News from the Front #62:
Senators Offer Soviet-Style Central Planning for the Klamath Basin
"We must now face the harsh truth that the objectives of communism are being steadily advanced because many of us do not recognize the means used to advance them . . . No one who truly understands what it really is can be taken in by it . . . Yet the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a Conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst."
J. Edgar Hoover, Elks Magazine (August 1956)
All I ever knew about J. Edgar Hoover I picked up from the mass media, which made him out to be some sort of sexual pervert who achieved job security by digging up dirt on politicians. So when I first came across this quote, I thought for sure he was some kind of a nut. But after reading the Senate's latest attempt to "help" the Klamath farmers, I am beginning to wonder.
I don't think that Senators Wyden and Smith are communists, but they certainly seem "unable to recognize the means used to advance [the objectives of communism]". Rather than resolve any of the issues facing the Klamath farmers, or give any real guidance to the federal officials preying upon the farmers, the Senators propose a Klamath Basin Interagency Task Force charged to develop a "five-year plan". Students of history will recognize the "five-year plan" as the invention of Leon Trotsky, which when adopted by Stalin through the infamous agency "Gosplan" rendered such blows to the Russian economy that it has yet to recover.
For hundreds of years, the States in the United States were, by the solemn force of the Constitution, in charge of their own water resources (the Supreme Court could hear disputes between the States over water), but no longer. The Task Force is boldly charged with the "development of a coordinated Federal effort for the management of water resources throughout the Klamath Basin". To manage the water resources, of course, is to manage the economy itself, as economic decisions involving the use of water bog down in arcane questions of federal policy.
It is just like the Soviet system, except that the Soviets used to issue five-year plans with production goals. Now we have de-production goals. So in a perverse way, the Smith/Wyden Task Force's Plan would be "better" than the Soviet Gosplan, because it cannot help but succeed. Centralized planning always kills economic growth and development.
The Planners are given a general mandate to promote
"water conservation and improved agricultural practices;
"aquatic ecosystem restoration;
"improvement of water quality and quantity;
"recovery and enhancement of endangered species, including anadromous fish species and resident fish species; and
"restoration of wildlife refuges."
Don't be misled by the reference to "improvement of water . . . quantity", because the bill goes on to clarify that any improvements are not for farmers, but for Mother Earth. Specifically, the Planners are to "consider" the following ten factors:
"the purchase of water conservation easements;
"purchase of agricultural land from willing sellers, with priority given to land that will enhance water storage capabilities;
benefits to the agricultural economy through incentives for the use of irrigation efficiency, water conservation, or other agricultural practices;
"feasibility studies for alternative water storage, water conservation, demand reduction, and restoration of endangered species;
"improvement of upper Klamath Basin watershed and water quality;
"improvement of habitat on the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, and the Upper Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge;
"fish screening and water metering;
"other activities in the Basin that may significantly affect water resources in the Basin, as determined by the Taks Force; and;
"other matters the Task Force considers appropriate."
None of these factors have anything to do with getting more water for farmers. Notice that the words "alternative water storage" are used, rather than "additional water storage". Dams to hold water for farmers or produce electric power are presumptively evil; dams to hold water in swamps ("wetland restoration") are presumptively good.
All these factors point in one direction only: a greater and greater role for federal eco-planners. All Constitutional constraints upon the power of the federal government have collapsed, so that it may buy up land and water rights at will and regulate anything that "may significantly affect water resources . . . as determined by the Task Force".
Looking at the Klamath Basin as one of many battlegrounds in the War on the West, one can only conclude that Senators Smith and Wyden have proposed to provide $175 million to empower the enemy. That much money can put armies of federally-funded interlopers throughout the Klamath Basin. Soon the farmers may be literally outnumbered by the folks who say "we're here from the Government, and we're here to help you". The old charge against King George will ring truer that ever: "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance".
It is especially disappointing to see that $30 million of the money is earmarked for the Tribes, whose leaders fail to see that the Great White Father speaks with forked tongue when he says that "ecosystem restoration" is going to help Tribal members. All it helps is the Tribal leadership, which profits by fielding an army of white consultants to wage war against the farmers for no purpose.
The farmers in the Klamath Basin ought to join forces with the Tribal members against both the white leadership and the Tribal leadership. At the grassroots, both the farmers and the Tribes want to restore sovereignty over their piece of the Klamath Basin, so to speak, yet the political leaders of both groups fails to see the need to cast off the yoke of the Great White Father as the only means to doing so.
A few visionary Tribal leaders are beginning to see this. Russell Means, the first National Director of the American Indian Movement, has tried to explain the problem:
"The government has made us impotent. We have no recourse; the Constitution of the United States has never applied to Indians on their reservations -- period. So we have no rights in this country. We have rights as American citizens if we leave the reservation, but while we live on the reservation we have zero rights. So we have no place to go except the government! . . . The Secretary of Interior is our god. Period. We'll never get rid of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The only way it will happen is if the American people rise up and say: 'Hey, having a bureau of any kind of ethnic affairs is repugnant, it's anti-democratic, it is communistic.' This is the only place where communism is successfully practiced in the world. Communism is alive and well on Indian reservations run by the United States government."
And if Senators Smith and Wyden have their way, the entire Klamath Basin can eventually enjoy a tribal standard of living, as the federal planners work their inevitable magic upon economic development.
Against this evil stands the present farm leadership of the Klamath Basin, which did send a letter off to the Senators opposing the bill on the rather understated basis that it "does not provide any water supply certainty". In the face of an outrage like this bill, they ought to be conducting demonstrations and sit-ins at the Senator's offices -- thus speaking in power, the only language the Senators understand.
Certainly the Senators seem unable to appreciate the facts, including the fact that there are no endangered species in the Klamath Basin, if endangered means that there is a perceptible chance that the species in question is about to disappear from the face of the earth. Or the fact that stealing water from the farmers to keep the lake full and the water running faster downstream does not produce any measurable increase in the number of fish. No one has even bothered to try to measure any survival improvements from these actions.
The sort of rot represented by the Smith/Wyden bill is killing this country. Armies of planners are systemmatically dismantling this country's ability to meet the needs of its people through farming, manufacturing, mining, energy production, logging, and development. As the Nation's farms and factories gradually fall silent, and we borrow more and more to keep importing everything we need, some day the bill will come due. Perhaps only then will American people finally care enough to try and throw off their worthless leadership -- assuming their creditors will still let them.
© James Buchal, December 26, 2001
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