Issues, States

Tree-hugging is Making Outbreak of Wildfires Much Worse

It’s an argument that has been made numerous times over the years, and, given the historic conflagration in northern California this fall, it needs to be repeated.

It’s no coincidence that wildfires tend most often to break out and live much longer on the Left Coast.

Rabid environmentalist policies aimed at ‘saving the trees’ [insert complementary econut drivel] over the last half century have resulted in a build-up of underbrush and over-growth of trees which have turned forests into tinderboxes just waiting for a spark.

As the Reason Foundation points out, the US Forest Service has been hamstrung with lack of funding and regulations preventing it from managing forests to control both the start and perpetuation of wildfires.

It’s a grand liberal irony that the policies aimed at protecting forests are precisely what has contributed directly to their destruction.

Here’s more from Daily Signal…

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

The Forest Service became more costly and less effective as it increasingly “rewarded forest managers for losing money on environmentally questionable practices,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Spending on the Forest Service has risen drastically, but these additional resources have been misused and haven’t solved the underlying issues.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

Perhaps now, Americans will begin to re-evaluate forest management policies.

In a May congressional hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said, “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”

Read more…



CA Fires Up to 100 Miles Wide, Death Toll Hits 40

California is still facing down the worst outbreak of wildfires in perhaps a century.

The dozens of fires that sparked for various reasons in the northern part of the state have already destroyed tens of thousands of homes, decimated hundreds of thousands of acres, and have killed at least 40 people with hundreds more missing.

Many of the larger fires have combined into a single line of as much as 100 miles wide, keeping regional firefighters beyond their limits of exhaustion.

What’s worse is recent weather patterns have brought drier air and wind, fanning the flames further.

It’s a perfect storm for what could become the state’s most devastating natural disaster ever.

All politics aside, this is on par with the three hurricanes from which the US is still recovering.

We can only hope things turn around quickly before more lives are lost.

In the end, 2017 is already going down as the most devastating on record…and it’s not over yet.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

While wildfires are still burning powerfully in parts of Northern California, some of the tens of thousands of evacuees are getting antsy to return to homes that aren’t under immediate threat. Others want to see if they still have homes to return to.

But authorities are staying cautious in the face of blazes that have now killed at least 40 people and destroyed at least 5,700 homes.

“We’re on pins and needles,” Travis Oglesby, who evacuated from his home in Santa Rosa, said to Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano on Saturday. “We’re hearing about looting.”

Although some evacuees were returning home in Mendocino County, the latest estimates were that about 100,000 people were under evacuation orders as the fires burned for a sixth day.

Plans were in the works to reopen communities, but they were not ready to be put into effect, said Dave Teter, a deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Read more…



California Sheriffs Revolt Against Sanctuary State Law

California’s new status as the first official sanctuary state isn’t even a week old and it’s already showing signs of implosion.

The same day Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill to make it law, ICE upped the ante with a promise to expand raids on homes and businesses in the state.

But few people anticipated that Brown would face opposition from his own internal police forces.

Among the law’s most important tenets was a prevention of state officials from cooperating with federal agents on immigration enforcement.

But sheriffs around the state are refusing to stand down arguing that the policy is both stupid and dangerous.

What’s worse is that the quasi-socialist government has now set up a scenario in which municipal police forces are at odds with county sheriffs on how to deal with criminal illegal aliens.

If city police won’t enforce the law, sheriffs will have to pick up the slack which means other areas of enforcement will come under serious pressure.

It’s just one more example of short-sighted liberal policy that serves an agenda in spite of reality.

Here’s more from Washington Free Beacon…

California’s sheriffs are calling on the GOP-controlled Congress to intervene and pass a federal law to change the state’s sanctuary state status, warning the law that ties their hands too tightly will only increase the chances of another high-profile tragedy.

The sanctuary state law, which Gov. Jerry Brown (D.) signed Thursday but doesn’t go into effect until January, is the most far-reaching of its kind in the country and places sharp limits on how local law enforcement agencies can communicate with federal immigration authorities.

It would also make it a crime to enforce federal immigration laws on the premises of all schools, hospitals, libraries, and courthouses in state, which is home to an estimated two million immigrants.

