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CONVERGENCE AT KLAMATH FALLS
How The Mainstream Media Soft Pedal A Big Story
|They came by the thousands to Klamath Falls last Tuesday to participate in the parades and rallies. "Big rigs, riders on horseback, pickup trucks from several Western states," in the words of the local newspaper, the Herald and News. The people were there "to protest decisions by the federal government to cut off irrigation in the Klamath Reclamation Project for most of the summer," according to the Herald and News, which estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000. (The Sierra Times estimated the crowd at 8,000, while the AP weighed in with a measly 1,000).|
The convoys were organized by people in nearby states to demonstrate support for farmers in the Klamath Basin who have been without water since the federal government closed the irrigation headgates last April out of their great compassion for "endangered" suckerfish. (The plan was to keep the level of Klamath lake at record high levels, despite an ongoing drought. This is supposed to be beneficial to the fish, although, in years past, high water levels in the lake have corresponded to large fish kills). The convoys began forming up in communities such as Kalispell, Montana, where the first was joined by another convoy from Eureka, California on the same day. The Montana/Eureka convoy stopped that night in Moscow, Idaho, en route to Biggs Junction Oregon, where it laid over for another night before moving on to Walla Walla, Washington and other towns on the way to Klamath Falls. Donations were collected at all of these locations and those who were so inclined joined the convoy. Meanwhile, another convoy was working its way up from Elko, Nevada. This procession, dubbed "The Convoy of Tears," wound its way through Nevada, Idaho and Washington, stopping at towns along the way to hold traveling auctions for the benefit of drought stricken Oregon farmers before moving on "to join with the California convoy and merge to complete the journey to Klamath Falls, Oregon, on the evening of August 20," according to the Sierra Times.
The parade formed up outside of town "where big rigs and pickups assembled on fields," according to the Herald and News, which noted that, "Some grumbling was heard when Sgt. Steve Nork of the Oregon State Police announced that only 10 vehicles would be allowed in the escorted procession, with following vehicles required to obey all traffic laws." By the time it reached downtown the parade had swollen to 70 or 80 vehicles, and 50-to-100 horses. The local newspaper reports that, "People along the street threw money into the beds of pickups as they moved toward the Klamath County Government Center." The vehicles were decorated in gala fashion with balloons, American flags and slogans criticizing the government's decision to shut off the water. The Herald and News account notes that some slogans blamed the Bush administration for their problems, but more attacked the Endangered Species Act. And many of the vehicles bore bumper stickers supporting an organization known as RAGE (Revolution Against Green Extremism).
A typical sentiment was voiced by one of the participants in the demonstration, Clarice Ryan, from the Montana branch of the convoy, who told the local newspaper, "It's unbelievable how it's expanded. The problems across the nation are similar in one way in that it's all control and regulation. Through regulations they destroy the value of your property. Landowners are being forced to bail out."
The Media Mix it UpThe response of the mainstream media has been to ignore the plight of the farmers as much as possible and treat the convoys as a non-event, much as the Washington press(titute) corps ignore mass demonstrations in the nation's capital that do not meet the standards of political correctness with which they filter out unwelcome opinion, i.e., that held by most Americans. Thank heaven for small favors. Those mainstream news outlets that did mention the event spun the story to specs they seem to have gleaned from a refresher course at Doc Goebbels' Creative Writing Clinic.
Take, for example, an editorial titled "Klamath's calamity: Fed-bashing won't solve water problems," that appeared last week in the left-wing Sacramento Bee. The main thrust of the Bee's argument seems to be that the dispute over the government's shutoff of water to drought-parched farmers "is evolving into an overly simplistic rant for all that is seen as wrong with Big Government."
Experienced media watchers will be aware that the use of the word "simplistic" in an editorial that appears in a left-liberal rag such as the Bee presages an onslaught of snide condescension. Their editorial writers are the undoubted Masters of the Universe, after all, vested with the omniscience and hauteur that are characteristic of so lofty a station. How dare we -- mere churls that we are -- hold opinions that run counter to theirs? Noting with mock alarm that the Klamath Falls demonstration "may attract nearly 20,000 angry participants from throughout the West," the Bee-liners pontificate, "Next year it will undoubtedly be some place else. Klamath will be yesterday's news. Yet the region's water problem will remain."
