Fraudulent Wilderness, Part 2

The proposed Copper-Salmon Wilderness [here, here] is 11 miles east of Port Orford on the Elk River. The 13,700 acre area is adjacent to the Grassy Knob Wilderness, 17,200 acres, and designated a wilderness area by the US Congress in 1984. Here is a picture of Grassy Knob:

Note that Grassy Knob is no longer grassy. It’s covered with trees. That should not be surprising, since it is in a prime tree growing area. Elevations vary from almost sea level to more than 2,000 feet on summits that include Grassy Knob, at 2,342 feet. It rains there an average of 130 inches per year.

What is remarkable is that it was once “grassy.” When named by early white settlers in the 1800’s, Grassy Knob was treeless, instead covered with Coast Range prairie. Similarly, the Grass Mountain Research Natural Area in the Coast Range west of Corvallis was once covered with Coast Range prairie, largely bracken fern and sedges. Grass Mountain is a little higher, roughly 3,000 feet, and it receives and average of 123 inches of rain per year.

Both Grassy Knob and Grass Mountain have trees roughly 100 years old. Older trees can be found in the canyons adjacent to streams, but not on the mountain tops. There the Douglas-fir on Grassy Knob and noble fir on Grass Mountain are younger and invaded after the Oregon pioneer era. Very little prairie remains on Grass Mountain, and almost none on Grassy Knob.

There were no fires 100 years ago that engendered fern brakes and Coast Range prairies. There are no snags or rotted root balls that would indicate there ever was forest on Grassy Knob or Grass Mountain. The on-the-ground evidence and historical record is clear: those prime tree growing areas were treeless.

Why? There is only one answer: the aboriginal residents kept those areas free of trees by repeated anthropogenic burning. There are very few lightning fires in the Coast Range. All of the known large fires, such as the repetitious Tillamook Fires, were human-caused. Coast Range prairie is decidedly human-induced.

Grassy Knob Wilderness Area is a prime example of a cultural landscape. The unique Coast Range prairie vegetation was an artifact, or more properly a deliberate imprint, of humanity.

The Wilderness Act is supposed to protect untrammeled areas, but Grassy Knob is a place that was trammeled by humans for thousands of years. The First Residents burned to promote edible root crops, such as bracken fern and camas, and useful fibers such as sedges. The Coast Range prairie also provided browse for deer, elk, and bears. Grassy Knob was a grocery store, a farm, a human-modified habitat with ample foodstuffs that the dense forests in the canyons did not provide.

No doubt, if the people could have burned the wet canyons too, they would have. The First Residents made use of the Port Orford cedars and western red cedars that grew in the canyons. Those trees provided building materials and canoe wood. But not food. The prairies were where the food came from. The salmon streams only ran with salmon a few weeks out of the year. The beaches had plenty of shellfish. But the vegetable foods and large mammals were found year-round in the human-induced prairies.

Those historical prairies have become overgrown and lost. Wilderness designation has destroyed the heritage. The designation as “wilderness” by law of areas habitated by humans for thousands of years was not only scientifically and historically wrong, it served to ruin the very features that made the areas useful to those humans, the features that led to the names that those areas carry today.

Denial of the heritage has led to loss of the heritage. In the rush to declare wilderness, the most valuable aspects have been wrecked. Grassy Knob and the Copper-Salmon area have not been wilderness for thousands of years. They have not been “wild.” Declaring them “wild” does not protect them; it ruins them.

It may be politically expedient and attractive to urbanites to dehumanize heritage sites, but it is not “preservation” by any stretch. The disconnection between an urban population and the real world is premised on ignorance of heritage.

Ignorance should not guide our decisions. Bad decisions are made by ignorant people. That’s pretty much a fact. It does not require examples.

Better decisions are made by informed people. You have now been informed about the ancient heritage that graces the Oregon Coast Range. Please digest that information, incorporate that knowledge, and see if together we can make some improved decisions about how we might be better stewards of our heritage landscapes.

To be continued…

Fraudulent Wilderness, Part 1

Officially and legally, “wilderness” is defined in the Wilderness Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-577) as:

[A]n area where the earth and [its] community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which… generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable.

To repeat the key words:

- untrammeled by man
- primeval character and influence
- natural conditions
- affected primarily by the forces of nature
- the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable

Are there any such properties in the Americas (North or South)?

No, there are not.

The Americas have been occupied and modified by human beings for at least 13,500 years. That’s a long, long time. That’s all the way back to the Pyramids in Egypt (4,000 years ago) and back that far again, and back that far again.

Over the previous 13 millennia nearly every square inch of the “New” World has been trammeled by man. Man has affected the vegetation and animal life. Man has left his imprint.

Technically, legally, by definition of the Wilderness Act, very few acres qualify. Perhaps there are some steep mountain crags, unclimbable except with modern technical climbing gear, where man has not trammeled around. That’s all. Everywhere else has been trammeled, and trammeled plenty, by human beings over the last 13,500 years.

