29 Jun 2008, 10:52pm
Politics and politicians The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

Where Oh Where Is Congress?

As the 2008 Fire Season heads into July like a runaway freight train, the question arises, where is Congress? Have our enlightened leaders noticed that their districts are aflame? Is megafire an election issue yet?

Take Howard P. (Buck) McKeon for instance. Buck represents the 25th District in California, which has had two whoofoos this year alone, the Honeybee WFU and the Clover WFU. The latter has been burning since May 31 and has cost the taxpayers $6 million so far. Has Buck noticed? Would you vote for somebody who takes your taxes and sets them on fire?

Or Sam Farr? Sam has represented Monterey County for 15 years. He is the son of Fred Farr, who was a state senator from the same locale for decades. Sam inherited his position, you might say, and was “to the manor born.” Has Sam noticed that his district is aflame in what could become the largest fire in California state history? Between the Indians Fire and the Basin Fire over $45 million has been spent and close to 100,000 acres have burned already. Is that cool with Sam?

It’s a sure bet that neither of those guys had a clue what was coming. They have not concerned themselves in the slightest with the condition of the landscapes in their districts, other than to lock up lands for incineration. One is a Republican, the other a Democrat, but both are members of the Burn, Baby, Burn party, whether they admit it publicly or not.

Do yourself a favor, do your whole community a favor, and vote for somebody else.

What about Wally Herger? Wally is a profession politician that has been paid to represent Chico for 27 years in one capacity or another, the last 21 in the U.S. Congress. The Chico environs have had two major fires this year already, the Humboldt Fire and the now the Butte Complex Fires. Wally was as surprised as anybody, and more than most, I am sure. Megafire snuck up on Wally, the proof being that he has done zip to prevent such from occurring during his long and lusterless career.

How about John Doolittle? Now, there’s a well-named fellow. For 28 years he has represented Quincy, the last 18 in the Halls of Congress. While the citizens of Quincy have struggled mightily for more than a decade to get a tiny bit of fire-preventative thinning done, John has… done little! When the 9th Circuit Court shot down the latest manifestation of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan, was John on the sidewalk shouting imprecations at them? Heck no. And as tens of $millions are racked up fighting the Canyon Complex Fires, is John in any way enlightened? Yet? Is he spurred to do something about incendiary fuel levels in our abandoned forests?

Don’t count on it. And don’t let anybody count your vote for John, either. He’s had his run, done nothing, blown every opportunity, and needs to be shown the door.

Take Peter DeFazio, my own Congressperson. Please take him. Pete has come up with a new forest plan; you have to give him credit for that. His plan stinks, to be sure, but at least he is making motions, waving his arms around, and blowing some smoke. Pete has represented the 4th District of Oregon for 22 years. During his reign our forests have been shut down and burned down, along with our economy. Not one person here can say they are better off because of Peter DeFazio. But he is running unopposed, and is a shoe-in, even if nobody votes for him.

They all are. They are all Congresspersons for life. We expect so little from our Congress, and get even less, so it doesn’t really matter who sits on the throne. The old saw was “s*** or get off the pot,” but these guys never do s*** and never get off, either.

So while your landscape burns, and you are sitting in the evac shelter waiting to find out if your home went with it, you might consider voting for somebody else, anybody else, even Nobody, as a gesture, more or less, an empty one to be sure, but Congress could really use a gesture from the voters. The kind of gesture I’m thinking about is impolite, but that’s exactly the one they need to receive.

And don’t fall for the crocodile tears and nostrums of spin. They could have addressed the problems long ago, but they did not. Now it is too late, for them anyway.

And don’t look for wisdom on the matter from journalists and the dead tree press. Wisdom is not their strong suit. Wisdom isn’t even in their closet. A journalist, by definition, is a person who expounds and pontificates about things they know absolutely nothing about, i.e. paid charlatans.

I never vote for the incumbent. Ever. I think re-election is unAmerican. My motto is, “Let Someone Else Do It,” because whoever is doing it now is a royal foul-up. Put somebody else in office for a change. And then two years down the road, kick them out and replace them with new people. That’s real democracy, and better for us all.