Particularly noteworthy here is the use of the adjective "angry" -- as in "angry white males." The subtext of this cliche is that white males have no right to be angry. What have they to be angry ABOUT, after all. They are not the designated victims in the ongoing soap opera of official victimology concocted by our pretentious, college-indoctrinated, balloon-head "elite". THEY, in the godlike majesty of their omniscience, will determine who has a right to be angry and who does not. The fact that the farmers of the Klamath Basin are being deprived of their property and their livelihoods by government ukase, in violation of solemn promises made to them by the selfsame government, obviously does not rise to the (double) standard required by the Bee for granting permission to be angry.
And then they smugly inform us that "the region's water problem will remain." You don't even have to have the omniscience of a Bee-liner to understand that if the feds continue to deprive farms in the region of the irrigation water necessary to prevent their crops turning brown and their land blowing away "the region's water problem will remain." That is what we may call a given.
Thus, having established their intellectual and moral primacy, the Bee-liners hint with dark innuendo of mysterious, unnamed conspirators and impending doom: "If a lively protest planned for today (complete with a march through town with 12-foot buckets symbolizing the loss of the community's lifeblood) turns lawless (by meddling with government canal gates that send river water to farmers), chances for a workable solution will dim even further."
Whatever could they mean by that? It sounds rather like a threat. Are they saying that if a few demonstrators contrive to open the headgates after the feds have closed them again the federal government (from whom all blessings flow) will use this as a pretext for continuing to deprive farmers of the water they need to earn a living? Notice how the sort of activity that would be characterized as "civil disobedience" if engaged in by leftist demonstrators is condemned as "lawless" by those stern law'n-order super-moralists at the Bee.
By the way, the Bee editorial writers misunderstood the significance of the buckets. Anyone who had done the homework necessary to understand this story would realize that this is a reference to the "bucket brigade," a previous demonstration in which water was symbolically dipped from Klamath Lake. This is an occupational hazard of editorial writers who skate over the surface of the issues without ever grasping the essence. If their judgement comes across as superficial that is because they are superficial people. Their "talent" lies mainly in knowing how to run with the pack and curry favor with the in-crowd.
Then comes the inspirational message: "Water problems like this only get solved with the help of the federal government .." But -- but wasn't it the government that caused "the problem" in the first place, by cutting off the water? Wait, I get it -- the government giveth, and the government taketh away. Blessed be the name of the government.
Now for the tricky part: "All but forgotten is how the feds also drastically cut back water for wildlife refuges (homes for bald eagles) and reduced flows available downstream for salmon (homes of native American tribes and ocean fishermen). The mood upstream in Klamath Falls, however, is to view in political isolation the water shortage facing its farmers, as if nobody downstream existed."
There we have it, folks, the old Orwellian formula, as enunciated by the sheep in Animal Farm: "Four legs good, two legs b-a-a-a-d." How dare those rascally farmers ask for the rights guaranteed them by a flaky and mendacious government at the expense of the poor, dear wildlife downstream? Which leads one to wonder how the wildlife survived before there was a federal government (or a Klamath Basin irrigation project).
So now, according to the Bee, the animals have equal (actually superior) rights with the farmers. I wonder how those fat-faced office-dwellers would respond if we applied the same criteria to them? I have a few modest proposals.
Are the bald eagles actually made homeless by the drought? Why not quarter them in the attics of the Bee editorial staff for the duration? Are there too many of them? Well, the Club Sierra has posh, air conditioned quarters. Those eagles would have a ball buzzing the main desk in their marble-walled lobby. As for the salmon, what about those filthy rich, parasitic lawyers who staff the environmental lobby? Have they no swimming pools?
No doubt all of the drought-stricken wildlife could be adequately quartered if only our hallowed, saintly government (from whom all blessings flow) would requisition the property of environmentalists. They'd have to pay for it of course -- no problem. If they arrange to have the water cut off in those upscale, greenie neighborhoods the grass will soon turn brown and property values will quickly decline to affordable levels. The greenies might find it necessary to move into the back rooms of their domiciles in order to make room for the animals, and it might be necessary to knock out the odd wall here and there in order to give our four-legged friends adequate lebensraum, but hey -- it's the least those greenies can do under the circumstances.
