Wednesday, August 1, 2018


California’s burning: The social and political background of the deadly infernos
1 August 2018
For the second year in a row, the US state of California is the scene of death and destruction, as wildfires surge throughout the state and drive thousands from their homes. In July alone, wildfires have killed nine people and burned over one thousand homes, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.
The number of horrific tragedies is multiplying. On Thursday, Ed Bledsoe, 76, left his wife Melody, 70, and two great-grandchildren Emily and James, 4 and 5, to go to a doctor’s appointment. The Carr Fire had been burning for four days near his Shasta County home, but they were not under an evacuation order.
After a panicked call from his wife saying she could see the fire approaching, Bledsoe raced back, but was blocked by traffic and the encroaching fire. Unable to make it home, he managed to reach his family by cell phone as they huddled under wet blankets and the fire overtook them.
Their tragic deaths are part of the social catastrophe that surrounds every natural disaster. The stage is set by forces beyond mankind’s control, but these intersect with and are compounded by a social and political system in which everything is subordinated to the wealth accumulation of the corporate and financial elite.
At the same time as fires rage in California, the death toll from fires last week in Greece has risen to 91, with 25 still missing. While the immediate cause of these fires is still being investigated, there is no doubt that the austerity measures carried out by the Syriza government, dictated by European banks, are to blame for the massive death toll. They include cuts of 20 percent from the fire service, along with other cuts to utilities that contributed to electricity and water supply failures.
In California, prolonged drought conditions have dried out large sections of the state and provided large amounts of fuel for the ongoing fires. Of the ten most destructive wildfires on record in California, four have happened within the last ten months.
Last year, 43 people were killed in California fires, nearly 10,000 buildings were destroyed and a quarter-million people were evacuated. An investigation released last month found that a dozen of the fires that killed nine people in Northern California in October were caused by power lines operated by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, highlighting the impact of decayed infrastructure in causing the blazes.
Among the factors contributing to the greater frequency and intensity of fires is climate change. Studies at the National Center for Atmospheric Research show that increased global temperatures have created warmer winters, shortening the amount of time needed for snowpack to melt, consequently also shortening the time for the newly created water to evaporate.
The Guardian cited University of California professor Anthony LeRoy Westerling, who noted that the impact of climate change “will probably accelerate. There won’t be a new normal in our lifetimes.” The Carr fire is only one of “a bunch of large fires which have behaved in uncharacteristic ways,” including “firenados” that have rapidly destroyed homes.
Similar trends are occurring in Europe and across the globe. Data from the Suomi NPP, Terra and Aqua satellites show Europe’s landscape turning from green to brown over the past month as a result of record long droughts in Armenia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Norway. Approximately fifty forest fires, which have burned down 62,000 acres of land, were blazing in Sweden in mid-July.
Despite increasingly dire warnings from scientists about the consequences of climate change, the capitalist states—riven by national conflicts and each subordinate to the profits of giant corporations—have been incapable of taking any serious measures to do anything about it.
There are many factors that contribute to the spread of fires, and measures that could be taken to mitigate their impact. The US Forest Service estimates that in California’s wilderness there are an unusually high number of dead trees, 129 million, killed by drought and beetle infestations. That immense volume of fuel, reaching high into the canopy, intensifies and helps spread the fires that break out.
Residential building is carried out wherever individual developers can turn a profit. They carry no liability for long-term risks. Moreover, soaring housing costs have driven people to seek lower rents outside the cities in smaller towns and suburbs with greater risks. Cal Fire identified more than 1,300 communities in California “at high risk of damage from wildfire.” But that list was compiled from the 1990 census data and published in 2001. It has not been updated since.
Then there is the impact of perpetually underfunded and under-resourced fire departments, which have faced a series of budget cuts since the 2008 economic crisis. A full quarter of California’s wilderness firefighters are prison inmates who are paid $1 an hour when actively fighting fires and $2 a day when doing preventive work. Two of these workers died in the 2017 fires.
As for the impact of the fires, as with other natural disasters, those who have had their lives upended are left at the mercy of insurance companies, if they even have insurance. Bledsoe, who lost his family, was a renter without insurance. The only thing he has left after the fire is his truck and the clothes on his back. Only a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend separates him from complete destitution.
Resources exist to take emergency measures to address the conditions that produce such disasters. California’s current emergency fund for wildfires is $442.8 million, and a full quarter of it was spent since July 1, $114.7 million. In contrast, every two days in 2018 Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and richest man in the world, made more than that, $510 million. The entire budget of Cal Fire, which manages the 31 million acres of California’s wilderness, is roughly what Bezos makes in a week.
In a socialist and planned economy, billions would be allocated to implement scientific fire prevention and controlled burning methods. Resources would be devoted to construct advanced warning systems and evacuation routes. Everyone would have access to modern housing in developments planned from the start to avoid wildfires. Those who, despite all these precautions, lost their homes would be made whole with new housing. And emergency measures would be taken, on a global scale, to halt and reverse climate change.
Every natural disaster exposes the social and political reality. As the California fires rage, the Trump administration is plotting new ways to hand out billions in tax cuts to the rich. The Democrats, who control the state of California, are focusing all their efforts on denouncing Trump for being insufficiently aggressive against Russia, while ensuring that the military is funded with a gargantuan $716 billion budget.
The entire political establishment, indifferent and hostile to the interests of the vast majority of the population, merely exposes its own bankruptcy and the irrationality of the capitalist system over which the ruling class presides.
David Brown


