“They shall not be questioned”

Watching the impeachment hearings, one question nagged. Why is it illegal for citizens to lie to Congress, but legal for members of Congress to lie back to them? So I looked up the answer, which came in two parts. First, sworn witnesses testifying before Congress lie at risk of perjury charges. Meanwhile, members of Congress can say what they like under protection of no less than Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution. It is the limits of this protection, known as the Speech and Debate Clause, that are now at the heart of the tug-of-war over whether the impeachment charges against President Trump will be referred for a Senate trial. Central to refusal of the President and Senate Majority Leader to call the Secretary of State, Chief of Staff, and former National Security Advisor to testify on behalf of Mr Trump is that they would be sworn witnesses whose …

When a bad choice is better than no choice

Tomorrow Britons go to the polls. Americans should take note. As proved the case with the 2016 Brexit referendum shortly followed by the Trump victory in the U.S. general election, what happens there tomorrow may be the strongest portent we have as to what will follow here in November. *Updated 12/13/19…

Standing tall

Dean Baker stood for this 2007 Las Vegas Sun portrait in the water of Big Springs, Snake Valley, Nevada, part of the Great Basin Carbonate Aquifer system targeted by Las Vegas. For 20 years, Baker has been the face of the opposition to the Las Vegas pipeline project, both for rural Nevada, where he lives, and the neighboring West Desert of central Utah, where he was born and raised. In 2007, at the behest of his childhood neighbors in Utah, Baker joined an Utahan negotiating team tasked by Congress to agree how much water, if any, Utah would consent to Nevada removing from Snake Valley, a basin shared by both states. Patricia Mulroy, Las Vegas water manager and founder of the nearly 300-mile-long pipeline project, decried Baker's appointment as political brinksmanship. However, Utah Director of Natural Resources Mike Styler said at the time of Baker, "He's a courageous person ...

David Zetland on political influence, insider trading and Cadiz

Manhattan Beach Country Club, owned by Keith Brackpool, CEO of Cadiz, Inc

DAVID ZETLAND, the Berkeley-based water economist and publisher of Aguanomics, today follows up on Cadiz’s June 5 stock surge and the market position of Cadiz CEO Keith Brackpool: Who knew what when in advance of the Cadiz-issued endorsements of the Cadiz groundwater project by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt?

“What intrigues me is that Brackpool took options on 60,000 shares on May 22,” Zetland writes. “They were worth about $400,000 then and about $750,000 two weeks later. (He only had 90,000 shares before exercising that option. Was it “in the money”? Did he sell those shares?…)”

“Bottom Line,”¬†Zetland writes, “It’s fine to buy and sell water to make a profit. It’s NOT fine to use political influence to change the value of your water trading