What's that? Property rights? Greenies don't believe in property rights -- they don't even believe in human rights. They recently allowed four Washington state fire fighters to burn to death rather than risk harming the little fishies by scooping up water to put out a forrest fire.
Sheer fantasy? Perhaps, but how can environmentalists expect to have any credibility when they invariably call upon others to make all the sacrifices required by their own somewhat dotty beliefs? Shouldn't they be prepared to make comparable, or even greater sacrifices if they actually believe the green pablum they've been spooning out so liberally to the public?
"That leaves the federal government and the Endangered Species Act as the bad guys. Sure, this simplifies the politics, and the perceived problem," drones the Bee.
Oh, come off it -- some problems are too self-evident to be subject to simplification. It comes down to who cut the water off and why. The explanation given by the federal government, that they were attempting to protect some "endangered" suckerfish, is a brazen lie on the face of it. The government's own statistics demonstrate that keeping the water in Klamath Lake at present levels does not protect the fish. If anything it endangers them further. The big fish kills during the past decade or so correspond to high lake levels, not low ones. Given the massive coverups of recent years, it takes a village idiot to believe this government. As to helping those who live further downstream, our all-knowing, beneficent government has had a free hand in implementing its policy. Can the oracles at the Sacramento Bee explain how downstream dwellers have been "helped" thereby, or does their omniscience not extend to such awkward points?
The truth of the matter is that the federal government is embarked upon a policy of buying out the farmers in the Klamath Basin and, to that end, is determined to beat down property values in the region using junk-science fantasy ginned up by its prostitutes in lab coats. Because they are the government, they are able to get away with it. Any private citizen who attempted such a scam would more likely get eight-to-five.
Another hit piece, broadcast by KGW TV in Portland, played up the menace of what good o'boys used to call "outside agitators" in the days when it was unfashionable to criticize demonstrations. Compiled by the AP staff, the report begins by citing Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger as saying that "it is an 'unfortunate coincidence' that a convoy of farm supporters from around the West will arrive in time to watch as irrigation water released to farms and ranches is expected to dry out," (as paraphrased by the AP). The report failed to mention that the cutoff date was set by the feds long AFTER the convoys had been planned.
What Sheriff Evinger also said, according to the Klamath Falls Herald and News, is that, "his office and the Klamath Falls Police Department perceived the civil disobedience at the A Canal headgates July 4 as a positive reaction to a negative situation. Local law enforcement adopted a stance of hands-off with those acts, a strategy that allowed cooler heads to prevail among the protesters, which in turn calmed federal concerns in Washington." Needless to say, the AP staff omitted that part of the sheriff's statement, one of the many cute little tricks they teach them at Doc Goebbels' Creative Writing Clinic.
While it is true the sheriff made clear that, "The reaction to any illegal activity that threatens harm to people or property would be swift," he also "said the citizens of Klamath County, through their consistent use of peaceful, purposeful protest, have demonstrated to the country the right way to get things done."
How could anyone observing the AP's selective use of Sheriff Evinger's statements not conclude that they were editing the story in an extremely heavy handed fashion to support their own agenda? (Yes, I know -- they're not supposed to have an agenda. Am I required to go on believing in the Easter Bunny, as well?)
Noting that "One of the planned events this week is a reprise of a July 20 horse-mounted parade that organizer Jon Hall calls the United States Freedom Cavalry, which this time may involve as many as 500 riders from around the country," the AP mentioned somewhat cryptically that Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber had said the previous Thursday, following a speech in Portland: "We're very concerned about that." What's this, a morbid fear of horses? Perhaps the governor recalls that Oregon's former Sen. Wayne Morse was never quite the same after being kicked by one.