Making the entire state a sanctuary for illegal immigrants is California’s latest salvo in its war with President Donald Trump over immigration policy, but law enforcement officials say it’s the state’s citizens who will pay the price with higher crime rates and avoidable tragedies.

National Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Thompson said Thursday that sheriffs across the country are deeply “saddened and disappointed” that the governor signed this “reckless” bill into law.

“It is unfortunate that California’s law enforcement has become pawns in this political game, but they will continue to do their jobs diligently to protect their communities,” he said.

“We also implore leaders in Washington to take action and pass sensible legislation that would prevent careless legislation from hamstringing law enforcement and would give them the tools to combat dangerous policies like this.”


Politics, States

ICE Director to California: Get Ready for ‘At-large Arrests’

On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that disallows state and local police from cooperating with federal ICE officials in enforcing federal immigration law.

What’s more, the new law gives safe haven to illegal immigrants, whether criminal or not.

That move has put ICE in a position of no compromise.

ICE Director Thomas Homan explained in a statement on Friday that agents are left with no option but to conduct large-scale raids in California to compensate for the lack of support from state officials.

That also means that far more arrests will be made in lieu of local ‘arrest-and-hold’ policies that otherwise would detain illegal immigrants prior to transferring them to federal custody.

It’s a powder keg waiting to explode.

Here’s more from The Hill…

The country’s top immigration cop said Friday his agents “will have no choice” but to conduct workplace and neighborhood immigration raids in light of California’s new sanctuary law.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan said in a statement Friday that California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) decision to sign the law, SB54, would “undermine public safety and hinder ICE from performing its federally mandated mission.”

Under California’s new law, state and local police will have major restrictions in how and when they can collaborate with federal agents on immigration investigations and arrests.

One notable provision in the law is it prohibits so-called immigration holds, requests from ICE to local authorities to hold a prisoner or detainee longer than the constitutionally mandated period.

Opponents say a hold, also known as a detainer, constitutes a violation of a detainee’s constitutional rights, and their enforcement puts local authorities at risk of liability.

Supporters, chief among them Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, say detainers are necessary so arrests of dangerous immigrants can be made in the confines of jails and prisons.

“ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community,” Homan warned.



California Becomes First ‘Sanctuary State’

Gov. Jerry Brown made good on the threat to turn California into the first ‘sanctuary state’ yesterday when he signed a historic bill from the state’s legislature.

The law does a number of things, but the most pronounced is the fact that it limits the ability of state and local police to cooperate with federal authorities.

So basically California just gave ICE a giant middle finger. It also offers legal protections for illegal immigrants — including those who’ve committed crimes.

At first glance this is infuriating, but then again California might have just shot itself in the foot.

If you’re an illegal immigrant living in fear of being brought to justice, you might just hop on the first train to the place with the big welcome sign out front.

Which means California is about to be flooded with lots of folks, further putting an economic drain on a state that’s already teetering financially.

But liberals at the state capitol don’t care much, so long as they’re getting plenty of new votes to keep them in office.

Here’s more from Yahoo…

California became the first “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants Friday, a decision criticized by the Trump administration which believes the move will compromise security.

California’s governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, signed the landmark legislation — Senate Bill 54 (SB54) — which grants better protections to people who are in the US without permission, including those who have committed crimes.

It also limits cooperation between local police forces and federal authorities in operations to track down undocumented immigrants.

The legislation, which will come into effect on January 1, 2018, is part of a series of laws which protect the almost 3 million undocumented immigrants living in California — most of whom are from Mexico and Central America.

Brown insisted in his signing statement the measure will not “prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way” — but it will stop local authorities from assisting.

“They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California,” he wrote, adding that the new legislation will not deny ICE access to prisons.

But in a statement, ICE acting director Tom Homan responded: “The governor is simply wrong.”



Nate Forms Off Coast of Mexico, Hurricane Will Aim for US

Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico are still picking up the pieces from two of the most devastating hurricanes in history, yet there may be a third on its way.

Tropical Storm Nate has formed off the coast of Belize and will track east of Mexico in the next day or so.

If it continues to move north through the warm Caribbean waters, it will almost surely be elevated to hurricane status as it bears down on the southern coast of the U.S.

