Monday, August 6, 2018

Donald Trump has some thoughts on fighting wildfires. They’re nonsense.


The 2018 wildfire year has been devastating. As of Monday, the National Interagency Fire Center reports that there are 60 uncontained large fires across the country, with a total of 5.1 million acres ravaged by fire so far this year.
These deadly infernos have killed several firefighters, forced hundreds of people to flee, and destroyed hundreds of homes and thousands of acres of wilderness.
The Carr Fire in Northern California is now the state’s fifth-largest fire on record after igniting more than 160,0000 acres and killing seven people. But it’s been bested in size by the Mendocino Complex fire, which, at 273,000 acres, is the second-largest in state history.
Late last month, President Trump signed a federal emergency declaration for the state of California, allowing the federal government to assist with firefighting efforts.
So it’s not surprising that Trump would weigh in on the California blazes. But on Sunday night, he used them to bash environmental regulations:

California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!.3K people are talking about thi

There are a few reasons these statements are bewildering. First, human activity is definitely making these fires worse: People are building in vulnerable areas, they are igniting most of these fires, and humans are driving climate change, which makes fire conditions more severe.
But environmental laws about water that would be used to put the fires out?
Even wildfire scientists have no idea what the president was referring to here. California has been parched from drought for years, so there isn’t a “massive amount of readily available water,” and what little moisture is available is closely tracked.
“We do manage all of our rivers in California, and all the water is allocated many times over. So I’m not sure what he was recommending,” LeRoy Westerling, a professor at the University of California Merced studying wildfires, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Even if we eliminated all habitat for riparian species and fish, and allowed saltwater intrusion into the delta and set up a sprinkler system over the state, that wouldn’t compensate for greater moisture loss from climate change.”

Trump doubles down, blaming California's water policies for wildfires

President Trump doubled down on his criticism of California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), saying Monday that the state's water management policies are responsible for deadly wildfires.
“Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean,” Trump tweeted. “Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water - Nice! Fast Federal govt. Approvals.”
Trump said on Sunday that too much water from the northern part of the state is being allowed to flow into the Pacific Ocean, instead of being captured or redirected to use for firefighting, agriculture or other purposes.
The president's remarks echo longstanding Republican arguments that environmental policies like the Endangered Species Act make it harder for California to hold onto its water. Congressional Republicans for years have pushed for policies to direct more water into storage or to the southern part of the state.

In a strikingly ignorant tweet, Trump gets almost everything about California wildfires wrong

No one would mistake President Trump for an expert on climate change or water policy, but a tweet he issued late Sunday about California’s wildfires deserves some sort of award for most glaring misstatements about those two issues in the smallest number of words.
Trump blamed the fires on “bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” He complained that water needed for firefighting is being “diverted into the Pacific Ocean.”
What he overlooked, plainly, is the increasing agreement among experts that intensifying climate change has contributed to the intensity of the wildfire season. California’s woodlands have been getting drier and hotter. As my colleagues Rong-Gong Lin II and Javier Panzar reported over the weekend, “California has been getting hotter for some time, but July was in a league of its own.”


  1. The President's points are clear. He's using the fires as a means of pushing back on environmental laws and regulations that determine how water and forests are managed in California. That's the President's style of communication. He's appealing on an emotional level to that part of the electorate that dislikes the liberal agenda.

    To put it succinctly: "Fires are because of mistakes previous elected officials made. Stick with me and we'll make a better fire-free world."

  2. What do you think Trump's level of knowledge is about "environmental laws and regulations that determine how water and forests are managed in California"? My guess is that it is close to absolute zero. He knows that California is a leader in environmental care, and knows that there are fires, and that is about it.

  3. From Politico (FYI, Stutzman is a Republican, or at least what was regarded as such until 2 years ago):
    “The notion that somehow more water would be mitigating or better in fighting these fires is just mind-boggling,’’ Stutzman told POLITICO on Monday. “I don’t watch 'Fox & Friends,' but it would seem that someone has put the idea in his head. It doesn’t even show an elementary understanding of water policy.’’

    Fox & Friends had aired a segment about the California fires nearly five hours before Trump‘s Monday tweet but didn’t discuss water issues as part of the segment.

    Stutzman called the president’s recent tweets on California fires and water policy “frightening,” saying that “water has nothing to do with why these places are tinder boxes. It’s very exasperating. ... It’s a statement from the president that shows no understanding of hydrology.”

    He said he would advise Brown, a Democrat, to “not take the bait” and react to such uninformed views.

    Indeed, Evan Westrup, the spokesman for Brown, told POLITICO that “this does not merit a response.” But he also added via email: “It’s a sad state of affairs when journalism is reduced to chasing the uninformed, unsupervised tweets of the president.”