Klamath Tribal Chairman Allen Foreman was more direct, he wanted the convoys "to turn around and go home." According to the AP report, Foreman believes, "Their call for undoing the Endangered Species Act will do little to resolve a Klamath crisis brought about by drought, poor water quality and a century of converting wetlands into farmland." The AP goes on to quote him as saying, "Their message will actually hurt farmers and ranchers in the basin, by raising false hopes and discouraging people from coming together to focus on the search for workable answers."
By "workable answers." Foreman presumably means selling out at the low, low prices to which the feds have knocked down their property values by withholding irrigation water. Come to think of it, Chief Foreman sounds an awful lot like those editorial writers at the Sacramento Bee.
Jeffrey Bennett, of the Montana convoy, admonished demonstrators, don't take your guns to town boys, noting that "Militia groups formed to defend personal rights are misunderstood and misrepresented by the media." Certainly they are misrepresented by the media -- whether they are misunderstood is open to question. The AP did a fine job of drawing Bennett out until they were able to wring from him the concession that "the Klamath events might draw people with more extreme agendas. 'Based on where and how this function has been promoted, you're going to attract some of those types," he allowed. And that's the way it's taught at the Creative Writing Clinic; first you make up a story that fits your hidden agenda and then you browbeat people into making statements that can be spun into supporting your story. If you persevere at this you may one day receive the best fiction writer of the year award, a.k.a. the Pulitzer.
One might think that a "conservative" news organization such as Fox would avoid the liberal chicanery so prevalent in the mainstream press, but note how they covered last Tuesday's demonstrations in Klamath Falls. Observing that the irrigation water is due to be shut off again on Thursday, the Fox report warned that this "has brought demonstrations to a near fever pitch." The report goes on to quote a local farmer to the effect that, "If you don't have the rights to use your property ... you don't have freedom," and then reverts to the obligatory theme: "But as the procession wound its way through Klamath Falls, some farmers feared the protesters were 'bringing their own agendas' that had little to do with water." And furthermore, "One resident said the 'anti-government extremists' who have come to town won't solve the problem." This "one resident," who, like most everyone quoted in mainstream media hit pieces as spouting the Bee-line, is not identified, goes on to expound that, "Bashing the government, environmentalists and Native Americans won't make more water."
I use the term "Bee-line" because I couldn't help notice the extraordinary similarity between the opinions voiced by "one resident" and the party line set forth by the editorial writers at the Sacramento Bee. Which raises an interesting question: did "one resident" ask to remain anonymous because his views are unpopular in Klamath Falls, or is he not identified because he exists only in the fertile imagination of a creative fiction writer at Fox News? (Actually, if one carefully reads the credits for this Fox News story, it is clear that the AP played a major role in spinning it. Fox employs a lot more liberal scribes than its critics let on).
Doesn't it seem the slightest tad strange that so many unidentified "residents" mentioned in mainstream hit pieces hold views virtually identical to those expounded in a Sacramento Bee editorial? Wouldn't it be simplicity in itself for a creative writer to just invent such a person and put the Bee-line in his bonnet? After all, it might take hours to locate a person who holds such views in Klamath Falls.
But what would motivate mainstream journalists to resort to such sleazy tactics? The Klamath Falls Herald and News comments: "We need our own editorial about how most of the media promulgated rumors about 'militia', 'potential violence', and 'death threat stories'. This misinformation directly led to many Basin people not only to question the motives of the event, but to keep them away from the activities."
That would seem to answer the question posed above quite succinctly. The truth of the matter is that most mainstream "journalists" are not journalists at all, but college-indoctrinated, left-liberal propagandists who promote the prevailing party line of the knee-jerk left as zealously as any other totalitarians ever have. These people have no regard whatever for truth, justice or the American Way, which they regard as cornball cliches to be ridiculed by hyper-sophisticated smarties such as themselves. When cornered and pinned down, they invariably spew forth a smoke screen of sophistical double talk, invoking situational "ethics", or some such twaddle intended to disguise the fact that they have no ethical standards at all and are therefore prepared to tell any lie they think they can get away with. What is there to say about such gutter trash but caveat lector?
The local newspaper goes on to raise a larger question: "Who started these rumors? Why did the media jump right on these stories without talking to more informed people? It's pretty obvious that this was all a phony story to discredit the good intentions of many from around the country. But who is to blame? Who started these rumors? OP-ED needed, .. rumor mongers need to be exposed."
