Funding the war on the American West
By Diane Alden
The war on the American West is pretty much the same as it was more than a hundred years ago. Only the names and dates have changed. Primarily eastern financial and foreign political and economic interests, along with American foundations, proponents of the United Nation's Agenda 21, environmental idealists, and U.S. government bureaucrats are waging the current war on the West. All these various individuals and groups believe in their heart of hearts that the ends justifies the means. Of course, their ends are incompatible with the concepts of private property and individual liberty.
In May of 2000, Executive Vice President Robert Huberty of Capital Research Center stated before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources: "We have argued that the central public policy goal for environmental groups is at odds with the needs of individuals and communities. Environmental groups today seek the preservation of natural resources from human use over their protection for human use."
He went on to state: "Last October 13 President Clinton directed the Forest Service to prepare a study that would ban road building on parts of the National Forest System that are currently roadless but that Congress has not agreed to designate as permanent wilderness areas. The president's speech was anticipated by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which acknowledges that it organized the campaign to promote the roadless initiative. On September 24, 1998, the Pew Trusts made a grant of $1,415,000 to the National Audubon Society for this purpose. On September 23, 1999, it gave the Society an additional grant of $2,150,000 for 15 months "to complete a public education effort for permanent administrative protection of the largest remaining tracts of pristine old growth remaining in U.S. national forests."
I am not necessarily a believer in conspiracies, but the fact is human beings are imperfect creatures and their modus operandi is to amass power and money. Most of the time they don't care who gets in the way. Nor do they care about laws and rules or how badly their agenda impacts humanity and the rule of law. They aren't concerned what time-honored concepts are destroyed in the process as they force their agenda on Americans.
Elites have always been with us and they always will be. It seems to be a natural phenomenon for mankind to want to exert control as well as to amass fortunes and power. However, they usually have a blind way of selectively wielding that power over others in a destructive fashion. Now, as always, they gather in their little hothouse groupings and think up various policies and fixes for what ails humankind. Such efforts, however, usually end up making life on Earth difficult. In addition, such policies usually lack either common sense or justice - or both.
The busybody power elites always think they are doing everyone a favor and operate under the assumption that they have a direct hookup to the Divine, which is usually not the Divine but their own notions of perfection here on Earth.
The problem arises when the oligarchy of wealth and power combines with idealists in order to exert hegemony and control over humankind. They will do what they must to control and dictate what goes on with private and public property. From ideas to land, they seek control.
The environmental groups, funded by the tax-exempt-rich-man foundations such as Rockefeller and Pew Charitable Trusts attempt to lock up and crush natural resource users and producers, and those who would use so-called public lands in the western United States. As a result of their actions, the rural way of life is an endangered species. Changes in the needs of American society have already reduced the rural population, and those who are left are being driven out by the idealism and perfectionism of the environmental movement.
Zealous government bureaucrats housed in the land agencies and true believers such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore join them in this effort. This new aristocracy that seeks control of men, property and land is doing a pretty good job of wresting control from local and rural areas in the intermountain West especially. And so it still boils down to the old range and feudal wars over turf, land and money, power and control.
Bill Clinton has been a bigger land grabber and feudal lord than the last big land grabber, Jimmy Carter. Currently, most of these land grabs are taking place in flyover country - mostly in the states that went for George Bush.
It is a fact that nearly 2/3 of that area is under government control. The environmental movement has an inordinate amount of hegemony over what goes on in so called public lands, which Bill Clinton and his administration have been grabbing exponentially. Millions of acres and prime real estate have been placed under federal jurisdiction. In addition, Clinton recently shoved the roadless initiative down the throats of rural America - part of his big-money-backed legacy efforts.
Legacy, my foot. The legacy being created is central government planning with a corporate and elitist green spin. They want to control, period! They want to say how, when and where our food, fiber, gas and oil, timber and mineral wealth are created. Bill Clinton sets himself up for the savior of the little guy, but the "little guys" he is trying to save are his own favored elites and their friends. Bill Clinton is no more for the "little guy" than he is a celibate. His policies and those of his cronies and administration are destroying the "little guy." A Teddy Roosevelt he is not. Teddy would have been appalled at the nightmare created by this buffoon from Arkansas in the name of the environment.