There is big push right now in Congress to declare new wilderness areas. None of the properties fit the legal definition.

For instance, Gold Butte in Clark County, NV, has been pushed for wilderness designation. From the Desert Valley Times [here]:

Gold Butte bill draws praise, anger

Bob Challinor, Desert Valley Times, September 30, 2008

Reaction varied from outrage to applause for a bill introduced in Congress Friday that would grant National Conservation Area or wilderness status to nearly a half-million acres of federal land in Clark County.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., introduced the bill that would create a National Conservation Area at Gold Butte, a region encompassing 362,177 acres. The bill would allow some controls on visitors to Gold Butte, which now is designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Within the conservation area, 128,373 acres would be managed as federal wilderness, a designation that prohibits vehicle traffic of any kind.

The sweeping bill upgrades protection to Gold Butte and surrounding areas, the goal Friends of Gold Butte and the Nevada Wilderness Project have sought for years. …

Berkley said: “Gold Butte is an amazing natural treasure that is also home to unique Native American drawings and there is strong support in southern Nevada for protecting this desert gem before it’s too late. …

Emphasis added. The area has rock art, carved into rocks by the human residents over thousands of years. That’s trammeling. The rock art depicts human beings hunting animals. That’s trammeling, too. The rock art is distinctly the imprint of man’s work, and it is substantially noticeable.

The former resident human beings used fire to modify the vegetation. The vegetation has been affected primarily by anthropogenic forces, not the forces of nature.

In no way, shape, or form does the Gold Butte area fit the legal definition of wilderness. That fact is plain as day. Nobody denies it.

Yet Shelley Berkley, the Friends of Gold Butte, and the Nevada Wilderness Project wish to force a square peg into a round hole and have land that is distinctly NOT wilderness be declared as such.

They say they desire wilderness designation to “protect” the land. Yet wilderness designation destroys land by eliminating stewardship, stewardship that has been ongoing for 13,500 years.

If you read the rest of the Desert Valley Times article you will note that the current residents of Clark County do not want wilderness designation. You will also note that Sen. Harry Reid is involved. Further study will reveal that Harry Reid is a crook of the first order.

Another example: the Sky Lakes Wilderness in the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF, recently incinerated by the Middlefork Fire [here]. That 21,125 acre fire was punctuated by repeated canopy fire and plume events that decimated old-growth, young-growth, endangered species habitat, and watershed integrity. Did wilderness designation “protect” those forests? Obviously and tragically not.

Was the the Sky Lakes Wilderness untrammeled by man? Not according to the RR-SNF [here]:

Beginning several thousand years ago Native American groups-ancestors of the Klamath and the Takelma Indians-hunted game and gathered huckleberries within the Sky Lakes area. Klamath youths would sometimes come to make their “vision quest” (a religious experience during which one fasted in solitude and sought a spiritual vision while dreaming) on high peaks along the Cascade crest. However, the short season of mild weather and the limited variety of food plants and animals did not encourage prehistoric visitors to stay long.

The early white settlers also made use of the Sky Lakes-hunting, trapping beaver or marten in the winter, grazing their stock (in the early days, large herds of sheep) in the high meadows during the warm months. Settlers from lower-elevation communities came each August to pick huckleberries at places like Stuart Falls and Twin Ponds. After 1906 the newly established Forest Service built trails and fire lookouts within the Sky Lakes area. By mid-1970s, a new Pacific Crest Trail route replaced the original Oregon Skyline Trail of a half-century earlier.

Man has been visiting, using, and deliberately and skillfully maintaining the huckleberry and beargrass fields of the Sky Lakes area for millennia. Wildlife populations have been subject to control by the keystone predators, humans, since the Ice Age. The area is criss-crossed with ancient trails and peppered with ancient campsites.

Wilderness designation was wrongly applied, in denial of the actual history which is evident and well-accepted, and catastrophe ensued. Prior to the Middlefork Fire the lakes were clean:

Several of the Wilderness’s lakes (Alta and Natasha among them) were found (by 1980s-90s Environmental Protection Agency baseline study of acid-rain conditions in Western U.S. mountain lakes) to have among the most chemically pure water known of all lakes on the globe.

Not anymore. Now they have been polluted with ash and soot. The scenery has been charred beyond recognition, too.

Is that protection? No, it is destruction. The elimination of human stewardship and wholesale destruction go hand in hand.

To be continued…

8 Oct 2008, 4:06pm
Politics and politicians
by admin
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AIG Gets Another $38 Billion

From the Washington Post 1 hour ago [here]

Only one day after it was revealed that AIG had sprung for a $440,000 spa vacation shortly after getting an $84 billion government-loan bailout comes this report: The government is loaning AIG another $38 billion.