"The man who, as Wikipedia explains, is “known professionally as Kevin de León” testified that “half of my family” would be eligible for deportation under Trump’s executive order because they used false identification, drivers licenses, Social Security and green cards. And that explains why the man who styles himself Kevin de León authored California’s sanctuary state law." LLOYD BILLINGSLEY - FRONTPAGEMAG

California Dems endorse Kevin de León over Dianne Feinstein, and illegal votes will be crucial.

In California primaries the top two vote-getters advance regardless of party. Republicans are again shut out of the Senate race, leaving state senate boss Kevin de León to contend with Dianne Feinstein. The San Francisco Democrat, 85, seeks her fifth term in the Senate but the California Democratic Party fails to follow along. 
In July, 28 percent of the Party’s executive board voted “no endorsement” for Feinstein and a full 65 percent supported Kevin de León, only 51 and a newcomer to the national scene. So there’s a few things people nationwide should know. 
The name on his birth certificate isn’t Kevin de León,” explains Christopher Cadelago of the Sacramento Bee. On his birth certificate and voter rolls, the name is Kevin Alexander Leon and “the certificate says he was born on Dec. 10, 1966, at California Hospital on South Hope Street in Los Angeles.” 
According to this document, which has not been revealed to the public, the father is Andres Leon, “a 40-year-old cook whose race was Chinese and whose birthplace was Guatemala” and mother Carmen Osorio, “was also born in Guatemala.” Kevin Alexander Leon remembers meeting Andres and thinks he is “a quarter, or as much as half-Chinese, pointing to the pockets of Asian populations in Mexico, including Mexicali.” 
So at some point the Guatemalan Andres Leon must have moved to Mexico. But as a child his son Kevin Alexander de Leon “spent time on both sides of the border” and “identifies strongly with Mexican culture.”  The story defies belief but does clarify some issues. 
The man who, as Wikipedia explains, is “known professionally as Kevin de León” testified that “half of my family” would be eligible for deportation under Trump’s executive order because they used false identification, drivers licenses, Social Security and green cards. And that explains why the man who styles himself Kevin de León authored California’s sanctuary state law.
In a variation on Jose Vasconselos’ La Raza Cosmica, the California senate boss believes that illegals are “more American” and just better people than those Anglo Yankees who are destined to fade away along with blacks and those underachieving “Mongols.”  So no surprise that the senate boss appointed a false-documented illegal to a state position, a violation of state law that bans ethnic preferences in state employment. So the termed-out senate boss does not exactly support the rule of law, state or federal. 
The professional Kevin de León is a big fan of the late New Left icon Tom Hayden, a fervent supporter of Communist Vietnam.  Last year, when Vietnamese refugee Janet Nguyen spoke out against Hayden, the Democrats shut down the Republican’s microphone then had her carted off the senate floor.  So the Democrat senate boss is not exactly a fan of free speech or legal Asian refugees from Communist countries. Opponent Dianne Feinstein, on the other hand, pioneered the Nazi smear.
In 1992, when FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi killed Vicky Weaver as she held her infant daughter, Democrats such as Herb Kohl and Patrick Leahy showed sympathy with the family. Feinstein took a hard line, asking husband Randy Weaver if his children wore Nazi arm bands and shouted Nazi slogans at neighbors
Feinstein showcased the smear last September in a confirmation hearing involving Amy Coney Barrett and Joan Larsen, both on President Trump’s original list for the Supreme Court. Feinstein said the backdrop for the hearing was the “neo-Nazis and white supremacists” in Charlottesville. “These are ideologies that people across the world died in a war fighting to defeat Nazism,” and just in case anybody wondered, “there isn’t any good in Nazism.”  
Feinstein may deploy the Nazi smear in hearings for Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. That would be a way to show she is tougher on Trump than her Democrat opponent, who has other forces working for him. 
A 2015 California law “streamlines” the process of voter registration and kicks in when someone gets a driver’s license at the DMV. As of March, 2018, more than one million illegals have received licenses. Secretary of state Alex Padilla touts “firewall” protections against ineligible voters.  This is the same official who refused to cooperate with a federal probe of voter fraud, so legal residents and taxpayers have good reason to wonder what he is hiding. It is already a matter of record that false-documented illegals vote in local, state and federal elections
At this writing, Feinstein leads de León 46 to 26 percent among “likely voters.” That leaves the question of how man illegals are likely to vote. By way of preparation, Democrats are allowing non-citizens to vote for school board members, a tacit authorization for non-citizens to vote for national candidates. 
The man known professionally as Kevin de León protects false-documented illegals, even criminals, from deportation. In return, the illegals know how they are supposed to vote. 
So polls aside, the leftist who identifies strongly with Mexican culture, gives state jobs to illegals, and smacks down free-speech rights may prevail in November. After all, nobody expected upstart socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to unseat powerful Democrat Joe Crowley, but she did.  As President Trump says, we’ll see what happens.

