April 22, 2018

Annoucement Made to Remove Gray Wolves in Great Lakes From Protection

There is much agog within sportsman’s groups having heard when Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Federal Government will remove Endangered Species Act listings for Western Great Lakes gray wolves. The action will take effect in 30 days from Federal Register publication and individual states will take over management of the species.

This of course depends upon what affect lawsuits from environmental and animal rights groups will have. There are sure to be lawsuits filed and at best the results of those lawsuits will be confusing. The last time the Feds attempted to delist those wolves, a lawsuit put a stop to it. The court ruling from Judge Paul Friedman, remanded the case back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and told them to return to his court when they could provide proof that the USFWS has the authority through the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to create Distinct Population Segments. This ruling simply created tons more confusion into an ESA equation so riddled with confusion it’s any wonder any ESA action works at all.

I’ve yet to study the proposal, but I am told that it contains wording that rejects any claims that there are two species of wolves inhabiting the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment of gray wolves. In my mind, that’s a bigger victory than the delisting of wolves. How this will play out across the remainder of the Eastern United States is anyone’s guess at this point.

What I decided to do, for those interested, is publish the press releases below that I received about the delisting so that readers can see the different comments and perspectives. One is from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and one from the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance.

RMEF Cheers Announcements on Great Lakes Wolves

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation today cheered federal delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes states, as well as the State of Wisconsin’s rapid movement toward implementing its own science-based wolf management plan.

Both actions help pave the way toward predator populations that are in better balance with elk, deer and other species commonly preyed upon by wolves.

“Barring any legal holdups from animal rights activists, we should see science-based wolf management and control measures go into effect by February, and that’s great news for conservation overall in the Great Lakes region,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

On Dec. 21, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that gray wolf populations in the Great Lakes region have recovered and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a final rule in the Federal Register removing wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in portions of adjoining states, from the list of threatened and endangered species.

Upon the announcement, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ordered the Department of Natural Resources to begin implementing the state’s wolf management plan. The agency will issue permits to landowners experiencing wolf-caused losses beginning Feb. 1.

There are more than 4,000 wolves in the three core recovery states in the western Great Lakes area, a total that far exceeds recovery goals. Minnesota’s population is estimated at 2,921 wolves, while an estimated 687 wolves live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and another 782 in Wisconsin.

Each state has developed a science-based plan to manage wolves after federal protection is removed.

Wolf Delisting Decision a Big Win for Sportsmen

(Columbus, Ohio) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that gray wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes region have exceeded recovery goals and should no longer be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Once official, this move will return wolves to state management in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and some portions of adjoining states.

In an even bigger victory for sportsmen, the Service also announced that it has reversed its previous view that two wolf species exist in the Western Great Lakes region. This previous stance by the Service, that two separate wolf species were present in the region, could have easily derailed any delisting of the wolves. The announcement recognized that the scientific evidence submitted during the comment period was crucial in reversing its position. In July and September, the USSAF submitted extensive comments supported by wolf and genetics expert Dr. Lisette Waits refuting the two wolf theory.

A two wolf position, which was not based on leading research, could have led to additional lawsuits from animal rights organizations aimed at preventing wolves from being returned to state management.

“This announcement is a major victory for sportsmen, conservation, and wildlife management,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation senior vice president. “We applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their decision to recognize the scientific facts regarding wolves in the Great Lakes region. This is how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to be implemented. When animal populations recover, those species should be removed from the list and returned to state management. This has been a long, hard fought battle and is not likely over as we expect the animal rights lobby to turn to the courts to stop the delisting. We will be ready.”

Wolf populations have far exceeded recovery goals and have become an increasing threat to other wildlife, livestock, and hunting and other dogs.

The delisting rule will become effective 30 days after it has been published in the Federal Register. Official publication in the Federal Register is expected to take place next week.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation has been on the front lines working to ensure that wolves in the Western Great Lakes region were removed from the ESA and rightfully returned to state management.

In May of 2010, the USSAF and its partners petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. After the Service failed to respond to the request as required by law, USSAF notified the Service that if it did not act on the wolf petition USSAF and our partners would file a lawsuit. Subsequently, the Service started the delisting process which led to today’s announcement of its intent to delist gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. Joining the USSAF in these efforts are the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Dairyland Committee of Safari Club International Chapters of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Rangers, Clubs, and Educators, Inc.