Who indeed? The rumors were started by the same people who start most of the political rumors in this country, whether they concern some "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy," or the canard that the Oklahoma City bombing was instigated by radio talk-show hosts, or the myth that last year's presidential election was "stolen." But why? And whom do these people represent? The rumor mongers are only the prat boys, after all.
The Crew Behind the CurtainAmong the speakers at the Klamath Falls Fairgrounds, following the big parade, was Helen Chenowith-Hage, who once represented the First Congressional District of Idaho as a Republican. "They want it all don't they?" said Chenowith, alluding to a Wall Street Journal article on "rural cleansing." "It's happening all over the west," said Chenowith. "My husband was the first rancher in the west to have his cattle taken by the federal government. And sold illegally and they kept the money, by the way. Just last week, two weeks ago, our neighbor had his cattle taken off his private property. And we were able to stop the BLM and the sale of those cattle." (This incident was covered in previous columns).
As to who or what is behind the land-grab, Chenowith advised her listeners to "follow the money." "Once the farmers are removed, who will have the land?" she asked. Chenowith answered her question with another question: "who is giving to nature conservancy and the Sierra Club and the Oregon Environmental Council?" alluding to Raul Arnold's book, Undue Influence. "You find out who these people are. You follow the money and you will be able to identify the problem," said the former congresswoman. "The fact is that we're at war with a group of individuals who really are using government and the environmental movement to further their ends. And the fact is we need to begin to recognize what we're up against."
Chenowith quoted Thomas Sowell, who recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal regarding environmentalists who are engaged in this controversy," 'Too often we find the notion that the shrill and self righteous people who push this stuff are some kind of noble crusaders. Thinking only of higher things.' ... instead of as the selfish and arrogant bigots and bullies that they really are. The essence of bigotry is claiming for yourself the rights that you would deny to others."
And of course, that is exactly what the organized environmental movement is doing -- collecting big bucks from large corporations and useful idiots such as those Tinseltown trashballs who switch causes faster than they swap mates. (Jane Fonda recently abandoned eco-fascism to become a born-again Christian. See, she was having this fling with the chauffeur, who is pretty keen on that old-time religion when he isn't ... never mind. Anyhow, that's why Ted Turner is moving to Russia). Thus, the main lobby of the Club Sierra resembles that of a Fortune-500 corporation. Follow the money.
As for respecting the rights of others, the high-rollers who bankroll the environmental movement have no concept of the rights of others. To them, others are mere objects to be manipulated to their advantage. Not that they lack "compassion." They purchase that, shrink-wrapped and neatly labeled, with large, ostentatious contributions to the Democratic Party, which does a land-office business peddling compassion by the pound. These big-buck bloat-o-crats never want for "virtue." They can always afford to buy as much of it as they need.
Bullying comes quite naturally to this porcine pack of overprivileged bigots. It doesn't bother them because they never have to confront it. They simply project it onto others, with a little help from their slithering, reptilian pals in the mainstream press. Thus, the Sacramento Bee pontificates: "The mood upstream in Klamath Falls, however, is to view in political isolation the water shortage facing its farmers, as if nobody downstream existed." You see, it's really all the fault of the selfish, water-greedy farmers who have cruelly victimized those who dwell farther downstream. Notice how the prime mover in this man-made catastrophe, the federal government (from whom all blessings flow), has been craftily whisked behind the curtain. The insight that downstream dwellers, as well as farmers, would be getting their usual allotment of water if the feds hadn't shut it off is strangely missing from this super-moralist charade of an editorial.
Thomas Sowell writes that, " Property rights are one of the most misunderstood things in law and one of the most disregarded things in politics ... According to the Constitution of the United States, the government cannot take private property without compensation. However, judges have been letting governments get away with doing just that for about half a century now ... From an economic point of view, there is no real difference between confiscating half of someone's property and reducing its value by half."
