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Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: California and its Epic Wildfires

Photo credit: Patrick Luscri

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Like the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s Dixie Fire is epic. It has burned more than 220,000 acres and at least 40 structures. It’s the largest conflagration since the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise. Sadly, California wildfires are becoming as common as Florida hurricanes. Why is this happening and who’s to blame? In a word, California.

By mismanaging its forests and water sources and enabling a power provider to place profits over people, the Golden State has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind.

Why is every California fire season scarier and more destructive than the last? The reasons can be boiled down to these:

  1. Decades of forest mismanagement caused by environmentalists shaping policy
  2. Co-opted Northern California watersheds and water supply diversion
  3. Hotter temperatures and historic drought conditions caused by climate change
  4. Failing PG&E infrastructure
Forest mismanagement

We live five miles from the southeastern edge of the Dixie Fire. Our little mountain town of Quincy is under an evacuation warning. Many of our fellow residents live in areas of mandatory evacuation and some have lost their homes. Local firefighters and forest experts have known for years this was inevitable.

It’s common sense, really. When forest undergrowth and dead limbs and logs are allowed to pile up between trees, you may as well stack logs at their bases and light a match. Wise forest managers remove forest floor fuels and keep forests from growing dangerously dense.

Foolish forest managers allow undergrowth to flourish in order to “protect” ecological environments of certain species at the expense of overall forest ecology. This hands-off approach is pushed in Sacramento by those who think we’re only one species sharing our environment rather than caretakers of our environment.

Wise gardeners prevent weeds from diverting moisture from produce plants by removing them. This ensures a healthy garden. Why wouldn’t smart forest management include removal of undergrowth and dead or dying trees?

Water diversion

A few years ago, state biologists “gill-netted” vast quantities of fish in our local Silver Lake in order to prevent them from feeding on a certain frog. This decimated the fish population in favor of the frog population. How is this an ecological balance?

Similarly, allowing natural water sources to feed rivers and streams provides better hydration for trees—and raises critical moisture levels for forests. Diverting water from Northern California sources when levels are low exacerbates the deadly dryness of moisture-starved Sierra forests. Shouldn’t there be a better balance based on water levels?

As climate change continues to affect moisture and heat, smart and balanced water management becomes more critical. Yet California continues to base policy decisions reactively rather than proactively. If Northern California watershed areas burn for lack of moisture, poor water management will be partially to blame.

So will California’s reliance on hydroelectric power over traditional (and more effective) fossil-fuel plants. The state gets nearly 2/3 of its power from non-fossil fuel production, which is why it has to buy electricity from states like Oregon, Arizona and others.

Failing PG&E

Failed PG&E power lines are responsible for devastating California wildfires for the last five fire seasons. According to PG&E’s initial report the day the Dixie Fire started, an employee responding to an outage noticed a blown fuse at Cresta Dam in a heavily forested area of Butte County around the Feather River Canyon. He found two blown fuses and a tree leaning on a power conductor. He also found a fire on the ground near the base of the tree.

When the 2018 Camp Fire erupted, a PG&E employee noticed flames caused by a faulty transmission line in Feather River Canyon. Many of these lines are supported by electrical towers from the early 1900s. PG&E customers pay modern rates for modern electricity delivered via century-old towers.

In fairness, PG&E is finally taking steps to modernize its infrastructure with underground line burial and other measures. Sadly, these measures are long overdue and are too little too late for victims of the Camp Fire and now for those dealing with the Dixie Fire. Worse, PG&E seems to be continuing their foot-dragging regarding reporting system failures when they point to a wildfire start.

Closed market

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E ignored regulations that require it to report wildfire-related infrastructure failures within two hours of the event. PG&E took five days to report the Dixie Fire-related failure to CPUC. As a state agency, CPUC answers to Governor Gavin Newsom and Sacramento politicians. PG&E is supposed to answer to CPUC, yet is still failing to follow the rules.

Not only is there a lack of meaningful accountability, the relationship between California and PG&E is dysfunctional. The average citizen wonders why Sacramento continues enabling a repeat offender of a power company. Another question is why California refuses to open up its utility market to competitors in order to force PG&E to modernize its infrastructure.

Something has to change or California will continue to burn every fire season. Close to home, people in our community love living in Northern California, but the Golden State will lose even more citizens if residents have to flee the flames every summer.

 

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Patrick is a journalist and writer with degrees in English and journalism. He served six years in the Navy where his life was changed forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California with his wife, dog and two cats. He enjoys hiking and cycling, taking pictures and blogging at https://luscri.com/



 
 
 

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Elections

Will Democrats Do What They Must?

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On a warm August evening in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon said from the Oval Office that he was resigning, becoming the first president to do so. He confessed that he no longer had “a strong enough political base in the Congress” to finish his term.

Sen. Barry Goldwater, Ariz., the 1964 GOP presidential nominee, was a respected conservative leader in a Senate whose Republican ranks were less conservative than now. In a May 1973 interview with Time magazine, Goldwater had given an early warning, “If it can be proved that he (Nixon) lied, resignation would have to be considered. It would be quick. Everything would be over, ended. It wouldn’t drag out like impeachment.”

At a regular Senate Republican Conference lunch on august 6 of 1974, Goldwater had fumed: “There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House today!” When he went to see President Nixon, Goldwater confided, “There’s not more than 15 senators for you.” After that showdown, the curtain on President Nixon’s presidency came down three days later.