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Obama Administration’s Attempt to Define “Significant Portion of it’s Range”

Let me say right off the top in order that some may not want to waste their time seeking truth, that I believe very strongly that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA)(Act) is unconstitutional. It is such because it does not stand up against the authority of the Constitution in which a statute cannot, in and of itself, be a violation of the Constitution. It also does not mean that I oppose species protection. The majority of people in this country don’t care nor are they free to undertake independent thought to learn about the truth. Most every, if not all, laws on our books are nothing more than tools to extract power from the people and put it into the hands of government. I pray for your epiphany for truth.

However, simply because I believe the Act is criminal, doesn’t dismiss me from exposing the further fraud behind the ESA and now the attempts by Congress and the Obama Administration to “fix” it.

As I have written about recently, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has begun a series of hearings to examine the Endangered Species Act, (ESA) in hopes of determining: “How litigation is costing jobs and impeding true recovery efforts.” With the Committee using that description of the intent of their hearings, should we hold out any hope that any efforts will be directed at amending or, as some are asking, repealing of the ESA? Not likely.

But this has not stopped the Obama Administration of getting into the ESA fray. After all, we do have an election coming up and doing and saying anything to steal a vote is chichi these days in Washington. The “Services”, collectively the Department of Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have gone all out to help Americans define the simple phrase, “significant portion of its range”.

That phrase is used extremely sparingly in the ESA and it pertains, at least in my mind and after reading Obama’s proposal I question if the “Services” have any mind, to criteria used to determine when and if a species might be considered for federal protection under the ESA.

Either I’m not fully enlightened or am too honest, but I happen to think that “significant portion” would mean a big or perhaps as much as a majority or more of something, especially when used in the context of a word that describes size, i.e. “portion”. Evidently I’m wrong, according to the “Services” Draft Policy to define “significant portion of its range”.

There is a reason that Congress and the President, beyond the usual politics, are taking a look, finally, at the ESA. It’s badly broken. In its day, it was intended, we were told, to provide a means in which government regulation could prevent the needless destruction of plant and animal species. Perhaps because the bill was signed into law by President Richard Nixon, who was embroiled in the Watergate scandal, set the stage for a bill designed to fail. And fail it has.

The Act has done little to save species and a lot to put a lot of money into the bank accounts of environmentalists, stifling job growth and stripping Americans of their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If you and I can get beyond arguing whether the ESA is worth anything and discover that it’s not, then surely we can begin to see the efforts of Congress to examine portions of the ESA and President Obama’s administration to define words in the Act as laughable.

Regardless of whether President Obama thinks he can define “significant”, it is NOT going to do anything to change the problems with the ESA. Among the massive issues that makes the ESA look like a falling down old barn, is the lack of specific information in the administration of this bill. This leaves the door open to giving the Secretary of Interior too much discretion, flexibility and deference as it pertains to interpretive policy, and it has led to a myriad of court rulings in which judges have taken it upon themselves to interpret the ESA in any fashion they can.

One of the downsides to the judicial branches of our government is that every time there is a court ruling the words created in that ruling become case law and at least to some degree becomes precedent in future court cases, regardless of the truth or accuracy of what is written.

So what I can say right from the beginning that what the “Services” are attempting to do in defining “significant portion of its range”, is to hand select from existing statutes, case histories and case law, some or all which are seriously flawed, combined with their own interpretations of what they think the intention of the legislators were in writing the Endangered Species Act.

What on earth could go wrong?

Remember back in 1998?, when then President Bill Clinton was answering questions before a grand jury about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky? He was asked if there was anything going on between him and Miss Lewinsky. Bill Clinton responded to the jury:

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

This kind of jibber-jabber spin is endemic among politicians and governmental agencies. That’s why we all hate them so. Obama’s “Services” people don’t go quite to that extreme in their attempts to define “significant portion of its range”, but read what they did say.