It is a fact that, because of the triumvirate of elite power groupings, terrible things are being done to good people in the name of a good cause. In modern days that cause is a horror combining corporate state capitalism and Gramscian and Hegelian utopian socialism. Clinton and Tony Blair and Kofi Annan call it the "third way." It used to be called fascism when corporate economic interests and state socialism denied the individual those rights - to private property, for instance - contained in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and explained in documents such as the Federalist Papers.
Bill Clinton and the elite do not believe that the individual is more important than the state. He and his kind do not believe that the state owns nothing and should be allowed to control little. The founders knew this and that is why they gave us the Bill of Rights. They knew that the state is usually a blind, thoughtless and uncaring dummy.
In our own times the state has become more important than the individual; the individual is a ward of the state. The individual has money and property only at the behest of the state, rather than vice versa. Fascism in our era is not the personification of a short, whiny jack-booted guy with a bad haircut and funny mustache. It is now a slick and media-savvy angel of light. It wages war on the individual and it chooses its targets away from the centers of power: thus, war on rural America, especially the West.
The Old Barons Are With Us Still
A hundred years ago the Western Civil War of Incorporation went on for decades. It really continues today. The ostensible robber and cattle barons of that era had the run of the intermountain West. They were joined in their attempts to control it by the railroads and the financial interests of the East, with the help of the U.S. Congress. They made settling the West as much a windfall for Eastern and foreign financial interests as it was for the pioneer, the "little guy" who headed west to find his pot of gold and a modicum of freedom and independence.
The "Oxford History of the American West" says this was "the trend from 1865 to 1900 in which wealthy and powerful individuals, companies, and corporations sought either to force settlers off the land or to overcharge them for its occupancy. In effect this was the land-enclosing movement, which in the West engendered instability and discontent comparable in England from the Middle Ages to the 18th century."
Amazing how that time frame works out. The colossal, influential, moneyed, aristocratic landed interests begin to lose power at the same time that the ideas, which evolved in the Enlightenment, were triumphing over the old aristocratic notions of land baronies and hegemony of the elite. Ideals of private property found their way into the United States Bill of Rights and the Constitution. They were first espoused philosophically in the Declaration of Independence and developed in the Federalist Papers.
The American West in the late 1900s saw big ranchers who hired cowboy toughs to destroy and run off the homesteaders and small ranchers. Many of these large "rancher" entities were not even U.S. citizens. Most of them held property in absentia and hailed from England and Germany. These "ranchers" were more familiar with fox hunting and estates in Scotland, Ireland or Bavaria than they were with an American cattle roundup. Since these foreign elites didn't live on the land they owned, they thought nothing of overstocking the range with cattle and didn't care abouts the health of the range. For a short time that meant that they became even richer. But it also led to the degradation of the land as millions of cattle roamed the range far beyond its carrying capacity.
The activities of these entrenched elites and financial interests also drove the smaller rancher and farmer off the land. Following the foreign ownership of large tracts, corporate interests in the form of the railroads and an infant oil industry began to receive special treatment from Congress. In that era these interests fixed the cattle market and encouraged the little guy they had enticed through the development of the railroad to settle on lands that they eventually attempted to steal.
The small rancher and farmer often found himself not only beset by Mother Nature but by the rowdies and toughs hired by the various interest groups. The Johnson County Wars in Wyoming were part of the attempt by the powerful to drive off the little guy.
Not much has changed since those days. Only now the federal government uses its clout to close up the West to all but elite activities. The closing of logging, mining and ranching coincides with what Bill Clinton believes and has mentioned in passing. In December, he opined that perhaps the U.S. would be better served to depend on second or third world nations for its food and fiber, just as now we depend on oil and natural gas from the outside.
In the 1880s the best-laid plans of mice and rich absent landowners went to hell. Nature took a hand and the "capitalists" from the East lost millions.