AIG, the world’s largest insurer, said it has already drawn down $61 billion on its $84 billion line of credit from the government. AIG’s financial products division got into the mortgage-backed securities market and incurred billions in losses, sending the entire company teetering toward bankruptcy. The $84 billion loan was meant to help prop up AIG.

The New York branch of the Fed Reserve will borrow $37.8 billion in investment-grade securities from AIG in exchange for the cash.

During a hearing before the House Oversight committee on Tuesday, it was revealed that just last week, about 70 of the company’s top performers were rewarded with a week-long stay at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., where they ran up a tab of $440,000, The Post’s Peter Whoriskey reported today.

Oversight committee Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) showed a photograph of the resort, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and reported expenses for AIG personnel including $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa, Whoriskey wrote.

Today, AIG chief executive Edward Liddy defended the vacation by pouring gasoline on the fire.

Such trips “are standard practice in our industry,” Liddy said, no doubt thrilling every other major insurance company. …

From Wikipedia [here]

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) was the 18th-largest company in the world. It was on the Dow Jones Industrial Average from April 8, 2004 to September 22, 2008. On September 16, 2008, AIG suffered a liquidity crisis following the downgrade of its credit rating. The United States Federal Reserve loaned money to AIG at AIG’s request, to prevent the company’s collapse… of up to US$85 billion [now US$122 billion]. This was the largest government bailout of a private company in U.S. history…

The people responsible for this looting of the Federal Treasury include Hank Paulson, Edward Liddy, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Chuck Schummer, Henry Waxman, Maxine Waters, Artur Davis, Harry Reid, Lacy Clay, Gregory Meeks, Nancy Pelosi, Jamie Goerlick, Franklin Raines, Daniel Mudd, Jim Johnson, and Barack Hussein Obama, all of whom should be arrested, tried, convicted, stripped of their assets, and sent to prison.

Note that the US Forests Service canceled contracts and programs this summer because of a $400 million shortfall in their fire fund. $400 million is one-third of one percent of $122 billion.

Wilderness Designation Is a Death Sentence For Old-Growth

The PC “wisdom” states that wilderness designation is the “most protective” land management style available. Example: the Sportsmen For Copper-Salmon Wilderness (a front group for enviro-radicals) claims that anything less than wilderness leaves the land “unprotected.”

From the SFCSW website [here]:

The Case for Wilderness

For over a decade, grassroots conservationists have worked hard to secure Wilderness designation for the Copper-Salmon region within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon.

In recent years, a broad and bipartisan coalition of local conservationists, elected officials, business owners, river guides and local and statewide sportsmen’s organizations have added their voices to the Copper-Salmon Wilderness campaign.

Wilderness designation for the Copper-Salmon area will protect the headwaters of the Elk River and ensure that one the finest salmon and steelhead fisheries on the Pacific Coast is safeguarded for our children and beyond.

Quick Facts on Copper-Salmon Proposed Wilderness Area

- Located in southwest Oregon, near the coastal town of Port Orford
- Encompasses 13,700 acres of currently unprotected roadless wild lands
- Includes one of the most productive spawning streams in the lower 48 states
- Has good habitat for black bear, mountain lion and blacktailed deer. Roosevelt elk use some areas for thermal cover.

Sounds like a plan, eh? Just slap that wilderness designation on and presto, unprotected forest becomes protected.

Except that just exactly the opposite is the truth. Wilderness designation is the kiss of death to forests.

Why? Because wilderness designation means that wildfires will not be fought, and those wildfires will decimate the forest, streams, and habitat within the wilderness boundaries.

Take the case of the Sky Lakes Wilderness on the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF. The Sky Lakes Wilderness was incinerated last month in the Middlefork Fire of the Lonesome Complex. The Middlefork Fire was ignited by lightning on Aug. 16th. Because it was wilderness, the RR-SNF decided to Let It Burn. Three weeks later the fire had grown to 1,280 acres and a bare handful of firefighters were watching it burn. Some slight effort was made to backburn from outside the wilderness area, but those efforts only expanded the fire. A week later the fire was 5,160 acres and had burned outside the wilderness. Firefighter numbers expanded to over 500 personnel, but no direct attack was implemented.

Then all hell broke loose. more »

The Correct Way to Return Fire to the Land

The Elko Daily Free Press has published a two part series (by Sam Brown) on the East Slide Rock Ridge Fire:

The East Slide Rock Ridge fire: A burning passion for the land

By SAM BROWN, Elko Daily Free Press, October 4 and 6, 2008 [here and here]

The difference between good and bad is many times a matter of perspective, particularly when it comes to public lands management. What ranchers call good, environmental interests typically call bad, and what is good according to environmentalists is frequently at odds with the ideas espoused by those who make a living off the land.

That said, few would say the East Slide Rock Ridge fire that encompassed some 54,000 acres near Jarbidge in August was entirely a good thing - after all, fighting the blaze put 700 firefighters on the lines, cost taxpayers nearly $9 million and drew critical attention from as far away as Carson City.

