America Burning

I don’t know if you noticed, but I certainly have that over my lifetime, forest fires (and similar wildfires) have increased dramatically, both in number and in scale and intensity. Why? Well many of us, who are blessed with experience and common sense have noticed it is because of how we manage these areas. Paul Driessen at PA Pundits – International tells us that might finally be changing.

President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous, and long overdue.

Westerners are delighted, and I’ve advocated such reforms since my days on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.

As of September 12, amid this typically long, hot, dry summer out West, 62 major forest fires are burning in nine states, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. The Interior Department and Ag Department’s Forest Service have already spent over $2 billion fighting them. That’s about what they spent in all of 2015, previously the most costly wildfire season ever, and this season has another month or more to go. The states themselves have spent hundreds of millions more battling these conflagrations.

Millions of acres of forest have disappeared in smoke and flames – 1.1 million in Montana alone. All told, acreage larger than New Jersey has burned already. However, even this hides the real tragedies.

The infernos exterminate wildlife habitats, roast eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, immolate wildlife that can’t run fast enough, leave surviving animals to starve for lack of food, and incinerate organic matter and nearly every living creature in the thin soils. They turn trout streams into fish boils, minus the veggies and seasonings. Future downpours and rapid snowmelts bring widespread soil erosion into streambeds. Many areas will not grow trees or recover their biodiversity for decades.

Most horrifically, the conflagrations threaten homes and entire communities. They kill fire fighters and families that cannot get away quickly enough, or get trapped by sudden walls of flames.

In 2012, two huge fires near Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, CO, burned 610 homes, leaving little more than ashes, chimneys, and memories. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated through smoke and ash that turned daytime into choking night skies. Four people died. A 1994 fire near Glenwood Springs, CO, burned 14 young firefighters to death.

These are not “natural” fires of environmentalist lore, or “ordinary” fires like those that occur in state and privately owned and managed forests. Endless layers of laws, regulations, judicial decrees, and guidelines for Interior and Forest Service lands have meant that most Western forests have been managed like our 109 million acres of designated wilderness: they are hardly managed at all.

Environmentalists abhor timber cutting on federal lands, especially if trees might feed profit-making sawmills. They would rather see trees burn than let someone cut them. They constantly file lawsuits to block any cutting, and too many judges are all too happy to support their radical ideas and policies.

Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or to remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted. Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers, or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it. Then it’s allowed to burn, until a raging inferno is roaring over a ridge toward a rural or suburban community.

The result is easy to predict. Thousands of thin trees grow on acreage that should support just a few hundred full-sized mature trees. Tens of billions of these scrawny trees mix with 6.3 billion dead trees that the Forest Service says still stand in 11 Western states. Vast forests are little more than big trees amid closely bunched matchsticks and underbrush, drying out in hot, dry western summers and droughts – waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires, or arsonists to start super-heated conflagrations.

Do keep reading, he goes into what is starting to change, finally, and it is quite interesting.

And that is the thing I’ve noticed as long as I’ve lived in the west, and that is about 30 years or a bit more by now, the so-called environmental do-gooders organizations don’t and never have, really given a damn about the forest, the rivers, the fish and wildlife, erosion, or any of the other things they jabber on about, all they care about is curtailing civilization, and power over others. Knowing this explains a good bit of my (and probably others, as well) skepticism with regard to global cooling/global warming/climate change. It’s brought to you by the same bunch of Luddites. There may be a bit more to it, but it is far from proven, which is why we see religious furor, rather than reason used to advance the cause.

It also likely has to do with why we use mostly Canadian lumber to build in the United States. I don’t have a problem with that, but a bit more competition would be good, as it always is, for the consumer. And the timber companies have long since proved that they know far better than government how to manage forests. The government management of forests as shown in the linked articles (more here) is not designed for the good of the forest, or of the people, but to advance an agenda, which is to destroy modern civilization, and thus to quite literally kill people. This agenda is, as we have all seen, advanced with the religious fervor of a dervish attack.

