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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Swamp dwellers bicker while California burns – who’s truly at fault?

In case it wasn’t evident from the months/years long back-and-forth leading up to this month’s federal midterm elections, the distinctions between the two parties are being utterly exposed by their respective reactions to the tragic wildfire situation in California.

In a nutshell, led by President Donald Trump, Republicans fault poor local forest management practices for a blaze’s ability to spread quickly during fire season in the Golden State, which typically runs from summer Trump on Firesthrough late-fall due to the prevalence of fierce northerly Santa Ana winds, warm temperatures and tinder dry humidity.

The Democrats? They cite “climate change” for the dramatic increase in property destruction and deaths at the hands of an angry Mother Nature in recent times. Like Mark Twain once allegedly said, “Everyone complains about the weather but no one ever does anything about it.” That’s the Democrats… dying to do something – anything -- about the theoretically warming planet.

As is the case with most issues these days, party leaders don’t see eye-to-eye as to the best way to combat what has turned into an enduring problem out west.

Valerie Richardson reported at The Washington Times, “It was the president’s foray into the clearing-versus-climate debate that inflamed Democrats and activists. In one of several weekend tweets, Mr. Trump said, ‘With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!’

“’There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,’ Mr. Trump tweeted. ‘Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!’ Actor Leonardo DiCaprio disagreed. ‘The reason these wildfires have worsened is because of climate change and a historic drought. Helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a partisan issue,’ he said.”

Fair enough, the separation between the two fire causation schools of thought as articulated by the leader of the free world versus an entertainer most famous for hanging off the bow of a fake ship on a movie set screaming “I’m the kind of the world! Woohoo!

Helping victims and fire relief was never in question here. The dispute between the mentalities is clearly over how best to prevent future occurrences of infernos devastating communities and causing billions in property damage.

Richardson continued, “California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom accused the president of insensitivity, tweeting Saturday that this ‘is not a time for partisanship,’ although he said nothing about Mr. [Jerry] Brown’s blast at climate change. Others sided with Mr. Trump, arguing that a litany of federal and state environmental regulations have made it increasingly difficult to thin overgrown woods or clear dry, beetle-kill stands, turning the federal forests into tinderboxes.”

First of all, what was “partisan” about what Trump tweeted? The president didn’t directly accuse Democrats of being responsible for the poor forest management (though Democrats rule the roost in California at every level), he merely said much money is devoted to the task every year and these humungous blazes still keep materializing. Of course, big fires give the media something to exploit every year, with on-scene correspondents sticking microphones in victims’ faces and occasionally passing on inspiring tales of firefighters saving a house or rescuing people in harm’s way.

Democrats – and this presumably includes Mr. DiCaprio – are the ones claiming Trump turned the matter into an R vs. D pissing match. Trump was doing no such thing – at least overtly. If we’ve learned anything about Trump since he entered politics it’s the fact he’s eager to highlight when taxpayers’ money isn’t being properly spent. There most definitely is a problem in California – hundreds of square miles of blackened earth and a mounting body count attests to it – but people disagree as to the causes and how to fix it.

The truth is, wildfires have become an emotional issue in national politics, especially this year. Almost like a drawn-out mass murder, fire kills slowly and anonymously while Americans wait with nervous anticipation for updated victim tallies watching the flames practically shoot into their living rooms through high definition big screen TV sets. It’s almost like viewing The Weather Channel’s analysis of a hurricane in mid-storm or the aftermath of a tornado – nature’s fury is so breathtaking people can’t help but gawk at it.

At the same time, non-Californians don’t comprehend what wildfires are really like out there. Most of the nation lives in areas where precipitation is so plentiful you couldn’t start a fire in your backyard if you tried, or in places where the population density is such that if a fire did ignite authorities are usually able to swiftly rally firefighting resources to save homes and the humans that live in them.

Not in California. Having spent the first 27 years of my life there I can attest that fires seem much more prevalent these days due to a number of factors… and sorry, Jerry Brown, “climate change” isn’t one of them.

Even assuming the earth is warming (which scientists can’t come to a definite consensus supported by indisputable evidence), local temperature increases are incredibly gradual – certainly not rapid enough to greatly boost the chances of a wildfire starting. Other weather-related factors – average rainfall, humidity, etc. – haven’t strayed far from the norm in this or any other year or decade.

If you’re familiar with southern California you know it’ll be hot and dry most of the year. Unlike here in the east where there’s lush vegetation half the year (and cold and damp the other half) California is brown and dry from about late spring onward. Fall can be just as hot – or hotter – than summer and warm/hot temperatures and winds are possible just about any month.

Politicians’ banking on slowing or halting “climate change” won’t solve California’s dilemma either. Even assuming human intervention could reverse minute temperature increases there’s no method to determine by how much. There’s also no insisting the world’s biggest industrial polluters (developing nations and giants like India and China) cease what they’re doing. Global climate initiatives are geared towards getting everyone on the same page to regulate themselves but limits are voluntary and there’s no enforcement/punishment mechanism to sanction cheaters.

Placing increased shackles on California’s businesses – the only “polluters” within reach of Jerry Brown and DiCaprio – won’t impact the globe one bit. New and punitive laws will only wound the state’s businesses and job creators; the fires will still rage and Democrat politicians will continue carping about Republicans not doing anything to address the citizens’ suffering.

Besides, are Democrats truly asserting “climate deniers” are responsible for the fires? Would failure to enact more stringent greenhouse gas controls make the government liable for negligence? Or misfeasance? Will states with one-party Democrat control begin passing laws assigning liability to individual “polluters” to hold them legally accountable for fire damage?