The East Slide Rock Ridge fire burned fewer acres in comparison to the Murphy Complex fire (which burned more than 650,000 acres in northeastern Nevada and southern Idaho in 2007) and Jarbidge Clover fire (nearly 200,000 acres in 2005), but the fact the area was swept by three large conflagrations in four years has raised questions about the long-term effectiveness of fire prevention and management techniques currently in practice.

From the still-smoldering ashes of the fire, a clearer picture can be seen of why the East Slide Rock Ridge blaze went from good to bad and, more importantly, what can be done to prevent such fires in the future. …

Dr. Bob Zybach, Ph.D. of the Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project offers this cogent comment:

The USFS and the American taxpayer need to pay much closer attention to experienced resource managers, such as Chet Brackets and Mike Guerry. They know what they are talking about.

But we get people like Dave Ashby, instead:

“Two hundred years ago, who was putting out these lightning strike fires? Ashby asked. No one. The Indians were starting them.

It’s pretty obvious that the fires are larger and are burning more fervently, he continued. Everyone agrees that at least part of the reason is that now we are putting out every fire when it starts.”

1) The Indians weren’t “starting” lightning fires; they were burning mosaics, much as described by Brackets and Guerry. That’s why these catastrophic wildfires are taking place NOW — passive management just doesn’t work. We need ranchers and loggers or Indians to show us how to manage resources; and that requires active management and experienced actions.

2) We are obviously NOT “putting out every fire when it starts.” What is THAT about? The problem is NOT “fire suppression,” it is “fire management.” If we listen to knowledgeable experts such as Brackets and Guerry, we will eliminate most catastrophic-scale wildfires, reduce wildfire management costs, produce safer, more beautiful environments, and increase the productive capacity of our common lands. Again.

It’s time to take a big step forward by taking a reasoned step back.

For more about the East Slide Rock Ridge WFU Fire see [here]

For an excellent history of the Jarbidge Area by Bob St. Louis just posted by W.I.S.E. in our History of Western Landscapes Colloquium, see [here]

The South Barker Fire

- If this situation is not corrected quickly, the Forest Service will not survive.

by Glenn Bradley

On a hot August afternoon in 1946, Iron Mountain Lookout reported a big smoke in Barker Gulch just east of Featherville. My Dad was on a pack trip, but the five men from the Shake Creek Ranger Station flew into action. My mother called the crew from Dave Stokesberry’s sawmill at Featherville and a few other people from the Featherville area. My job as a ten year old was to take the standby horse from the barn and ride to the fire so I could carry drinking water to the men as they worked.

When I got to the fire, the roar of the crowning was deafening and I was full of fear. It was my first exposure to a really active fire. The fire burned about 80 acres that afternoon. My dad got there about midnight. We all worked through the night, and by morning we had a semblance of a line around it. Our only power equipment was a portable Pacific Marine pump.

With that background, you can understand why a short news article in the Twin Falls paper of August 8, 2008, caught my eye. It said there were two single tree fires in Barker Gulch that had started about 1:00 PM on August 7. It also said the Forest had not decided as of 5:20 PM whether to put the fires out or let them burn. It said Forest officials considered their potential to spread to be slight. The article ended by saying that red flag conditions were forecast for the next day.

I was on my way to a family reunion when I read the article. When we returned from the reunion, there was an article in the August 15 paper saying the fire was now 1,355 acres and a national team had been called to help fight it. It also said the area from Baumgartner to Featherville had been closed.

I could hardly believe it. Just a few days before it started, the Chief had notified the field that the fire budget was exhausted and fire activities would have to be paid from other appropriations for the rest of the fiscal year. I knew the country well enough to know it could grow a lot more and cost into the millions.

I wrote an e-mail to Tom Harbour and told him something was terribly wrong with the policies if a forest could choose to ignore a chance to put a fire out for a few hundred dollars and then spend millions on it when there was no fire money left. I went on to say that it was at least unprofessional and probably criminal to let a fire go in steep, fragile, beautiful country in extreme burning conditions with no prior planning and no way of predicting where it might stop.

I sent copies to the supervisor and the ranger and a few retirees. Within a day, I got an overwhelming number of responses from retirees all over the country. The few I had sent copies to sent them on to people they knew. All but one said they agreed with me 100% and cited similar situations in their areas where it appeared no common sense was being used in fire management.

Jane called me the next Monday and assured me the people in Featherville agreed with what she was doing. I told her I could agree to some prescribed burning if it were done with good planning and preparation in compliance with NEPA, and under weather conditions when it could be controlled. She said they had done some planning and had identified about 4,000 acres in that area that they would like to burn at the rate of 1,000 acres per year over the next four years. I told her I wouldn’t have a problem with that if they did it when they could manage the fire properly, but to try to do it with no preparation in mid August just because they had an ignition in the area made no sense to me. I advised her she should put this fire out immediately and wait for favorable weather to do the burning.