It’s time for common sense to finally break out, and it looks like Secretaries Zinke and Perdue are starting to do so. May their efforts be rewarded.

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Video Monday

I was doing things other than writing last night, once in a while, I like to step away from the blog, and recharge, and doing this seven days a week can get to be a pain. Okay, whinge over, and yeah, I volunteered. How about some videos today? Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched these, most of them more than once, and I like them. I think you will too. Obviously, you don’t have to watch all of them, watch the ones that interest you, but they all cover some facet of what we do here.

Steve Bannon making sense? Yep, surprising as it is.

Ben Shapiro on why your feeling don’t matter

I wish we could convince the Brits of this because it is obviously true.

The modern world is a Tudor Enterprise. Think about that for a bit. That is what one can accomplish with “the stomach of a king, and yes, a King of England”.

As we change course a bit, just who is smarter? Eh, who cares, really? But Siobahn! 🙂

We’ve said this many times: If you do not have the freedom to fail, you can not succeed.

How we got rich…

How to keep it happening:

Sense a theme here? Yep, there is one. It’s called personal responsibility. If you want to accomplish something, you need to take responsibility for it. Whether you’re Stephan Langton leading the barons to Runnymede, Queen Elizabeth humbling the greatest Empire of the age, our founders doing that humbling thing again, or the guy that wants to start the next Microsoft; you need to own it, to work hard at it, and maybe fail a few times before you get it figured out, not run to Washington, claiming to be a victim. We, the Anglophone nations built the world we live in following these simple rules, seems silly to me to quit doing something that has worked so well.

Although I suppose if I simply desired power over others without reason, simply the power of the clenched fist, I would probably dislike this world, with its emphasis on freedom and justice. Think about that.

Time for the Red Pill?

An interesting story came out of Fox News last week. It speaks of women, minorities and such who are coming to understand just how oppressive the Democratic Party has become, and are making YouTube video explaining how they took the red pill, and how it is down the rabbit hole. Here’s some of it.

The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.”  People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.

You might say that those who take the red pill have been “triggered.” But instead of seeking out “safe spaces,” they’re doing the opposite, posting monologues throwing off the shackles of political correctness.

Their videos can feature the kind of subversiveness that was once a hallmark of the left—before the movement lost its sense of humor.

Candace Owens, a charismatic young African American, posts commentaries on her YouTube channel whose titles seem expressly designed to make PC heads explode.

A sample: “I Don’t Care About Charlottesville, the KKK, or White Supremacy.” The commentary calls out liberal fearmongering over white supremacists. “I mean there are, what, 6,000 Klansmen left in our nation. You want me to actually process that as a legitimate fear every day when I wake up?”

Here’s one of hers, on escaping the Democratic Plantation…

That’s some powerful stuff, I think. Continuing:

Not insignificantly, her video got nearly 500,000 views and overwhelmingly enthusiastic comments. (“you rock, girl!” “this woman is awesome.”)

A later episode about Black Lives Matter got nearly 700,000 views and had the distinction of being briefly taken down by YouTube. Unapologetic, Owens responded with a follow-up commentary — “What YouTube and Facebook REALLY Think of Black People.”

She declared, “There was only one version of a black person that these platforms are willing to help propel towards fame and notoriety—and that is an angry black victim.”  Owens calls her channel “Red Pill Black.” It invites viewers: “Sick of the alt-left. Welcome, I prescribe red pills.”

The term “taking the red pill” derives from the movie “The Matrix,” the trippy sci-fi classic. Morpheus, the resistance leader played by Laurence Fishburne offers Neo, the movie’s hero played by Keanu Reeves, a choice: He can take the blue pill and remain in the repressive artificial world known as the Matrix where “you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” Or he can take the red pill and tumble down the “rabbit hole” where he will come to realize that everything about his life was a lie.

The left’s intensifying war on free speech has produced a surge of red pill videos. Some take Owens’ in-your-face approach. Others are meandering, hipster confessionals delivered with the wordy earnestness of characters in a Duplass brothers movie.

