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the Eagles Return
"This lake has never gone dry, even in the memories of our oldest residents. Without water, life becomes hard for everyone. What is going to be here when our eagles return for the winter this year?" So says Western photographer Norm Macleod. Norm is one of many chroniclers of events going on in the Klamath Basin.
Everyone who is up to speed on the Klamath farmers’ plight knows that 1,400 families and an entire community are going belly up because the federal government abandoned promises it made to those families or their ancestors in the early 1900s. The water was shut off to accommodate fish that are not endangered.
But then, as I have said so many times before, this is not about the environment.
Now Fox News Cable reports that four firefighters died in a forest fire in Washington state because the federal government, using the Endangered Species Act, would not allow them to use water from a nearby stream. So they died to save fish. Apparently, to the public and to Congress it is no big deal.
Meanwhile, Klamath resident Kathy Van Tuyl has been involved in the Klamath situation since it began. She knows that other species are endangered by the cutoff of water to the Basin. Approximately 483 species have benefited by the care and concern of the farmers of the Klamath.
Van Tuyl stated recently, "Klamath farmers have been enormously successful in these efforts, with over 400 wildlife species now dependent on the providence of these hardworking Americans ... irrigation projects in the basin are a marvel of human engineering, and enable the farmers to produce abundant crops using only a tiny percentage of the available water, somewhere between 2 percent and 4 percent. This is about one-fifth of what is lost just to evaporation from the Klamath Lake.”
Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal found out there is more than endangered species involved in the $250 million loss to the Klamath area. She states in her article: "... last month, those environmentalists revealed another motive when they submitted a polished proposal for the government to buy out the farmers and move them off their land. This is what's really happening in Klamath – call it rural cleansing – and it's repeating itself in environmental battles across the country. Indeed, the goal of many environmental groups – from the Sierra Club to the Oregon Natural Resources Council – is no longer to protect nature. It's to expunge humans from the countryside."(K. Strassel, Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2001)
There is nothing new in the situation described by Ms. Strassel. The fact is that the mighty green machine has been taking no prisoners for nearly two decades. That machine, as I have said countless times before, is composed of the federal government, the environmental movement and the major foundations.
For instance, in Nevada, 90 percent of which is controlled by the federal government, the cow counties are dead and ranchers long since have moved elsewhere. There are a few left, but they are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. After Nevada rancher Wayne Hage’s grazing permits were canceled, government documents show that District Forest Ranger David Grider sent a copy of the cancellation notice to the attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, Roy Elcker, and thanked him for NWF’s lobbying efforts in Congress on behalf of an increased Forest Service budget.
NWF’s policy has always been aimed at ending all grazing and agricultural water use on "public land." During a lecture before other environmentalists Elcker declared: "How you win is one at a time. He [the rancher] goes out of business, he dies, you wait him out – but you win." As hundreds of rural types can tell you, that is standard operating procedure.
The mean green federal bureaucracy makes the rules, then changes them – and then changes them again. The rules are changed so often it is easy to hand out citations for "law breaking" at every turn and then scream that the ranchers, loggers, miners or farmers don't comply with the "rules."
The green bureaucrats and their bosses in D.C. harumph that these rural types just won't cooperate. That they don't behave themselves or follow the law, therefore they deserve to be punished and thrown off government lands or denied the use of private lands for species that are deemed more important than human beings.
Lands in the West are heavily checkerboarded between government land and private land. The green press would make it seem that there is a swarm of outsiders who come into an area with their cattle and despoil the environment and then move on. That is not the case. Most of the time these people have been in the area for generations and have done well by the land. But the feds, the greens and their corporate backers don't care about that. This is not about the environment; this is about who controls the land and water of the United States of America.
Rules are changed in a cavalier fashion, at the whim of a bureaucrat, usually with some green organization whispering in his ear about potential lawsuits it will institute if the government does not comply with its demands. Or the bureaucrats themselves are shills and fronts for the mighty green machine. The rules they institute have the lifespan of a housefly. The rule of law, on the other hand, is constantly being destroyed as men regulate capriciously in a Kafaesque scenario that would do a Russian novelist proud.