  4. it would be better if you didn't have to interpret trump's statements

  5. Pres. Trump is knowledgeable of what it takes to win the Presidency and how to hold on to it.

    The flaw here is not to be found in the President, nor in his statements. The flaw is in the nature of the democracy.

    People who are policy wonks are unlikely to become President of the United States at this point in history. A divided and contentious electorate is not going to result in a President who has the leisure to parse his words. We've got a man under siege from a Special Prosecutor, and from the the Democratic Party which is hankering to get control of the House in the mid-terms with the express goal of impeaching the President.

    These same people and their policy wonk minions seem destined to wearisome and endless analysis of off-hand Presidential pronouncements.

    The President is faced with an array of issues, and his goal is to use most of those issues as soapboxes on which to stand and pull in voters.

    The rest of the issues, of which he has spent more time on, become the bedrock of his Administration.

    The idea is to keep the eye on the birdie. The President's hallmark policies are cutting down on illegal immigration, strengthening the economy, etc. In one acronym, MAGA.

    President Trump is a carnival barker of a President. That's why some of us voted him in. We got a sense that he got us and we have not been disappointed.

    We care more about what he doesn't say than we he does say. He's NOT pushing multiculturalism, LGBTetcism, feminism, open borders, cultural marxism. He's not a liberal pansy -- far, far from it. He drives his opponents, even within his own party, up the wall.

    He's one of the Greatest Presidents of All Time in my book.

  6. Agreed.

    It would be better if we didn't have a Special Prosecutor breathing down the President's neck. It would be better if Democrats were willing to discuss their liberal agenda instead of pushing it down our throats. It would be better if the liberals would stop demonizing those of us who voted in Donald Trump.

    In an ideal world, the President would consult with the finest experts in government and without before Tweeting.

    But we don't live in an idealized United States. We live in a messy, ferocious, foaming society on the verge of civil violence and breakdown of the moral order.

    Lots of people are talking civil war. It's no joke. And no fantasy. Push Americans far enough, especially White Americans, and they start shooting. Not lone wolf shootings. Not shooting like in the Chicago inner city in the heat of the Summer. Organized, trained, focused, politicized shootings that will overwhelm law enforcement's ability to contain it.

    If this President is torn away from the White House, I'm planning on staying indoors as the riots erupt. Under the bed.

    Best thing is to is to lay off the President and everyone just takes a deep breath and steps back from the brink.

    But much of the media is so enraged that that isn't even an option they consider.

  7. You write: "It would be better if we didn't have a Special Prosecutor breathing down the President's neck."
    Many, many associates of the president have committed crimes. It is becoming clearer by the day that he did as well. If he doesn't want a special prosecutor breathing down his neck, he shouldn't commit crimes.

  8. Thank you judge, jury, and executioner.

  9. I don't know if the news outlets you read reported this, but Trump admitted that his son and others affiliated with his campaign met with people who were representing a foreign government with the purpose of obtaining information of value. A campaign obtaining anything of value from a foreign government is illegal. They also admitted that Trump dictated the statement issued to disguise the purpose of that meeting. Trump's lawyer has said that he will testify under oath that he and many people are aware that Trump new about that meeting, and its purpose, before it occurred. Sop one does not need to be a judge, jury, and executioner to understand that he has acted in ways that invited the attention of a special prosecutor.

  10. But they got nothing of value!!! How can you miss that?

  11. On whose authority do you have that? The authority of the same people who repeatedly lied about all having to do with the meeting?

  12. On your authority. You seemed to feel confident of the President's guilt. But now you are not even sure he received the goods!

    Let's say a man wants to buy street drugs. But someone sells him sugar instead of cocaine. The pusher SAID he had cocaine. But at the moment of the deal, he shows up with sugar.

    If the dealer is an undercover cop: CRIME.

    If the dealer is NOT an undercover cop, well, then, what can we charge him with? Conspiracy to buy a controlled substance? Maybe something like that.

    So he'd plead guilty and probably get probation and life goes on. What about if he told a friend about the deal before the fact? Well, we could charge the friend with not being a good friend and trying to stop him.

    Where's the friend's crime?


  13. And the Steele Dossier - Clinton campaign connection was a paradigm of rationality. Sorry for the sarcasm. Point being: bizarre charges, evidence, investigation and prosecution beget bizarre defense.

  14. are you claiming that the bizarre comments from trump are simply the result of bizarre claims
    in short trump is the victim ?

  15. What is bizarre about the investigation, charges and evidence?


  17. Not sure what your point is. The dossier had very little to do with the investigation, contrary to the lies of Nunez, as everyone acknowledge after the FISA warrant request was released.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.