News from the Front #13:

Speech from Yakima and Lacey Rule 4(d) Rallies

Having received requests to post the speech I gave at the January 26th rally in Yakima and the February 3rd rally in Lacey, I have edited my notes and produced the following:

You are here today because your lawmakers have failed: they can't be bothered with details anymore, so they let the bureaucrats make the laws. You are here today because your universities have failed: they produce politically-correct conservation fanatics, not scientists. You are here today because your courts have failed: they don't think it's their job to review what the government does; just what the citizens do. You are here today because salmon recovery is in the hands of lunatics, and the guards at the asylum are all asleep.

All over the world, governments are wiping out marine life because they can't manage fishing. Some countries, like ours, are even dumb enough to put the fishermen and their lobbyists in charge of setting the fishing seasons.

There is no secret to salmon recovery. It is Fishery Management 101: whatever unit of fish you want to conserve, that's the unit you have to manage for harvest. You just set the hatchery production and harvest rates to leave enough of the fish in that unit to keep things going.

If you set ocean harvest rates on a stew of wild and hatchery fish from every river up and down the West Coast, you will inevitably wipe out the smaller, weaker, wild stocks. If you catch salmon in the rivers, and set hatchery production and harvest rates for each and every river that you are trying to protect, you'll protect them.

Nothing else will work in the long run. And after spending billions of dollars on salmon recovery, not one government agency even dares to propose the solution: fix the harvest problem, or give up on protecting each and every stock of salmon.

They won't put their house in order. Instead, they want to take over your house. They will deny this. But I want to read you something from page 173, volume 65 of the Federal Register: there is a list, and it includes, and I quote:   "Individual decisions about energy consumption for heating, travel and other purposes" and "Individual maintenance of residences or gardens".  And then it says, and I quote: "These are intended to provide some examples of the types of activities that might or might not be pursued [in other words, prosecuted] by NMFS as constituting a take of the listed salmonids under the ESA and its regulations".

That's why I say, again salmon recovery is in the hands of lunatics, and the guards at the asylum are all asleep.

Now let's be fair. Some of these pod people from the planet Gore, some of them even really believe that salmon recovery is nothing more than a habitat problem. Never mind that our air is cleaner than thirty years ago. Never mind that our water is cleaner than thirty years ago. Never mind that in the same rivers where they are trying to shut down the irrigators this summer, we are using less water than thirty years ago.

After thirty years of environmentalist propaganda have rotted their brains, they believe that an environmental crisis is killing all the salmon, and they believe that they can convince you that.

I don’t think these pod people really care about salmon. After all, they are in charge of killing them. They set fishing seasons that kill millions of salmon every year. They run hatcheries where thousands of salmon are clubbed to death every year and sold for cat food, in the same rivers where they are trying to take your property.

If they cared about salmon, they'd take those eggs and let volunteers plant them in hatchboxes in all the rivers, not sell them to the Japanese.

If they cared about salmon, they'd wipe out that one colony of birds that kills 10-20% of every salmon coming down the Columbia River.

If they cared about salmon, they wouldn't have amended the tax law in 1988 so that every dime of income and wages the Tribes make from killing endangered fish is exempt from income and employment tax.  That's like a tax subsidy to wipe out fish, and we got listings just three years later.

And if they cared about salmon, they wouldn't tell us in these new rules that the one thing that is exempt is business as usual for the fishery managers.   Under these rules, it could mean a year in jail for "taking" a salmon by having your lawn too close to a stream, and its not a take at all to kill a fish and sell it for money in giant mixed-stock harvests.

The law does not require these 4(d) rules. None of these fish are truly endangered.  In fact, buried deep in the Federal Register notice for these rules, the fishery managers admit they haven't bothered to figure out the risk that any of these ESUs will go extinct.  They say it's too complicated.  That's a lie.   They know how to do the analysis, and they know that if they did it, it would show no significant risk of extinction.  There is no reason for the federal government to be involved at all.

We need to tell these fishery managers to get their own house in order, and not move into our houses.

But it's not about salmon. It's about power and control. History teaches us that government power always expands unless people resist it.

We all know that one giant centralized plan for a great country can never work. We all know that we don't need federal government, and state government, and local government ball spending our taxes fighting with each other about zoning setbacks. We all know that a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and even Olympia have no idea how to improve conditions in a stream thousands of miles away.

That system doesn't work. The communists taught us that when their economies collapsed.

