Sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind: California and its epic wildfires

California

Like the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s Dixie Fire is truly 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 wait for a lightning strike or stray spark from a train or campfire. To counter all these possibilities, 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 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.

World-changers: Democrat’s brave new world is neither brave nor new

world

On the cusp of Joe Biden’s White House win and with Georgia and his party’s control of the Senate on his mind, Chuck Schumer crowed, “Now we take Georgia, then we change the world!”

First things first. Before Democrats change the world, they have to change America.

Basking in world-changing fervor, House Democrats passed the “Equality Act,” which they say will help end discrimination against LGBQT and transgender Americans. If passed in the Senate and signed into law by the president, the Equality Act would promote subjective biological truth and feelings-over-facts mythology.

The Equality Act would:

1) Add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law. Democrats insist that the bill doesn’t expand existing civil rights law; it merely clarifies it. Truth: Any time the federal government creates a law, it doesn’t clarify diddly—it complicates and adds more control over our lives.

2) Make dissenting Americans vulnerable for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. The Equality Act broadens “discrimination” to mean much more than unjust or prejudicial treatment based on race or gender. It’s now discriminatory to disagree with the construct that there are more than two genders and that we’re not born into one (or more)—we choose who we are.

3) Pressure employers and workers to conform to new sexual norms or risk civil and federal lawsuits. Remember the baker who refused to make a cake for two gay men and their wedding? After months of litigation, legal costs and lost revenue, he won his battle, but lost his livelihood.

4) Force hospitals and insurers to provide and pay for gender conversion “therapy” regardless of moral or medical objections. Imagine the pressure on a surgeon faced with performing an irreversible gender reassignment that runs counter to his or her medical judgment or moral beliefs.

5) Harm families by normalizing hormonal and surgical intervention for gender dysphoric children—even though 80-95 percent cease to feel troubled about their bodies and gender after puberty. Naturally, parents who encourage their kids to give their changeable feelings time to resolve will likely face false accusations of child abuse or worse.

World changers: Act II

Hot on the heels of the misguided Equality Act, is a new and possibly more dangerous one—the “For the People Act of 2021.” For which people? A good portion of half the American people do not trust the result of the 2020 presidential election.

Millions think the party in power used a pandemic to tilt an election. Will the For the People Act of 2021 help restore their trust in free and fair elections? Let’s see:

It would expand mail-in voting, allow inflation of voter rolls (which would likely include dead people), complicate voter verification, enhance voter irregularities and create many other snafus. In short, it would make what many think happened in the 2020 election business as usual.

If signed into law, the For the People Act would pave the way for one-party rule reminiscent of pseudo-democracies and autocracies like Russia.

If perpetual power and election domination is the goal, the For the People Act of 2021 fits the bill. After all, how can Democrats change the world when they lose power every 2-4 years? Logically, the party that keeps power deserves power.

Specifically, the For the People Act of 2021 would:

1) Federalize elections by imposing unconstitutional mandates on states while wresting authority from them to regulate voter registration and process. Further, it would force states to implement early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting.

2) Make it more difficult to ensure accuracy at the polls by requiring same-day voter registration. If a person registers and is ready to vote, how can election officials possibly have enough time to verify the accuracy of their registration information and eligibility?

3) Reduce election-day turnout and damage voter morale through 15 days of mandated early voting. This could demoralize those working in get-out-the-vote efforts. It would rob early voters of the information available to Election Day voters. Late-breaking developments can be game changers and can alter voter choice. Information is an essential element of our voting rights and many would be denied it.

4) Degrade registration accuracy by requiring states to automatically register virtually everyone—citizens or not. States would be forced to use lists containing driver’s licensees, those with criminal records, and non-citizens registered for welfare and social security, Medicare and Medicaid. This would create multiple and duplicate registrations and place the burden of determining domiciles on states rather than on voters.