I called some friends in Featherville and asked if they were okay and how they felt about the fire. They said they were scared to death. The fire was on the ridge just above their house and they could see flames from their deck. They said the people on the river had been polite at the public meetings, but they did not know of anyone who agreed with letting this fire burn. They said they appreciated the Boise Forest because when the fire got onto the Boise, they jumped right onto it and stopped it. They said the Boise had offered to help the Sawtooth put the rest of the fire out, but the Sawtooth told them to go home. It should probably be noted here that what was reported as “a minor slop-over onto the Boise” was 3,000 acres and was the biggest fire on the Boise Forest this season.)

That night, a young man from Featherville called me. He said he had heard that I was pushing to get the Sawtooth to put the fire out. He pleaded with me to do everything I could to get them to stop it quickly. He offered to get signatures from everyone along the river on a petition to have the forest stop this one and never to let another one burn under similar conditions. I told him I was still hopeful that reason would return and the forest would take proper action without a petition.
more »

6 Oct 2008, 1:07pm
Politics and politicians Saving Forests
by admin

How Wrong They Are

I prefer to post about cutting-edge forest science and its application to real world events, such as preventing the unnecessary incineration of forests. I rarely post about the latest dumbo eruptions from the enviro-nazis. If I drifted into that morass, I would never get anything else done because the enviro-nazis spew idiocy every day.

However, as an object lesson in civil disrespect, I offer the following example for edification and discussion.

Last weekend a bogus news service (actually a propaganda arm of Greenpeace) called BusinessGreen posted a twisted “news” article. BusinessGreen is published in the UK. They call themselves “a multimedia publication for firms intent on improving their environmental credentials.” That’s garbage. They don’t give a hang about business, in fact they are anti-capitalist commies. There are no such things as “environmental credentials.” If there were, BusinessGreen is in no position to grant them. It’s all commie clap-trap.

All that is preface for the following article that BusinessGreen posted [here]:

Government and green groups set for regulation fight

James Murray, BusinessGreen, 03 Oct 2008

A forestry lawsuit could have huge ramifications in the Supreme Court this week
An obscure forestry lawsuit has developed into a major legal battle to be played out in the Supreme Court next Wednesday, which could have major repercussions for the future shape of US environmental legislation and the regulatory risks faced by businesses.

The US Government will try to persuade judges that regulations cannot be legally overruled. Federal attorneys will argue that “facial” challenges, in which a government regulation is overturned on a nationwide basis, are invalid, and should instead only be overturned in individual cases.

Green groups are concerned that this could mean that public interest bodies wanting to challenge a regulation would have to repeatedly sue the Government each time it was applied, draining their funds.

The case stems from a 2005 court judgement against the US Forestry Service. That judgement dismissed regulations introduced in 2003 that prohibited public review and appeal of decisions relating to forest management. These decisions included the sale of up to 250 acres of timber salvaged from national forests.

more »

5 Oct 2008, 8:22pm
Saving Forests
by admin

Handbook of the Kawaiisu

The following good news was sent to us by friend Alan (Gold) Garfinkel. Alan has studied extensively the rock art of the Cosos [here].

Ground-breaking book nears publication

by Jon Hammond, Tehachapi News, Sept. 29, 2008 [here]

Tehachapi residents recently got their first look at a landmark new book about the local Indian people entitled Handbook of the Kawaiisu, which is being co-authored by Native American elder Harold Williams and archeologist Alan Garfinkel.

The two men presented a well-attended program about their ongoing efforts at Mama Hillybeans coffee house on Tehachapi Boulevard on Thursday, September 18.

The Kawaiisu people, who refer to themselves as the Nüwa, have been studied by various ethnographers, anthropologists and archeologists during the past 100 years, but published information about them has been sporadic, piecemeal and often inaccurate. That is about to change with the forthcoming publication of Handbook of the Kawaiisu, which will be by far the most complete and well-researched volume ever assembled about these fascinating and resilient people.

Harold Williams, who is the chairman of the Kern Valley Indian Council, began Thursday’s presentation with an introduction to his people. Recent dating of ancient village sites have confirmed that the Kawaiisu have lived in the Tehachapi area for at least 3,000 years. Harold has been involved in a number of cultural site monitoring and survey projects and is the most knowledgeable Nüwa about tribal prehistory.

While not a fluent speaker, both of Harold’s parents spoke Nüwa and he understands many native words. He introduced his sister Janice Williams, who has been instrumental in efforts to revive both the Nüwa language and the art of Kawaiisu basketry, which lapsed before World War II.

The Williams are descended from a long line of accomplished basketmakers and their great-grandmother, Emma Williams, and her daughter, Sophie Williams, were among the last of the old-time basket weavers. Janice is currently working on a basket that when completed will be the first Nüwa basket made in over 75 years. A number of antique Williams family baskets were on display Thursday night.

