News from the Front #60:
Christmas Speech: The Scribes and the Pharisees of Oregon
This is a speech given at December 6, 2001 Christmas Dinner of the Yamhill County Women in Agriculture. To put it in context, before the speech the audience was shown videotaped interviews documenting the devastation suffered by the farmers:
Seeing that this is a Christmas dinner, I must apologize because my remarks are not really going to fit the season, because the subject matter, fraud and corruption in salmon recovery, doesn't really fill anyone with happiness and joy. So I thought I would take another approach, and make a little effort to put the Christ back in Christmas, so to speak, and draw some parallels between the evils that He preached about and the evils that Oregon agriculture faces today. For I think it only a slight exaggeration to say that our modern "scribes and Pharisees" are, to steal a phrase from that great defender of agriculture, William Jennings Bryan, well down the road to crucifying agriculture on the cross of Environmentalism.
In particular, I want to make the case that the "scribes and the Pharisees" of Jesus' day represented the same sort of evil that the environmentalists do today. I do not mean people who want to take care of the environment as part of the wise use of natural resources. I mean people for whom protection of the environment their religion, a religion where the ends always justify the means, because the world is about to end, and only they can save us.
The Great Fraud in the Klamath Basin
Our first text is Matthew 23:4, wherein Jesus said: "they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." This is natural resource policy in the Klamath Basin. Now we've just watched the farmers and others testify to their suffering, and even though the Bush Administration could have granted these folks an exemption from the Endangered Species Act, the Administration would not lift "one of their fingers". Remember the widow Brown from the tape? It's just like Jesus preached: "ye devour widows' houses" (Matthew 23:14).
Before I figured out that evil was involved, I used to think of the High Priests of Environmentalism like the Wizard of Oz. Out would come great pronouncements about salmon recovery, but if we ask any questions, it's "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain". Here in Oregon, a federal judge recently pulled back that curtain and said wait a minute, these endangered salmon listings are illegal. You can't just separate out the hatchery fish, when their parents are wild and their children are wild, and pretend like they are some different species.
So we now know that nearly every salmon listing in the Pacific Northwest is bogus. These fish are not like whooping cranes or California condors or white tigers. There is no significant chance at all that the salmon are going extinct. We have the largest salmon runs ever measured this year. What's the response of the scribes and the Pharisees? Let us study this matter for a few more years, while we continue to violate the law every day.
But down in the Klamath Basin, most of the water that would have been used for irrigation is released to meet "minimum flows" for coho salmon. Where did these "minimum flows" come from? One of the scribes and the Pharisees, a man named Hardy, simply made them up. There are piles and piles of studies before 1995 where people looked at the condition of coho in the Klamath River, and no one ever even suggested that more water needed to be released from the Klamath Project. The fish aren't anywhere near the Project, they're on the other side of an impassable dam, they don't spawn in the mainstem river, etc., etc., etc.
But that didn't stop Hardy. He declared that the coho needed more water than there was in the Klamath River in seven years out of ten. And so it became an article of faith for the High Priests and their gullible followers. There is not enough water in the Klamath Basin in seven out of ten years. We have to have more "balance", and "sustainability", etc., etc., etc.
What about the suckers? Another fraud. Let's remember that the natural state of this area is a stinking swamp. Back in 1840 when the explorer Fremont came through, he reported he wouldn't even let his horses drink from the water because it was so fetid. It's a beautiful lake and fields now.
But back in 1988, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made up a bunch of lies about suckers. One species was so scarce we couldn't even find any. There were only a few of the other species. They hadn't spawned in 18 years.
And after they listed them, of course they got a bunch of money to study the problem, and they went out, and lo and behold, there were suckers everywhere. Sometimes the water gets too much algae in it, and tens of thousands of them die, but that's not a problem, because suckers were engineered to survive in fetid swamps. But all last summer, we had to keep Upper Klamath Lake full to the brim because otherwise there might not be enough water for suckers.
Some people call the Democrats the Evil Party and the Republicans the Stupid Party. Many Democrats don't think there is anything wrong with the Endangered Species Act -- after all, it gets rid of those rural Republicans. And most Republicans just want to improve it. "Let's insist upon good science, and require peer review", they say. And that is stupid, because the real endangered species in the Pacific Northwest is good science (and farmers).
Why? First, most of the science is funded by the government, and scientific results always support greater government control. Second, the very institutions of science are all rotten. Let's use the Klamath Basin as an example. Greg Walden has called over and over again for "peer review" of the Klamath decisions. Well, they finally brought in the "good science" peer reviewers, and guess what? They are, for the most part, eco-nuts and political activists. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, their beliefs are exposed, let me read you what one of them wrote:
". . . in the Pacific Northwest, keeping a few loggers employed for a few years (until the trees run out) or keeping a few cow grazing along unfenced streams is regarded as worth sacrificing entire fish populations that can support future generations."