Kevin De Léon is the LA RAZA “The Race” FASCIST SUPREMACIST for U.S. Senate.

De Léon holds far-left views on immigration, gun control, and other issues. Last year, he admitted that half of his family was in the country illegally. Earlier this year, he appointed an illegal alien to a statewide office. He is also the author of SB 54, one of the three surviving “sanctuary state” laws that the Trump administration challenged earlier this year.




How much welfare, “free” education, “free” healthcare and tax free mex underground economy have these Mexicans sucked in and yet they wave their mex flags in our faces.

In a Facebook post in 2016, apparently celebrating her graduation from Santa Clara University School of Law, Mateo declared, in Spanish: “[E]verything is dedicated to Oaxaca, Mexico!! to that land that I miss so much.”

 Adios, Sanctuary La Raza Welfare State of California   

A fifth-generation Californian laments his state’s ongoing economic collapse.
By Steve Baldwin
American Spectator, October 19, 2017
What’s clear is that the producers are leaving the state and the takers are coming in. Many of the takers are illegal aliens, now estimated to number over 2.6 million. 
The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that California spends $22 billion on government services for illegal aliens, including welfare, education, Medicaid, and criminal justice system costs. 

Liberals claim they more than make that up with taxes paid, but that’s simply not true. It’s not even close. FAIR estimates illegal aliens in California contribute only $1.21 billion in tax revenue, which means they cost California $20.6 billion, or at least $1,800 per household.
Nonetheless, open border advocates, such as Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg, claim illegal aliens are a net benefit to California with little evidence to support such an assertion. As the Center for Immigration Studies has documented, the vast majority of illegals are poor, uneducated, and with few skills. How does accepting millions of illegal aliens and then granting them access to dozens of welfare programs benefit California’s economy? If illegal aliens were contributing to the economy in any meaningful way, California, with its 2.6 million illegal aliens, would be booming.
Furthermore, the complexion of illegal aliens has changed with far more on welfare and committing crimes than those who entered the country in the 1980s. 
Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has testified before a Congressional committee that in 2004, 95% of all outstanding warrants for murder in Los Angeles were for illegal aliens; in 2000, 23% of all Los Angeles County jail inmates were illegal aliens and that in 1995, 60% of Los Angeles’s largest street gang, the 18th Street gang, were illegal aliens. Granted, those statistics are old, but if you talk to any California law enforcement officer, they will tell you it’s much worse today. The problem is that the Brown administration will not release any statewide data on illegal alien crimes. That would be insensitive. And now that California has declared itself a “sanctuary state,” there is little doubt this sends a message south of the border that will further escalate illegal immigration into the state.
"If the racist "Sensenbrenner Legislation" passes the US Senate, there is no doubt that a massive civil disobedience movement will emerge. Eventually labor union power can merge with the immigrant civil rights and "Immigrant Sanctuary" movements to enable us to either form a new political party or to do heavy duty reforming of the existing Democratic Party. The next and final steps would follow and that is to elect our own governors of all the states within Aztlan." 
Indeed, California goes out of its way to attract illegal aliens. The state has even created government programs that cater exclusively to illegal aliens. For example, the State Department of Motor Vehicles has offices that only process driver licenses for illegal aliens. With over a million illegal aliens now driving in California, the state felt compelled to help them avoid the long lines the rest of us must endure at the DMV. 
And just recently, the state-funded University of California system announced it will spend $27 million on financial aid for illegal aliens. They’ve even taken out radio spots on stations all along the border, just to make sure other potential illegal border crossers hear about this program. I can’t afford college education for all my four sons, but my taxes will pay for illegals to get a college education.