It was the death-dealing winter of 1886 and 1887 when millions of cattle starved or froze to death. Many of the "outsiders" as well as the smaller ranchers went broke. For the most part, however, the Eastern interests did not suffer nearly as much as the smaller cattleman. The cattle die-off of that era was such a devastating event that it changed the way that Westerners looked at their land and the cattle business. The new Westerners had to be present, tough, hardy, and involved with their cattle and the land.
Environmentalist President Teddy Roosevelt got his notions about the West and the nature of the land when he was a rancher and cowboy in the Dakotas. That experience colored his attitudes; it is no wonder he was a big proponent of national parks and the manner in which public lands should be used. He most certainly failed as a rancher, but he did believe the West was a unique area needing special protection.
Roosevelt called himself a conservationist, while today's "saviors" of the environment call themselves preservationists. The difference is monumental. The conservationist implies conservation or stewardship of land and resources, while the preservationist, which most environmentalists are, prefer the museum approach to land use and critter control. They seek very little human interaction with the land or nature and no multiple use of land and forests, certainly not logging, mining or ranching. They even seek to end certain recreational activities.
Lew Rockwell, head of the free market and libertarian Von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, stated that "environmentalism got its political start under the original liberal Republican: Teddy Roosevelt. As no one who knows Washington will be surprised to learn, there were special interests at work.
When the federal government established the national parks system and locked up millions of acres, it made other land - held especially by the timber and railroad interests associated with J.P. Morgan, Roosevelt's mentor - much more valuable. Some of these interests were the funders of the original conservation lobbying organization."
At yet another attempt to destroy those who need public lands to survive, the never-ending groupies of do-goodism met in a conference called Rangenet 2000. Meeting in Reno, Nevada, on December 4, 2000, these public lands advocates from 11 Western states, and some Eastern states and Canada, launched a national campaign to end livestock grazing on public lands. Even though livestock grazing in recent years has been a boon both to the land and wildlife, never confuse environmentalists or their corporate sponsors with the facts. The deal is done and the war is on and the target is the little guy.
J. Wayne Burkhardt, Ph.D., formerly an associate professor emeritus of range management at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been studying Western rangelands for more than 35 years. He asks the question, "Why the disparity between actual conditions on public rangelands and the negative depictions in many government reports? Subjectivity versus objectivity. Agency assessments are often driven by political and funding considerations. These agencies, much like special interest groups, owe much of their existence to the perpetuation of problems rather than to their solutions.
"In the 1980s, environmentalists, citing land degradation and lack of significant contribution to society, launched a serious political campaign against livestock grazing on public lands which put it at the center of a major land use struggle. This puts the future of rangeland grazing in question. Sadly, their propaganda does not include many facts and is much at odds with documentation showing stable and improving range conditions."
Natural grazing damages little and is based on a renewable natural resource that can be harvested in no other way.
Dr. Burkhardt maintains further: "Professional critics earn their living, and boost their ego and political power, based on a crisis. They can walk into the halls of Congress and be listened to even though reality is seldom discussed. Never mentioned is the fact that plants grow and produce tissue in excess of their own needs and this surplus organic material has to be periodically removed. If it is not, two things occur: nutrients that need to go back into the soil are tied up in litter and accumulation; and plants stagnate, grass is not healthy and they cannot thrive."
Ron Arnold, former Sierra Club executive and now anti-environmental activist, has written a book titled "Undue Influence." In 2000, he testified before Congress as to whom is funding the environmental movement and why. It is the usual suspects, of course: Ford, Rockefeller and Pew Charitable Trusts, to name a few. Big money backs Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Audubon, National Wildlife Federation - the list is long and predictable. These groups are slowly buying off lands or, in collaboration with federal agencies, are driving the "little" logger, rancher and miner off the land.
Does that mean that the land is now safe from development and despoliation? Not really, because with land exchanges and land swaps, both corporate America and developers friendly to particular political parties and government agencies get a crack at the choice areas. For instance, there was the Del Webb land exchange in Nevada, a deal that screwed the ranchers in the northern part of the state in order to give land to the growth of urban sprawl in Las Vegas. This took place through the good offices of Democratic Senator Harry Reid. In California, it was the great environmentalist and friend of corporate America, Dianne Feinstein, whose involvement in the Catellus Corporation land exchanges in California has been the subject of investigation by various property rights groups.