In his YouTube Channel, Dissent Report, a young, one-time “Bernie Sanders supporting progressive Democrat” admits from behind large sunglasses that he’s made “a pretty hard turn to the right.”

Well, its far enough from my experience that I don’t have much of an opinion, but all my life I have hope that minorities would someday see that many of those who claim to help them mere want to rule them. Maybe they are finally waking up. That would make the pain of the last few years almost worthwhile. And besides, this talk of rabbit holes reminds me of this, maybe we can reclaim it too.

Still Another Week

The British response to terrorism

Yep, this is the picture post, back where it belongs. But I want to say something. Yesterday my post Amish Attack did pretty well. In it, we quoted the amazing 1978 Harvard Commencement speech of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, but as many of you noticed, it wasn’t the first time. Our former co-blogger Jessica talked about that address back on December 22, 2013. Enough of you noticed to make it our most read post this week. It’s well worth your time to read if by some chance you haven’t. It called The Exhausted West?. Enjoy!

From Ace

Undocumented shopper

 

From Bookworm

More Ace:

And from PowerLine:

Steve’s comment is, “Like I say, Melania’s First Lady cause should be: “Make America Straight Again.”. I must say, it works for me!

Take no chances

Have a good day!

Amish Attack in London

From The Resurgent:

What appears to be a homemade bomb using a white plastic bucket inside a shopping bag exploded in a London Underground station during the morning rush, injuring “a number” of people, according to reports.

London Metropolitan Police have confirmed the explosion at Parsons Green station on the District Line was being treated as a terror attack.

One Twitter user included an anonymous chat room post which read “Because we are a safe haven for terrorists, we are so PC that we accuse the eskimos of terrorism and any other religion/race that has over run the UK, bombs on the trains are all part and parcel of living in a city, pray for the muslims on that train.” Of course such sentiments could be considered illegal in England as “hate speech.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s statement published on Facebook said:

Our city utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life. As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.

The New York Times reported the explosion occurred at 8:20 a.m. on a District Line train as it left the station.

“The train was packed, and I was down the other side of the carriage standing up, looking at my phone and then I heard a big boom and felt this heat on my face,” said Natalie Belford, 42, a hairdresser and beautician who was on the train. “I ran for my life, but there was no way out. The doors were full of people and the carriage was too packed to move down.”

London Metro Police tweeted that this is a terror incident, but that it’s too early to determine the cause.

Well, whatever. While I have all the sympathy in the world for the average UK citizen; until they elect a government with the moral courage to enforce the law, fairly and evenly Kahn is right, they will have to learn to live with terrorism. But the way it is in Britain these days, if he had self-detonated while wearing a neon sign saying Aloha Snackbar, they wouldn’t be able to figure out the motive – because they are not permitted to figure out the motive.

I notice the whinging for more money to not solve the problem has already begun. Money is not the problem, the will to not offend certain segments of the population is the problem, and no amount of money will allow the oh so PC Metropolitan Police to see a problem they will not look at.

So they will sing sappy songs and leave teddy bears and tea lights, and go on until it happens again, Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Until the Islamic terrorists whom anybody with two brain cells to rub together know are responsible, not the Amish, win.

This ran on Warsclerotic the other day, it is most germane.

“Close your eyes, have no fear,” says a song by John Lennon, the wretched soundtrack of a West which has definitely lost military, political and cultural courage. After the Paris terror attacks, many people were inspired by John Lennon’s songs. It was a clear message to Jihadists: you can continue to butcher us, we don’t care 

********************************

In 1978, the great Russian writer Alexander Solzenitsyn delivered a famous speech at Harvard University. “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days”, the author of “Gulag Archipelago” said at the time. “The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life”.

Solzenitsyn uttered these important words at a time when the West still had some courage against Communism. What would he have said today seeing Europe’s reaction in front of Islamic terrorism? and North Korea/

Terrorism will end, when a country has enough courage to name it, and fight it. If a country doesn’t do so, the country will end. It is that basic, and that binary. The UK isn’t as craven as Spain, or Germany, yet, but they are not doing right by their citizens, either.

