Lazy Caturday Reads: Bookstore Cats (And News)

Good Afternoon!!

California is burning and we have no national leadership. The current death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California stands at 71, with more than 1,000 missing. Trump is going to California, not to help or comfort, but to educate politicians and firefighters about what they did and are doing wrong. Politico:

Trump said he will be meeting Saturday with Gov. Jerry Brown, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and emergency workers across the state.

“I want to be with the firefighters and the FEMA first responders,” Trump said, anticipating that he would likely be returning to the White House at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, “or something like that.”

The president also hinted at some potentially confrontational discussions he might engage in Saturday with California’s elected leaders, including on the state’s forest management efforts.

“I’ve been saying that for a long time this could have been a lot different situation, but the one thing is that everybody now knows that this is what we have to be doing, and there’s no question about it,” Trump said. “It should have been done many years ago, but i think everybody’s on the right side. It’s a big issue.”

Yesterday Trump explained his theory to Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

So is Trump bringing a rake with him?

Read About the Wildfires

Reuters: Teams search for 1,000 missing in California’s deadliest wildfire.

PARADISE, Calif., Nov 17 (Reuters) – Forensic recovery teams searched for more victims in the charred wreckage of the northern California town of Paradise on Saturday as the number of people listed as missing in the state’s deadliest wildfire topped 1,000.

Remains of at least 71 people have been recovered in and around the small Sierra foothills town 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco. It was home to nearly 27,000 residents before it was largely incinerated by the blaze on the night of Nov. 8.

Adams Avenue Book Store in San Diego, CA, Bartleby

The disaster already ranks among the deadliest U.S. wildfires since the turn of the last century. Eighty-seven people perished in the Big Burn firestorm that swept the Northern Rockies in August of 1910. Minnesota’s Cloquet Fire in October of 1918 killed 450 people.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has blamed the recent spate of fires on forest mismanagement, was due to visit the fire zones on Saturday to meet displaced residents. Governor Jerry Brown and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom planned to join Trump on his tour.

Authorities attribute the high death toll from the blaze – dubbed “Camp Fire” – partly to the speed with which flames raced through the town with little advance warning, driven by howling winds and fueled by drought-desiccated scrub and trees.

More than a week later, firefighters have managed to carve containment lines around 45 percent of the blaze’s perimeter. The fire covered 142,000 acres (57,000 hectares), fire officials said.

Besides the toll on human life, property losses from the blaze make it the most destructive in California history, posing the additional challenge of providing long-term shelter for many thousands of displaced residents.

The BBC has a timeline of the destruction of Paradise, CA: California wildfires: The day Paradise burned down. Here’s the introduction:

“Heavenly father, please help us.”

Sitting in the back seat of the car her husband was driving, Brynn Parrott Chatfield’s entire field of vision was filled with flames as she prayed.

Only the thin strip of road in front of them remained unburned.

Shades of orange, white, purple and pink burst out on both sides, hundreds of small fires all burning at the same time, low on the ground and up and over the trees.

“Please, help us to be safe.”

A wave of embers rose up from the surface of the road and struck their front windscreen. Brynn’s husband Jeremy drove calmly on down the middle of the road; no-one would be coming towards them into the fire.

“I’m thankful for Jeremy and his willingness to be brave…”

By now, no road was visible, and only a dense orange cloud could be seen in front of the car. Then suddenly, it cleared, and the fires seemed to scatter.

Clear skies opened up, the last embers bounced off the windscreen and the fire was finally behind them.

As a helicopter flew overhead, carrying water to try and douse the flames, Jeremy and Brynn knew they had made it out alive.

Soon after, almost nothing would remain of their hometown, Paradise, and the fire they fled in north-east California would become the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.

This is the story of how the fire spread.

More reads on the California disaster:

The Guardian: California’s DIY firefighters battle alone as the richest hire private teams.

The New York Times: As Inmates, They Fight California’s Fires. As Ex-Convicts, Their Firefighting Prospects Wilt.

The New York Times: Air Quality in California: Devastating Fires Lead to a New Danger.

The Los Angeles Times: California fire: If you stay, you’re dead. How a Paradise nursing home evacuated.

The New York Times: Everyone Is Talking About the California Wildfires. Read These Books on How to Fight Them.