If Immigration Creates Wealth, Why Is California America's Poverty Capital?

California used to be home to America's largest and most affluent middle class.  Today, it is America's poverty capital.  What went wrong?  In a word: immigration.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Official Poverty Measure, California's poverty rate hovers around 15 percent.  But this figure is misleading: the Census Bureau measures poverty relative to a uniform national standard, which doesn't account for differences in living costs between states – the cost of taxes, housing, and health care are higher in California than in Oklahoma, for example.  Accounting for these differences reveals that California's real poverty rate is 20.6 percent – the highest in America, and nearly twice the national average of 12.7 percent.

Likewise, income inequality in California is the second-highest in America, behind only New York.  In fact, if California were an independent country, it would be the 17th most unequal country on Earth, nestled comfortably between Honduras and Guatemala.  Mexico is slightly more egalitarian.  California is far more unequal than the "social democracies" it emulates: Canada is the 111th most unequal nation, while Norway is far down the list at number 153 (out of 176 countries).  In terms of income inequality, California has more in common with banana republics than other "social democracies."

More Government, More Poverty
High taxes, excessive regulations, and a lavish welfare state – these are the standard explanations for California's poverty epidemic.  They have some merit.  For example, California has both the highest personal income tax rate and the highest sales tax in America, according to Politifact.

Not only are California's taxes high, but successive "progressive" governments have swamped the state in a sea of red tape.  Onerous regulations cripple small businesses and retard economic growth.  Kerry Jackson, a fellow with the Pacific Research Institute, gives a few specific examples of how excessive government regulation hurts California's poor.  He writes in a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times:
Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor.  By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average.  Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics ... found that "in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced ... energy expenditures exceeding 10% of household income."
Some government regulation is necessary and desirable, but most of California's is not.  There is virtue in governing with a "light touch."
Finally, California's welfare state is, perhaps paradoxically, a source of poverty in the state.  The Orange Country Register reports that California's social safety net is comparable in scale to those found in Europe:
In California a mother with two children under the age of 5 who participates in these major welfare programs – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), housing assistance, home energy assistance, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – would receive a benefits package worth $30,828 per year.
... [Similar] benefits in Europe ranged from $38,588 per year in Denmark to just $1,112 in Romania.  The California benefits package is higher than in well-known welfare states as France ($17,324), Germany ($23,257) and even Sweden ($22,111).
Although welfare states ideally help the poor, reality is messy.  There are three main problems with the welfare state.  First, it incentivizes poverty by rewardingthe poor with government handouts that are often far more valuable than a job.  This can be ameliorated to some degree by imposing work requirements on welfare recipients, but in practice, such requirements are rarely imposed.  Second, welfare states are expensive.  This means higher taxes and therefore slower economic growth and fewer job opportunities for everyone – including the poor.
Finally, welfare states are magnets for the poor.  Whether through domestic migration or foreign immigration, poor people flock to places with generous welfare states.  This is logical from the immigrant's perspective, but it makes little sense from the taxpayer's.  This fact is why socialism and open borders arefundamentally incompatible.

Why Big Government?
Since 1960, California's population exploded from 15.9 to 39 million people.  The growth was almost entirely due to immigration – many people came from other states, but the majority came from abroad.  The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that 10 million immigrants currently reside in California.  This works out to 26 percent of the state's population.

This figure includes 2.4 million illegal aliens, although a recent study from Yale University suggests that the true number of aliens is at least double that.  Modifying the initial figure implies that nearly one in three Californians is an immigrant.  This is not to disparage California's immigrant population, but it is madness to deny that such a large influx of people has changed California's society and economy.