However, more is involved than a few corrupt land exchange deals between politicians and American elites. When Bill Clinton closed down the Escalante in Utah and turned the area into a monument, he killed two birds with one stone. He paid back the Indonesian Riady family, who had contributed to his election as well as his various legal bills, and he repaid the environmental movement and foundations for their support. The Escalante area was the repository of one of the largest deposits of clean-burning coal in the world. Now, instead of using our own clean-burning coal, we buy the dirtier kind from Indonesia and China.
Escalante mining options would have brought money to the state of Utah and funded education and the state's own natural resource agencies. Now the feds run it and the state is out of luck and so are the people of Utah, not to mention the energy-hungry folks who live in the cities of both coasts. The government pays the state a stipend for the taking, but it does not amount to anywhere near what the state would have received if mining had been allowed.
So now the Escalante is wilderness, an esoteric preservation effort that serves multinational corporate interests and satisfies the environmental movement's Earth-worshipping puritans. However, they have saved nothing and destroyed much. The Earth is not better off because of this foolishness. Somewhere the land is still getting used, only it is in places with no concern for the environment. As always, follow the money.
In a recent issue of the DeWeese Report, Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center (www.americanpolicy.org) asserts that "the benevolent grassroots movement that Americans have been proud to serve for the good of man and nature is really little more than a front for market and stock manipulation and real estate transactions."
He points out that "some of the best known and most publicly supported environmental groups own huge stock portfolios and real estate holdings" and that "these groups use their non-profit status and reputations as selfless defenders of wildlife to buy and sell land at huge profits and control the legislative process that regulates competing companies and developers."
The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council "account for assets in excess of $1.6 billion," DeWeese observes. "There are more than 150 environmental groups with assets in excess of $5 million each," he adds. "Their total assets exceed $8 billion. Huge revenues like that don't come from $15 checks from concerned donors," DeWeese emphasizes. "This money comes from foundation grants, government grants, real estate holdings, product marketing, business deals, and well-managed stock portfolios."
American Western Civil War
So the Western Civil War of Incorporation rages on. Logging is almost gone for the small independents in Oregon and Washington. The bogus "saving the spotted owl" was not about saving anything, since it was never endangered.
It did, however, provide elitists with a reason to shut down logging in the Northwest. Saving old-growth forests became the new national emergency and sacred icon. However, as usual with these people, half-truths and myths, perpetuated by government agencies, the media, and the big corporate foundations, held the day. The foundations gave the green movement money to litigate the smaller independent logger out of business. Now they are doing it to the public lands rancher, bringing suit against him or the government when it doesn't do what the environmental movement wants.
Little was made of the fact that old growth is not necessarily the same as forest or ecosystem good health. As millions of acres burned this last summer, no one cares to mention the inconvenient fact that uncut and uncared-for old-growth forests will most likely burn down before they can be cut.
In like manner, no one bothers to mention that some species of trees, like redwoods, will not regenerate unless there is clear- cutting. But what do facts matter when a picture of inaccurate and unscientific garbage is getting lots of publicity and air time in a National Geographic or a Discovery Channel special. The big money and corporations could care less. They can get their logs and minerals from New Zealand or Canada or Russia.
The small to medium-sized family logging business, miners, and ranchers are the ones hurt. The elites always say that these activities would be replaced by jobs in tourism, but this has not happened. No job in tourism offers the pay of natural resource jobs. That industry is almost dead, however, and the public lands rancher is going to be next.
Logging has been stopped in the Sierra Nevada this last month or so. The forest products chips and leftovers from logging in the Sierra Nevada had been used to fuel power plants. Now there are power plants that will have to close because logging the resultant fuels processed into energy bales will no longer be available. Californians are about to get another lesson in Newtonian law: Every action has a reaction.
Thus, environmental puritanism and its effects on the average person will get its test as Californians try to turn on lights and heat their homes. Or they will have to go to other energy sources, with none in sight. But the environmental movement and the federal government, as usual, have the attitude, "Don't worry, be happy."
