News from the Front #37:
Speech to the Kitsap Waterfront & Streamside Owners Association: Winning the Battle Against the Dark Forces
Back in 1866, Mark Twain said "no man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session". Things have gotten a lot worse since then. Now our legislators think that it's too hard to write laws anymore, and it's easier to just write some sort of high-faluting goals and let the bureaucrats actually make up the laws. So now your property is never safe, because the bureaucracy is always in session.
Washington's Shoreline Management Act is a perfect example. Here's what the bozos you elected to the Legislature wrote:
"The legislature . . . finds that much of the shorelines of the state and the uplands adjacent thereto are in private ownership; that unrestricted construction on the privately owned or publicly owned shorelines of the state is not in the best public interest; and therefore, coordinated planning is necessary in order to protect the public interest . . ." (RCW 90.58.020)
So the legislature turns loose the bureaucrats to do its job, and write laws to requiring whatever the bureaucrats think is the "the public interest".
Now, once upon a time, back when courts that upheld the Constitution rather than just rubber-stamping whatever bureaucrats want to do, the courts would have said "sorry Charlie". It's your job to write laws, not to hand your power over to a bunch of people who can't be voted out of office. This kind of law is no law at all, and it's unconstitutional.
But law is dead, and the Constitution is dead. How do I know that law is dead? I watch them hammer the nails in the coffin every day. Back when I first got involved in the salmon mess, I still believed in law. And I said, hey, I'm a lawyer. I know this simple little thing that government biologists can't seem to figure out. If you want to save salmon, you go around and look for piles of dead salmon, and then you stop making piles of dead salmon. And I looked and saw that the federal government was issuing permits for commercial fishermen to kill endangered salmon so people could eat them. And they kill great big piles of salmon.
And I knew that if anybody was really serious about protecting salmon, as if they were endangered wild animals, they'd stop catching them and killing them.
Take a look at this. This is the West Coast salmon harvest.
Notice that the all time highs are not 100 years ago, but within the last decade or so. After we built all the cities and roads and dams.
We've got salmon coming out of our ears. We even have twenty different kinds of salmon cat food now.
And I said, all right, I can read the law. The Endangered Species Act says it shall be unlawful to trade or transport endangered species in interstate commerce. So how can the government issue all these permits to kill fish to sell them? And so I went to the Court. And do you know what the government said? We can't tell the endangered fish from the non-endangered fish, so we can't enforce the law. And the Court said, duh, OK, whatever you say. Because law is dead as a doornail.
And the Constitution is dead as a doornail too. You pay for federal bureaucrats to write salmon plans. You pay for state bureaucrats to write salmon plans. You pay for Northwest Power Planning Council bureaucrats to write salmon plans. You pay Kitsap County bureaucrats to write salmon plans. You pay and pay and pay and pay. You're paying for a whole army of planners. And the organization chart looks something like this:
And all these people, they spend all their time fighting with each other, so that we get piles of paper instead of piles of fish.
Now back when I still thought there was such a thing as law, I said, why is this the federal government's business anyway? So I opened up the United States Constitution. And I found three relevant parts:
Article I, § 8:
“Congress shall have Power . . . To regulate commerce with Foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”
Article II, § 2:
“[The President] shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur . . ."
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Isn't it clear that the federal government's job is to regulate salmon commerce and make salmon treaties, and everything else is none of the federal government's business? Of course it is.
Now how do I know the Constitution is dead? Well down in California, they've got a tiny fly that's listed as endangered. And there's no commerce in dead flies. And there are no fly treaties. And so somebody thought, hey, how can it be legal for the federal government to tell the county it can't build out its hospital because of a fly? The case is called National Association of Home Builders v. Babbitt (D.C.Cir. 1997)
Here's what the Court said:
“To allow even a single species whose value is not currently apparent to become extinct therefore deprives the economy of the option value of that species. Because our current knowledge of each species and its possible uses is limited, it is impossible to calculate the exact impact that the loss of the option value of a single species might have on interstate commerce. In the aggregate, however, we can be certain that the extinction of species and the attendant decline in biodiversity will have a real and predictable effect on interstate commerce.”
What does this mean? Anything that affects anything affects interstate commerce, so the federal government can regulate anything. What does it really mean? We've got a bunch of lunatics in for judges.
What is one of the most important things you've got to do? You've got to get judges in office who will enforce the plain language of the Constitution.
Now I don't want to say there is no role for the federal government and the state government here in Kitsap County. If they want to come out and give you some free advice, like extension agents, why that's a great concept. We'd quickly find out who knew how to grow fish and who didn't. But until we cut back the powers of the State and Federal government and confine them to things that are really of national importance, and statewide importance, every biologist who comes to visit is bringing trouble.