These sorts of people are just like the scribes and the Pharisees. Consider Matthew 23:24, where Jesus said : "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." Doesn't this describe the High Priests of the environmental movement perfectly?
Think about it. They are "blind guides", because they have no idea what sort of adjustments to human activities really do improve salmon survival. First they tell us to pull all the logs out of the rivers. Then they tell us to put them back in. First they tell us that we can't have fertilizer in the rivers, now they're dropping dead fish in the water from helicopters. If anything is a religious ritual, that sure is. Maybe if we rain salmon down from the sky, there will be many salmon.
And they "strain at gnats and swallow camels". A landowner can't build a dock in rivers with listed fish, but the City of Portland can dump hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Willamette. Joe Six-Pack will pay a huge fine for holding onto a wild salmon he catches, while the gillnetters and their ilk conduct a huge, unregulated cash-based trade in wild salmon. Pacific Northwest salmon are the only endangered species you can enjoy for fifty cents a pound.
By the way, you know what the latest outrage is down in the Klamath Basin? Well, after the Bureau demonstrated that it had gone beserk, Oregon's most prominent representative of the Stupid Party spearheaded a law to give still more authority to the Bureau, this time to go and do "feasibility studies" about identifying additional water sources. And the Bureau turned around and said aha, now we've got millions of dollars to buy groundwater to fill up the wildlife refuge we drained dry. And nearly 200 wells have gone dry down there.
The Assassination of Measure 7
Enough of that, let's find another Biblical parallel. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus says that the scribes and the Pharisees "pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith". I take this to mean that the scribes and the Pharisees would follow little rituals, but abuse their power and authority. That's pretty much what the Kitzhaber Administration has been all about.
It says right in the Constitution of the State of Oregon, Article 1, Section 1, that " all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper". Last November 7, the people declared that they were sick and tired of having the State of Oregon steal their property by passing regulations taking it away, piece by piece, and so they passed Measure 7.
Now Governor Kitzhaber is sworn to uphold the law, which included Measure 7 once passed. And it was his job, along with the Attorney General, to defend Measure 7 from any lawsuits that the losers might file. So what happened? Government Kitzhaber and his lawyers and the environmentalists sat down with the plaintiffs' attorney and planned out how the State of Oregon could lose the lawsuit. It was a 2 1/2 hour meeting, and they even picked the Marion County judge to hear the case. And then the plaintiffs' attorney went home and prepared his lawsuit, and then the Deputy Attorney General went into Court and told the Judge, in substance, to go ahead and enter an injunction against Measure 7 because he was going to lose the case.
So they paid the "tithe of mint and anise and cumin"; they went to Court and put on a little ritual for the public. I look at this, and I see a gross betrayal of the public trust, and a criminal conspiracy to violate the civil rights of property-holding Oregonians. And if we had prosecutors who weren't wimps, they'd issue criminal indictments for this sort of crookness. But here, in the People's Republic of Oregon, you won't even read about this in the newspapers, only on the Internet. Because the Commies are firmly in control in Oregon, and to the Commies, the State has to be able to steal private property without paying for it; that's what Communism is all about. To me it's like Matthew 23:27: the shiny new buildings down in Salem are "like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."
By the way, Governor Kitzhaber appointed the Deputy Attorney General who threw the case to the Court of Appeals, where he now sits. And the only reason we found out about this at all is because afterwards, the plaintiffs' attorney showed up with his hand out to be paid by the taxpayers for his great victory, and his timesheets show the meeting. And then Oregonians in Action managed to get ahold of the notes of the meeting, which told the whole sordid story.
Land Management and Enviro-Hypocrisy
Let us turn to another text. Consider Matthew 23:13, where Jesus said: "woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Isn't that a good analogy for public land management policies in the Pacific Northwest? The wild places are the Kingdom of Heaven for the High Priests of Environmentalism, yet most of them never visit them, they merely close them off so no one can see them.
These people are taking over virtually every important public office in Oregon. Two weeks ago, a man named Roy Elicker was promoted to Deputy Director for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. A friend of mine named Holly Swanson has a tape of a speech he gave at the University of Oregon ten years ago, when he was a lawyer working for the National Wildlife Federation. Listen to what he said:
And now this guy is second in command at ODFW, so he can achieve his big victory. But you won't read about him in any newspapers. Unless you turn off your television, put down your newspapers, and get on your PC, you can't find out the truth about anything anymore. It's all lies.
Recognizing and Confronting Evil
Now Jesus recognized evil when he saw it, and he knew the scribes and the Pharisees were evil. His words don't leave much doubt: "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" And the worst thing about the scribes and the Pharisees is that they pretended to be virtuous, and even believed themselves to be virtuous, just like the environmentalists.
