News from the Front #57:
Environmentalists, Terrorists, Patriotism and the War Against America: A Speech to the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners
This piece is a speech given at the October 6, 2001 rally of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners, which has just petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to de-list the Puget Sound chinook and Hood Canal summer-run chum salmon "species" (Microsoft Word version of petition may be viewed here.)
"Threatened" Puget Sound Chinook Salmon
Let's talk about Puget Sound chinook salmon. Most of you know by now that the Endangered Species Act is not like Noah's Ark, that it doesn't protect "species" at all. Most of you know by now that there are no endangered salmon species. Instead, the buffoons that the clueless majority sends to Washington, D.C. have turned loose these bureaucrats to list not merely species, and not merely subspecies, but also "distinct population segments".
Now as part of the general effort to complicate things and fool the people, the Fisheries Service came up with another word for distinct population segments, which is "evolutionarily significant units" or ESUs. Like many of the new words and acronyms invented by the government, this ESU term doesn't mean what it says at all. None of these units are significant to the evolution of the salmon. Any one of them could disappear, and the salmon species would go right on living.
The only reason Congress authorized the Fisheries Service to list "distinct population segments" or ESUs is, and I quote: "listing populations may be necessary when the preponderance of evidence indicates that a species faces a widespread threat, but conclusive data is available only with respect to certain populations". So here, there is no threat at all to the species as a whole, or even to the populations, but so what? Thanks to the collapse of judicial review of agency action, the Fisheries Service doesn't even have to evaluate the risk that its self-proclaimed "species" will go extinct to declare it endangered.
Mr. Brooks tried to persuade Judge Hogan that the Fisheries Service definition of an ESU made no sense, but Judge Hogan said, that's OK, Congress can roll over and play dead and let the Fisheries Service just make up whatever group of fish it wants to call a "distinct population segment". Because even though Judge Hogan got to the right result here, he is just like all the other federal judges who have abandoned the idea that there is such a thing as "law" that constrains what the government is doing. And when law dies, we have nothing left but politics.
And through some political deal that we will never learn about, we now have a collection of chinook salmon runs all over Puget Sound that are supposed to "threatened". Now I think you can tell just by looking at this map that there is no way, short of a nuclear attack on Seattle that vaporizes most of Puget Sound, that all chinook salmon are going to disappear from this area.
And NMFS went through all the hatcheries in this area, and found that 36 of them were part of this ESU, because their parents came from somewhere on this map. One of those 36 hatcheries is the Samish Hatchery, on the Samish River. And here's how our fish managers are managing that Samish chinook right now:
By the way, you can't see the whole picture here, but if you watch the video, you can see about ten of them out there stumbling around there trying to catch these fish with their bare hands. Wouldn't it be nice if the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife actually had the slightest intent of serving hunters and fishermen? Wouldn't it be nice if the Department, instead of wasting our hard-earned tax dollars and license fees hiring people to stumble around would just open up a fishing season? Can you imagine all the fun people could have snagging these fish and taking them home to cook? Isn't that why we built the hatchery in the first place? But not one of our so-called leaders asks these questions. Their every instinct is to serve the government, not serve the people of America.
Another thing that you can't see in this picture is that the hatchery folks put a net across the whole river to stop any salmon from going upstream. (Now that people are starting to bitch about it, they say they'll let a few swim upstream.) And even though they say there are no "natural" chinook salmon, they still demand that the property owners upstream set aside huge portions of their property as buffer zones. The farmers up there are under a deadline, hand over your property "voluntarily" by November 27th for token compensation, or we'll steal it anyway and pay you nothing.
But you know, let's give the politicians some credit. One of the Skagit County Commissioners actually dared to say that if the Puget Sound chinook are de-listed, he would stop trying to pass these stupid ordinances. How brave of him.
You might wonder how, since these fish are part of the "threatened Puget Sound chinook salmon ESU", people can beat them to death with a baseball bat and sell the corpses for twenty-five cents a pound. Well, the trick, of course, is that the Fisheries Service said the fish were all in the same ESU, but then it only put "natural" fish on the formal list of threatened species in the Code of Federal Regulations.
And that's just what finally caused Judge Hogan to draw the line. You're not allowed to protect smaller groups than the group you identify as the so-called "species", he said. Your listing is unlawful. If the naturally-spawning fish are in the same class as the hatchery fish, you can't protect only the "natural" fish. Either protect the whole "species" or nothing.
Now because you are going to be exposed to a lot of lies about Judge Hogan's opinion, I want to take the time to show you that I don't make this stuff up. We can look right now at the critical parts of his opinion, on pages 16, 17, and 18. And there it is. Not only is the listing unlawful, but you can't pretend the hatchery fish are somehow different from so-called "natural" fish, particularly when you admit that the kids of hatchery fish are natural fish.