This Draft Policy took approximately 20 or more pages to conclude using the various resources and criteria I have already described above to determine that “significant portion of its range” in its entirely, together, as a whole, means:

provides an independent basis for listing and protecting the entire species

In other words, this is pretty much what we have all become subjected to over the past near 40 years. Some too highly paid, well indoctrinated person(s) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) made a determination that a particular species was in trouble and was in trouble over a “significant portion of its range” and therefore was declared “endangered” and the “range” essentially became critical habitat.

But the “Services” have determined that it depends on what the meaning of significant is as to whether or not significant actually becomes significant.

This draft policy includes the following definition of “significant” as it relates to SPR [significant portion of its range]: a portion is “significant” in the context of the Act’s “significant portion of its range” phrase if its contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction.

Significant, used as an adjective, which if my English 101 is correct, is defined in most dictionaries as:

1. important; of consequence.
2. having or expressing a meaning; indicative; suggestive: a significant wink.
3. Statistics . of or pertaining to observations that are unlikely to occur by chance and that therefore indicate a systematic cause.

If “significant” is used as an adjective to describe portion, and portion in this context relates to a physical area or size of land, i.e. range, then wouldn’t significant portion suggest what is being talked about here is geographical scope of the range of a species?

The “Services” concluded that the choice of definition for “significant” is “important”. Therefore, it’s not the size of the portion of the range but the importance of the portion of the range they have decided to use.

I could go on with such foolishness but it’s more important to provide focus on what’s the bottom line. The bottom line here is that not only will Obama’s Draft Policy not only not help anything as it pertains to the ESA but will in fact make matters even worse.

Nothing in this policy limits the discretion and authority of the “Secretary” to implement and make definitions and rulings as he/she deems “scientific” and necessary for the administration of the ESA. Not only that, but this policy seriously places into the hands of the government, greater authority to not only create “portions of its range”, in other words, the Secretary can declare a species endangered and establish all the “critical habitat” he wants. He will still have power to create Distinct Population Segments. However, this new policy will allow the Secretary, through a series of predetermined “thresholds”; a measure of how important it is to protect one small area where a certain species may exist in order to save the entire species globally, create millions of tiny DPSs that the “Services” have said they don’t want to do.

Try to paint a picture in your mind of what this might look like. Haul out a map of the U.S. and it is peppered with 6,537,129 little dots where the Secretary has created a “significant” “significant portion of its range”. And that “significant” range happens to be the 350-acre ranch your trying to eke out a living on. I think this is significant.

Oh, that won’t happen! You all say. Won’t it? If not, then why is this included in the Draft Policy?

Therefore, if a species is determined to be endangered in an SPR, under this draft policy, the
species would be listed as endangered throughout all of its range, even in situations where the facts simultaneously support a determination that the species is threatened throughout all of its range. However, we recognize that this approach may raise concerns that the Services will be applying a higher level of protection where a lesser level of protection might arguably fit if viewed across a species’ range. The Services are particularly interested in public comments on this issue.

I am sure that how I see this Draft Policy and how others may see it will be worlds apart. For those who have faith and confidence in government and believe the ESA is a viable statute that actually protects species, while preserving the rights of Americans, you may think this attempt at defining “significant portion of its range” is a good thing. I do not!

I see it as further pushing the ESA bus over the cliff. It defines nothing. It only serves to foist even more autocratic power into the hands of government, particularly that of the Secretary of Interior. And, gives authority to the Secretary to amass hundreds upon thousands of SRPs (Significan Range Portions) and DPSs (Distinct Population Segments) all over the country.

One can think of instances where this authority and application may be practical but you shouldn’t think it actually will. One example might be the instance in Wyoming, where the state, in working with the Feds, has come up with a SRP of sorts that provides protections for the gray wolf in one zone, while at the same time the rest of the state isn’t burdened under the same ball and chain of ESA protection. But when you consider the amount of abuse that will come from this authority, it becomes a more effective fire starter than an extinguisher. There are so many catch words and phrases in this Draft that one would be foolish to think it’s intended for anything of value to the people.

While I am not expecting anything productive to come out of the Committee hearings in Washington, I will write them and tell them that they need to derail this Draft Policy and actually get down to meat and potato changes or consider complete repeal of the ESA.

