Exemptions, Abortion, & Wolves
Three weeks ago,I was sitting in the back of a room in rural Oregon where rural landowners were being flimflammed about selling their property rights to one of the Land Trusts. As I sat there watching the tenderfoot landowners sniffing around the clever "set" ("set" is a trapping term for a site where a bait or lure innocently masks a concealed trap that ultimately spells doom for the unwary animal) constructed by the Easement salesmen and ladies, I was struck by two things.
First, the naiveté of the landowners, and the brazen lies of the salesmen, were astounding.
Question: "Will my taxes go down if I sign up for one of these easements?"
Answer: "They SHOULD go down, since you will be foregoing certain future development options."
Observation: Whether or not land taxes go down is a function of individual County and State governments. What is true today may not be true tomorrow, and very likely will not be true when your children or grandchildren, or some potential buyer, inquires about the taxes on the property, and its true worth, when they discover they cannot build on it, or graze it, or harvest timber on it, or plant some (yet-to-be-discovered) crop in high demand, or some habitat for certain species, or landscaping, or install kennels, and so on.
Question: "How do you check up on these easements?"
Answer: "Occasional visits by our limited staffs, but we have so many of these that it will be a rare occasion. We rely mainly on people's commitment."
Observation: Not a peep about the use of government satellite imagery, just as government agencies do,to electrionically monitor changes down to an ever-smaller degree of landscapes, trails, etc.
Also, not a hint of how, again just like government agencies, the periodic "example" of prosecution and draconian penalties of "violators" is the primary tool to scare all future easement-holder-landowners into quiet acquiescence, and fear of neighbors and imagined government enforcers behind every tree. Even Little Red Riding Hood noticed "what big teeth" grandma had.
Observation: While landowners are certainly free to sign away the basic use of their property and to forego unimagined future land use options, values, and benefits; this easement scam is based in large measure on an unmentioned pillar that is unjust, unfair, and in need of the kind of destruction these "ecosystem warriors" visit so readily on hunting, fishing, grazing, logging, economic development, and rural family life. I am speaking about TAX EXEMPTIONS.
If land units in any county or state: (1.) can no longer be built on; (2.) can no longer be grazed; (3.) can no longer have timber harvested on it;(4) can no longer be planted into new crops in high demand; (5.) can no longer have a road punched through them; (6.) can no longer produce products that will pay the taxes which support roads and schools, etc., or (7.) creates an out-of-county, or out-of-state, or even out-of-country land use control entity of enormous power and wealth: WHY SHOULD SUCH ENTITIES RECEIVE EXEMPTION FROM TAXES AT THE COUNTY, STATE, OR FEDERAL LEVEL?
Their (the "Trusts" and "Conservancies") entire purpose is at odds with the best interests of the communities and families and way of life of the rural areas in which they are operating. County and state potential for growth is stymied. Rural homes and home-sites are necessarily priced out of range for all but the wealthy.
Rural economies are destroyed, and replaced by estates (like Scotland and Ireland after the "Land Clearances" and "Potato Famine".) Public access for hunting and fishing dwindles as land is increasingly owned by the rich or by government.
Fish and game species are increasingly unmanaged and less abundant, as management access and management options are foregone by prohibitions against landscape and habitat modifications and "Native" (and similar "ecosystem") requirements in the easement precludes everything from predator control to the fostering of certain species, to benefit others.
Naturally renewable and valuable resources like timber and forage are increasingly unmanaged, wasted, and reduced, as non-use results in the sort of fire-fuel storage areas seen on public lands today.
Wildlife food plantings or "opening up" certain areas are precluded, as game populations disappear as habitats age and simplify in the name of "freezing" some imaginary and accidental landscape on particular ownerships.
Future road changes to meet future community needs are foregone in the ignorance oftoday's short-term financial decision. Other than saving your soul, what possible thing should anyone presume it makes sense to do "in PERPETUITY"?
Combined with their (The "Trusts" and "Conservancies") sub Rosa "partnerships" with federal and state bureaucracies in all manner of land schemes and regulatory expansions, and their unquestioned but murky and extensive lobbying and "support" of politicians (especially at the federal level, where, for example, the former Chief Executive of a multi-billion land brokerage "front [for federal bureaucracies] now serves as Secretary of the Treasury); the outrageousness of granting such organizations TAX EXEMPTIONS rivals the audacity of EXCLUDING INDIAN TRIBES FROM THE ELECTION LAW AND CONTRIBUTION PROVISIONS OF THE McCAIN-FEINGOLD ACT.