Importantly, immigrants vote Democrat by a ratio higher than 2:1, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies.  In California, immigration has increased the pool of likely Democrat voters by nearly 5 million people, compared to just 2.4 million additional likely Republican voters.  Not only does this almost guarantee Democratic victories, but it also shifts California's political midpoint to the left.  This means that to remain competitive in elections, the Republicans must abandon or soften many conservative positions so as to cater to the center.
California became a Democratic stronghold not because Californians became socialists, but because millions of socialists moved there.  Immigration turned California blue, and immigration is ultimately to blame for California's high poverty level.



De facto apartheid world in the Golden State.

Reprinted from
In 1973, as I was going through customs in New York, the customs agent rifling my bag looked at my passport and said, with a Bronx sneer, “Bruce Thornton, huh. Must be one of them Hollywood names.”
Hearing that astonishing statement, I realized for the first time that California is as much an idea as a place. There were few regions in America more distant from Hollywood than the rural, mostly poor, multiethnic San Joaquin Valley where my family lived and ranched. Yet to this New Yorker, the Valley was invisible.

Coastal Californians are sometimes just as blind to the world on the other side of the Coast Range, even though its farms, orchards, vineyards, dairies, and ranches comprise more than half the state’s $46 billion agriculture industry, which grows over 400 commodities, including over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts.
Granted, Silicon Valley is an economic colossus compared to the ag industry, but agriculture’s importance can’t be measured just in dollars and cents. Tech, movies, and every other industry tends to forget that their lives and businesses, indeed civilization itself, all rest on the shoulders of those who produce the food. You can live without your iPhone or your Mac or the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster. But you can’t live without the food grown by the one out of a 100 people who work to feed the other 99.
A Politically Invisible Valley
Living in the most conservative counties in the 
deepest-blue state, Valley residents constantly see 
their concerns, beliefs, and needs seldom taken 
into account at the state or federal level.
Registered Democrats in California outnumber registered Republicans by over 19%, and the State Legislature seats about twice as many Democrats as Republicans (California’s one of only eight states nationwide with a trifecta of a Democratic and two Democratic controlled legislative bodies).
California’s Congressional delegation is even more unbalanced: in the House of Representatives, currently there are fourteen Republicans compared to thirty-nine House Democrats (at least half of those GOP districts are in danger of turning blue this fall); half the Republicans represent Central Valley districts, none bordering the Pacific Ocean. The last elected Republican US Senator left office in 1991. The last Republican governor was the politically light-pink action-movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose second term ended in 2011.
This progressive dominance of the state has led to policies and priorities that has damaged its agricultural economy and seriously degraded the quality of life in the Valley.
Despite a long drought that has diminished the run-off of snow from the Sierra Nevada, projects for dams and reservoirs are on hold, seriously impacting the ag industry that relies on the snowmelt for most of its water. Worse yet, since 2008, a period including the height of the drought, 1.4 trillion gallons of water have been dumped into the Pacific Ocean to protect the endangered Delta Smelt, a two-inch bait-fish. Thousands of agricultural jobs have been lost and farmland left uncultivated, all to satisfy the sensibilities of affluent urban environmentalists. And even after a few years of abundant rain, Valley farmers this year are receiving just 20% of their South-of-the-Delta water allocation.
Or take California’s high-speed rail project, currently moribund and $10 billion over budget just for construction of the easiest section, through the flat center of the Valley. Meanwhile, State Highway 99, which bisects the Valley from north to south for 500 miles, is pot-holed, inefficient, and crammed with 18-wheel semis. It is the bloodiest highway in the country, in dire need of widening and repair. Yet to gratify our Democratic governor’s
high-tech green obsession, billions of dollars are 
being squandered to create an unnecessary link 
between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. That’s $10 billion that could have been spent building more reservoirs instead of dumping water into the ocean because there’s no place to store it.
The common thread of these two examples of 
mismanagement and waste is the romantic 
environmentalism of the well-heeled coastal left. 
They serially support government projects and 
regulations that impact the poor and the aged, who
are left to bear their costs.
The same idealized nature-love has led to regulations and taxes on energy that have made California home of the third-worst energy poverty in the country. In sweltering San Joaquin Valley counties like Madera and Tulare, energy poverty rates are 15% compared to 3–4% in cool, deep-blue coastal enclaves. Impoverished Kings County averages over $500 a month in electric bills, while tony Marin Country, with an average income twice that of Kings County, averages $200. Again, it’s the poor, aged, and working class who bear the brunt of these costs, especially in the Valley where temperatures regularly reach triple digits in the summer; unlike the coast, where the clement climate makes expensive air-conditioning unnecessary.
