Lord Dampnut vs The Free West

california-outline-and-flag-solidTrump thinks he can bully states into submission by threatening to take away their federal support. One problem: the states most likely to cross him are ones that receive less federal support than they pay in taxes. Cutting off California would be biting the hand that feeds his voting base in poor red states across the midwest and south. If the federal government stops sending money to California, then California may stop sending money to the federal government, and would suddenly have enough to replace all of that federal money and eliminate their debt in a year or two (ignoring other factors). Trump must be clueless about where his “federal money” comes from, or he simply doesn’t care about the people who voted for him.

This is why “alternative facts” are so dangerous. Trump’s loyal supporters are repeating his false claims that California sucks resources from the rest of the country in the form of welfare. This isn’t just false, it’s the complete opposite of reality. And since California intends to stand up to Trump’s bullying, he’s just perpetuating a social division that, taken to an extreme, could result in the west coast breaking off from the rest of the country. This stupidity and belligerence of Trump and his clueless supporters is the sort of thing that can fuel major geopolitical changes, and I don’t think they would like the outcome of this one. Chances are good that nobody would.

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It’s a Dangerous World

annie5In October a 21-year-old woman named Anna Schmidt (also known as Annie) went missing in the Columbia River Gorge. Her car was found at a trailhead directly across the river from my house. After several days the official search and rescue teams were called off and volunteers took over, but nobody found her for weeks. Finally, last weekend someone reported finding human remains, and it’s been confirmed: Anna died of blunt force trauma after falling off a cliff below Munra Point.

In the few weeks of October before she went missing, this area received almost twelve inches of rain. My lawn became a squishy, muddy mess, and the sidewalks and paved trails in town turned green with moss. This is not a good time of year to go hiking, much less in the area she was found. Here is a picture of the ridge leading to the viewpoint, where a tumble off either side means a fall of several hundred feet:


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