One of the biggest lies you are going to hear is that Judge Hogan's opinion is just about fish in Oregon, and has no application here. I want to show you some pages from the Federal Register about Puget Sound Chinook. This is a chart from the opinion which shows that just like in Oregon, the Fisheries Service declared that a whole lot of hatchery stocks were in the ESU, but were not listed. The Puget Sound listing is patently unlawful.
And Judge Hogan's opinion is not the only opinion along these lines. It has been clear for a long time that we can't tell the difference between the protected fish and the unprotected fish. Back in 1994, I brought a lawsuit saying, hey, wait a minute, if these salmon are supposed to be endangered, how come the government can authorize commercial harvest on these fish. Isn't it illegal to kill an endangered species and sell it for money? Doesn't it say that right in the Endangered Species Act? And the government came in and said well, umm, we can't tell the fish apart, so it's impossible to enforce the law. And the courts said, ok, sounds good to us, go on fishing.
One of the things you might ask yourself at this point is hey, how come not one of the elected official who are supposed to be looking out for us called the Fisheries Service on this? Here we've got thousands and thousands of employees in Washington State government, and Washington county government, and all the towns and cities in Washington, and not one has the balls to say "wait a minute, these listings make no sense and we're not going to stand for this". I'll tell you what, it's not like they didn't know. People like me have been running around for years telling them.
You all have a real problem with your government. Let me zero in on Kitsap County for a minute, because they are out spending your money to tell a bunch of lies to justify this garbage. Let me give you two examples, which come from their publication: "Frequently Asked Questions: Endangered Species Act".
First, they say "Q: When will the salmon be de-listed? A: When they have either recovered to the extent that federal protective regulations are no longer necessary or gone extinct." They don't even admit the possibility that someone might reconsider all this craziness.
Here's another example. Some of you know that government is going berserk passing something called "4(d) rules". According to this Kitsap County publication: "4(d) is a section of the ESA that requires the federal government draft 'protective regulations' to safeguard threatened species".
But if you actually bother to read section 4(d), here's what it says:
"Whenever any species is a listed as a threatened species . . . the Secretary shall issue such regulations as he deems advisable to provide for the conservation of such species. The Secretary may by regulation prohibit with respect to any threatened species any act prohibited under section 1538(a)(1) of this title . . .".
So the first sentence says he can do whatever he wants, and the second sentence says he can put the same protections for "threatened" fish as for "endangered" fish if that's what he wants. But nowhere in here is there the slightest idea that the federal government has to issue these 4(d) rules.
Our so-called leaders work day and night to try and persuade us that they are powerless, and that there is this thing called "the law" that just forces them to do all these crazy things. But the listings were political decisions, the 4(d) rules were political decisions, and the Bush Administration's decision to let federal bureaucrats keep pushing this crap is a political decision.
And you know what? Nothing is going to change until you people wake up and start fighting. It doesn't take much. It just takes an angry mob to start showing up at these meetings and saying who the hell are you to tell me I can't remodel my house the way I want because of some fish? Are you people nuts? Do you think fish swim through my living room? Do you think a fish can feel the difference between plowing twenty-five feet away from the water and plowing 125 feet away? Do you think that a fish can tell the difference between whether "native vegetation" or ordinary lawn grass is growing on your property twenty feet away from the river?
It's Not Just the Salmon
Now if you are like most people, you are probably thinking, well, yes, those crazy environmentalists have really screwed up our salmon policies, but I still trust the government. I want to try and convince you that your problem with the government goes far beyond salmon. But before I start, I want to make a distinction between the American people and their government.
Let me give you an example that might make this a little clearer. NBC Anchorman Tom Brokaw was just out giving a speech at a journalism school, and he said: "I don't think a journalist ought to be wearing a flag, because it does seem to be, to me at least, a sign of solidarity toward whatever the government is doing, and that is not our role." I hope that you all can see that there is something wrong with that. Wearing the flag is not supporting the government, it is supporting your country.
I say this because I love this country, but I have spent the last seven years fighting the federal government, and I know that the American people have lost control of their federal government. And I know that behind so much of what has gone wrong with our great country, from crazy salmon rules, to crazy collapses in our national security, is the same problem: a government that has extended its reach far beyond its grasp. A government that is trying to be a jack of all trades, and is becoming a master of none.
Since September 11th, the number of people who trust the government to do the right thing has doubled. According to a Washington Post poll released on September 27, 64% of Americans now "trust the government in Washington to do what is right" either "just about always" or "most of the time."
What most of you probably don't know is that the federal government does as good a job of fighting terrorism as it does managing salmon.
