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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 2/13/16-non-political edition

February 13, 2016

So much news this week, I needed two posts – one on politics and another on the real news.

Can we all agree that Pope Francis’s meeting with the leader of the Eastern Orthodox church was remarkable?

Can we all agree that, in a strange way, the best news of the week may be the increase in number of employees who voluntarily quit their jobs?

Mohave National Monument

Mohave National Monument

Can we all agree that three new national monuments will be a great addition to wildlife preservation – even if they are mostly desert?

Can we all agree that the capping of the Porter Ranch gas leak will help everyone take a deep breath, and hopefully make sure it doesn’t happen elsewhere?

Can we all agree that whatever they are calling the Syrian peace plan, it doesn’t sound like there is much agreement?

Can we all agree that stepped up NATO patrols to monitor boats crossing the Mediterranean won’t mean much if they don’t actually do anything?

Can we all agree that we’re happy scientists have confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, but we have no idea what it really means? Except that Albert Einstein was really smart.

Can we all agree that the FBI deserves a lot of credit for ending the Oregon occupation quietly and with no further violence?

Can we all agree that because of the California Coastal Commission, the state has the prettiest coastline in the nation? Why they fired their executive director remans a mystery.

Can we all agree that lawsuits are always a poor way to solve most issues, but when race is involved in the United States, like in Ferguson, MO, it is sometimes the only option?

Can we all agree that it would be a shame if the US Supreme court wound up undoing what 196 countries accomplished in Paris earlier this year?

Can we all agree that it’s a bit ironic that Mitch McConnell, who berates Mr. Obama for his coal policy, is the main reason thousands of coal miners got the shaft?

Can we all agree that the GOP response to the President’s budget plan is beyond despicable? But Speaker Ryan appears to be in the same box as John Boehner.

Can we all agree we’re thrilled there’s a new Harry Potter book coming out? Or maybe not.

Can we all agree that a major league athlete who throws away his career to performance enhancing drugs deserves his own special place in the “You Can’t Make This Up Hall of Fame.”

and finally:

Can we all agree the world needed Burger King to put hot dogs on the menu? But it’s doubtful we will all head there instead of Chipotle.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 1/9/16 edition

January 9, 2016

Can we all agree that the closer we get to actual voting the crazier the race for President gets?

For example:

Can we all agree that the ‘progressive’ media is just a bit too giddy that Ted Cruz has the same ‘birther’ problem that has haunted President Obama for 8 years?

Can we all agree that there has been way too much talk about Marco Rubio’s boots?

Can we all agree that despite what The Donald says, the amount of voter fraud in this country is minuscule?

Bill Clinton returns to the campaign trail

Bill Clinton returns to the campaign trail

Can we all agree that it is great to see former President Clinton back on the campaign trail explaining what’s really going on?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump’s attempts to attack Clinton over his past indiscretions will have no impact?

Can we all agree that the blizzard of GOP attack ads is hurting all the mainstream candidates?

But, enough politics:

Can we all agree that the self-styled militia that has taken over the small wildlife preserve in Oregon has virtually no support anywhere?

Can we all agree that the most vehement opponents are birders who point out the importance of the refuge to wild bird migration? If anyone has the patience to outlast the militia it’s birders.

Can we all agree that Mr. Obama has done a masterful job putting the NRA on the defensive over a relatively small change in gun registration regulations?

Can we all agree the last thing we needed in the Mideast was a increase in tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

Can we all agree that the President’s decision to roundup and deport hundreds of Central American women and children is a tragic betrayal of  one of the founding principles of this country? We can all agree that Donald Trump bears some of the responsibility.

Can we all agree that the addition of another 270,000 jobs signals continued strength in the economy despite what you might have heard from the GOP?

Can we all agree that the government’s new dietary guidelines may not be perfect, but are a step in the right direction?

Can we all agree that it’s probably just a matter of time before Mexican drug kingpin “El Chapo” is on the loose again unless he gets extradited to the United States?

Can we all agree that Alabama Judge Roy Moore just defies all logic is disputing the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage?

Can we all agree we are all better off now that Congress has wasted another few days repealing the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood? The bill was, of course, vetoed immediately.

Can we all agree that the Florida professor who claims the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school and other violent acts were staged events, needs more punishment that just being fired?

Can we all agree that the leader of North Korea is creating a major headache, basically because he’s crazy?

