Post-Quarantine: Day 186

2020 just keeps getting wilder. Seems like only yesterday that 2012 was supposed to be some kind of a big deal. Guess the Mayans were off by 8 years. Not too bad of a mathematical error given the time frame.

The White Riots

The protesting and rioting is still going strong. The rioting continues to consist of a very particular demographic:

More rich kids destroying other people’s neighborhoods before heading back to their parent’s gated communities to play polo on the weekend. One of her fellow rioters was evidently a jet setting model. Of course none of them will face much in the way of repercussions because of their family wealth and connections. This sounds a bit like that white privilege we’ve been hearing about lately. I love the last sentence of this article:

Here’s a bunch of upstanding white youths harassing and blocking a black woman’s vehicle until she finally gets out and chews them out like their parents probably should have at some point:

Good job white kids. You’re really out here observing the spirit of Black Lives Matter by harassing black people. At least you’re not burning down black-owned businesses and ruining people’s livelihoods:

Great work, folks. We’re really making a difference out there. This is exactly the way to go about enacting change and making the world a better place. At least his insurance will pay for it, right? That’s been the justification for a lot of this rioting, after all. The rioters are all adults with adult responsibilities who obviously know how insurance works, right? About that:

Wait. What? Insurance isn’t money that falls from the sky and makes building magically come back like in Minecraft or something? Who would have though literal kids don’t understand anything about money or insurance? Not only are most people not going to get close to the full value of their ruined property, but insurance rates in these areas might skyrocket, meaning they’re being doubly screwed if they do decide to rebuild.

California Fires And Gavin Newsom

California is burning again, which has become more of an annual occurrence than the already all too common droughts. As has been the case the last few times it’s happened, it’s partially the fault of climate change, and mostly the fault of terrible governance.

I briefly hinted at this in the beginning of my 1/15/20 post talking about the Australia fires. These fires happen, and the finger is continually pointed at climate change, while all the other controllable factors are all but ignored. Climate change is a factor, but these fires have happened since before humans were even around, and don’t just happen because not enough people drive a Prius.

Take Australia for example. 46 million acres burned in the 2019-2020 fires. 94 million acres burned back in 2002. 290 million acres burned back in 1974-1975. 110 million acres burned in 1969-1970. 99 million acres burned in 1968-1969. Even all the way back in 1851, 12 million acres burned.

To put this in perspective, thus far the 2020 California wildfires have destroyed 3.4 million acres, with 4.6 million acres burned in total on the west coast.

These fires will naturally happen, climate change or not. Here’s a chart from NASA’s website illustrating the general consensus that global warming slowly started around 1950:

Massive fires didn’t start happening in 1950. Lightning has been a common factor in wildfires since the dawn of time. Wildfires have been such a regular occurrence that certain plants adapted via evolution to survive them, or even thrive in their wake. These plants are called Pyrophytes.

So what is the point of all this information?

Every time one of these fires happens the political narrative is “This is because of climate change”. Well yes, but mostly no. Climate change increases the likelihood by some minute percentile, but it’s never the direct cause. Unless the temperature gets so hot that things start to spontaneously combust (including us), this will continue to be the case.

There is always a human contingent to how these fires start. Many California fires over the last decade have been started by rogue campfires, fireworks, downed power lines, even a few gender reveal parties involving explosives (cringe). All of these fires were ultimately preventable, climate change or not.

Why focus solely on climate change every time this happens? It provides a slick way for politicians to absolve themselves of any responsibility. It’s akin to blaming a gun for a murder, completely ignoring the fact that a human made the choice to commit the act. Politically, it’s far easier to direct fear at a gun and talk about control, rather than attempt to highlight and fix the underlying human factors behind violent crime.

Yes climate change is real. Poor forest management is also real:

That second article is from 2017, predating the last two major fire events that have happened in California. Dry conditions and high temperatures weren’t a factor in the severity of the 2017 fires. Poor forest management was. This has been common knowledge for years, but is continually ignored by California politicians.

Blaming California fires on climate change every time they happen is doing nothing to lessen the chances of them happening year after year. Pointing the finger at climate change is a way of making these particular fires a “global” issue instead of acknowledging them as a California issue. It’s perfectly fine to address climate change, but using it as a scapegoat becomes ridiculous when there are other actions you can take to lessen their severity and decrease their regularity.

You also probably shouldn’t be using climate change as a scapegoat when you’re continually contributing to it:

Fracking is linked in methane spikes in the atmosphere. According to the below article: “…methane heats up the climate over 80 times more than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere..”

Newsom has a pretty long history of not taking responsibility for things that happen under his watch. Prior to being governor of California, he was mayor of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011, and lieutenant governor of CA from 2011 to 2019. The homeless problem in California exploded during that time and very little was done to effectively remedy the situation. Soon after becoming governor he had this to say:

This is categorically false. The number of out-of-state homeless in California varies between 8 and 10 percent on any given year. Here is the data from 2009/2011, 2015, and 2019:

Lets put on our big boy pants and start managing those forests and stop pointing the finger. Maybe even start tackling that homeless issue you’re been sleeping on for almost 15 years. Thank you, sir.

Trump And The Nobel Prize

Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Price recently, and people are none too happy about it. He is “literally Hitler” after all.

The news comes after two peace treaties were established, one between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and one between Israel and Bahrain.

Realistically, this is just a gesture and he won’t end up winning the prize. Firstly, the nomination process is a bit casual. There’s a huge pool of individuals who may nominate anyone at any time. The nomination came from just 2 guys in parliament in Sweden and Norway. There are also 318 people in the running for the prize this year. The whole process seems to be less official than most TV Awards™ ceremonies.

Secondly, the treaties thus far have been between countries that were never at war. Not that it’s an empty gesture necessarily, but not exactly one that would warrant a peace prize. It’s also a bit early to be celebrating. There was talk about a nomination back in 2018 over North Korean peace talks, but nothing came of that. Not much came of the peace talks either, seeing as how North Korea is still on guard, so the talks of a Peace Prize were a bit premature.

Ultimately, it’s ridiculous to give a peace prize to anyone whose job involves deciding which countries to bomb on any given day. There are better individuals to award these prizes to. No U.S. president should realistically be eligible, seeing as how we bomb more countries than anyone else on the map year after year.

These aren’t exactly peacekeeping guys we keep putting into office. There are plenty of countries that manage to go a full year without bombing any other country. As a matter of fact, the Nobel committee has regrets about awarding Obama the prize back in 2009:

I’m sure the committee wants to save face, and doesn’t want to risk giving the award to someone who might not end up living up to the accolade again. This tweet represents how low the “peace” bar is, however:

We’re bombing seven countries currently, but a record was broken because we didn’t start bombing an eighth one. Good job, everybody. World peace is right around the corner.