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Monday, November 06, 2017


We have all watched in horror as California has been going up in the flames of its wildfires. Nothing can remedy the tragic loss of life – more than 40 people have died. There are no words for this.
In addition to this great loss of life, the fires have claimed much of the storied California wine country. This is a far-reaching disaster for California and the rest of the nation. It may surprise some to learn that California ranks 4th in the world in wine production after France, Italy and Spain. Here are a few statistics, supplied by California Wines – Media and Trade:
• 85% of all US wines come from California
• $114 billion in national economic impact
• 325,000 jobs in California and 726,000 jobs nationally
• $17.2 billion in state wages and $34.9 billion in national wages
• $7.2 billion spent by 23.6 million tourists in the state of California
• $1.6 billion in export revenue
• $249 million in charitable contributions by California wine industry

Of course there's more, but need we go on? The wine industry is a huge part of California's economy and not an insignificant part of the national economy. The great wine regions of Sonoma and Napa counties have grave and extensive damage. It will be decades before there is meaningful restoration here.
And that is the least of this disaster. At least 42 lives were lost. Heartbreaking stories reach us of families whose children did not make it to safety, the fires were spreading so rapidly.
Former Senator Tom Tancredo noted that the Forest Service failed in not harvesting trees that were overgrown, a condition which sets the stage for uncontrollable forest fires. There is a formula for the optimum number of trees per acre. For some reason this was thwarted by EPA regulations intended to shut down the timber industry. Another instance of the unhappy result of over-regulation.
At this point estimates are in the neighborhood of $85 billion in damages. Some 57,000 homes and other structures have been destroyed, with at least 75,000 people evacuated. In addition to the actual damages to existing property, there will be enormous clean-up costs in an effort that could take years.
At the center of this disaster is a lone guy. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has apparently confirmed that an illegal alien, Jesus Fabian Gonzales, whom the agency has sought to detain at least five times, was responsible for setting the fire which resulted in this devastation. Although it was 78 degrees F. the night he started the fire, he did so on the pretext of needing to "keep warm". Gonzalez has been arrested. (Of course the real blame should be reserved for so-called "Alt-Right" hate groups who have noted this development.) Each time California, in keeping with its status as a "sanctuary state", refused to cooperate. Sonoma County, perhaps hardest hit, designates itself a "sanctuary county". In fact, Sonoma County denied no fewer than 491 detainer requests from ICE in 2014-2015 and were still denying them this year. What are the people of Sonoma County thinking? The state government shielded Gonzales from apprehension . To borrow a line from that old 60's Communist, Pete Seeger, ". . . when will they ever learn?" He had already been deported twice before, as a matter of fact, which gives one the impression that deportation is not the way to go in any case. Eternal detention would seem to be the better option, depending upon the crime, if the illegal alien is found guilty. It is important to note that thus far, Gonzalez has not been tried on this charge, so is presumed innocent and thus the above speculative, although serious.
But one might have thought public consciousness would have been raised by the death of Kate Steinle a few years ago, who, you may recall, was an innocent young woman touring San Francisco with her parents. She was randomly shot and killed by an illegal alien. But no. Californians seem more devoted to giving sanctuary to the worst criminal element that may drift to its shores than to its own people. Now they will pay a price again.
There is a good case to be made for excising California from the United States republic. If they don't see fit to formally secede on their own, I suggest we explore this route. After all, California has exempted itself from our laws and made their own. This is a form of secession. They might be expected to "rejoin" the union for a time now – just in order to get some federal help to recover from the wreckage that resulted from their flouting of US immigration law, but I would say, much as my heart goes out to those innocent people whose lives have been destroyed by Mr. Gonzales, that we just say no. Treat them as a foreign country out of favor with us at this time and turn away. The people of California have decided to pursue independence, whether or not they have had the courage to declare it openly. They have voted for a government that has no use for American culture or law. Let them go. It grieves us to think of a beautiful and abundant "golden state" in ruins and virtually in a state of anarchy, but this was their choice. Maybe in better times to come California will want to be a part of America again. That would mean abiding by our laws and respecting federal agencies set up to guard our borders and our national security. But for now, this once lovely place is in a kind of hell, literally and figuratively.

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