Trump Is Fueling White Supremacist Extremism

David Neiwert at The Washington Post: Right-wing extremists are already threatening violence over a Democratic House. The introduction:

Seeking a more lenient sentence for Patrick Eugene Stein’s plot to murder hundreds of Somali immigrants in a small Kansas town, Stein’s attorneys turned to a novel strategy: They blamed the inspiration for his actions on Donald Trump.

“The court cannot ignore the circumstances of one of the most rhetorically mold-breaking, violent, awful, hateful and contentious presidential elections in modern history, driven in large measure by the rhetorical China shop bull who is now our president,” the lawyers wrote.

Stein and his two cohorts planned their attack to take place the day after the November 2016 election. Anticipating a Hillary Clinton victory, the three Kansans wanted to make a violent first strike against her presidency by setting off a set of Timothy McVeigh-style truck bombs at a Muslim immigrant community in Garden City, then gunning down survivors as they fled.

The plot had been exposed, and the men arrested, a few weeks before they intended to carry it out. It took place amid a national environment in which far-right militiamen had been vowing a violent resistance to a potential Clinton administration. That resistance was, at least temporarily, mooted by Trump’s victory.

But those same rumblings can now be heard from the very same far-right factions, likewise threatening violence, in response to this month’s takeover of the House of Representatives by Democrats. There is legitimate reason for concern that right-wing terrorist violence will continue and perhaps increase — and that extremists could soon begin targeting politicians in office, especially if Trump singles them out for scorn.

Read the Rest at the WaPo. Neiwert is the author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Lucian K. Truscott IV at Raw Story: Donald Trump isn’t our president — he is the Jefferson Davis of a new red state confederacy in a slow-motion civil war.

In 1861, they were cadets from the Citadel Military Academy in South Carolina. On January 9, of that year, they were manning an artillery battery on Morris Island, an uninhabited island in Charleston Harbor when they fired on the United States steamship Star of the West, which was attempting to resupply the American garrison at Fort Sumter. The shots they fired that day, along with the bombardment of the fort by the Confederate States Army beginning on April 12 of that year, are generally considered by historians to be the first shots fired in what became the American Civil War.

In 2017, they were members of the so-called “alt-right” — white supremacists, neo-nazis, neo-confederates, white nationalists, and neo-fascists who were in Charlottesville for the so-called “Unite the Right” rally. On the night of August 11, 2017, as many as 200 of them marched carrying burning torches through the campus of the University of Virginia chanting white supremacist slogans such as “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.” When they reached the statue of Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, they clashed with a group of students who had surrounded the statue. The alt-right demonstrators swung and threw their torches and used pepper spray against the counter-protestors, injuring several.

The next day, the alt-right demonstrators marched through Charlottesville carrying Confederate and Nazi flags chanting “white lives matter,” “Jewish media is going down,” and “make America great again.” Many demonstrators were armed, some with semi-automatic assault-style rifles. They clashed again with counter-protestors, and at 1:45 p.m., a white supremacist demonstrator identified as James Alex Fields Jr. drove his 2010 Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protestors, injuring 19 and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

She was not the first to die in the new civil war. Already dead were black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina; a native of India in Olathe, Kansas; an Army lieutenant in College Park, Maryland; and many others.

But the death of Heather Heyer would become a focus of the violence and killing in the new civil war, because President Trump would put it there.

More at Raw Story (originally pubABlished at Salon).

More to Explore:

The Washington Post: Confederate pride and prejudice. Some white Northerners see a flag rooted in racism as a symbol of patriotism.

HuffPost: D.C.’s Neo-Nazi Brothers Were Hiding In Plain Sight.

ABC Action News Tampa: 39 suspected gang members charged in major drug, gun trafficking investigation in Pasco.

Jackson Free Press: Hyde-Smith Accepts $2,700 Donation from Notorious White Supremacist.

Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince

Yesterday someone leaked the news that CIA has concluded that MBS ordered the murder of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month in Turkey. The New York Times reports:

Bücherdorf Mühlbeck, Germany

The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to American officials.

The C.I.A. made the assessment based on the crown prince’s control of Saudi Arabia, which is such that the killing would not have taken place without his approval, and has buttressed its conclusion with two sets of crucial communications: intercepts of the crown prince’s calls in the days before the killing, and calls by the kill team to a senior aide to the crown prince.