Deteriorating Quality of Life
It’s no wonder then that Fresno, in the heart of the 
Valley, is the second most impoverished city in the
poorest region of a state that has the highest 
poverty levels in the country and one of the 
highest rates of income inequality. Over one-fifth 
of its residents live below the poverty line, and it 
The greatest impact on the Valley’s 
deteriorating quality of life, however, has been 
the influx of illegal aliens. Some are attracted by 
plentiful agriculture and construction work, and 
others by California’s generous welfare transfers
— California is home to one in three of the 
country’s welfare recipients— all facilitated by 
California’s status as a “sanctuary state” that 
regularly releases felons rather than cooperate 
with Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
(ICE). As a result, one-quarter of the country’s 
illegal alien population lives in California, many 
from underdeveloped regions of Mexico and Latin
America that have different social and cultural 
mores and attitudes to the law and civic 
The consequences of these feckless policies are 
found throughout the state. But they are 
especially noticeable in rural California. There 
high levels of crime and daily disorder—from 
murders, assaults, and drug trafficking, to 
driving without insurance, DUIs, hit-and-runs, 
and ignoring building and sanitation codes—
have degraded or, in some cases, destroyed the 
once-orderly farming towns that used to be 
populated by earlier immigrants, including 
many legal immigrants from Mexico, who over 
a few generations of sometimes rocky 
coexistence assimilated to American culture 
and society.
Marginalized Cultural Minorities
More broadly, the dominant cultures and mores of the north and the Hollywood south are inimical to those of the Valley. Whether it is gun-ownership, hunting, church-going, or military service, many people in the San Joaquin Valley of all races are quickly becoming cultural minorities marginalized by the increasingly radical positions on issues such as abortion, guns, and religion.
Despite the liberal assumption that all Hispanics favor progressive policies, many Latino immigrants and their children find more in common with Valley farmers and natives with whom they live and work than they do with distant urban elites.
Indeed, as a vocal conservative professor in the local university (Fresno State), I have survived mainly because my students, now more than half Latino and Mexican immigrants or children of immigrants, are traditional and practical in a way that makes them impatient with the patronizing victim-politics of more affluent professors. They have more experience with physical labor, they are more religious and, like me, they are often the first in their families to graduate from college. As I did with the rural Mexican Americans I grew up with, I usually have more in common with my students than I do with many of my colleagues.
And this is the great irony of the invisibility of the “other” California: the blue-coast policies that suit the prejudices and sensibilities of the affluent have damaged the prospects of the “others of color” they claim they want to help. Over-
represented on the poverty and welfare rolls, many
migrants both legal and illegal have seen water 
policies that destroy agricultural jobs, building 
restrictions that drive up the cost of housing, 
energy policies that increase their cost of living, “sanctuary city” policies that put back on the 
streets thugs and criminals who prey mainly on 
their ethnic fellows, and economic policies that 
favor the redistribution rather than the creation of wealth and jobs.
Meanwhile, the coastal liberals who tout a cosmetic diversity live in a de facto apartheid world, surrounded by those of similar income, taste, and politics. Many look down on the people whom they view as racists and xenophobes at worst, and intellectually challenged rubes at best. This disdain has been evident in the way the media regularly sneer that House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes is a “former dairy-farmer” from Tulare County, an origin that makes “the match between his backstory and his prominence” seem “wholly incongruous,” per Roll Call's David Hawkings.
Finally, those of us who grew up and live in the rural Valley did so among a genuine diversity, one that reflected the more complex identities beyond the crude categories of “white” or “black” or “Hispanic.”
Italians, Basques, Portuguese, Armenians, Swedes, Mexicans, Filipinos, Southern blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Volga Germans, Scotch-Irish Dust Bowl migrants—all migrated to the Valley to work the fields and better their lives. Their children and grandchildren went to the same schools, danced together and drank together, helped round up each other’s animals when they got loose, were best friends or deadly enemies, dated and intermarried, got drafted into the Army or joined the Marines—all of them Americans who managed to honor their diverse heritages and faiths, but still be a community. Their most important distinctions were not so much between races and ethnicities, though those of course often collided, but between the respectable people––those who obeyed the law, went to church, and raised their kids right––­ and those we all called “no damned good.” Skin-color or accents couldn’t sort one from the other.  
What most of us learned from living in real diversity in the Valley is that being an American means taking people one at a time.
That world still exists, but it is slowly fading away—in part because of the policies and politics of those to our west, who can see nothing on the other side of the Coast Range.


Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.

Photos: Carr Fire destroys over 900 homes in Redding, California, area; Mendocino Complex fires threaten over 12,000 homes

Minimal relief is on the way for California firefighters battling several massive wildfires that have set large swaths of the state ablaze.
As of Wednesday morning, the deadly Carr Fire in Shasta County had burned nearly 113,000 acres and was 30 percent contained. It first ignited July 23 following the mechanical failure of a vehicle.
Six people have died in the fire, including two firefighters.
The blaze has destroyed 965 residential structures while damaging nearly 180, according to Cal Fire. Sections of several neighborhoods in the city of Redding were completely lost. Over 2,500 structures remain threatened.
It is currently the seventh-most destructive wildfire in California history. 
carr fire 73118
Homes leveled by the Carr Fire line the Lake Keswick Estates area of Redding, Calif., on Friday, July 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters have made up some ground on the blaze in the last several days, but persistent hot, dry and windy weather will pose challenges.
High temperatures in the region will not reach as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit as they did last week, but will still be over 100 F through Friday in Redding, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.
"Over the weekend, a storm system coming onshore in the West will bring temperatures down into the 90s and bring a slight uptick of humidity, but there is no rain expected [for the affected area]," Duffey said.
The wind will be generally light, between 4 and 8 mph out of the south the next couple of days around Redding, according to Duffey. Duffey, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said the weather through the rest of the week won't be ideal for firefighters, but it will be better than it has been.
Evacuation orders have been lifted for Douglas City and portions of Happy Valley, Shasta Lake City and Redding, officials said. 
Carr Fire AP
A structure burns as the Carr Fire races along Highway 299 near Redding, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Farther south in Mendocino County, the River Fire and Ranch Fire were combined into the Mendocino Complex. Both blazes, which began July 27, are threatening more than 12,000 residents in Lake and Mendocino counties. Seven residences have been destroyed.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters have been assigned to the blaze, which is 12 percent contained and has burned more than 80,400 acres. The cause is under investigation.
"The fire continues to burn aggressively when in alignment with wind, fuel and topography," officials said.
Air quality around Redding remains an issue. The public is urged to wear a mask if they plan to be outdoors. 

According to CNBC, California has already spent $115 million since the start of the July 1 fiscal year, about one-fourth of the state's emergency fund budget.
On Saturday, July 28, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency for Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties due to the River, Ranch and Steele fires.
Also on Saturday, Brown also announced that the President Donald Trump signed a presidential emergency declaration that would allow direct federal assistance to further support the communities impacted by the Carr Fire.
mendocino complex western fires
Firefighters gain ground on blazes in central, Southern California
The Ferguson Fire, which has consumed over 58,000 acres near Yosemite National Park, forced the closure of Yosemite Valley on Wednesday, July 25. Two firefighters have died while battling the blaze.
Poor air quality and visibility were attributed to the fire. Officials cautioned park visitors that smoke could be heavy at times.
The area is set to reopen on Friday afternoon, Aug. 3, according to the National Park Service.
The Cranston Fire, burning in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles, is 89 percent contained and has burned over 13,000 acres.
The cause of the blaze has been attributed to arson. Cal Fire officials arrested Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula for allegedly setting multiple fires in southwestern Riverside County on July 25, 2018.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Office lifted evacuation orders for the communities of Pine Cove, Fern Valley, Cedar Glen, and portions of Idyllwild outside of the fire perimeter.
"Good work was done on the northeast portion of the fire where the biggest threat to the community persists," officials said Monday.
Firefighters from across 16 states have made their way to California to provide extra firefighting resources and support. 

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The historic Pioneer Baby's Grave rests among trees scorched by the Carr Fire in Shasta, Calif., on Friday, July 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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Flames from the River Fire lick behind a home near Finley, Calif., on Monday, July 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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A helicopter drops water as the River Fire rages near Finley, Calif., on Monday, July 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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A home burns as the River Fire rages near Finley, Calif., on Monday, July 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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A firefighter walks near flames from the Carr Fire in Redding, Calif., on Saturday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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A wildfire crests over a ridge, threatening a home, bottom right, Monday, July 30, 2018, in Lakeport, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Redding Carr Fire

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