Throw in executive orders of a vicious president like Bill Clinton – a man whose administration was in the back pocket of such organizations as the Pew Charitable Trusts and the billion-dollar environmental industry. Bill Clinton, the president of some of the people, some of the time. Who waited till the last minute to grab more lands to nationalize and close more areas through the roadless initiative – off-limits to the public he could care less about.
Add congressional whims and heartlessness, mix with an uncaring public and press, and America is being set up for a corporate state dictatorship of special interests.
For years, the foundations, greens and the federal government have been in collusion to destroy what is best about this country, about the West, about hope's last home, about a way of life that adds richness and depth to our nation. The greens and the feds and the soccer moms extol the virtues of diversity, but they do not extend it to rural America. But it is the economic interests and the global central planners who are the real deceitful evil in this scenario.
I’m curious about why those affected have never instituted a suit against the cabal under the RICO statutes. Where are Gerry Spence and Johnnie Cochran when you really need them?
Whether it is agriculture, logging, ranching or mining, as far as the central planners go, they are history. If you want to find out what is REALLY going on, check out what our intellectual policy-makers have decided. Our politicians just take that policy, good or bad, and plan for the future without regard to the constitutionality or justice of those policies.
This is not about free trade (except for multinational corporations) – this is about following the money from our captains of big business to the coffers of politicians and government and back again. This is also about central-planning your world, and our leaders are going along with it no matter what we do or who we elect to office.
The fix is in, and it is globalization for the benefit of a few – regardless of what they tell you. But since most aren't paying attention, the "plan" is implemented incrementally, like a frog boiled slowly in hot water.
As Harvard economic analyst Jeffrey Sachs stated recently in the Naval War College Review: "One part of our analysis, then, is the shape of the world system as it is evolving; there is also the important question of why different parts of the world, different geographies or ecologies, face such different futures in it. Let us start, therefore, with some basic ideas about globalization. ... [G]lobalization is a dynamic process of the economic integration of virtually the entire world. What most of us think of as the first part of globalization is increased international trade ... in one region one handles logistical functions; in another region one takes advantage of low wages; in yet another of particular natural resources; and so forth. What this means is that a country’s geographic relationship to major markets is crucial to how it is integrated – or why it is not integrated – into an increasingly globalized production structure. ... [I]mportance of location for economic success has been enhanced by the globalization of production processes."
"In yet another of particular natural resources” – that phrase is the death sentence for the Klamath and for farmers in Iowa and the Dakotas eventually, as well. Those farmers are fat, dumb and happy because the situation in the Klamath only makes their product more valuable – for now.
The fix is in, and the warnings have been sounded by no less than Al Gore and Bill Clinton. In Denver several years ago, Al Gore asked a young woman what she intended to do with her life. She told him she wanted to be a farmer. He told her not to go into that line of work, because America's future was not in agriculture.
Bill Clinton dittoed that sentiment in December 1999 when he said perhaps it would be best if our food and fiber were produced by Third World countries in order to give them a leg up in the economic scheme of things.
The Klamath tragedy is as hooked to the central planning of the pointy heads as it is to the non-endangered sucker fish – only more so. Meanwhile, the greens happily view the destruction of the farmers as a necessary next step in their dippy Wildlands Project.
As expert and activist Henry Lamb of Freedom 21 stated, "This is the land management scheme that starts with core wilderness areas – off limits to humans – connected by corridors of wilderness, surrounded by government-managed "buffer zones," which are surrounded by "zones of cooperation." Each of these zones is designed to continually expand as the result of "restoration and rehabilitation" projects. Restoration means returning the land to the same condition as it was before Columbus arrived."
But America, the Congress, the Republicans, the Bush administration, the churches, the press, Hollywood, and the important people have other things to do and so they don't pay attention.
President Bush is busy blowing people off in flyover – the ones who voted for him, the farmers in the Klamath a case in point. Meanwhile, he makes the world safer for ADM and Cargill. Cheap labor is what it is about now, no time for the people who put him in office. As he said last week, "The bottom line is we ought to make it easier for people who want to employ somebody ... to be able to hire people who want to work." His attention is focused on where he thinks he will get the most votes. Bush seems more concerned about immigration for illegals and how that will help corporate America than a few cowpokes who fought hard to see that he got elected. Oh, he throws them a pathetic bone with an inadequate loan and Gale Norton releases a bit of water, which will do the Klamath farmers very little good this year.