As it was a thousand or a hundred years ago, it is the all-too-familiar elite against the small entrepreneur or natural resource-dependent small producer. Now they are anti-consumer as well. It is a fact that the new land barons want the use of public lands to end; they don't care how that might affect people. It just goes to show you that Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham live on, and they still rob from the poor to give to the rich or offer sacrifice to the gods in the new religion of environmentalism.
Nonetheless, the green elite and its corporate sponsors continue to look like saviors of all good things. In fact, they are the same tyrannical and anti-human tyrants who have been with us since the dawn of man. In this incarnation, they are attempting to undo centuries of work toward a system of private property rights as well as the rights of the individual over those of the state. It is a battle we must fight again.
Wheeling and Dealing in the Land of Clintonia
The Clinton administration has honed wheeling and dealing to a high art form. In a recent case a government agency is alleged to be engaged in arm-twisting and blackmail against a private citizen. Land agency representatives denied that they worked with environmentalists to coerce Texas financier Charles Hurwitz into giving the government a number of acres owned by Pacific Lumber Co. They denied that this exchange would have been in order to settle government claims on his alleged role in the collapse of a savings and loan association in Texas.
But federal documents indicate another story. A task force set on investigation found two agencies and the environmental movement had lobbied the Clinton administration to get the deal taking Hurwitz's prime land in the Headwaters of California and turn it over to the government in exchange for dropping charges against him. But newly uncovered federal documents suggest otherwise, according to task force staffers. White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in a March 21, 1995, letter to the National Audubon Society said the debt-for-nature strategy was "worth pursuing" and that he was directing his staff to look into it.
The foreign interests involved in the great land barony scheme of the 21st century are not the English or Germans, as they were in the 1800s. Rather, they are the friends and allies of the United Nations and its silly Agenda 21 mandates. Multinational corporations, and billionaires like Maurice Strong, Ted Turner, the Club of Rome, and others support various goofy notions of cultural and environmental Marxism.
No matter how idealistic and utopian the goals of these groups and individuals may seem, they will not create unity, a healthy environment, or fairness in any way, shape or form.
These ideas and those who practice them will do what has always been done: Create an elite uber alles class of utopians and corporate master controllers. When they finally gain power, they will not be as benign as they are today. They never are. Examples of what they can do to human beings and human activity abound. These activities don't engender fairness, but they do further the interests of the aristocracy on a national and international scale.
To learn the names and amounts of money involved in the corporate, government and green alliance, look into U.N. Agenda 21 described on its Web site. Read Ron Arnold's book "Undue Influence," seek out Henry Lamb's excellent Web site, Sovereignty International, research the Cato or Heritage Web sites, or find all this at www.opensecrets.com. If you don't believe libertarian or conservative Web sites, check out the various green ones and find out that "The truth is out there."
In all likelihood you won't like what you find. It is nothing but a bad combination of multinational corporate foundations, utopian socialist idealists, and the federal government. That combination used to be called fascism.
(Next time around I am going into the three cases in the West that are worth telling: the demise of the public lands ranchers in Idaho's Owyhee area, the travails of the Roney Cattle Company in California, and the unfortunate fate of the one shining example of environmental and private interest cooperation - the Quincy Library Group in Plumas, California.)
Please check out my Web site, www.aldenchronicles.com. We have a new hot-button item, the left and how it is funded, in addition to articles by Dave Skinner, Tom Childs and others on the war on the left.
Before you check out the following site, make sure your blood pressure medication and heart pills are at hand. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org
To fight the left and its allies in corporate America, attend the upcoming logistical and tactical meeting in Washington, D.C., in May. Please check out Alliance for America and support the 2001 Fly In For Freedom! (www.allianceforamerica.org)
Diane Alden is a research analyst with a background in political science and economics. Her work has appeared in the Washington Times as well Etherzone, Enter Stage Right, American Partisan, Front Page, Lew Rockwell and many other online publications. She has been on many radio shows all over the continental United States. She has just signed a book contract to publish her contemporary Western, "Somewhere, Montana" which will be published this summer. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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