In this challenging time in our history when President Biden’s competency is under serious question, will Democrat leaders have the courage to do the same? With this report, more Democrats and Independents will be less inclined to vote for Biden. That may very well impact the future of many Democrat politicians whose own election could be impacted if their voting base stays home. After his Wednesday night address, the evidence that Biden is in trouble is plainly obvious.

President Biden’s poll numbers are now at an all time low. The shocking Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Hur report suggests that Biden should not be indicted because Biden is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” that a jury would be unlikely to convict. The Special Counsel also noted that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen;” he noted that such actions “present serious risks to national security.” It is clearly a risk for Biden to remain in office.

When President Biden addressed the country after the report was disclosed, he asserted that his memory was fine, and the report confirms that he was not indicted and did nothing wrong. His comments to the press questions were combative and defensive. He took no personal responsibility, blaming his staff for the faulty storage of classified documents. His message was strident and clear-Trump is guilty, and I did nothing wrong.

If he is not competent to stand trial for his actions, how can he be confident enough to remain president? It’s time for a private confrontation by Democrat leadership. If Biden does not listen, it is time to exercise the 25th amendment option to remove him from office.

It is not easy to use that 25th Amendment option. It is even more difficult with only 9 months before a critical national election. Waiting until the Democrat Convention in August leaves little time to right the ship and promote a replacement candidate.

Democrats, do your job to clean out your own house. President Biden is not competent to meet the challenges of our time. Do it now or pay the price in November. As Republicans, we hope you let Biden remain your candidate, but that is selfish. President Biden is our current leader and his decisions impact all of us and a world in turmoil. This isn’t about politics. We can’t afford even eleven more months of a mentally incompetent President.

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News

Claudine Gay, Ex-Harvard President, Will Strike it Rich in 2024

Gay will be a hot ticket at conferences leading up to the 2024 election.

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If she were a straight white male, Claudine Gay’s career in academia would have been completely finished weeks ago. Along with the presidents of MIT and (then) University of Pennsylvania, as a result of Gay’s anti-Semitism and her disastrous testimony before Congress in December, much of the country was in an uproar.

Pretzel Logic

Days later, when it was discovered that Gay had plagiarized or inappropriately paraphrased and lifted passages from other authors, from a variety of academic works, that would have sealed her fate. In this utterly illogical age of unreason, just the opposite of what ought to happen actually did happen. The Harvard bigwigs backed her!

Gay punched all of the intersectionality buttons: Black, gay, female, and what else you want to throw into the mix. So was she not terminated from her widely visible, high-profile position. Luckily for Harvard, she quit as president! She retains her cushy post as professor, however, at $900,000 per year. And more amazing good fortune likely is in store for her. She may well reap an income bonanza unlike most other college presidents in the U.S. or around the world.

You have to understand that Gay is actually a hero to many factions on the Left. Let’s see … she stood up to the man! She let Congress have it with both barrels. She defended her academic turf. She stuck with what she believes in. She didn’t kowtow to the U.S. pro-Israeli faction. She spoke her truth! My goodness, what a leader, what a noble soul, what a speaker we might have at our convention!

Media Darlings

A variety of questionable figures on the Left have become darlings to groups who lap up their every word. If you think this won’t happen with Ms. Gay, think again.

Unbelievably, the parents of Trayvon Martin became media darlings. Martin was a violent teenager who punched a bus driver in the face, stole money and other items at school, and was suspended from school at the time of his death. He met his fate while pounding George Zimmerman’s head into a sidewalk.

Democratic groups have celebrated the Martins ever since then. Their public appearances were considered to be special. In another minute, with a cracked skull, Zimmerman might have bled out and died, making Martin a murderer.

Honored at the DNC Convention

The parents of Michael Brown also made the rounds and were accorded celebrity status. The super-sized 18-year-old from Ferguson, MO had stolen cigars and choked a small Asian convenience store clerk just 10 minutes before he had tried to wrestle a gun away from an officer sitting in his police car.

Had Brown, whose fingerprints were all over the officer’s car, successfully taken the officer’s gun, Brown, too, might have been a murderer. At the Democrat National Convention attendees couldn’t get enough of Brown’s noble mother. Sadly, the city of Ferguson, MO, paid Brown’s family an extorted $1.5 million, largely due to fears of more mob violence.

If parents who’ve raised career criminals are celebrated, what are Claudine Gay’s prospects?

Prospects Aplenty

Presumably, she has no violent incidents in her past. Prior to her resignation as Harvard president she may have already, privately signed on with one of the top speaker’s bureaus from either in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C. Bureaus value having partisan speakers in their lineup when they can book such individuals at large conferences and conventions. Gay will be a hot ticket leading up to the 2024 election.

She will be featured as the head liner at many conferences.

How much can she glean from such appearances? The floor is 20 to 40 thousand per outing, but 50 to 75 thousand is within reach, of which the bureau takes 25%. At that level of earnings for a speech, she could easily exceed another $900,000 by the end of the year. Will you earn $1,800,000 in the next ten years?

Knowing No Bounds

As one audience after another offers her special treatment, her already outsized, over-privileged ego will know no bounds, and all of her past sins will be long forgotten. The groups to whom she speaks will consider themselves to have done their part in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Gay’s intersectionality seals the deal, so by any measure, it’s a win-win-win (bureau, speaker, and audience) for Leftists.

To those on the Right, such developments are sickening, but we’ve come to accept that this is the world as it is currently. With all the devastation and destruction promulgated by the Biden administration, we have much bigger fish to fry.

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