The Death of Science
Now if it weren't bad enough that law is dead, science is dead too. Nearly all the science is now funded by the government, which makes it political science, which means it isn't science at all. Because government only pays for science that grows more government. So all these fools that call themselves scientists just publish a lot of crap about how the sky is falling and we need the government to save us.
Let's go back to the Endangered Species Act, for example. Congress turned the federal bureaucrats loose to list any "distinct population segment" of a species as endangered. Now of course there aren't any salmon species that are endangered. A species is a concept with real meaning: you take two of them and you breed them, and you get fertile offspring. And everyone agrees that maybe it's worthwhile having the government run Noah's Ark, and keeping the last two animals alive so that they don't disappear from the face of the earth.
But there is no chance that any salmon species is going to disappear from the face of the earth. Take the Puget Sound chinook, for example. Here's what their population looks like over the last few years:
There are thirty different rivers full of chinook; literally hundreds of thousands of them, and there is no chance at all they will disappear. It's important to remember than in the early 1990s, we had some of the worst ocean conditions for salmon in 500 years. Now the oceans are improving, and the runs are all going up. And there are thousands more populations of chinook salmon all over the world. We don't need Noah's Ark. We need common sense.
Here's a headline from this week's Oregonian:
But you won't hear anyone saying we need to scale back on government salmon recovery programs. Because we don't have a salmon problem, we have a government problem.
Even the language the scientists use is perverted by the government. Words like extinction don't mean extinction. Let me show you a little bit about that. Now as far as I know, they haven't bothered even to try and figure out the mathematical chance that Puget Sound chinook will go extinct. But they have come up with some crooked computer models to estimate the extinction risk for the Snake River spring/summer chinook, which consist of at least 38 different runs of fish, and here are the extinction probabilities they calculated for seven index stocks:
What does this mean? This means that even this one group of listed fish has no chance of disappearing off the face of the earth, because some of the runs are just fine. So they changed the meaning of extinction: five out of seven of the "index stocks" have to be around or the fish are "extinct". So you read in the newspaper that there is a 64% chance of extinction, which is just a plain lie.
And some of the biggest lies are about hatchery fish. Now we all know that the government runs most of the hatcheries, and the government tends to screw things up, so there have been a lot of mistakes made with hatcheries. But that doesn't mean that we can't breed plenty of fish. But that's too easy. You can't grow government that way, only fish. Remember, we don't have a salmon problem, we have a government problem.
So now, after decades of killing off the wild stocks, the government now spends millions of dollars trying to prove that hatchery fish are a threat to wild stocks. Like down in the Deschutes River in Oregon, a researcher once reported negative influence of hatchery fish. And they've thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars at him since, but he can't replicate the results. But that's OK, our government scientists still cite them, as if they were true. And the people who bother to look at the bigger picture, find, for example, that the healthiest wild coho runs on the Oregon coast are where the hatchery influence is greatest. But the government won't cite that data.
There is only one serious problem with hatchery fish. When you have plenty of them, the fish bureaucrats will let the commercial fishermen kill nearly all of them, and the wild fish can't take that kind of pressure. So what's the answer? Let ordinary people catch salmon in the rivers, and throw back the wild ones. And let the commercial fisherman raise salmon in pens or do something else with their lives.
I don't think much about putting people out of work, but these people are throwing rivers of money at environmentalists and they want to take away your property because if they destroy $10,000 in property value, there might be one one chance in a million of making one more fish for them to catch. I don't have any sympathy for these people. They're the ones who ran the salmon into the ground one hundred years ago.
We don't have buffalo hunters any more, and we don't need commercial salmon harvest any more, not if means we have to destroy private property to make fish for these people to catch. You know how awful it was when the buffalo hunters would shoot the buffalo, and cut out its tongue, and leave the rest rotting on the Plains? Well our fisherman now, given the crazy laws that the fish bureaucrats pass, catch salmon and throw them back dead. In the early 1990s, there were more salmon caught as "bycatch" off the Oregon coast and thrown back dead than the legal harvest of salmon. We don't have a salmon problem, we have a government problem.
Another area of big lies is about "habitat"--your property. If you clear-cut down a steep bank, or clog a river with junk, you're going to hurt fish. But the State of Washington put a stop to that decades ago, without any help from the federal government. Basically you can't even measure effects in the water from anything you do on the ground half a tree-height away.
Now the Canadians still have a few real scientists who try and measure things, instead of listening to each other's hot air. And they sampled 40 different land areas in the Frazier River to see habitat effects on coho salmon runs, and here is what they found:
Nothing. You can have fine, healthy salmon runs with lots of logging and roads. But of course, that wouldn't be "natural".
Now I know the Fish People say that they have scientific studies to support their new shoreline rules. But I guarantee you, that if you dig deep down, most of what they have is no more than hot air. It's pure opinion, not backed up by any real measurements at all. Just ask the magic question, and keep asking it: can you show me some data?