In other words, the eagles will be coming home to an area bereft of water for the foreseeable future.
Flyover is going to get stomped further, courtesy of the Republican and Democratic Congress. The awful CARA – HR 701 – was just passed out of committee and will be put up to a vote to the full House perhaps next week. What it will do, and do NOT believe otherwise, is destroy what is left of private property and rural areas. The claptrap about "willing sellers" is just that. They are only willing because they have been forced to be so by our government, intimidated out of existence. The cruelty of it boggles the mind. Never mind the violation of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
But Congress has a let-them-eat-cake attitude, just like the rest of America. Perhaps the farmers will be able to buy a farm in Russia or Central Europe, where lands are being released back into private hands. Perhaps they will be able to farm in the Third World, where it will still be allowed.
The cruel reality is reflected a statement by a biologist for the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge: "Once, the government urged man to risk his all in the Klamath Basin. That was then, this is now. It was the social values of the time – man over nature," says Jim Hainline. "It worked for the purposes for which it was intended. Now we have a real change in the social values of the country. People are more urban, and they want to see the countryside more natural." In other words, let the farmer eat cake.
In the Washington Weekly, journalist Edward Zehr discovers that The Klamath Falls Herald and News gives us a clue about why the Klamath is set for destruction. Apparently, one Andy Kerr, former head of the Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC), is now the president of the Larch Company LLC, a firm that lobbies in Washington for the ONRC. But as Becki Snow points out in the Herald and News article, "Kerr and the ONRC are active business partners with a large and impressive list of investors who are willing to fund them in order to kick-start the industrial hemp industry in the United States."
And where do these intrepid entrepreneurs have a keen interest in growing their hemp? You guessed it – the Pacific Northwest. Of course, growing (or smoking) hemp is presently illegal in this country. Perhaps those Democratic senators who so callously refused to grant relief to the Klamath Basin farmers will seek to remedy this injustice at some future date.
By merest coincidence, Mr. Kerr is also treasurer for the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Kerr is a Washington lobbyist for a well-organized campaign to bankrupt Klamath Valley farmers and force them to sell out at rock bottom prices. According to Becki Snow, the Oregon Natural Resources Council has pursued the Klamath farmer: "[M]asquerading as environmentalists, [they] seek to destroy the farmers so Kerr and his business cronies can buy their land."
But CARA marches on, that effort led by Republicans Willie Tauzin, R-La., and Don Young, R-Alaska. CARA will benefit their states the most.
Several Republican congressmen offered valuable amendments to fix the bill for the sake of the "willing seller" and private property owners. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., offered an amendment that would have protected the rights of private property owners adjacent to federal property acquired by CARA funds. The amendment offered by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., would have prevented a net private property loss to the states.
Both amendments were defeated by the heavily Eastern Democrats on the House Resources Committee. Some Republicans joined in that defeat. Walden was disappointed – as he said, "It required the approval of the state legislature if the feds intended to use CARA funds to add to its land inventory. Oregon is almost 50 percent in federal hands."
In regard to the Klamath farmers, when a charitable act was attempted by Congressman Wally Herger to help the farmers, the Democrats defeated it with the help of some Republicans. Congressman Herger of Oregon wanted to apply funds to help the farmers survive, funds to be taken out of the department responsible for shutting off the water. The act was defeated by a 52-48 vote.
Thus, the Democratic Socialists slapped down America's kulaks yet again. Aren’t Democrats supposed to be caring socialists? Obviously not. They are too busy creating the megalithic corporate state. The Republicans who voted not to help the farmers – they include Fitzgerald of Illinois – if I were dying of thirst I wouldn't ask them for a drink of water.
Usurpations and Grievances
Kathy Van Tuyl wrote to first lady Laura Bush about the plight of the farming families in the Klamath. She concluded her letter: "I don't know you, Mrs. Bush, but I believe you are a nice woman. I also believe you and the President are decent, God-fearing Christians. So my question begs itself. Why, in God's name, hasn't the President stepped in to stop this madness? Will he wait until the good folks of the Klamath Basin see no other way out than to heed Jefferson's admonishment of so long ago? When he said the tree of liberty must be fed with the blood of patriots every 20 years or so. These faithful stewards of the land have been incredibly tolerant. To date, they have primarily chosen to do battle with their wits. Please ask your husband to stop this before they are pushed to last resorts."