When "pressed" (who "dares" to do so?) about "why does government grant tax exemptions to such organizations, and thereby encourage their agendas?" the answer would invariably be "science (the 'best available science' to be sure) says so". Whether it is assertions about the "need" for a Native Ecosystem or the reputed "offsets" to "carbon footprints" or "global warming"; scientists, speaking for "science" dictate how we should live, where we should live, and who (almost always an ever-stronger central government "fronting" for radical causes and organizations) will "order" our lives and society.
Our state, local, and federal governments have bought into this dictatorship of "science" for many reasons; some murky, some plain stupid - and some that are evil and destructive. A partial clarification of the current deification and power of "scientific" pronouncements lies in looking behind the curtain of abortion politics and wolf politics masquerading (like radical environmental tax exemption justifications) as "science".
Warren Throckmorton, Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College, has written a thoughtful and insightful article concerning abortion and psychology. You can read it in the Friday 18 May 2007 Washington Times on page A17.
Essentially, he notes how the American Psychology Association passed the following resolution, "that termination of pregnancy be considered a civil right of the pregnant woman" in 1969. (NOTE: This was 4 years before the Roe v Wade "decision") and also 5 years after the Wilderness Act was passed and "wilderness" in all its manifestations ["Wilderness Areas", "Roadless Areas", "Critical Habitats", logging purges, grazing destruction, public land access and management elimination, hunting and fishing constrictions, etc.) became both public policy AND a religious tenet of "scientific assertions". 1969 was also the year of the passage of the Endangered Species Conservation Act, and five years before passage of The Animal Welfare Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and The Endangered Species Act. At that time, we were in the midst of societal anguish over Vietnam, and in the midst of radical societal challenges exploding all around - pushed by extremists of every stripe. When the dust "settled" ten years later, we had a far more powerful federal government; far weaker state governments; and an interlocking federal - state - Conservation- Environmental- Animal Rights "Complex" of bureaucrats, activists and politicians with hidden agendas. All was based on "science" put forth by "scientists" who were irrefutable, and when caught in lies defended themselves with being "the best available". The linkage between all these radical societal changes during this turbulent period [like today?] becomes more apparent as we view them dispassionately from a distance and consider their continuing effects on our society and nation.
So, when Roe v Wade was "passed" by the Supreme Court in 1973 (three years before The Endangered Species Act, The Marine Mammal Protection Act, and The Animal Welfare Act) all four of these "Acts" (I know, Roe was a "decision" but it was legislation from the bench, nonetheless) began their 30-year expansions into every "nook and cranny" of society, while expanding federal powers and reach. But Dr. Throckmorton speaks of the burgeoning debate about "partial-birth" abortion and the currently available psychological "science" concerning abortion as to how it can contribute to this current public debate. Funny thing though; he notes how most, if not all "psychologists" speaking out or being appointed to a "Task Force" bring a viewpoint or "perspective" that predisposes them to justify conclusions that reinforce their PRIVATE NOTIONS. He states that certain "evidence" is disregarded or buried, while other "facts" are emphasized or embellished. In other words, they are every bit as much ideologues as rednecks in a bar or soccer moms at a decaffeinated coffee "klatch".
He quotes a Dr. Mac Nair regarding, "provocative questions about the role of political philosophy in constructing professional policies. The historic position of the APA on abortion, the method of the current task force's formation, and the ideological leanings of half of the members, all create legitimate concerns about the APA's ability to objectively review the evidence on abortion and mental health. On this committee, or indeed on any task force regarding issues of social controversy, scholars with contrasting professional, religious and cultural perspectives should be appointed. Only in this way will APA's statement on socially divisive issues be taken seriously across the political spectrum."
Ruminating on this "fact" brings us to wolves.
"May 14, 2007, 11:25AM
JACKSON, Wyo. - More than 230 scientists have signed a letter opposing plans to remove wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho from Endangered Species Act protection. The scientists said wolves in the three states still face threats because their numbers remain relatively small and because the wolf populations in the Yellowstone area, in central Idaho and in northwest Montana don't intermingle."
This "news item" recently crossed my desk accompanied by the following question, "are these so called scientists seeking to protect grants and other cash flows associated with having the animal on the list?"