The CIA gets $30 billion a year to track America's enemies, but they couldn't catch one man in a cave who had been blowing up Americans for years and bragging about it. Instead, Vice President Gore had the CIA using intelligence satellites to do environmental assessments of sea turtles and dolphin schools. Some of you may recall that the CIA did have enough time to make computer-animated videos showing that TWA Flight 800 just blew up for no reason, and that those hundreds of eyewitnesses that saw a missile shoot it down were just wrong.
The FBI zeroed right in on one of the terrorists in August, right before the attack, but the Justice Department refused to issue a search warrant, and so the FBI gave up, just like they give up on everything else the Justice Department covered up.
The State Department failed. The government of Sudan offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States back in 1996, but the diplomats couldn't figure out how to accept him.
The FAA disarmed the pilots, by requiring pilots be required to attend "certified" courses in firearms handling before they are allowed to carry firearms, and then failing to define what 'certified' means, so there could be no courses, and hence no firearms.
And Congress failed too, by spending money like a drunken sailor on the foreign governments that teach their children in school every day to hate Americans and kill them. The government has tape recordings of Yasir Arafat ordering terrorists to kill innocent Americans, but they've still handed over nearly $3 billion of our hard-earned tax money to the Palestinians over the past ten years.
And of course, President Clinton failed. We finally got a report last December from agents on the ground as to exactly where Osama bin Ladin was, and Clinton refused to authorize a strike to get him because it might fail.
For those of you who might be a little uncomfortable with the idea that your own government is part of the problem here, maybe you can think about the federal government like some sort of alcoholic father that you love -- but you know you have to put him in rehab to get him straightened out so that he can function. And just to take that analogy one step farther, you know what the liquor is, don't you? It is power. We have a government full of people with no principles, only a drive for power. For them, it doesn't matter what the truth is; the only question is how they will look in the newspapers.
I'll give you another example. Last week, some timber industry lobbyists went back to Washington, D.C. to meet the new boss of the Fisheries Service, Dr. Hogarth. The first thing he did was wave around these editorials from Seattle and Portland saying Judge Hogan's decision was wrong and ought to be appealed.
The Enemies Within
There is nothing new about the war we are in. It is the same war all over. One one side are those who pass the sacred gift of civilization down from generation to generation, a civilization of a free people with unalienable rights. On the other side of those, who in the words of President Bush's wonderful speech, have "abandoned every value except the will to power, and follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism". This war, freedom and justice versus the powermongers, is being played out at meetings throughout the Pacific Northwest on salmon recovery and many, many other issues.
Let me tell you a little story about how the powermongers took over the very institution of science. I run a website where I publish speeches and writings like this one, and I get a lot of e-mail from people telling me more horror stories. Let me read one I got last week:
And the reason I am taking the trouble to read all this to you is that because you are going to come across more and more of these people who call themselves "scientists", but are really just powermongers. These are the people who know best what is for us, even though they know nothing. And when I hear every single Northwest politician telling me how peer review and good science is going to put us on the right path to salmon recovery, I think, boy are these people dumb.
Ronald Reagan was a very nice man, and he once said: "It's not that our liberal friends don't know anything, it's just that they know so much that isn't so." How much longer we can afford to be nice? How much longer can we afford to leave these people in authority as Senators and Congressmen and Governors and County Commissioners and members of the Board of Education?
Day and night, these people are running around on our nickel telling lies about salmon, and pushing to extend the reach of the federal government. These people are enemies of America. Because America is not our government. America is an idea, and the very core of that idea is set forth right in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness-- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it . . ."
That's America, right there. That's what the flag stands for.
Let me ask you all something? Did any of you consent to the idea that the federal government can declare that you can't remodel your house the way you want to, because of some fish that the government sells for twenty-five cents a pound? Of course not. Did any of you consent to have your County Commissioners out cutting deals with the federal government to decide what is a reasonable way for you to use your property and what isn't? Of course not.
Now in a real shooting war, one of the things the enemy does is send in bombers to destroy things like power plants, and manufacturing plants. Here, we have the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. Just last week, they bought a full-page ad in the New York Times Magazine to promote their drive to destroy the Snake River Dams, a war that is based upon a pack of lies about the effects of dams on salmon. Terrorists use dynamite, and environmentalists use bogus lawsuits. Now the terrorists are truly evil, while most of the environmentalists are just foolish. But the end result is the same. Our country is poorer, for no reason.