But it's worse than just not working. It is the beginning of tyranny. When a salmon bureaucrat can take your property, and you have no recourse, you are facing tyranny. When you have to apply for a permit to make your living, and the permit can be denied for any reason or no reason, you are facing tyranny. When a salmon bureaucrat can throw you in jail and fine you $50,000 because you kill a common fish, you are facing tyranny. It is petty tyranny, but it is tyranny nonetheless. And it is through such petty tyrannies that great tyrannies develop.

The people who built America with their blood and sweat and toil and tears feared one thing above all: a central government that would become a tyranny. So they made a Constitution that limited the power of the federal government to regulating interstate commerce and treaties. So what does the federal government do now? It authorizes interstate commerce and treaty harvest of endangered fish, and pretends it has the power to shut down everything else.

Tonight these conservation fanatics will be asking for public involvement. But they'll start by putting you to sleep with a bunch of meaningless or misleading slides about their rules.  You can go in there, and line up like sheep, and listen.

Or you can sound the alarm each time somebody from NMFS says something that's not true.  Shout it out.  You are not doing this to convince the pod people.  They don't care about facts.  You are doing this to let them know that the citizens of Washington are not going to take these rules like sheep.   They are going to fight them every step of the way. 

How do I know that the pod people don't really care what you have to say?  They have already made a deal with the environmentalists to issue these 4(d) rules by June 19. The environmentalists filed a bogus lawsuit claiming that the Administration had to issue the rules, and before the Court could ever make a ruling, the In-Justice Department settled the case by agreeing to issue the rules.  If they're still putting on the same show as in Yakima, you'll see that June 19th date on one of their lying slides.

So this process is corrupt. Public involvement is a sham. This is just one of hundreds of last-ditch attempts by the most corrupt Administration in history to have its way, contrary to law, contrary to reason, contrary to science, and contrary to common sense. (By the way, guess who runs the most giant factory trawler ships that are turning the North Pacific into a black hole with no sea life? Tyson Foods from Arkansas.  So rivers running red with chicken blood are good enough for the Clinton/Gore Administration in Arkansas, but rivers clean enough to drink are not good enough if they are in the State of Washington.)

I want to suggest to you that there is only one proper approach to a corrupt process: to take action to shut it down. That's what Henry David Thoreau told us in his famous 1849 essay On Civil Disobedience:  "A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even minority then; but it is irresistable when it clogs by its whole weight".  

So I am asking you to go in there and clog the process.

Ask the salmon bureaucrats if they've even bothered to figure out the risk that these listed salmon will go extinct--not just the risk that salmon will vanish in one stream, but the risk that the whole listed group will go extinct. They haven't. If they bothered to do the work, they'd find no risk of extinction whatsoever. Demand an answer why they are issuing rules before even figuring whether they have a basis for issuing them.

Ask the salmon bureaucrats why we continue to overfish these fish--they'll deny it. But you can see the gillnets out there in the rivers.

Ask the salmon bureaucrats why they worked with the Tribes to develop these rules, and promise financial assistance to the Tribes to comply with the rules, but they didn't consult the farmers and ranchers, and don't offer them financial assistance? They'll deny it, but it's right there in the Federal Register.

Ask the salmon bureaucrats why governmental entities get rules with loopholes--they only have to comply "where feasible", or "where practical"--but private interests don't get the same favors. They'll deny it, but it's right there in the Federal Register.

The City of Seattle, controlled by Democrats, can suck down another 50 million gallons of water with no problem, but farmers in Okanogan County can't water a hundred acres of land.

Ask them why, if they want to save the lives of fish, they don't use common sense and start recovering salmon where there are big piles of dead salmon, on fishing boats and in giant colonies of seals and birds. Ask them why they don't start there, instead of taking your property without just compensation.

And when they evade your questions, or tell their lies, don't just sit there like sheep. Shout them down. Sit down in the doorways. Clog the halls.

Do you have the courage to speak out? Do you have the courage to act up? Do you have the courage to express righteous anger? Do you have the courage to disobey those who want you to act like sheep?

I know you do. And I know that on this day, at this meeting, you will take the first step forward against the salmon recovery Empire.  I dream of the day when the citizens of Washington can identify the agents of the Empire by sight.   And I dream of the day when the citizens of Washington refuse to serve them in restaurants.  And the citizens of Washington refuse to sell them gasoline.    And the citizens of Washington make it so uncomfortable for them that they go back to their cities and leave us alone to grow our own salmon.


                    James Buchal, February 3, 2000

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