And things are worse than back in the times of Jesus, because these scribes and Pharisees don't just control the new State Religion of Environmentalism, they control every arm of the State itself. You want to buy a house? Good luck affording one; we have to concentrate all the people inside the Urban Growth Boundary, but we have to set aside the undeveloped land inside the Urban Growth Boundary for fish. You have a good job in heavy industry? The Dark Forces have stopped anyone from building power plants for a long time, because they want to supply the power by closing down electricity-dependent industries, which are now falling like flies. You want to grow food? But that takes water, and we can't use water because the fish need it. And so on, and so on.
We watched the failure of central economic planning and the collapse of Communism. We used to recognize the evils of Communism. And now the same Commie philosophy is behind central economic planning for the environment. But we don't seem to recognize the evil. In a way, the very failure of Commie planning -- economic decline -- is deemed a great success. We stopped development, so the plan worked, they say.
And who is fighting this evil? Almost no one. Oregonians in Action is putting up a bit of a fight, but where is your Farm Bureau? In bed with 1000 Friends of Oregon. Where are your Granges? Asleep or running square dances. [Ed. Note: I stand corrected by the Grange]
And what on earth are your legislators? Every year, the State of Oregon forces me to pay $2,000 license fee and sends me a monthly magazine called the "Oregon State Bar Bulletin". And when I opened up the August/September issue this year, the first article was entitled "Kumbaya at the Capitol: A review of the 2001 Legislative Session". And the first sentence was: "The 2001 legislative session was one marked by a spirit of cooperation."
My question is, why are we cooperating with evil at all? Here's the Biblical perspective on that (2 Corinthians 6:18): "what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" Now I don't mean to imply that all of your leaders are evil. As a very great woman philosopher once wrote:
"The truly and deliberately evil men are a very small minority; it is the appeaser who unleashes them on mankind; it is the appeaser's intellectual abdication that invites them to take over. When a culture's dominant trend is geared to irrationality, the thugs win over the appeasers. When intellectual leaders fail to foster the best in the mixed, unformed, vacillating character of people at large, the thugs are sure to bring out the worst. When the ablest men turn into cowards, the average men turn into brutes."
I don't know of a single member of the Legislature who isn't some sort of appeaser. Some of them are good people, even righteous people. But, as Proverbs 2:21 tells us, "[a] righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring."
Join the Salmon Revolution
What's worse is that the Dark Forces haven't just taken over natural resource management in Oregon; they've infiltrated every institution in this country that shapes our future. We have lost control of our government agencies, our courts, our schools, all because we don't care enough to do anything about it.
I mean really, aren't you just a little ashamed to live in the People's Republic of Oregon -- the only state where three major cities won't even interview aliens to protect us from terrorists because they are afraid of being insensitive to illegal aliens? Did anyone read Dave Reinhard's column in the Oregonian this morning? If White Supremacists kill someone, the Portland police can question every skinhead in sight. If abortion extremists blow up a clinic, we can question every abortion activist in sight. But if terrorists blow up the World Trade Center and kill thousands of people, we've got to be very careful to protect the civil rights of illegal aliens.
Every generation has a responsibility to pass along civilization to the next generation. We are always just one generation away from the Dark Ages. And in every generation, Dark Forces are trying to dismantle the ideals that made this a great Nation. The Dark Forces replace our freedom with petty rules. The Dark Forces replace our unalienable rights with unreviewable government powers. The Dark Forces replace private property with what they call "the public interest" -- what they want. The Dark Forces replace due process of law with raw political power. And the Dark Forces replace the truth with the lies that build that power.
Make no mistake about it, whether you know it or not, you are at war with these Dark Forces right now. It's not just a war about salmon and agriculture; it's a war about culture and ideals and freedom. Winston Churchill once said, "When great causes are on the move in the world, we find that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty." So it is to your spirits that I want to appeal. You have a sacred duty to fight these Dark Forces, and pay forward the debt your ancestors paid with their blood, toil, sweat and tears.
How many of you are willing to work just a little harder in the New Year to elect people with common sense? It doesn't matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans or whatever. There are good people at the bottom of both parties.
You've got to get people who are willing to call a spade a spade in every significant public office to start winning this war. You've got to get people who the newspapers will call extremists in office, to wage war with the extremists that have taken over the bureaucracies. There is no other way.
We can win this war, which I call the Salmon Revolution. We can make the rural Northwest a beacon of light no matter how far the Dark Forces advance in the great corrupt cities. We can adopt the same political and organizational tactics of the Leftists, and regain control of the State of Oregon. This Christmas, your efforts are the gift I hope for most. Thank you.
© James Buchal, December 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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