An old Indian trick

As wise stewards of the land, North America’s Indians routinely started forest fires. They wanted grazing grounds for the animals they hunted, and open spaces to live and hunt on. So before Columbus arrived there was a lot less forested land than we have today.

The Europeans put an end to the Indian fires, and for centuries harvested the forests for timber. But that has ended in many parts of the country, California in particular. After the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt using lumber from the Santa Cruz forest, just south of the city. But I don’t believe it’s been harvested since.

It’s in flames right now, with 70,000 evacuated, including four members of my family, who are staying with Babbie and I. There are no fire breaks in this forest, so the fire is only 7% contained. The forecast calls for another dry lightning storm. The first one started these fires a few days ago.

If the Indians managed the land, the fires they started would have resulted in the fire breaks necessary to stop the spread of a forest fire. Or if this forest was managed according to the best practice, limited timber cutting would have been allowed, creating man-made fire breaks.

But because the state of California is governed by lunatics, it just burns.

President Trump, environmentalist

Alaska’s Pebble Mine is a world class deposit of copper and gold, and its enormous wealth would justify a billion dollars worth of environmental protections. Such precautions might allow responsible development of these ores, but in the case of Pebble, other considerations come into play.

Pebble happens to have the misfortune of being smack dab in the middle of the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world’s premiere salmon fishery. The road necessary for development would run along the pristine northern shore of Lake Iliamna, the largest lake in Alaska, and the third largest entirely in the United States. Iliamna is home to not only abundant salmon and grayling, but big rainbow trout, reaching 28″ in size. It is a sportsman’s paradise, and was home to Alaska’s 4th Governor, Jay Hammond and his wife Bella.

There’s plenty of gold and copper elsewhere in North America. Pebble does contain significant amounts of rare earth minerals palladium and rhenium, but we are not reliant on China for these valuable minerals. Chile is the source of most of the world’s rhenium, and major palladium deposits are in South Africa, Montana and Ontario. The development of Pebble is not a national necessity.

Especially when compared with other prospects in Alaska. The great Alaska peninsula of North America was formed by the collision of various tectonic plates, hundreds of millions of years ago. These collisions spawned eruptions of minerals from the earth’s core, and much of Alaska is heavily mineralized.

The most promising mineral prospect in Alaska is the Ambler mining district, in the northwest of the state. Here are abundant signs of gold, copper, silver, molybdenum and all the critical rare earths. President Trump is actively supporting this development, and the 212 mile Ambler Access road is well along in the planning process. Environmental groups have filed suit to halt this road, but will have a hard time preventing it.

Pebble lies within the jurisdiction of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, which is staunchly opposed to it. Ambler is in the boundaries of the NANA Native Corporation, and the Alaska Natives of NANA will be partners with the mining companies in Ambler. Also within the NANA region is Red Dog, the largest zinc mine in the world, which has operated safely for 36 years. NANA and its shareholders benefit from this mine both financially and in employment. Red Dog is the model for Ambler.

The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., is urging his father to oppose Pebble, and may very well succeed. The President is all for resource development, and exploiting the great natural wealth of this country.

But not everywhere, under every circumstance. Pebble may be one of the exceptions.

This appeared on August 17th in the American Thinker.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

Four years ago conservative Republican State Senator Cathy Giessel ran for reelection in south Anchorage. Her Democrat opponent was the President of the Alaska AFL-CIO, Vince Beltrami, and this election had the highest profile of any in the state. Beltrami accused Giessel of “name calling” and said “… she didn’t have a record to run on.” Giessel won with 52% of the vote, and it seemed significant at the time. But it wasn’t, not really.

A central issue in the race was the future of the Permanent Fund Dividend. Giessel ran a television commercial in which she pledged to the voters that she believed in the PFD, and would fight to protect it. Beltrami, like most Democrats, was ambivalent, at best. Alaska Democrats, generally, believe the government is better at spending this money than the public. Many low income Alaskans do not, in fact, spend their dividend money wisely. The government would do a better job, in Democrats’ minds.

Fast forward to today, and Vince Beltrami is one of Giessel’s strongest supporters. His union members are canvassing the district on her behalf. Union money helps fund her campaign. What has changed?

Cathy Giessel has changed. As Senate President, she led the fight against Governor Dunleavy’s spending vetoes. This meant that money that was intended for the dividend went to state spending instead. And this translated into a dividend of $992.

On Tuesday the voters of south Anchorage will decide if Giessel should be reelected. Her opponent in the Republican primary, Roger Holland, has promised to work to restore the full dividend.

Just like four years ago, it seems to be a very significant race. This time, if Giessel loses, it most certainly will be.

A virtual convention, a virtual campaign and a virtual candidate.

In the great test of its ability to create an alternate reality, the media is trying to convince the American people that Joe Biden is an actual candidate for the Presidency. But he’s not, not really. He’s a figurehead, a puppet, a placeholder. When the time is right he’ll be discarded, and Kamala Harris will become the actual President of the United States.

But the media has squandered its credibility, and doesn’t have the power to pull this off. Reality will win out, and Trump will continue his war with the ruling elite for four more years.

The elites will not surrender. They will go kicking and screaming, and in their desperation will destroy the institutions that they control. The lawyers and educators and entertainers, right along with the media that enables them, will never surrender. They are morally superior to the rest of us, and therefor entitled to rule. That moral superiority is the key to their self-worth, and essential to their concept of themselves. They’ll never let it go.

It’s a great time to be an American, and November 3rd can’t come soon enough.

Alaska’s Rare Earth Pebble Mine

Alaska’s Pebble Mine is in the news, as Donald Trump Junior urges his father to oppose it.  That won’t happen, in my opinion, because the Pebble Mine should be opened in the interest of national security.  For President Trump, our freedom from foreign suppliers is in the national security interest.  Pebble should be opened, if for no other reason, for its rare earth minerals.

Pebble is one of only two massive deposits of a particular type of ore.  The other deposit is in Indonesia, and is mined by Freeport-McMoran.  These ores are valuable mainly for their copper and gold content.  But Pebble has more than copper and gold, it has palladium and rhenium, rare earth minerals which are essential to high tech manufacturing.

Pebble can be safely developed, just as the Red Dog mine a few hundred miles north and west has been.  Red Dog is the largest zinc mine in the world.  It’s in the middle of the Alaska wilderness.  It has been in full operation for 34 years, with no environmental harm.  It’s on land owned by an Alaska Native Corporation, and the Natives of this region benefit handsomely from the profits of the mine.  420 people are employed there, with many of them Alaska Natives.

This should be the model for Pebble.  The operator of Red Dog, Teck Alaska Inc., must operate Pebble just as Red Dog is operated.  The local Native population must have a major financial stake in the development of the mine.  Natives need to employed, whenever possible, in the construction and operation of Pebble.  The highest environmental standards of any mine on earth should be imposed on the developer.  This is a highly sensitive area, and must be completely protected from damage to its environment.

President Trump will support Pebble because it’s in the national security interest of the United States.  But it will also be good for the Native people of Alaska, and the state as a whole.