If you would like to take the time to read Obama’s Draft Policy, you can read it at this link. In addition, at the end of the Policy proposal, you’ll find specific questions the “Services” are seeking comments on and how you can submit comments about this policy. Comments will be opened for 60 days after the official posting of the Draft to the Federal Register.

Tom Remington

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Maine’s “Game Plan for Deer” Getting Nowhere Fast

Growing up, my father was forever angering me with his platitudes in hopes of proving his point or putting you into a context of uselessness. Growing up poor we spent many hours of many days doing physical work around home, such as firewood, weeding gardens, mowing lawns, etc. I recall sometimes being told to do things I didn’t think possible and my first and repeated reply was, “I can’t”. His scripted retort was always, “Can’t never did anything!”

Is it me and my expectations of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) are too high or has the passage and implementation of the Maine Game Plan for Deer, become a useless instrument supported by “I can’t”?

Some say I’m not fair in my criticism of MDIFW but frankly what criticism is ever considered fair when you are the target of the criticism? Criticism should always be followed by suggested remedies, which I usually try to do.

Maine sportsmen held out hope going into the last election of governor, thinking that an administration change at both the Blaine House and regime change at MDIFW, that resources and attention would shift back toward actual game management, particularly deer, addressing a decades-long downward spiral in the state’s deer population.

When all the changes took place, personnel went to work to draft an official plan to rebuild the deer herd. George Smith, former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and now writer and outdoor/environmental pundit, attended a long meeting with members of the MDIFW to update the progress of the Game Plan for Deer. George files an initial report on the meeting.

I did not attend the meeting so I can only comment on Smith’s perspective of what he took away from the event. In essence, Smith relates that there was little optimism for the future and little had been accomplished and little projected to take place. Perhaps he puts it best when he wrote:

expectations are now high and his [MDIFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock] ability to deliver is low

In reference to the content of the meeting, Smith says: “A lot of time was consumed with a discussion of deer feeding problems, predator controls, and deer/vehicle collisions.”

I’m not sure that I agree, as Smith writes that the number one issue facing a depleted deer herd is habitat, it appears nothing is even being done to address that problem.

But very little time was devoted to habitat protection and enhancement – the key problem and the major reason for the state’s diminished deer population according to the agency’s wildlife staff. Surprisingly little is actually being done on this.

I guess the catch phrase here might as well be, “I can’t!” After reading this assessment, once again my blood pressure spiked and I began breaking pencils and tossing them across my office. One stuck into the screen to the side door. What I sputtered about for the next 20 minutes sort of came out something like this:

It’s all about habitat! I’m so sick and tired about hearing how everything must be blamed on habitat. Well, you know, habitat is important but nobody has ever answered my question about why if there just isn’t any deer wintering areas left there are many acres of deer wintering areas where there are no deer. I could better understand this excuse if the deer herd was near the state’s carrying capacity, but it’s not. And yet, according to George Smith nothing is planned to deal with that so………

We can’t do anything about the weather and MDIFW is not going to do anything about habitat, so………

Then logic would force a sane individual to ask, what CAN we do? Let’s take what we CAN do and prioritize it into what has the biggest negative impact on down to the least and begin there.

So once MDIFW gets done forming more task forces, putting up more signs of deer crossings, paying to fly around and count deer, reduce Any-Deer Permits, shorten the deer season, close it in some areas, raise the license fees, pray for more global warming, take the dog for a walk, go out to lunch, form another task force, walk the dog again, investigate how many deer are being killed by farmers, then perhaps they could get down to predator control or does that have any negative effect at all? Maybe they see coyotes and other predators as positive effects on the deer. I mean take the wolf. They are like the wonder drug, geritol, spandex and lycra, WD-40. I think the presence of wolves cures cancer. Can coyotes be that much different?

And I still haven’t calmed down yet!

I can’t! MDIFW doesn’t have the resources. I can’t! The demands are too high. I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! I can’t!

CAN’T NEVER DID ANYTHING!

Where’s the effort here? Who’s on board with this effort to rebuild Maine’s deer herd? Has the state really made a commitment to rebuild the deer herd? Does Maine honestly see and understand the economic as well as cultural impact the loss of a deer herd and ultimately a hunting season would have on the state?