That, in a nutshell, is what the Klamath Basin crisis is all about, although property values in this case have been reduced by a great deal more than a half. Helen Chenowith-Hage, in her Klamath Falls speech, quoted a line from a film titled "The Patriot": "Would you rather be ruled by one tyrant 3000 miles away or 3000 tyrants one mile away?" Noting that the concept of 3000 tyrants one mile away seemed a bit far-fetched at the time, Chenowith went on to say, "Well, you drive through Klamath Falls and you look at the businesses that have closed down and look at the site of the old Klamath Mill. Look what 3000 tyrants one mile away have done. Then look at the great buildings of the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. It's happened. There's been a huge transfer of wealth and power."
And the ways are being greased for more of the same. NewsMax.com reported last Monday on preparations for congressional hearings on the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). This legislation would provide a $45 billion slush fund to be used over a period of 15 years "by federal, state or local authorities, in cooperation with left-wing interests, to grab more land from small private property owners for some perceived environmentalist good," according to Wes Vernon, who wrote the NewsMax article. The House Resources Committee allowed only a single token witness to speak on behalf of property owners, among the ten witnesses who were heard during Monday's three-hour hearing. " More than 100 opponents had asked to appear," writes Vernon. "Most of these CARA critics never received the courtesy of an answer. They were convinced the purpose of no acknowledgement was to give the committee deniability to be able to say no CARA opponent was actually turned down."
The lone CARA opponent allowed to testify was Patricia Callahan, a lobbyist for the American Association of Small Property Owners (AASPO). This organization represents urban landowners who are leery of CARA precisely because "they know the attack on property rights is not confined to country folks," Smith told the committee. Under rent control laws imposed by some communities, owners have been forced to abandon their property, without being required to do so by law. Vernon comments that, "This resembles the manner in which rural landowners have been told they can hold onto their property - so long as they don't mind the feds cutting off their water supply or denying access to roads, leading to plummeting property values."
It seems that the "Sagebrush Rebellion" has roots that extend far beyond "Flyover Country," well into the Democratic strongholds of the Blue Zone. One of the major battles shaping up over CARA is an effort by property rights groups to persuade the National Rifle Association (NRA) to withdraw its support for Title II of the measure which property owners fear will give the feds unlimited powers to take private property from unwilling sellers as the whim strikes them. Thus far, the NRA has resisted attempts to turn their policy around on this issue, eliciting surly comments from erstwhile supporters, such as this one posted on the FreeRepublic.com Web-site: "The NRA is a big business and the only right they care about is the right to make money."
CARA is already turning into a big headache for the Republican leadership. Vernon writes: "the GOP House leadership hopes it stays bottled up forever. Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., reportedly feels the Republicans cannot afford the national intra-party bloodletting on the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the House debate on C-SPAN, as happened last year when CARA last came to the floor."
Nor is this the only headache for Republicans in the smoldering Sagebrush Rebellion. The Bush administration had earlier denied a request to convene the Endangered Species Committee for the purpose of considering an exception to the Endangered Species Act that would allow irrigation water to flow to farms in the Klamath Basin. If the Bushies have a plausible explanation for their action they have been very slow to get it out. Some see this as a parallel to the appalling 52-48 Senate vote to deny relief to the farmers. (All but two Democrats, Conrad and Wyden, voted against the farmers. Three "Republicans," Specter, Chaffee and Fitzgerald, also voted against the farmers).
What has Westerners particularly outraged at Washington lawmakers' transparently feigned concern for the sad plight of the poor "endangered" suckerfish is the alacrity with which they granted exceptions to the ESA in order to facilitate construction of the Wilson Bridge, a project much favored by federal bureaucrats. According to the Washington Times, "The bridge has already become synonymous with bureaucratic exceptionalism. Bald eagles and shortnose sturgeon, both endangered species, will almost certainly be harmed by construction of the bridge, and yet federal bureaucrats signed off on the project anyway. It now appears that at least three species of endangered invertebrates would be similarly affected."
It appears that the "deep concern" which our Tribunes of the People have for "endangered" species can be casually turned on or off to suit their own convenience. One of the "endangered" critters, the Northern Virginia well amphipod, was actually considered extinct until it was sighted recently for the first time in 50 years. Did the Interior Department rush its shock paramedics to the scene in order to render all possible emergency assistance to this existentially menaced well dweller? Well, no -- in actual fact, it took the sighting as irrefutable evidence "that the species, though it may be rare, has persisted and is not in imminent danger of extinction."