And it’s more or less inevitable since there’s nowhere else for it to go.

The only questions that remain are what category it will have gained before landfall and which day it will hit.

Most tracks show the storm splitting the difference between Harvey and Maria for the south-central area between Louisiana and Alabama.

Here’s more from Accuweather…

Tropical Depression 16 has strengthened to Tropical Storm Nate near the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and will threaten part of the southern United States as a hurricane this weekend.

Since Nate will be moving inland over the U.S. this weekend, people may have little time to react and prepare for a tropical storm or hurricane.

“Nate will move northward over the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and make landfall along the U.S. upper Gulf coast on Sunday,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

Nate is likely to make landfall somewhere from the Florida Panhandle to southeastern Louisiana. The exact point of landfall will be determined once the storm begins to move north of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

“In all likelihood, this storm will impact areas not severely impacted by Harvey or Irma. The extent of the damage will depend, of course, on the precise path and whether the storm intensifies beyond a Category 1 storm,” AccuWeather Founder, President and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers said.

Only if Nate tracks much farther west than currently forecast may heavy rain and damaging winds reach Harvey-ravaged Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

Similarly, only if Nate travels much farther east than currently forecast would flooding rain and high winds reach Imra-ravaged areas of Florida.



Courts, Issues, States

Round Two: Texas Wins Judgment on Sanctuary Cities

You may recall our report previously on the liberal federal judge in San Antonio who ordered an injunction on Texas’ new law against sanctuary cities.

That order has just been overturned by the 5th Circuit Court which decided in favor of the state’s appeal.

The three-judge panel essentially agreed that Texas has the right to pursue justice on behalf of the people until such time as the law is ruled invalid by the courts.

In other words, the pause button liberal judges have been hitting so much lately on conservative laws isn’t gonna fly in Texas.

Amid the battle against judicial tyranny, we’re well reminded not all judges are derelict.

Here’s more from the Daily Signal…

Texas has just won the second (procedural) round in the fight over the state Legislature’s attempt to punish cities that implement sanctuary policies.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily stayed on Monday key portions of the injunction issued in September by a federal judge in San Antonio that prevented the state from implementing major parts of the law.

As explained here, the 2017 statute applies to illegal aliens arrested or otherwise lawfully detained by local law enforcement.

The core parts of the law ban Texas cities from prohibiting or “materially limit[ing]” local law enforcement from:

  1. Notifying federal immigration officials that an illegal alien has been arrested.
  2. Cooperating with immigration authorities (including honoring detainer warrants on illegal aliens issued by federal authorities).
  3. Allowing federal immigration officers to enter local jails to conduct investigations of criminal illegal aliens.

The lower court federal judge had enjoined Texas from implementing the second and third provisions. However, the 5th Circuit issued a stay of that portion of the injunction.

Holding that Texas was likely to succeed on the merits of those two provisions, the 5th Circuit lifted the injunction until the appeals court has a chance to consider the merits of the case. Otherwise, the “state necessarily suffers the irreparable harms of denying the public interest in the enforcement of its laws.”



Hurricane Maria: Strongest Puerto Rico Landfall in 89 Years

As if Harvey and Irma’s record-setting devastation in the U.S. weren’t bad enough, Maria is threatening to set a record of its own.

Puerto Rico — on the verge of becoming the 51st U.S. state — has been under water economically since its bankruptcy and failed economy.

Now the island will literally be underwater as Maria is running for a direct hit at Category 4.

The storm has already destroyed several Carribean islands and decimated the Dominican Republic.

Now it’s on track to be the largest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century.

When this is all over, we’ll have witnessed three of the largest hurricanes in history, all in the same region.

No doubt this will have global warming econuts in a frenzy of ‘told-ya-so’ froth.

Here’s more from Wunderground…

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, became the strongest Puerto Rico landfalling hurricane since before the Great Depression, and continues to lash the island and the nearby Virgin Islands with destructive winds, flooding rain and storm surge.

The eye of Maria came ashore near the town of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, around 6:15 a.m. AST Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

The eyewall of Maria continues to carve through Puerto Rico, passing just south San Juan, lashing the capital with eyewall winds. In advance of the eyewall, the National Weather Service issued a “extreme wind warnings” for several eastern Puerto Rico municipalities.

