The Massive Clearcutting Above Lake Oroville Can’t Help

By Don Pelton

After sending a few friends a link to a good SacBee article today about the stressed reservoirs in the Feather River watershed above Lake Oroville, one of my friends called my attention to the extensive clearcutting in lands surrounding some of Lake Oroville’s feeder streams up to the southeast of Lake Oroville, all visible in Google Earth (see snapshot below).

Here’s the very informative SacBee article:

Reservoirs feeding Lake Oroville are filled to brim as more rain rolls in

And here’s a snapshot I took a few minutes ago, using Google Earth, showing some of these same areas of the watershed to the east of Lake Oroville, including feeder streams into the Lake.

Clearcutting prevents sequestration of the rainwater and accelerates the runoff, carrying precious soil with it. All of which adds to the already considerable burden on Lake Oroville.

In this snapshot, the light-colored speckled patches upstream from Lake Oroville (clearcut areas) are conspicuous:

Massive_Clearcutting_Above_Lake_Oroville

 


State Was Warned in 2005 About Inadequacy of Emergency Spillway

Oroville_Dam_SpillwayFrom the OrovilleMR:

“More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 130,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.

“Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.

“The groups filed the motion with FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They said that the dam, built and owned by the state of California, and finished in 1968, did not meet modern safety standards because in the event of extreme rain and flooding, fast-rising water would overwhelm the main concrete spillway, then flow down the emergency spillway, and that could cause heavy erosion that would create flooding for communities downstream, but also could cause a failure, known as “loss of crest control.”

Read the full article here.


Steve Bannon Boasts He is a “Leninist” Who Wants to Destroy Government

I was frightened enough when — like a lot of people — I realized that Steve Bannon is actually the President.
Finding out that he also proudly calls himself a “Leninist” doesn’t help at all. Here’s a report by Ronald Radosh of TheDailyBeast:

“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

Shocked, I asked him what he meant.

“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

Read the full article here:


Hope In Dark Times

“Causes and effects assume history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. Sometimes one person inspires a movement, or her words do decades later; sometimes a few passionate people change the world; sometimes they start a mass movement and millions do; sometimes those millions are stirred by the same outrage or the same ideal and change comes upon us like a change of weather. All that these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty are better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.”

From Rebecca Solnit’s “Hope In The Dark

Hope_In_The_Dark


A Moment of Genuine Sweetness


The Sometimes Huge Power Of Small Acts of Resistance

small_actsWe were not among the millions of people who took to the streets of the world yesterday, in the most inspiring outburst of protest in my long lifetime … against everything vile that Donald Trump stands for.

If you were among the demonstrators, I’m inclined to ask you: Did you feel like a small part of a great movement, or a great part of a great movement?

Did it feel — from the inside — as powerful as it looked from the outside?

If you are in doubt — as I have sometimes been about my own activism — about the effectiveness of your small action, consider this beautiful bit of history by Rebecca Solnit, the best writer on hope at work in the world today, in her collection of essays, “Hope In The Dark“:

Twenty-one years ago this June, a million people gathered in Central Park to demand a nuclear freeze. They didn’t get it. The movement was full of people who believed they’d realize their goal in a few years and then go home. Many went home disappointed or burned out. But in less than a decade, major nuclear arms reductions were negotiated, helped along by European antinuclear movements and the impetus they gave Gorbachev. Since then, the issue has fallen off the map and we have lost much of what was gained. The US never ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the Bush administration is planning to resume the full-fledged nuclear testing halted in 1991, to resume manufacture, to expand the arsenal, and perhaps even to use it in once-proscribed ways.

It’s always too soon to go home. And it’s always too soon to calculate effect. I once read an anecdote by someone in Women Strike for Peace, the first great antinuclear movement in the United States in 1963, the one that did contribute to a major victory: the end of aboveground nuclear testing with its radioactive fallout that was showing up in mother’s milk and baby teeth. She told of how foolish and futile she felt standing in the rain one morning protesting at the Kennedy White House. Years later she heard Dr. Benjamin Spock — one of the most high-profile activists on the issue then — say that the turning point for him was seeing a small group of women standing in the rain, protesting at the White House. If they were so passionately committed, he thought, he should give the issue more consideration himself.

Never question your commitment, or the value of even your smallest acts and gestures in the service of your beliefs.

 


I Fine Myself $2 for Using The T-Word

Trump_SleepingI fined myself $2 this morning for using the T-word twice before I finished discussing Kelly Ann Conway’s argument with Chuck Todd yesterday, during which she tried to redefine the Administration’s lies as “alternative facts.” She was responding to Todd’s reference to them as “falsehoods.” (The fines accumulating in our T-Jar will eventually get donated to an organization doing good work, preferably an organization that launches lawsuits, such as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU or the NRDC).

“Alternative facts?” Did T call a cabinet meeting in order to come up with that laughable euphemism? Doesn’t the President have more pressing matters to concern himself with than his image? I think we all know the answer to that.

 
I’ve never seen T look more strained and stressed out, more besieged. It occurs to me that the ultimate torture for an obsessive compulsive narcissist like T is to be President of the United States with an unfavorability rating of 53% (net negative favorability), an historically aroused populace and an abused media growing more hostile to him by the hour.
 
The amount of ridicule coming at T is worse than the torture implied by Johnny Carson’s old gag: “Mmmmmay the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.”
 
No wonder he looks strained.
 
And this only the beginning.
 
Only day three.

Politically, the Clintons Are Done

A NY Times article today says that Hillary Clinton blames FBI Director Comey for her loss. I understand her complaint, but her loss was multifaceted. The Comey sabotage was a factor, but so was her campaign’s failure to focus more on the Dem platform (partially crafted by Sanders’ followers) in order to portray her as an agent of change (rather than, as most people saw her, the candidate of the status quo establishment, or Obama 2.0). There were other contributing factors as well, such as the Democratic Party’s abandonment of the middle class over the last several decades (see Thomas Frank’s new book “Listen, Liberals”).

Democrats (if they hope to have electoral success in the future) must do some deep self-reflective soul searching, and especially connect with their historically traditional working and middle class roots. Merely blaming one hostile opponent outside the Democratic Party, however influential, doesn’t begin to get to the depth of the work they need to do.

With all due respect, the Clintons — after last Tuesday — will not play an appreciable role in the future of the Democratic Party, if it is to be successful electorally.

Politically, they’re done.


In Trump Country, the Bucolic Sounds of Honey-Lab Explosions

Only in a surrealistic election year such as this could an otherwise ironic remark like the following — by Sherry Turkle — be read as straight-up un-ironic truth:

” … that this man who stood against democratic institutions is also a misogynist is a stroke of good fortune. The next time we may not be so lucky.”

(From “We Need to Talk about Donald“)

We live in Trump-country, a red county in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, near — but oh so far politically — from the coast. In a recent “President’s Day Parade,” our guests from the Bay Area got depressed when a pro-Trump display passed by.

It’s mostly peaceful here, save for the occasional wintertime flock of shrieking geese flying overhead and the bucolic sounds of butane honey-lab houses exploding.

Trump-love makes no sense to me, except as a sort derangement. We have some family further up the West Coast, a group of devout Christians, one of whom (Facebook informs me) recently joined “Prophets for Trump.” I’m still trying to parse the morality of that.

Meantime, what will happen to the children?

 


Trump’s Business Model is a Zero-Sum Game,, Which Means …

Which means, if Trump wins, everyone else loses.


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