And that's the way the game is played. The Times editorial comments: "Perhaps the same standard should be applied to the suckerfish, for whose presence federal bureaucrats have turned off water taps to thirsty communities throughout the West. That decision was devastating for the financial futures of many farmers living in the area, and is only one example of the high price Westerners are paying for the rigorous enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)."
Small wonder that Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was moved to remark somewhat sourly, "It appears Washington, D.C. gets a special exemption when it comes to species protection." It all comes down to Thomas Sowell's observation that, "The essence of bigotry is claiming for yourself the rights that you would deny to others." The Times asserts that if the Interior Department was so determined to grant ESA exceptions for the convenience of Washington bureaucrats and officeholders, "it should have also refused to allow the North Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle to block the building of a levee, or Delhi Sands flies to stall construction of school and hospital construction in San Bernardino." The real endangered species here, concludes the editorial, is "equitable enforcement of the law."
Meanwhile, back in Klamath Falls, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials have once again closed the headgates at the irrigation project, shutting off water to 1400 farms in the region. The farmers have responded by laying in pipes on private land to divert water around the headgates. By the end of the day, farmers were pumping water from Klamath Lake through 12-inch diameter pipe -- not enough to meet the needs of the farms in the region, but more than a purely symbolic amount this time -- "2500 cubic feet per minute, enough to irrigate 50 acre feet per day," by one estimate.
According to a report by Sean Finnegan that appeared on the SierraTimes.com Web site, "two rangers were given an American flag and they placed it at the end of the line." A farmer, Stan Thompson, chained himself to the headgates, receiving words of encouragement from the assembled crowd. Finnegan writes that, "Later on, a few people rowed out to the headgates from the river in a small boat and handed the Feds a pink slip and told them they would not be needed any longer. They took the slip with a fish net. And a short time later others used the same boat to tell the agents to return the American flag they were flying. To everyone's surprise the rangers took down the flag and folded it correctly and handed it over."
This seems a far cry from the rumors of bloody revolution spread earlier in the week by mainstream media presstitutes. It seems that they take their mandate to report the truth rather lightly. Not that this should surprise anyone -- their hidden agenda, after all, is to promote the party-line of green fascism.
One of the more perplexing aspects of this affair is how so many people on the right have gotten themselves on the wrong side of this issue. The Bush administration would do well to pull its socks up while there is still time. This issue is of vital concern to Red Zone people in the very heart of Bush country and they are nobody's fools. Their futures are at stake. If the president listens to advisors who think to finesse the problem with the usual mind games and double-talk designed to placate the implacable greenies he will have cause to regret it -- and so will the rest of us.
Why spend so much time on this "local" story? Because it happens to be the most important event taking place in the country just now. What converged last week at Klamath Falls, along with the convoys, was a microcosm of the ills that afflict our society: an intellectually dishonest, morally destitute mainstream press so deeply infected with the howling idiocy of politically correct reporting that it couldn't locate its hinterteil with both hands and a flashlight; decadent, cynical political hacks in Washington who pretend to represent us, even as they do the dirty work for the big money boys who own them, insisting all the while that they are doing God's work. Their poster boy, a dissolute California congressman who has difficulty keeping his trousers zipped, or telling the truth when questioned by the police, grabbed all the headlines last week -- a fitting commentary on the present state of our social mores.
What makes it all work is the vast horde of upscale, college-catechized naifs who suffer from the delusion that, because their parents have spent vast sums to send them to one of those left-wing indoctrination camps that we still refer to from force of habit as a "university", they are intelligent, well educated people. In actual fact, they are perennial suckers for every sleazy, two-bit ideological scam that comes along. These are the people who make the "environmental" movement possible in its present, denatured form. At the beginning of the last century, Otto von Bismark observed that, "God looks after idiots, small children, and the United States of America." If we are lucky the Almighty will not have become bored with us during the intervening years. It's our only hope, really.