A good question, Kathy, and one I will ask as well. If not now – when?
Fox News reports that during the forest fire in Washington, four firefighters lost their lives. The Fish and Wildlife Service prevented helicopters from using the water out of the local stream because of endangered fish. Two firefighters first reported this. Something was said that before water could be drawn from the stream, there would have to be a "study" or "approval" because of the Endangered Species Act. At first the FWS denied the accusation, but later retracted the denial.
While the fish are living and the people are dying, a female Republican activist said in a column recently, "Republicans do indeed have excellent solutions for women, they have a significant opportunity to attract women by directly broaching their concerns in a compassionate manner, and by highlighting innovative approaches to government involving the new paradigm of public-private sector cooperative efforts that are evidenced in many of the Bush administration proposals."
Yada yada yada. So what solutions do they have for rural women or those living in the Klamath Basin? There are not enough of these women to matter. Nope, the Republicans are looking for those soccer moms and single professional women who care about things which will make them more dependent on government. The pattern emerges each day: It is a net of deception, and an unconstitutional one at that. The Republicans have no leaders, nor do they have the courage to be what they were supposed to be – a choice for America, "not an echo."
Meanwhile, the AP reports that the Bush administration has quietly begun spreading the word that Bush plans to focus on children and quality-of-life issues in an attempt to "find themes on which the public can find broad agreement – possibly including proposals to make e-mail technology available for more frequent communication among extended family members, promote wider use of the Internet for the public good, encourage the media to report more ‘good news’ and promote movies that foster racial tolerance."
President Bush's failure to do anything for the people who helped elect him is disheartening, but more than that it is disloyal. With an executive order he could declare an emergency and put an end to the foolishness in the Klamath Basin. Congress could reform the Endangered Species Act, but it lacks the courage. It is safe for both to do nothing. Bush didn't rescind Clinton's land grabs or the roadless initiative. It tells me that he and the Republican Party are no longer a party that believes in the Constitution, in the good people in flyover country, or even in its own principles of less government and more freedom.
Until there is more concern for the Constitution, for following its spirit and for offering laws that are just and getting rid of those that aren't, how can a decent person belong to either political party? They are reflections of one another – in love with their own image but standing for oppression and denial of our God-given rights. If they won't do the right thing, then elections don't mean anything.
The plight of the farmers and thousands more like them need to be addressed by reforming the badly worded Endangered Species Act before other people die in fires or die out because of the nationalization of the lands of the United States.
I am going on vacation to my folks’ place in northern Minnesota very soon. I will sit on the bank of the Longyear Lake in late afternoon and watch the eagles swoop in to take a perch or a walleye for dinner. I will think about the people of the Klamath and their eagles and hope that both will find a home. I will also think about the old couple from Arizona who asked me not to forget them as they were forced to close down their ranch and move elsewhere. I will keep in mind the young couple who wanted to ranch the home place in Idaho but won't be able to now.
I will remember the loggers in northern Minnesota, Montana and the Northwest who have had to move to cities because they aren't allowed to do their jobs any longer. I will remember the three older ladies I sat and had coffee with in St. Louis and listened to their stories about the raw deal that the greens and the government inflicted on them.
There is no consideration for age or private ownership anymore – it is not an important matter to the powers that be. The people who own land on the Mississippi or any river or waterway are as in as much danger from the greens as the cowboys are.
I will think about the lined and creased faces I saw in America's outback. But mostly I will remember the hands. The hands always get me because they reflect the lives of the people. Broken and tanned and scarred, they are the hands that built this country and one day they will be raised in a fist or in a salute. It is up to the rest of America and its leaders to decide which it will be.
(Education column next time. This issue is too important to ignore. Call, write and talk to your representatives. Defeat CARA and PLEASE, for God's sake, get them to reform the Endangered Species Act. It is killing your fellow Americans. My Web site is www.aldenchronicles.com.)
Diane Alden is a research analyst with a background in political science and economics. Her work has appeared in the Washington Times as well as NewsMax.com, Enterstageright, American Partisan, Sierra Times.com and many other online publications. She also does radio commentaries for Steve Myers' show on Liberty Works Monday and Friday mornings, and can be heard regularly on Mike Fleming, WREC in Memphis.
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