Can we all agree, speaking of crazy, that the mayor of Cologne, Germany deserves a special  place in the Crazies Hall of Fame for his advice to women on how to avoid sexual assaults?

and finally:

Can we all agree that when a major metropolitan newspaper has to send its reporting staff out to deliver newspapers it has a real self-inflicted and inexcusable problem?

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CWAA: Malheur and the Anti-Federal Insurrection

January 6, 2016

Filed under: observations,Politics,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:03 am
Harry Fuller, a friend of a friend,  who lives near the occupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon sent the following note yesterday.  I thought it was unique view of the whole mess. He’s an avid birder and very familiar with the site.
I can’t say I agree with all his comments, but we can all agree that the men occupying the Preserve do not represent the interests of most Americans.
Here’s Harry’s essay:

No change in the occupation of Malheur by self-styled militia, anti-federal activists.  So far no violence and apparently no property damage.  For birders this is a serious issue as it continues.  The watch tower where the armed men are on guard is a tower long used by nesting Great Horned Owls.  The owls should be nesting in the next few weeks.

Wildlife in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

The occupiers have vowed to begin working the land, whatever that means.  It certainly does not mean letting White Pelicans, Harrier, Black Tern, Short-eared Owls, White-faced Ibis and other locally nesting birds use the land without being disturbed…or even shot.

The long-term goal for this anti-federal movement is to take land away from the U.S. government and give it back to the states with the intention of eventually giving it to private individuals for profit.  Some private land owners do care and take care of wildlife.  Many do not.  Cattle ranchers, alfalfa and mint growers and energy companies are notorious for environmental carnage. Mint, cows and hay crops are major sources of ranch revenue in Harney County where this farce is playing out.  Great Gray Owls, of which I know something, cannot find enough mammals to eat in meadows trampled by sheep or cattle.  Many other species are also threatened by modern farm and ranch practices.   Monocultures of alfalfa, Douglas-fir or any other harvestable crop rarely provide rich habitat for birds and other animals.

President Theodore Roosevelt created the wildlife refuge system over a century ago because he wanted to be sure there would be animals to hunt.  There is no constitutional provision for refuges so Congress and a right-wing President could decide to give away or sell all the federal land holdings.  Or, more simply, they could simply cut the budgets of federal enforcement agencies so the U.S. becomes like so many African and Asian nations: big parks showing up on maps but with with inadequate patrols and lots of poaching of species doomed to extinction.  Not to mention to theft of trees, etc.

If the feds were to sell off their lands or cede them to the states, in some blue states there might be some effort to maintain open space and protect wildlife but in states like Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Texas the federal lands would almost immediately be turned into private preserves for making money any way possible.  To hell with the wolves, pronghorn and Sage Grouse.

Quickest way to destroy the refuge system: money.  Malheur NWR is over 170-thousand acres.  It cannot be maintained and patrolled by a couple men or a few volunteers.  It requires a real financial commitment.  At least equal to the cost of a couple of drones per year.  There are many in the Republican Party who would far rather have the drones than any wildlife refuge and all those pesky regulations that reduce somebody’s theoretical income from unrestricted exploitation of the land.

What began as the Sagebrush Rebellion has now become a centerpiece of rural western Republican dogma: get the feds out of our lives so we can ride ATVs, shoot deer and cut trees wherever we want.  Liberty uber alles.  A party that sees climate change as a myth and wolves as targets is not going to preserve refuges or even national park except as photos ops.  Now they would like to own one of the first condos on the edge of Grand Canyon?  Cheap at $2 million, free parking included.  Membership in golf club extra.Map-HLP-BAR

Most historians who pay attention to resource use consider the American national park system to be one of the great innovations of the 19th Century.  This anti-fed movement could theoretically make that all go away by ceding Yosemite and Grand Canyon back to local control.

One legal analyst today finally, directly drew the  link between this action at Malheur and the constant rhetoric from the NRA and pro-gun folks about the need to have armed militia to thwart supposed government tyranny. Well, these folks in this militia who hear from God what they are to do are there thwarting federal tyranny at Malheur in the name of all that is right and holy.  Give a gun to a nut and you have an armed nut.  This is libertarianism run amuck.  There is no sense from these people that there is a common interest in preserving the planet, the environment or other creatures.  They seem to worship private property as godliness.

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