Following Harold’s portion of the program, Allan Garfinkel narrated a Power Point presentation covering some of the material that will appear in the book. The wealth of information included Kawaiisu mythology, geography, historical accounts and personal anecdotes. Dr. Garfinkel noted that even preparing the extensive bibliography of published accounts of the Kawaiisu covered 40 pages.

The program ended with a brief discussion by former state senator Phil Wyman, who obtained two grants to help with the research and eventual publication of Handbook of the Kawaiisu. Both during his many years in the legislature and since he left Sacramento, Wyman has done more than any other individual to help preserve Kawaiisu culture.

Wyman continues to work on funding for the book as well as a Tomo Kahnhi Visitors Center, and it was he who made arrangements for Chemehuevi basketmaker Mary Louise “Weegie” Claw to come to Tehachapi to help revive Kawaiisu basketry. The Wyman family’s Antelope Canyon Ranch has also been site of most material gathering for the native basketry program.

Handbook of the Kawaiisu is slated for publication next year, and despite all that has been done so far, there is still extensive work to be done before it can be published. Funds and donations are still being sought to complete the project.

When finished, this book will be the definitive volume about the Kawaiisu people and will shine a light on an ancient culture that thrived in the Tehachapi area for thousands of years.

Congratulations to Alan and all involved. Be sure to visit the link and view the photos.

Civil Disrespect

It is difficult to see what the most effective response is to the diminution of our rights and destruction of our livelihoods and landscapes by a corrupt and overweening government. The gut reaction is anger, disgust, and frustration, especially when the harm inflicted by radical anti-conservation, anti-stewardship groups, a fawning judiciary, and a sold-out Congress is so direct.

I suggest that we need a better strategy than hunkering in our bunkers and howling at the moon.

As a point of discussion, I offer the concept of “civil disrespect.” By “disrespect” I mean a withholding of esteem, an active appointing of blame, condemnation, and censure, with informed criticism. By “civil” I mean courteous, polite, nonviolent, and without threats of retaliatory harm.

At this early stage civil disrespect is only a concept, and not fully formed. It might not be a good idea. Or it might.

I invite your critique and elaboration of the concept of civil disrespect. What are the parameters, and how might civil disrespect be applied so as to effect positive change? Or do you have a better idea?

3 Oct 2008, 9:43am
Politics and politicians
by admin
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House Passes Bailout Bill

[Corrected] — By a vote of 263-171 the US House of Representatives just passed the Senate’s 451 page bailout bill. It now goes to the President for signature.

172 Dems and 91 Reps voted YEA

63 Dems 108 Reps voted NAY

Hello to pork by the barrel-full, carbon trading, record wealth transfer from the poor to the rich, and an exacerbated decline in the economy. Exactly the wrong thing was done. The future of this nation is looking bleak indeed.

more »

2 Oct 2008, 3:55pm
Politics and politicians
by admin

The Mortgage BYOB Program

America rejoice! I have hit upon the SOLUTION to all our financial problems!

Introducing: the Mortgage Buy Your Own Back Program!!!!

Mortgagees of America Unite! We can save the economy of the Nation and indeed the Entire World!

The problem, as explained by the Pundits of Wall Street, is that homeowners with mortgages have ruined the credit market. Our mortgages aren’t worth the paper they are written on. The poor, innocent investment banks of New York City and the above-reproach, integrity-managed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been snookered into buying our bundled mortgages, never suspecting that they are worthless. And now those beneficent and pure institutions are belly-up because they hold that trash paper.

But instead of the US Treasury purchasing that junk, I hereby offer to buy back my own mortgage for ten cents on the dollar!

That’s right, America. Don’t get snookered again. Don’t spend good money chasing bad. You don’t have to buy my worthless mortgage; I will do it myself. And instead of Uncle Sam, NYC, Freddie, and Fannie getting NOTHING AT ALL, I magnanimously offer the grand sum of TEN CENTS ON THE DOLLAR for my own mortgage.

It’s a heavy sacrifice on my part, but as a good and patriotic American I am willing to bear that burden. Furthermore, I call upon all good and patriotic mortgagees of America to join me in SAVING THE ECONOMY FROM TOTAL COLLAPSE.

Please join me in this worthiest of causes. Help to RESCUE AMERICA!!!

Call your Congressperson right now. Tell him, her, or it that you too are willing to give ten cents on the dollar for your otherwise worthless mortgage and thereby lift America out of this terrible crisis and avert a Great Depression! They should, indeed MUST, sign on the Mortgage BYOB Program and enact the enabling legislation TODAY, before it’s too late.

Happy days are here again!!!!

2 Oct 2008, 8:59am
Politics and politicians
by admin
1 comment

Larded With Pork

The U.S. Senate voted 74-25 Wednesday to approve a 451 page bailout bill larded with pork. There are new taxes on everything under the sun, but especially there is to be new spending on every earmark pork barrel project imaginable.

