foreshocks For ‘Something Larger’

Strong Earthquakes Hit San Francisco And Mount St. Helens And Experts Warn They May Be Foreshocks For ‘Something Larger’

Just when it seemed like things may be settling down, two very unusual earthquakes have hit the west coast within the past couple of days.  A 4.4 magnitude quake struck Berkeley, California just prior to 3 AM on Thursday morning, and a 3.9 magnitude earthquake hit Mount St. Helens in Washington state on Wednesday.  Overall, there have been 68 earthquakes in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens since New Year’s Day, and there have been a total of 629 earthquakes in the state of California within the last 30 days.  Could it be possible that all of this activity is leading up to a historic seismic disaster on the west coast?

The 4.4 magnitude earthquake along the Hayward fault very early on Thursday jolted people out of bed all over the San Francisco area

A strong 4.4 magnitude earthquake has rattled the Bay Area shortly before 3 a.m.

USGS is reporting the quake was centered in Berkeley. On KRON4’s real time earthquake map it shows the epicenter.

The quake struck at 2:39 a.m. and was centered near the Claremont hotel. The earthquake had a preliminary depth of 8 miles, according to USGS.

This wasn’t a soft and gentle earthquake that everyone kind of laughs about after it is over.

Rather, this was the kind of extremely intense earthquake that puts the fear of God into people.  In fact, one Bay area resident said that it “felt like a truck hit my house”

“I was actually awake putting my shoes on for work. It felt like a truck hit my house from the back which pushed my against the staircase railing, the walls were cracking and threw my cell phone and keys down the stairs. Pretty scary”

If this was the worst quake in this particular swarm, it won’t ultimately be that big of a deal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“It Looks Like A War Zone” – Californians Describe Thomas Fire’s Devastation

“It Looks Like A War Zone” – Californians Describe Thomas Fire’s Devastation

Now the third-largest wildfire in California history, the Thomas Fire has blazed through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since it exploded into existence two weeks ago under mysterious circumstances.

With Cal Fire ordering thousands more people in Santa Barbara to evacuate as dry conditions and powerful winds help feed the flames, which were barely 40% contained as of Sunday. Twelve thousand people were evacuated in Santa Barbara County, with animals at the local zoo threatened as well. Santa Barbara Zoo closed Saturday and many animals were placed into cages in case of possible evacuations, zoo officials said.

Meanwhile, residents who had evacuated their homes in Ventura County, where the fire began, were allowed to return Saturday.


– Dozens of Fire engines staged and await orders at the corner of Sycamore Cyn Rd and Cold Springs Road in Montecito Sunday morning.


The fire is so massive that more than 8,400 firefighters are working around the clock to save lives and contain it. It’s bigger in acreage than New York City, and has turned neighborhoods to piles of soot and concrete as it churns through the area.


– Smoke drifts towards Santa Barbara Airport in the distance while a wind driven spot fire burns on the west side and below Gibraltar Road.


At least five of the six wildfires that ignited two weeks ago were still active as of Sunday, according to CNN. But the Thomas Fire is by far the biggest, as the map below illustrates.

Here’s a roundup of the latest developments from CNN and Cal Fire:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

100,000 Still Stranded Amid California Fires; Giant Thomas Fire Only 20% Contained

100,000 Still Stranded Amid California Fires; Giant Thomas Fire Only 20% Contained

In an unexpected run of good fortune, a shift in the powerful winds that have fanned the SoCal wildfires over the past week and a half has pushed the Thomas Fire – the largest of the six uncontained blazes – away from nearby communities while also clearing the air of smoke, improving visibility for the beleaguered firefighters working tirelessly to suppress the flames. Meanwhile, further south, firefighters have managed to achieve upwards of 90% containment for the Rye, Lilac and Creek Fires:


[update] off Rye Canyon Loop, west of Valencia (Los Angeles County) remains 6,049 acres and 96% contained per @LACoFDPIO. http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/1924 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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