The C.I.A. has believed for weeks that Prince Mohammed was culpable in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing but had been hesitant to definitively conclude that he directly ordered it. The agency has passed that assessment on to lawmakers and Trump administration officials.

The change in C.I.A. thinking came as new information emerged, officials said. The evidence included an intercept showing a member of the kill team calling an aide to Prince Mohammed and saying “tell your boss” that the mission was accomplished. Officials cautioned, however, that the new information is not direct evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the assassination, which was carried out in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Undoubtedly the leak was motivated by Trump’s defense of MBS and his suggestion that another long-time U.S. resident Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen should be handed over to Turkey most likely to be tortured and killed.

NBC News: If Trump sacrifices Fethullah Gulen to protect Saudi Arabia, he will make a mockery of the U.S. extradition system.

In the unending swirl of shocking statements and decisions by the Trump administration, the latest scoop by NBC News could easily get lost. But it is nonetheless jaw dropping to hear reports that the administration may be thinking about surrendering to Turkish demands to extradite a long-time U.S. resident for the sake of placating Turkey and protecting Saudi Arabia in the wake of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder.

According to four people interviewed by NBC, the White House has instructed the Justice Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to find a way to remove Fethullah Gulen, a former ally-turned-foe of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan claims Gulen was the mastermind behind a failed coupagainst him in 2016. The elderly Gulen has lived in rural Pennsylvania for close to 20 years. He is a green card holder, or permanent resident of the U.S., and he adamantly denies Turkey’s accusations. But Trump presumably hopes that if he turns Gulen over to Turkey, Erdogan will return the favor by easing his campaign against Saudi Arabia, an important American ally that has been under intense scrutiny following the Khashoggi killing.

U.S. authorities have already reviewed Turkey’s two-year-old extradition request and found it without merit. But Trump, in an effort to help Saudi Arabia diffuse the Khashoggi crisis, is weighing whether or not to both sacrifice a man and make a mockery of the extradition system.

More Stories to Check Out

The Washington Post: Trump says he’ll speak with CIA about Khashoggi killing.

Politico: Trump hails Saudis as ‘spectacular ally’ in wake of CIA Khashoggi reports.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread.


33 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads: Bookstore Cats (And News)”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice weekend, Sky Dancers!

    • dakinikat says:

      Love the bookstore cats! I used to dream of owning a little independent bookstore up in an old Colorado mining town filled with all those books about Colorado ghost towns and every other interesting odd book.

  2. dakinikat says:

    good gawdesses what a moron this man is!

    • NW Luna says:

      I hope someone handed him a rake.

    • NW Luna says:

      It’s unfortunate that Trump said that, since he lies 99% of the time. In this case it’s likely true that climate change is a minor player in these catastrophic fires.

      Here’s something from Professor Cliff Mass. He’s written about the serious and nearly overwhelming problems from climate change, but has no patience with sloppy science and blaming everything solely on climate change when there are other contributing causes.

      Why did the Catastrophic Camp Fire Start Where it Did?

      It appears that the fire was initiated by a failing PG&E power line in the Feather River Canyon just to the north of the town of Pulga (see map with arrow below). The time of failure was roughly 6:15 AM November 8th, with fire reported 15 minutes later. …So why did the power line fail where it did? Could there have been much stronger winds there? Was the location of failure one of particular vulnerability?

      Here he goes into a technical discussion with charts & maps, best viewed at link.

      they can make use of more sophisticated wind forecasting/analysis technologies, using ultra-high resolution models (e.g. grid spacing of say 50 meters) to determine where the hot spots are and how they relate to the large-scale winds. … Modern weather prediction technology provides a powerful tool for making decisions about de-energizing power lines and for warning vulnerable areas. The loss of life for events such as at Paradise can be reduced greatly with the application of this technology.

      And, of course, there is something else….the rapid growth of people living at the vulnerable wildland-urban interface.

      And I won’t get into the global warming aspects of this event (which I believe are quite minor). I will talk about this in a future blog [post].

  3. OG says:

    Can’t wait to read what happens next. Hard to think it will be anything good but I keep hoping

  4. NW Luna says:

    The smoke from the California wildfires near Paradise, CA is producing the greatest air quality health crisis in the modern history of California. Schools, universities, and sports events are being cancelled.

    Although the terrible loss of life directly caused by wildfires in and near Paradise should not be minimized in any way, the health impacts of smoke will be profound, with millions of people being exposed to high concentrations of wood smoke. Hospitalizations will surely increase and some increase mortality of vulnerable populations should be expected.