The entrenched career politicians are worthless or worse. Boot ‘em out. Dis-empower Congress (they are colossal do-nothings and petty thieves anyway) and then deal with fuels and forests on a local level. That’s the only way that the problems are going to be solved: local stewardship with no interference from Washington DC, the USFS, the 9th Circuit, the UN, or any outfit that isn’t local.

Forget Congress. Let somebody else do it, that somebody being you and me, because if we don’t, nobody will.

30 Jun 2008, 4:05am
by backcut

If the public doesn’t see the Nomex-clad reporters reporting with the backdrop of a night fire shot on CNN every night for a week, the politicians don’t see it either. Hell, they don’t even SMELL it! Being safely esconced in their fancy DC area digs.

30 Jun 2008, 9:50am
by Al

Maybe Herger isn’t all bad — he was the co-author of the Quincy Library Group bill (with Sen. Feinstein). But that was many moons ago.

30 Jun 2008, 10:23am
by Mike

The Powers That Be chatter in high places. Meanwhile America’s priceless heritage forests burn, taking whole communities with them, in fully predictable and preventable catastrophes.

Whatever Wally has done didn’t work. The Governor and the President have declared his District a Disaster Area. Do we really want more of the same?

30 Jun 2008, 12:49pm
by bear bait

Rural California. Get it? Rural. Nobody cares about rural anything in the West. We are 3000 miles from the center of government. 3000 miles from legislation, the Supremes, the Chief’s Office, the BLM floor of the Interior building. Out of sight, out of mind.

If it were Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender trees that were burning, there would be more interest. Thousands of citizens are shot each year in California alone. 665 in Oakland alone last year who did not die… and another hundred and a half that did. The urban combat zones of California got the voters and the votes. Rural don’t mean squat. This country’s urban voters elect a Congress and Presidents who sign legislation that makes it illegal to drill for oil on either coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the most northern, barren, coastal plain of Alaska. We can’t drill where the oil is. So why would we fight fire to conserve trees? Why would you believe that idiots 3000 miles removed from reality would care, would give a damn?

Get some marshmallows, a pack of hot dogs, some organic veggies and some free range goat meat, and have a barbeque. Sit around the burn and sing songs in the evening. Marvel at the power of Mother Nature and the Tendrils of Fire. Find peoples’ faces in the pyrocumulus clouds. Watch embers glow and blow in the night sky. Long for a yellow Nomex shirt and a pair of green Nomex cargo pants. A whole lot of Mexican field workers this winter will be wearing that garb. Hundred dollar pants and sixty dollar shirts, all purloined from some contractor or government agency. Watch as money falls from the sky.

If this no-logging-but-lots-of-burning deal was not so acceptable to all, I would cry. Sit and sob at the loss. But since this country has more stuff than it can use, makes garbage disposal mountains every day, I guess the burning forests are just another mental dump run for the masses. And so why should I care?

This is just June. There are two and one half more months of this to come. It is too early to get very upset. After all, we have other more pressing discussions. LIke global climate change, green house gases, unemployment, exploding inflation. No need to worry about small stuff. The big worry is how will a failing stock market and the resulting depression impact public employee retirements. How much can we expect pay in increased taxes the next time their pension funds take a dump?

2 Jul 2008, 4:18pm
by Wes

Congress loves fires, especially in an election year. It gives them a chance to run in with aid packages and other goodies in front of all the TV cameras. Of course, if it’s too wet for a fire, you can have the Corps of Engineers create a flood. USFS has woofoos, ACoE has channelization. Our tax dollars at work, creating photo ops for the elected reps.

2 Jul 2008, 5:14pm
by Mike

They like to appear in Nomex, too, on the front with our brave boys. It’s like a war except nobody is shooting at them. Sadly.

Which reminds me, be sure to send in your pics for our “Nomex Ninny of the Year” award. It goes to the most egregious pandering politico posing at a forest fire. Past winners include WA Gov Christine Gregoire who donned Nomex and high heels for her photo op, and MT Sen Jon Testor who wore Nomex for his helicopter ride over the Fool Creek whoofoo [here].



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