Talk about a slippery slope. The logical extensions of blaming natural disasters on people who disagree with your environmentalist policy views are endless. This type of shaming could easily be grouped in with lawsuits faulting gun manufacturers for failing to make “safer” firearms… or insufficient warnings about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally disturbed.

What can be done? As Trump suggests, turn the issue over to and empower those who’ve studied fires and can act on the ground to alleviate the severity of these random occurrences. Clearing heavily overgrown forested areas is one obvious solution, but then you venture into environmentalist “let nature be nature” interferences, lawsuits and violent protests (if you don’t believe it, look at Oregon’s logging industry).

Meanwhile, nothing gets done, homes burn and politicians on both sides grumble about the other party not taking the issue seriously. News networks keep running the bright red, orange and yellow images – and people still tune-in. It’s human nature.

Another thing people are fascinated by is the sick story of leftist goons picketing and harassing Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s house. Apparently the Antifa filth attempted to break into Carlson’s home when his wife was alone and she was forced to hide in the pantry. Some on the left then justified the persecution because Tucker is a controversial figure who “incites violence.”

Jack Hunter wrote at The American Conservative, “While I’m a fan of Tucker Carlson—particularly when he clashes with neoconservatives and promotes a more non-interventionist foreign policy on historically hawkish Fox News—I’m not necessarily onboard with all of his views on immigration. While I want border security, I believe our immigration system is tragically broken in multiple ways, and it is the most vulnerable who suffer most. I don’t believe in dehumanizing anyone, whether it’s unborn children, Pakistanis, immigrants, Republicans, Democrats, conservative television hosts, or progressive journalists.

“It’s also easy to make the case, as many activists would, that political stances Right and Left impact real people in real ways. What we believe politically can end up hurting others materially. How we vote and what the government does can change lives.

“But to say that such real world impacts are so negative that we should in turn target politicians and pundits who hold positions we don’t like—go to their homes, attack them in the streets, run them out of restaurants—if this becomes an accepted standard, there is literally no end to the horrors that could be justifiably perpetrated in the minds of extremists.”

Returning to the example above, leftist environmentalists justify pestering federal EPA officials for doing their jobs, just as Democrat-supported amnesty apologists have antagonized ICE personnel and stalked their families. There are documented cases where local Democrat politicians (like Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler) turned a blind eye to the illegal tactics of such extremist organizations and ignored call after call for assistance to protect federal officials.

The left’s claims that media figures like Tucker Carlson are fostering an increase in violence are wholly unfounded. Hunter offered several analogies in his article to demonstrate the point – what if the shoe were on the other foot and conservative Tea Party groups hounded the spouse of a liberal TV personality and justified the persecution because someone like Alexandria baseball diamond shooter James Hodgkinson went off the deep end?

Of course Tea Partiers would never do such a thing. Obeying the law is at the heart of their issue platform. If only the nebulous leftist “Occupy” groups would adhere to the same level of principles.

Public protest is at the heart of the American experiment but there’s a difference between gathering on public property and holding signs to try and attract the attention of elected officials and camping out on public streets in front of someone’s home to terrorize him or her and their families. Black masked Antifa idiots have been caught on video numerous times breaking windows, vandalizing businesses and assaulting innocent bystanders. Why haven’t any of these people been arrested and indicted? Or held liable for property damage?

How about enforcing and prosecuting violations of anti-masking laws (which were passed to combat domestic terrorist slime like the KKK)? Some of these Antifa thugs will invariably escape punishment but not all of them can run and hide. Prosecuting a few individuals, when caught and convicted, would go a long way towards stopping the violence.

Protest is protest – violence and intimidation isn’t protest – it’s a crime.

Sadly, instead of objectively examining the situation and offering constructive criticism of their own Democrat leaders, liberal commentators continue to insult President Trump and assert everything that goes wrong in the GOP is indelibly tied to him.

As an example, liberal Juan Williams wrote at The Hill earlier this week, “Trump was sending a message to Republicans. Like a mob boss, he demands absolute loyalty and will turn his back on any Republican who fails to fall in line.

“With Trump critics in the GOP like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), and Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) now leaving office, there will be few Republicans left to challenge Trump, further consolidating his rebranding of the GOP as his personal vehicle…

“Sticking with Trump cost Republicans the House majority and over 300 state legislative seats this time around. How many more seats in Congress and statehouses across the country are they willing to sacrifice on the altar of Trumpism? Will any Republicans step forward to try to reclaim the soul of their party before Trump further corrupts it?”

Who would’ve ever thought – good guy liberal Juan Williams turned into one of the Republican establishment’s greatest and most loyal cheerleaders! The #NeverTrump Republicans Williams mentioned (Flake, Kasich and Corker) were essentially drummed out of office – not because they were frequent Trump critics, but due to their deviance from tried and true party principles. Trump is hated so much by these folks primarily because he’s accomplished what other Republicans only gave lip service to – the conservative agenda.

Trump has his GOP fans and detractors – always has and always will – but smart people recognize it’s better to be on Trump’s side than the Democrats’. Democrats once were a reasonable party of working- and middle-class folks who believed government should lend a hand to help – but not support anyone from cradle to grave. There was room to disagree with “old” Democrats on policy. Not anymore.

The Democrat party of the mid-20th century no longer exists, having been supplanted by radical leftist socialists like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and… name any Democrat… people who literally lie, cheat and smear to get what they want.

The California wildfires are a tragedy, and reasonable people can differ as to their true cause and possible solutions. But civil public debate is impossible in today’s political environment. The left will not quit until they win – or conservatives give up the fight. Don’t let it happen.

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