You won't get any data, because the effects of anything you do are too tiny to measure. And people who want to take your property away because of effects that are too tiny to measure are fanatics. And if they do give you some data, send it to me, because I'll be astounded.
The Rise of the Dark Forces
How did everything get so screwed up? Well, right now the government is controlled by environmental fanatics. Al Gore is the perfect example. He says, and I quote: "We must make rescue of the environment the central organizing principle of human civilization". Not justice, not law, not the Constitution. For many of these people, and I like to call them the pod people from the planet Gore, worrying environment is the central organizing principle of their lives, and, just like the communists, to them everything is politics. They want the environment über alles. (Unless of course, it's their house, or their land, or their zinc mining operation.)
Al Gore and his cronies will stop at nothing to scale back the impact of human beings on this planet. But you can't do that without moving people off the land. You can't do that without taking away their water. You can't do that without taking away their electricity. You can't do that without herding them into the Cities of the Nanny State. Like Seattle.
And once everyone is stuck in these cities, you can't let them build anything. The National Marine Fisheries Service just told Seattle it can't widen I-405 because, and I quote: "more roadways permit more growth, and that's something that's not in the best interest of fish". The Dark Forces are turning this country into a BANANA republic. Do you know what BANANA stands for? Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything.
Here's one of the slides the Dark Forces are using in their propaganda meetings to push the new shorelines rules:
This is the plan in a nutshell. Everything has to stay the way it is, because we want it to.
To these Dark Forces, saving the environment justifies anything. It justifies lies, and secrecy, and destroying documents, and breaching contracts, and disobeying the law, and whatever else is necessary in the service of this "central organizing principle".
Bruce Babbitt, when he was President of the League of Conservation Voters, summarized the plan of these Dark Forces, and I quote: "We must identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion". The Sierra Club has a more politically-correct version: "endless pressure, endlessly applied". I hope you understand that you are the enemies that the Dark Forces are trying to drive into oblivion.
Why I do I call these people the Dark Forces? Some of them are just plain evil, usually the ones who are riding some moral high horse: we demand, as a moral imperative, that you destroy your property, to serve our interest. But we won't pay you for it. And we won't live by the same rules we want you to live by.
Some people are what Lenin called "the useful idiots", who serve the Dark Forces without even knowing it. They just think that more government is better, and they can't see the threat that comes as government control goes further and further. It's like they were color-blind, or tone-deaf. And even though these people aren't evil, we don't want them in our legislature any more than we want blind people flying the 747s we ride.
And one of the saddest things about all this is that every step of the way, as the fish fanatics destroy law, destroy science, and our property, most of our present leaders, they all say, well, we should just compromise with the Dark Force, and not rock the boat. We should find a balanced strategy.
I say bullshit. The Federal Government already owns more than half of the West, although only 27% of Washington. This land is now BANANA land. The State of Washington runs another 11%. Probably when you count all the counties and the tribes and all the easements and servitudes and rights of public access, the government already controls half the land in the State of Washington.
I come from the People's Republic of Oregon, where the federal government alone owns more than half the land, and the State government is essentially dead. When the feds say jump, our Governor says "how high?". You people still have a chance, because there is more private property in Washington, and more people who care about private property.
I say let's restore balance all right. Let's restore the balance of power between American citizens and their government by taking away government property, not private property. Let's restore balance by taking away government powers, and returning those powers to the people.
That's what it says right there your Constitution:
"All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights."
And you know what else it says in your Constitution?
"No private property shall be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation having been first made."
Only looters and crooks take things without paying for them. But the Dark Forces are intent on turning Washingtonians into looters and crooks. And they're well on the way. The Dark Forces have made people so stupid that they are afraid of their own Constitution. We can't actually pay for all the property we take. That might gum up the wheels of government. You know what I say? I say bullshit. The government has money coming out of its ears. The government can pay for what it wants to take.
Is there anybody in here who's too stupid to figure out that when Kitsap County tells you you can't build on your property, they've taken it? Is there anyone here who's too stupid to figure out that when Kitsap County tells you you can't cut down a tree on your property and sell it, they've taken it? I tell you what, though, your judges can't seem to figure it out.
What You Can Do
Now every generation has a sacred responsibility to pass along civilization to the next generation. We are always just one generation away from the Dark Ages. And in every generation, the Dark Forces trying to dismantle the ideals that have made this a great Nation: the ideals of freedom, of inalienable rights--rights that cannot be taken away by Government, because they are inherent in the concept of a free people. Rights of private property.
Things are getting worse and worse, and it's about time you all started assuming that responsibility. It doesn't have to be a chore. It should be fun to become politically active. It should be empowering.
Look around you. You are looking at fellow soldiers in an army that is going to solve this problem. You are not alone. I can tell you that meetings like this are happening all over the Pacific Northwest, because I've been there talking to people just like you.
And later on in this program, we're going to tell you more about how to do it.
© James Buchal, October 21, 2000
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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