Remember when, in 2018, Donald Trump advised California politicians and bureaucrats that they should clear dead wood and brush from public lands in order to reduce the chance of wildfires?
And remember when Climate Change charlatans in the other major party ridiculed him for that, spitting venom such as Nancy Pelosi’s “Mother Nature is angry” line, despite her saying that she would no longer accept people using the term “mother” on the House floor? Remember when California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) and then- Senator Kamala Harris (D) trespassed on private, burned-out, property to engage in a photo-op as they spouted similar climate fear-mongering and blamed not only Trump, but, of course, the omnipresent boogeyman of the automobile?
Well, lo and behold, now that Trump is gone from D.C., Newsom and his pals are singing a different tune – all without acknowledging Trump’s statements, the unconstitutionality of the federal aid California will absorb like dry topsoil in a rainshower, or the deep systemic problems of California’s energy monopoly using public lands to run its core power grid.
“California is adopting former Donald Trump's plan to thin out the state's 33 million acres of forests with controlled burns and raking the woodland floor - after state officials essentially laughed off the former president's idea a few years ago.
Trump had suggested in 2018 that the Golden State start sweeping its forest floors of debris that often aids in the spread of wildfires.”
Of course, Newsom didn’t do that in the more than 2 million acres of land the state claims to own.
But by Aug. 2020, at the peak of the state's wildfire season, his (Trump’s) suggestion became an ultimatum when he withheld wildfire financial aid on the basis of California's failure to clear its forests of dead trees, branches and leaves, Politico reported at the time.
Which, of course, merely added gasoline to the anger-fire the posturing Dems directed at the “uncaring” Trump.
But now, it’s 2021, and Trump is gone. And not only is Newsom finally doing what Trump suggested three years ago, he’s getting $500 million in federal tax cash to do it.
Now, California is putting Trump's plan into practice statewide as groups of 12-person crews set about a $500 million effort to thin the state's forests with controlled burns and sweeping the forest floors of pines, redwoods and firs, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
So, what’s wrong with this?
Certainly not the concept of clearing deadwood, which private ranchers and land owners have been doing for as long as people have managed their own lands because they recognize the danger of dry tinder should lighting strike or a person mishandle fire, and they have liability risks should fires on their land spread to other private lands.
The problem hides behind the sketchy “Anthropogenic Climate Change” rhetoric – which is a tool to push for more government control over people and for carbon taxes – and behind the finger-pointing by Trump and Newsom and Pelosi and Harris and all the other politicians who repeatedly “talk tough,” while overlooking the fundamentals of their supposed “American” system.
Indeed, when studied with an eye to the US system, that $500 million Newsom is getting from the feds becomes very ugly, and very clearly unethical.
That’s because there is no moral justification to take money from some people outside California and hand it to California politicians. And there’s no provision in the U.S. Constitution allowing the feds to give Newsom, or anyone else, that money to “protect the environment” or “prevent forest fires” or to fight any other natural phenomenon. It’s not there, and all the political posturing over “helping” damaged areas, and “sending aid” to “people in need” and all the other foamy blather they concoct is offensive to anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about ethics or that U.S. Constitution.
As I often do, I will refer them to the 19th Century Congressman David Crockett, whose 1831 speech, “Not Yours to Give,” stands as testimony to the fact that he erred during his first Congressional term, voted for funds to be given to folks who lost their homes in a Georgetown fire, and subsequently learned from a local Tennessee farmer that there was no power in the Constitution allowing him to hand out tax money for supposed “charitable” reasons. He changed his ways, and spoke about it in his second term, before leaving DC out of disgust with its growing corruption.
Finally, there’s the matter of “public lands” at all. As noted above, public land is tax-funded land, and it’s not only stripped of the market and liability incentives needed to provide for safety provisions and good husbandry, public ownership sees the government go beyond neglect, and into nearly criminal gamesmanship.
In May of 2019, I wrote a detailed expose of how the California wholesale power monopoly, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) was “powering down” its main lines to cause rolling blackouts during a terribly hot period when people needed air conditioning the most.
The corporation did it in order to lower the risk of spark-caused wildfire. And the risk of spark-caused wildfire was great because:
“(T)he core and majority of PG&E’s power lines run above government owned and mismanaged land. As numerous commentators have observed, the lack of private property ownership, control, and real liability for management of land has led to a shocking history of fires in California and elsewhere in the US. The government won’t go out of business if it causes damage to other peoples’ property through the mismanagement of land it claims as its own.”
One literally can look at maps of wildfires as they happen, and see that the wildfires are, almost invariably, starting and spreading along the California PG&E core and in government-run lands.
Compare that reality of public land mismanagement, government liability insulation, and power line spark production, to the fantasy world of Gavin Newsom, who, in 2020, said:
People that want to roll back vehicle emission standards so you could spend more money at the pump and produce more greenhouse gas emissions, to create more of what you see around me — it’s beyond the pale of comprehension.
Its not “beyond comprehension” to see him accept the shower of unconstitutional cash, nor send teams of firefighters into the government-run woods to do what should have been started years ago as an annual procedure.
And it’s not surprising to see him, and all the other politicians, including Donald Trump, avoid the fact that their U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow any of this.
The U.S. government has no place handing cash to California for “fire prevention,” or running U.S. “forests,” and Newsom has no place taking the cash or running “state lands.”
The way to handle risk is through freedom and responsibility. Government, on every level, attack those key aspects of human existence.