But the most important target that the enemy is going for is not dams, or buildings, or people. It is the very idea of America. One of the most frightening signs of how much ground we've lost in the war is how the powermongers have zeroed in on the educational institutions, starting in the colleges and universities. Those of you who get your news off the Internet know know we have professors saying they wish Bush had been in the World Trade Center towers. We have professors saying that the American flag is a symbol of terrorism. We have professors raising our children to believe that America is the source of all evil, and that business is bad unless the government runs it.
And these dark forces are beginning to spread to every public elementary school in America. We have principals who won't let teachers display the flag, because it might offend flag-haters. We have principals who are making them repaint historical pictures of the Minutemen to airbrush out their guns.
We have an entire generation growing up that is trained to look to the government to supply their every want and need, and to fear anyone who dares to speak out as dangerous or an extremist. I've got news for you. If you read in the paper that some political candidate is an extremist, you ought to go hear what they have to say, because there's a good chance that it's somebody that should be in a position of leadership, to start cleaning house.
And our reporters now go to professional journalism schools, like the one where Mr. Brokaw was speaking against the flag, and they are trained to hide the truth. You might have thought it was news on Thursday when our host here at this rally filed a petition with the Fisheries Service to de-list these fish, but your local newspapers didn't. You might think it is news that they are clubbing thousands of fish to death that are identical to so-called "threatened fish", but the news media don't.
The people who can't see anything wrong with killing these fish at the same time they are stealing private property to save them are the same sort of people who think that the United States is as guilty as Osama bin Ladin. They think that it's more important to prevent a helicopter from scaring endangered fish than to save the lives of those who fight forest fires. Have any of you ever tried to catch minnows with a net? I can't even conceive of what kind of moron would think that as this enormous helicopter bears down on the river, that any little fish are going to be anywhere near it. And now, these people in Kitsap County think that we need to turn all the high school students in Kitsap County into little eco-Nazis who will go around looking for landowners who don't leave 65% of their property in native vegetation.
The sick truth is that reality doesn't matter to these people, only politics. And as they creep into more and more of our institutions, the future of this country grows darker and darker. Because it's not just the fish. These dark forces work to hide the truth about everything. If you go out on the Internet, you'll find that the television networks are not showing footage of huge anti-American demonstrations across the entire Middle East. In some sick way, they are working hand in hand with Yasir Arafat, whose security forces are out confiscating the film of cameramen who film the protests. Some media outlets don't even want to use the word "terrorists".
The Wall Street Journal reported a couple of weeks ago that "it has become standard for programs showing the World Trade Towers in the opening montage to edit them out -- lest viewing pleasure be interrupted by distressing thoughts". One of the most amazing stories is how CBS had a TV show ("The Agency") ready to go that showed a CIA agent heroically foiling a bomb plot by Osama bin Ladin. And they spent gobs of money to replace it with a show where the CIA protects Fidel Castro against an assassination plot while he is visiting the United States. I used to call CBS the Clinton Broadcasting System, but now I guess we should call it the Commie Broadcasting System.
Join the Fight
There is a battle going on for the soul of America. Our enemies want us to forget what America is, just tune out and put the federal government in charge of everything, right down to how we remodel our houses. Don't worry, be happy, watch MTV and let the government take care of everything.
But the government is no better than the people who are in it, and most of them aren't worth a bucket of warm spit. We should always remember that on September 11th, it wasn't the government that fought back against the terrorists, it was ordinary Americans. In the end, that's what we have to rely on, ourselves. Times are going to get tougher and tougher, and ordinary people are going to rise to the occasion and take back their government. Like those brave souls on Flight 93 who told the terrorists "you're not going to hijack this plane", they are going to say, "we've had enough of you hijacking our government".
That's really all it takes. Because the enemy are cowards. When the harsh light of public opinion turns against them, they run like rats. But it's up to you to bring that pressure on them.
Can you tell your County Commissioners that they're not going to hijack your property? Is there one person who is willing to stand up here and say yes, I'll make a phone call, or write a letter, and do that?
Can you demand that your counties and cities join the petition to delist these salmon? Can you do that?
Can you demand of your County Commissioners that they write to the Attorney General, and to the Secretary of Commerce, and tell him: don't appeal Judge Hogan's decision. Can you do that?
Can you tell your County Commissioners that you don't want to spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money on satellite pictures and watershed management for salmon? Can you do that?
And can you stop by those tables on the way out, and support these people? Because they are the ones serving the public, not the government. They are fighting a war for all of us. Their weapons are not bullets, but newsletters, and meetings, and their personal time and commitment. They don't have foundation money and tax money. All they have is you. So can you give them a few bucks to keep up the fight? Can you do that?
I know you can, for you are warriors too. Go forth and conquer.
© James Buchal, October 6, 2001
You have permission to reprint this article, and are encouraged to do so. The sooner people figure out what's going on, the quicker we'll have more fish in the rivers.
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