Until HMG is willing to name the enemy and undertake realistic step to combat it, well I find it difficult to be overly sympathetic.

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Winston Churchill

Quantifying Google’s Bias

Leo Goldstein wrote a guest article on What’s Up With That, and it is arguably important, to those of us that blog, but also to those of you who are looking for unbiased information. The short form is: Ya ain’t gonna get it from Google.

Abstract

The percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches (PGSTN), tends to be in or around the range 25%-30% for a broad class of web domains.  This hypothesis is tested by calculating the correlation between the popularity of news/opinions websites and their PGSTN, and finding it to be near zero.  Thus, PGSTN can be used rigorously to detect and even quantify Google Search intentional bias.  Intentional bias is the bias that has been introduced by internal Google decisions, and unrelated to external factors, such as the dominance of particular viewpoints on the web.  Here, the PGSTN method is applied for intentional bias detection about climate debate and in general political discourse.

Google Search is found to be extremely biased in favor of climate alarmism and against climate realism.  The PGSTN ranges for climate realism and climate alarmism do not even overlap!  Some of the most important climate realist domains, including low-controversial judithcurry.com, have such a low PGSTN that they can be considered blacklisted by Google.

Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%.  Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high PGSTN that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement.  Certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted.


[…]  Google servers crawl the whole web, extracting text, links, and other data from trillions of pages.  Google constantly and successfully fights attempts to artificially promote websites through collusive linking, and other search engine optimization techniques.  In its undertaking, Google also uses an enormous amount of off-web information, which it collects through Chrome browser, other Google applications and services, analytics beacons, domains registrar status, and so on.  This information includes domains popularity and ownership.  Google also processes immediate feedback from the users in the form of frequency of clicks on the results, bounce rate, the frequency of repeated searches with modified terms, etc.

Google is very good at its job.  Sites and domains that are less popular with the visitors tend to be less likely to receive traffic from Google, and vice versa.  The effect is that percentage of net traffic that domains receive from Google Search tends to be similar across web domains!  […]

Given the robustness of PGSTN, I conclude that statistically significant difference in PGSTN between a priori defined sets of comparable domains is due to intentional bias by Google, unless there is another good explanation.

I’d say this is by no means a manual operation, like nearly everything Google does, it is an algorithm. But my anecdotal evidence confirms what Mr. Goldstein is saying here. Historically, our search referrals were in that range, until July 2016, when they dropped drastically, as they did at AATW where I also write. I  was very noticeable here since we are a small blog and our view stats dropped almost instantly about 50%, nor have we yet reached the level we were at in June of 2016.

Google Bias in General Political Discourse

To quantify Google general political bias, I selected top U.S. news and opinions sites by their ranking in Alexa, then added some lower ranking conservative sites based on my personal knowledge and/or Alexa suggestions.  There was an element of subjectivity in selection and classification, and I omitted some domains that I could not classify.  Nevertheless, the most popular domains in both left/liberal (including Left, Mainstream Liberal, and Mainstream Center) and conservative (including Conservative and Mainstream Conservative) categories have been selected and classified rigorously, and use of weighted statistics minimized the element of subjectivity in the results.

The results show that Google Search is heavily biased against conservative domains, and some respectable conservative domains seem to be blacklisted:

thegatewaypundit.com

pjmedia.com

americanthinker.com

redstate.com

powerlineblog.com

drudgereport.com

Those are some pretty serious political sites, and the part of this I didn’t highlight is that these (NEO too) are climate realist sites, I’m inclined to think it’s natural for those of a conservative outlook to be skeptical of such things. But I have yet to see anything that even came close to convincing me. And that is likely why this was published on Watts Up With That. They are much more involved with the climate debate and the Google bias looks even worse there as well.

Now mind Google is a private company entitled to treat its products as it wishes. But it pays to understand if one’s provider of information is providing slanted data, and just how it is slanted.

 

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