    …If young, healthy individuals are being sickened, can you image the impacts of those that are vulnerable?

    The current air quality conditions around the Bay area are pretty extreme, with much of San Francisco and neighboring areas in the very unhealthy range (200-300). Looking at data around the world, it appears that San Francisco now has worse air quality than any major metropolitan area in the world, worse than even Beijing and Mumbai.

    • bostonboomer says:

      My sister lives in Sacramento. I just talked to her this morning. They are 90 miles from the Camp fire, and the air quality is really bad. She was in SF a couple of days ago, and it’s bad but they are further away from the fire.

      • NW Luna says:

        For a few days this last summer Seattle air was worse than Beijing’s from Washington and Canadian wildfires. It was awful — so thick I could see hazy smoke down the street just between us and two houses away. I’d hate to be in California now. Seriously, they should be airdropping masks.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I remember when you told us about that. It seems that masks aren’t that healthy. People should stay indoors, according to health experts.

          Beilenson said the masks don’t fit children and men with beards, and can be dangerous for those with heart and respiratory diseases. The masks can make it more difficult to breathe because of carbon dioxide buildup, he said.

          “Thats a good 50 plus of the population that couldn’t benefit from them,” he said.

          Though some healthy adults could benefit from wearing them, the face masks offer too much of a false sense of security and they would need to be fitted specifically for each person, Beilenson said.

          “I saw a young woman was wearing an N95 mask and running full speed through a park— again, a false sense of security,” he said.

          Workers who need to be outside for extended periods of time are the only ones who really benefit from the masks, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration already requires those employees to wear them, Beilenson said.

          “By far the most important thing for anyone across the age spectrum and health condition spectrum is not to go outdoors, and if you need to, make it short and don’t exert yourself,” he said. “Bottom line.”

          • NW Luna says:

            Yes, they need to fit right, and people need to follow the fit instructions which aren’t that hard. An off-the-shelf mask won’t fit everyone. No one should be exercising in them if at all possible.

            But they do work for at least 50% of the population, and they do offer some protection. They are definitely better than nothing. I don’t think they should be dismissed.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    The “president” is a fucking moron.

  7. NW Luna says:

    Blood money.

    the president had already been shown evidence of the prince’s alleged involvement in the killing, and privately he remains skeptical, Trump aides said. He has also looked for ways to avoid pinning the blame on Mohammed, the aides said.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-says-hell-speak-with-cia-about-khashoggi-killing/2018/11/17/f5150774-ea72-11e8-bd89-eecf3b178206_story.html?utm_term=.9d72ec19b446

  8. NW Luna says:

    Good goddess — the C-section rate has just about doubled in the last 15 years.

    Around the globe 21 percent of babies, or nearly 30 million, are delivered by Caesarean section, according to research from 169 countries published in the Lancet. That figure, from 2015, represents a near doubling of C-section births worldwide since 2000, when there were 16 million such deliveries, or 12 percent of live births. Childbirth experts say ­C-sections would account for about 10 to 15 percent of the babies delivered if they were done only because of complications.

    C-sections tended to be underused in poor countries and overused in higher-income countries.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-big-number–21-percent-of-babies-are-born-by-c-section-nearly-double-the-rate-in-2000/2018/11/16/ae539bfe-e8ef-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html?utm_term=.31fb973e9278

  9. bostonboomer says:

  10. OG says:

    They were thinking about Trump when they invented the systems of checks and balances.
    Almost two years and we are not at war. Scary ride so far. I think the world and us will survive Trump. But I have always had a outlook that things will work out. It is a personality disorder. I have to be aware of my disorder and be careful to keep myself out of unprepared distasters.

  11. roofingbird says:

    He is balancing the desperation of CA people, who need FEMA, against the idea that it’s a very good time to shut down the government, if he doesn’t get his wall.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Of course this is why he picked Whitaker.

    Trump says he wouldn’t stop acting attorney general from curtailing Mueller probe

    “Look, it’s going to be up to him . . . I would not get involved,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

    “So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” Trump said, misspelling Schiff’s last name.

    [Mueller, however, was twice confirmed by the Senate to serve as FBI director — in 2001 and 2011.]

    The lawmaker responded sarcastically in a tweet of his own: “Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”