Over a dozen river gauges reported levels above flood stage. The Rio Grande de Manati near Ciales shattered its previous record and the Rio Gurabo at Gurabo was rapidly nearing its record crest set in September 1960.

The National Weather Service office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, warned of “catastrophic damage” from Maria’s winds, as well as “life-threatening rainfall flooding having possible devastating impacts” in a hurricane local statement issued Wednesday morning.



Hurricane Maria Upgraded to CAT 2, Aims at Puerto Rico

The Caribbean is still picking up the pieces from Irma, and now residents are having to scramble again as Hurricane Maria was upgraded to Category 2 over the weekend.

What’s worse is that it’s projected to hit Cat 3 or 4 this week as it barrels toward Puerto Rico following roughly the same path as Irma.

The Pentagon has already ordered the evacuation of troops from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If Maria moves slightly north, there’s a possibility that Miami won’t be able to dodge a direct as it did with Irma when the storm moved west at the last moment.

This summer’s storms are already the costliest on record.

Maria threatens to push the impact to the costliest collection of natural disasters, period.

Here’s more from Newsmax…

Hurricane Maria strengthened into a Category 2 storm on Monday and pushed toward the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, as forecasters warned it was expected to become a major hurricane by early Tuesday.

The storm was on a path that would take it near many of the islands already wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then on toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Maria could hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, said Ernesto Morales with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan.

“This storm promises to be catastrophic for our island,” he said. “All of Puerto Rico will experience hurricane force winds.”

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) Monday morning. It was centered about 120 miles (195 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica — or 85 miles (135 kilometers) east of Martinique — and heading west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

Hurricane warnings were posted for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique and St. Lucia. A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

Forecasters said hurricane conditions should begin to affect parts of the Leeward Islands by Monday night, with storm surge raising water levels by 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.


Politics, States

University: Violent Protestors Get to Decide Who Speaks on Campus

We might all agree that Antifa, BLM and fellow socialist travelers are truly anti-free speech and they’re also probably insane.

But they’re not exactly stupid.

They’ve figured out that the quickest way to silence conservative opposition is to stage violent protests on and around campuses in order to give sympathizing leftist administrators a plausible excuse to refuse to host conservative speakers.

And if that sounds fantastical, just look at the official policy enacted this week by Middlebury College.

Their new ‘interim procedures for scheduling events’ state in black and white that if there exists a ‘credible likelihood’ of violence, events will be canceled.

Cue threats of violent Antifa/BLM protest.

Look for other leftist universities to follow their lead by unofficially banning conservative speech by officially ‘protecting’ public safety.

Twenty-first century America is looking more every day like eighteenth-century France.

Here’s more from Redstate…

This is the logical end point of the insanity we have recently witnessed across campuses nationwide. Middlebury College has announced an “interim” policy that enshrines the Heckler’s Veto, putting the power of who will speak at their institution in the hands of people who would threaten to disrupt events:

Interim Procedures for Scheduling Events and Invited Speakers

Until it is replaced or superseded, the following procedures will be in effect for all of Middlebury’s locations.

. . . .

4) In the event of a credible likelihood, based on prior incidents or current evidence, that an event is likely to be the target of threats or violence, the Threat Assessment and Management Team will conduct a risk assessment of the event, consulting with local law enforcement as needed, in order to advise the administration.

5) Representatives from Public Safety/Campus Security and Risk Management will review the risk assessment and determine resources or measures that might be necessary to ensure that the event can proceed without undue risk to the speaker and/or members of the community. This review will include a consideration of Middlebury Emergency Preparedness Plan and Emergency Operations protocols.

6) In those exceptional cases where this review indicates significant risk to the community, the president and senior administration will work with event sponsors to determine measures to maximize safety and mitigate risk. Only in cases of imminent and credible threat to the community that cannot be mitigated by revisions to the event plan would the president and senior administration consider canceling the event.

It all sounds so reasonable . . . until you think about what they’re saying. If they believe there will be violence, “based on prior incidents or current evidence” (i.e. threats of violence or previous incidents of violence), their response will not be to beef up security and promise arrests of anyone who tries to disrupt an event. It will be to “consider canceling the event.”