The Senate has used this alleged “credit crisis” to extort buckets of money for their special interest bribery funding.

Now, say the Senators, everybody will be happy because the largest spending package in the history of the world is on the table. There are tax breaks for Hollywood movie producers, stock-car racetrack owners, bicycle commuters, wooden arrow makers, and the very rich who pay the alternative minimum tax. There are tax hikes for oil companies and off-shore drilling (still banned). Not to mention, there are still the $700 billion in bailouts to investment banks that gambled away America’s credit on 30:1 leveraged scams like Algore carbon offsets.

The House of Representatives will be pleased now. They can vote for this pork lard bonanza without qualms. The American economy will be rescued with pork.

The American taxpayer, however, will be shot in the head. The Big Extortion is happening, and the Public Treasury will be drained one way or another. The Fear Factor has been ramped up to the highest extent possible. Bow down to the porkiest pork ever to sleaze out of Porktown, or the Gummit will screw the economy to the wall. Knuckle under, or you will be ejected from house and home and forced to live in re-education camps run by Obombo’s domestic military police (oh wait, that’s going to happen anyway.)

Oh and yes, be sure to re-elect your incumbents who are holding the gun to your head. Might as well help them pull the trigger.

1 Oct 2008, 1:24pm
Private land policies
by admin
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America: Foreclosed!

The following essay was penned by the late, great, property rights champion Wayne Hage eight years ago. Remarkably, it applies today more than ever.

by Wayne Hage, Chairman, Stewards of the Range, 2000

Don Young (R-AK) of the House Resource Committee, with considerable help from left wing extremist George Miller (D-CA) and his cadre of environmentalists, were recently successful in the passage of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), HR 701. Senator Murkowski (R-AK), is preparing to secure passage of the same legislation in the Senate as S25. CARA would provide money for the purchase of private property by federal, state, local governments, Indian tribes and environmental groups. 2.4 billion dollars per year would be made available from offshore oil revenues. Opponents of the bill say it would eventually eliminate the ownership of private property in America. In so doing, it signals the end of Congress as an independent branch of government.

The debate on HR 701 for all its exuberance avoided the fundamental question. Why does the government need our land? Basic economics tells us that all wealth originates in the land and by extension the sea. The hallmark of a free society has always been citizen ownership of the land. The hallmark of a totalitarian society has been government control of the land.

A free society is, of necessity, a society in which the government must come to the people for its operating budget. A government that must depend on the people for its source of income is one that must listen to what the people and their representatives have to say. The United States was originally structured on the strict premise that the government be limited in land and resource ownership. Indeed, history shows us that free societies and private ownership of the resource base are inseparable, the degree of freedom and the degree of private ownership being basically proportionate.

Coercive or totalitarian societies demand government ownership or control of the resource base. If government controls the means of production it has a source of income independent of the people and certainly does not need the permission of the people to justify its actions. In a coercive or totalitarian society, the people do not need representatives or a Congress to protect property rights that do not exist. They do not need a common law of property because the people have no property. They do not need a Constitution to limit the power of government to intrude into the people’s property rights because the people have no property rights. Government is total; totalitarian. It can, and does, rule by decree.
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30 Sep 2008, 8:33pm
Private land policies Saving Forests
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Field Fires Versus Forest Fires

The Governor wants to ban the burning of grass seed fields in Oregon. On the other hand, Gov. Kulongoski is all in favor of burning forests. Yet forest fires produce more smoke per acre, and ten times (at least) more forest acres burn every year in Oregon compared to grass seed fields.

The Governor’s stupidity, hypocrisy, whatever you want to call it, was explored in a recent guest column in the Salem Statesman Journal. We post it in full:

Grass Seed Field Burning Makes Sense

by John Thomas Jr.

What are the benefits of grass seed farming, including field burning? Besides producing agricultural income for Oregon, that is?

In summer, urban sewage solids are dumped on grass seed fields as cheap disposal and fertilizer. Only non-food cropland can be used. Grass seed fields are that critical cropland.

Thousands of elderly are on their farms, living out their lives, renting their land to grass seed growers. Confiscatory taxes keep them from selling the land, and grass seed growers are a godsend and economic relief for aging farmers.

To not burn straw means it has to be baled and removed to bale compression stations, and prepared for export to Asia. The whole process is powered by fossil fuels. Straw that can’t be fed still has to be baled and stack burned during winter rains, sacrificing soil and land.

Without stimulation by fire, many grasses (most native grasses) can’t be grown. Perennials have a shorter field life, which means more ground is worked more often, producing that dust haze seen all fall. After straw is removed, fields are flail mowed to accelerate decomposition, which produces fungus spores in great amounts. And uses more fuel.

To keep grass seed farming economically viable, plant breeders select grasses that will, among other traits, produce prodigious amounts of pollen to ensure a bounty of seed, now that plants are not stimulated by burning.

