Very quickly, and to get this out of the way: the Online Left is babbling about supposedly-cut Texas firefighting budgets, mostly because they lack the research skills – or possibly, the native intelligence – to tell the difference between a $109 million Forest Service/Wildfire Fighting budget in 2010/2011, and a $196 million Forest Service/Wildfire Fighting budget for 2012/2013 (the 2012 fiscal year started at the beginning of this month). Fortunately, Battleswarm Blog can both think and do research – as seen here and here – which means that I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting this time. Bottom line: never, ever stop just because you got the answer that you wanted.
[UPDATE: Via WILLisms, via @bdomenech, comes another reading error from the netroots. Turns out that some of the n-dimensional geniuses over on that side of the blogosphere looked at last year’s Forest Service budget and inexplicably failed to notice that it included a one-time new equipment allocation: which caused them to mistake this year’s budget as a reduction. What makes it particularly funny is that the allocation was due to stimulus funds… which meant that in their haste to go negative, the netroots completely messed up the opportunity to make a positive argument about their policy positions. And they wonder why nobody respects them…]
But. Since we’re talking about supposed derelictions of duty, how about we talk about some of the stuff that the federal government is doing? – Or, more accurately, what the federal government is not doing.
For example: the federal government is not letting volunteers help.
Firefighting-trained volunteers from around the state converged on Bastrop and Smithville Tuesday to lend a hand to the beleaguered local firefighters battling the Bastrop County Complex Fire — only to be sent away as federal officials arrived at the scene and took command, apparently because local officials never made a formal request for volunteers.
“We were at the station getting set up into strike teams, and this guy came up and said that the U.S. Forest Service had ‘assumed control of the situation, and that ‘If you don’t have a vehicle that squirts water, go home,’” said Gordon Greer of Kirbyville, who drove all night Monday to arrive in the town beset by the worst wildfire in Texas history.
And the federal government is not letting critical federal firefighting resources be used… because of a contract dispute.
Nearly half of the federal government’s firefighting air tankers are siting idle at a California airport, grounded by the Obama administration in a contract dispute just weeks before wildfires swept through Texas killing a mother and her child, and destroying 100,000 acres.
The U.S. Forest Service terminated the contract with Aero Union five weeks ago to operate seven P-3 Orions that are critical to the agency’s firefighting mission, leaving the federal government with 11 tankers under contract to help battle more than 50 large uncontained wildfires now burning nationwide.
And, of course, the federal government is not precisely rushing to provide assistance to
a state that won’t vote for Obama next year anyway Texas:
Gov. Rick Perry is again criticizing the Obama Administration for ignoring his appeal for a federal disaster declaration for Texas, where wildfires continue burning out of control over wide areas.
That quote is from April, by the way. You see, the wildfire problem is a known one that’s been going on for a while, which is why the special session of the legislature pumped up next year’s budget for wildfires (not that you’d know that, if you were relying on the Online Left for information). On the other hand, back in 2007 when California had a similar problem, George Bush was just as partisan… yes, yes, of course I’m kidding. President Bush was a better man than that:
The Bush administration’s disaster assistance chief promised no repeat of the Hurricane Katrina experience Wednesday, saying “this is a new FEMA” as Washington weighed options to help California wildfire victims.
Bush, who mobilized the federal disaster relief establishment Tuesday, has scheduled a visit to California Thursday.
To make the trip, Bush is canceling a previously scheduled trip to St. Louis, where he was to deliver remarks on the budget and headline a fundraiser for the national Republican Party.
But you knew that already. For that matter, so does the Online Left: which is why they were and are so desperate to rush out an attack here.
Moe Lane (crosspost)