Before I answer, think about tax-exempt Foundations and Trusts and Conservancies. Think about Forest Service land closures and restrictions. Think about federal bills perking in Washington, DC - like the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act that, while being more appropriate to Russia or Germany in the 1930s, lie ticking in Congressional school desks during a period of national history that resembles the notorious late 1960s - to late 1970s, when unimaginably radical "environmental" and "animal" laws were also passed. Think about ideologue bureaucrats "networking" with radicals who share their ignorance of and disdain for the management and use of natural resources. Think about wolves and grizzlies that are killing and will increasingly kill rural inhabitants on paths, in sleeping bags, hunting, etc., as well as their dogs, livestock, and formerly-abundant big game animals. Think about the "science" underpinning and dictating all this like the Psychological pronouncement underpinning and formulating abortion.
Are the "230 scientists" in it for the federal money flow "past, present, and future" (to borrow from Dickens' A Christmas Carol)? Are the "230 scientists" all on one form or another of the "public mammary" like agencies or Universities or Foundations that contract and/or subcontract public funding? Are the "230 scientists" interested in the implications of wolves for tenure or retirement or public recognition? Do you think any of the "230 scientists" brought preconceived notions to the formulation of their recommendations - like certain psychologists do to abortion? Is the "weight" of the words of "230 scientists" some sort of inarguable position that should cause everyone else to fold up their tents and go home?
Two books have just come on the market that should be mandatory reading for all Americans. (It occurs to me that if all of us who believe this about these two books gave our federal politicians enough money, they could pass a law that would give more tax money to some federal agency that could force all Americans to have copies of the two books and be familiar with them.)
That is no more un-American than forcing horse owners to keep unwanted horses, or threatening cockfighters with a felony. But I digress.
The first book is WOLVES IN RUSSIA, by WILL GRAVES. This book describes (for the non-scientist patriot) 150 years of the recently-recorded history of wolves in Russia from Eastern Europe to the Pacific. No hidden agendas, no punches pulled: during war and during social upheavals; under the Czar and under Communism, and under the current government; during cold winters and dry summers; human deaths; livestock losses; and game animal impacts in all their unvarnished and unembellished "glory". Pay special attention to all the documented diseases that wolves carry and transmit (anthrax, foot-and-mouth, brucellosis, rabies, intestinal parasites) and consider those that they logically transmit in various ways, like chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease. Wolves are mortal dangers to men, livestock, pets and wildlife, yet none of this is ever even mentioned in the reams of "scientific" data churned out by the "230 scientists" and their ilk for the past 30 years. For anyone interested in, affected or threatened by the environmental and animal rights agendas, I highly recommend this book. Read it not just for the history but compare it to what passes for "science" today, and ask yourself, how did we ever let groups like these "230 scientists" take over our society, like witch doctors or medicine men in corrupt pagan societies? You can obtain Mr. Graves' book by going to www.wolvesinrussia.com.
The second book is Tom Bethell's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science published by Regnery. Mr. William Rusher reports that the book describes how "science is forever used, like everything else, to reinforce political viewpoints". In a telling assessment, Mr. Rusher reports also that, "scientists are human like the rest of us, with their full complement of opinions and biases on all sorts of subjects not squarely in their field of expertise. And not surprisingly, a lot of them are happy to rely on their reputations as unbiased experts to promote political causes of one sort or another. In many cases they don't even recognize what they are doing; they simply confuse what they know, with what they want."
"They simply confuse what they know with what they want." I couldn't have said it better myself.
Should such information be the basis of law? Of society? Should it dictate Tax Exemptions for land conservation scams? Should it be a basis for societal accommodations toward the unborn, the elderly, the infirm, or the use of human cells? Should it be the justification for closing public land to the public?
Should it be the reason we deny the rights of property owners? Should it be the rationale for preventing research on animals, or stopping hunting, fishing,logging, grazing, or the proactive management of renewable natural resources? Can it justify turning public lands into tinderboxes, that when they burn up nearby private property, federal firefighters have the audacity to tell us "shouldn't be there" or that the government "must buy" in the future?
Should it provide a rationale for erasing Constitutional provisions, and turning this nation into a Socialist Democracy, where one government and the currently-powerful run everything, and everybody?
I don't think so. It should never be the ONLY consideration nor should it stand alone. Human decisions and political policies have moral and social dimensions that, to mention but two, outweigh science that, while it must be taken into account, must be considered and adapted to man and his informed needs - not the other way around.
What do you think? That is just as important, and in many ways, far more important than "easement salesmen", "psychologists", and "230 scientists".Jim Beers is a retired U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a U.S. Navy Line Officer in the Western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He resides in Centreville, Virginia, with his wife of many decades.
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