Residues no longer removed by fire feed voles, slugs and other insects. A robust pest population is now controlled with pesticides instead of fire. And more trips across the field, and more fuel burned.

In summary, no field burning results in more fuel use, more pesticide use, more respiratory distress agents produced. More equipment is needed, and that equipment moves more often on our roads, burning more fuel. Ground has to be worked harder and more often, using more fuel and producing more impacts on air quality. The cure has become worse than the disease.

When California wildfire smoke reached Eugene during the Olympic Track Trials, DEQ got hundreds of complaints about field burning of which there was none ongoing. As a result, Eugene lawyers and Gov. Kulongoski are attempting to halt all field burning by 2011. Quite a reaction to a non-event!!

Meanwhile, Wildland Fire Use, the Federal fire policy that allows land mangers to let fires burn at their discretion, a policy that has never been vetted by National Environmental Policy Act procedures as required by law, has wildland fires burning until winter snows in Oregon, putting out vast amounts of smoke every day. The WFU policy is supported by environmental groups, and health impacts have never been addressed. In 2007, wildland fire produced more greenhouse gases and particulates than ALL human sources in Oregon. All human sources. Cut wildland fire by half and you cut air pollution in Oregon by 25%.

Gov. Kulongoski does not speak out against that smoke and those health impacts. Of course, the second issue would be how burning 300,000 acres and untold amounts of timber and wildlife habitat is considered “good for forest health” when burning 50,000 acres of grass fields is a pox on mankind? Is it that farmers are Republicans and public land managers are Democrats? Or is it just a greedy governor poseur strutting for more political money from his Green supporters?

30 Sep 2008, 3:32pm
Politics and politicians
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Stock Markets Rally

Did US stock markets crash today in light of the defeat of the Paulson-Franks $700 billion bailout plan?

No. At close today the Dow Jones average was UP 485 points, the NASDAQ was UP 98.6 points, and the S&P Index was UP 58.3 points!

Other indicators: DJ Wilshire 5000 +15.53, Russell 2000 +21.86, Philadelphia Semiconductor +13.51, Dow Transports +112.12, Dow Utilities +4.82, NYSE Composite +328.79, AMEX Composite +27.97,and Morningstar Index +3.31.

That’s right, sports fans. No crash and burn. Whadayaknow?

An interesting article from The Institutional Risk Analyst published by Lord, Whalen LLC (LW) is entitled A Workable, Private Bank Assistance Plan or Why President Bush Should Fire Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson [here].

The article explains why depositors in failed banks are not hurt because banks must buy Deposit Insurance from the FDIC. Stockholders in failed banks may be wiped out, but not the depositors. And at no cost to taxpayers because the FDIC trust fund is supported by insurance premiums that banks must pay and have been paying for decades.

The FDIC will not run out of money. The FDIC noted in an open letter to Bloomberg News posted yesterday:

The fund’s current balance is $45 billion - but that figure is not static. The fund will continue to incur the cost of protecting insured depositors as more banks may fail, but we continually bring in more premium income. We will propose raising bank premiums in the coming weeks to ensure that the fund remains strong. And, at the same time, we will propose higher premiums on higher risk activity to create economic incentives for poorly managed banks to change their risk profiles. The fund is 100 percent industry-backed. Our ability to raise premiums essentially means that the capital of the entire banking industry - that’s $1.3 trillion - is available for support.

The FDIC does not and will not run out of money. Like all federal trust funds, the FDIC’s insurance ‘trust fund’ does not exist. The reserves shown in the fund simply evidence the amount of money contributed by the banking industry into the fund. Like all federal trust funds, the cash raised by FDIC insurance premiums goes into the Treasury’s general fund. When the agency needs cash, then the Treasury makes the money available. When the positive balance shown in the FDIC insurance fund is depleted, the FDIC simply runs a negative balance with the Treasury, a loan that the banking industry will repay over time. Indeed, the FDIC is preparing to raise the industry’s insurance premiums to generate even more cash to deal with the rising levels of bank failures. Also, in the remote chance that the FDIC ever reached the statutory borrowing limit from Treasury, the Congress will simply raise the limit.

Rumor has it that at the “bailout summit” hosted by President Bush, Barrack Obama attempted to take over the meeting. While Paulson, Bernanke, Frank, Pelosi, Reid and that guilty crowd sat in silence, Obama had a hissy fit, with John McCain as his target.

It was that meeting, not the Pelosi speech, that turned the Republican House members away from the Paulson-Franks Plan.

And thank goodness they did turn. Instead of a $700 billion give-away to NYC investment banks, the hedgers and margin jockeys will be allowed to fail, sunk by their own hubris.

And there will be no stock market crash, no credit crunch, and no Depression.

There has been, however, grotesque incompetence and dirty dealings by Paulson, Bernanke, Frank, Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Dodd, and that ilk. What is needed is a major investigation ala Watergate into the diversion of $millions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the pockets of Congresspersons.

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