5) Provide opportunities for massive voter registration fraud by hackers and cyber criminals through online voter registration that is not tied to driver’s licenses or other state records. It would make it a criminal offense for a state official to reject a voter registration application even when the official lawfully believes the person is ineligible to vote. It would also require states to allow 16-year-olds to register.

6) Ban state voter ID laws. This inexplicable and unconstitutional overreach would force states to allow people to vote without an ID and by merely signing a statement claiming they are who they say they are. This requirement would allow any and all—underage, ineligible or illegal—to vote with impunity.

World-class marketing

The Equality Act and the For the People Act of 2021 are built on straw men. One is constructed on the claim that LGBQT folks don’t enjoy the same rights as all Americans, the other on the nonsensical and unsupportable claim that voter ID laws are racist.

The party in power are experts in wordplay. By using words like “equality” and phrases like “For the People” when naming House bills, Democrats hide their ideology behind smart marketing.

Consider the Equality Act. Equality. The word soars. It’s majestic in its magnanimity. It trumpets fair-mindedness, tolerance and inclusivity. In a nation of equality, no one’s left behind. Notice the Equality Act’s central theme—discrimination.

Discrimination has become a dirty word. However, we discriminate in a myriad of ways every single day. We watch the shows we like and ignore the ones we don’t. We eat our favorite foods and pass on our not so favorite ones. We scroll past what doesn’t interest us on this Website and click on what does.

We all discriminate, but are we guilty of discrimination by rejecting the party in power’s ideology regarding gender and sexuality? Absolutely not. Disagreement is not discrimination in the way they define it or in any other way.

Neither brave nor new

Chuck Schumer and company’s vision for the world starting with America isn’t brave or new. Brave lawmaking puts country over party and national identity over ideology. Legislation like the Equality Act and the For the People Act of 2021 is just gussied-up socialism lite.

In truth, the Democrats world-changing dreams amount to nothing more than trying to catch up to European nations. As King Solomon observed: There’s nothing new under the sun. And there’s nothing brave about giving in to the spirit of the age. Virtually everything his party is pushing in 2021, President Joe Biden would’ve likely rejected as a senator in 1980 or 1990 or even 2000.

A truly brave new world would be one of honesty regarding truth and respect involving each other. Passing bills that counter science and morality and damage one of most basic American freedoms—the vote—make us look not like world changers, but like we’ve been changed by the world.

We can and should do better. By rejecting truth and morality regarding gender and sexuality and endangering Americans who hold traditional views that run counter to their ideology, Democrats are alienating, not unifying, most Americans.

World-changing American greatness was built on right beliefs rooted in godly truths. Democrats could very well change the world, but not for the better. Changing the world for good starts with telling the truth. It’s also the only way to true freedom. “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” ~Jesus

Wordplay: Dismissing voter fraud with a phrase

“There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.”

How many times have you heard this phrase parroted by pundits and partisans in media and politics? They say it and repeat it for one purpose—to convince Americans that the 2020 election was free and fair.
 
By using the word “widespread,” they create an artificial bar to imply that, absent of widespread voter fraud, our 2020 election is legit and Joe Biden is our president-elect.
 
In contrast, I have a better, fair and responsible statement:
 
“There is alleged evidence of strategic voter fraud in the 2020 election. The question is whether it exists and, if so, does it rise to the legal level necessary to affect the outcome of the 2020 election.”
 
That media members are tripping over themselves to quash all mention of voter fraud is DEEPLY disturbing. This is not how truth-seeking objective journalists pursue their vocation. Instead of acting as our watchdog over people in power, they’re acting like one party’s attack dog.
 
Additionally, there is no constitutional office or designation of “president-elect.” This term is a media creation. In the 2000 election, apparent winner George W. Bush became the president-elect only when all results in all states were verified and electors had cast their votes.
 
Joe Biden is the apparent winner of the 2020 election. He is not the president-elect. The votes have not been certified and electors have not cast their votes.
 
Finally, if our government does not overhaul our election system to restore trust in future elections, we’ll forever lose faith in our most essential freedom.