I have to seriously question that commitment.

Recently I received an email from a gentleman who is head of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife in Utah. I shared that email with a few select recipients on my email list, including the MDIFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

The email was a call to arms for Utah and other sportsmen from the Western regions of the United States, to come together in a united effort to rebuild a depleted mule deer herd. The email begins by clarifying what efforts had been done to date to fix the problem.

While more than 750,000 acres of habitat has been restored, cougar populations have been reduced, and $650,000 a year in coyote control is spent, $50 Million has been invested to fence highways with underpass crossings, still not enough has been done. It is the feeling that 80% of Utah’s deer herds are still in decline, and only 20% or so are doing well.

How many acres of this much needed habitat restoration has been done in Maine? Oh, that’s right. I can’t. What concerted efforts are underway in Maine to reduce predators, including black bears, bobcats and coyotes, even if only temporarily until the herd rebuilds? Oh, that’s right. I can’t. How much money has been put toward coyote control in Maine? Oh, that’s right. I can’t. How much has been invested in other projects around the state to protect and build the deer herd? Oh, that’s right. I can’t.

WE already know Senator Hatch has helped get tens of millions in habitat restoration money, personally toured Habitat restoration areas, won the wolf war for sportsmen etc.

In Maine, it appears the Governor has promised to do everything he can do, but when was the last time Sen. Snowe, Sen. Collins, Rep. Michaud, Rep. Pingree attended one of any meetings on the issue of rebuilding Maine’s deer herd? Or toured any deer yard? Oh, that’s right. I can’t. How about the last time one of these elected officials sent a key staff member to assist? Oh, that’s right. I can’t. When was the last United States senator or representative who “helped gets tens of millions” to help do anything with wildlife management in Maine? Oh, that’s right. I can’t.

As was written about in this email, there is an election coming up again next November. Maine sportsmen should be looking at every candidate and demanding that they have an agenda to actually do everything they can to save Maine’s deer herd or they won’t get your vote.

The overall effort here is just coming across as pathetic. Certainly there are pockets of positive accomplishes and isolated individuals doing what they can, but Maine’s overall effort is poor. The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, once the backbone of lobbying for the sportsmen is in disarray with a sinking membership and disunity among those members still hanging on. Perhaps David Trahan can right the ship. It is imperative for Maine’s future for sportsmen. The governor makes promises to “do what he can” but is he? Isn’t it time to rattle the cages of the 4 Congressional delegates and tell them it’s time for them to get involved. If Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah can “find” millions of dollars to help with restoring habitat and mule deer there, isn’t it reasonable to expect the same might be available somewhere for Maine?

Can’t never did anything. As long as the current administration in Augusta insists that there’s nothing they can do or they are doing all they can, what hope is there? To exclaim that “expectations are now high and his ability to deliver is low” is a loser attitude. There is no room for this when a state is faced with such a serious problem. But, then again, maybe the real problem is that those in high places don’t really view a lost Maine deer herd as a serious problem or even a small problem.

The Maine Game Plan for Deer is a worthless document until a strong and united effort is undertaken. It has to be more than task force creations, meetings, talk and rhetoric, while fractured small groups or individuals practice futility. It appears Maine has to learn how to build a coalition that brings everybody onto the same page. Until that happens the only rebuilding of any deer herds will be happenstance.

Maybe David Trahan, if he were to successfully pull all this together in a united and powerful force to reckon with, this would, at the same time, resolve the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s membership problems. Just a thought! Let me know when you are ready to fight.

Tom Remington

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Typical Governmental Bureaucracy on Endangered Species Act

One of the problems with any government is bureaucracy and red tape. Here’s a clear example of it.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, in which the entire document is 47 pages, contains the phrase, “Significant Portion of Its Range”. This in reference to consideration of whether to include a species for protection or remove a species from Federal protection.

When you examine the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended, you will discover that the word “range” is used a total of 6 times (pg. 5, pg. 6, pg. 7, pg. 11 and pg. 40). The use of the entire term of “significant portion of its range” is used twice (pg. 5, pg. 6).

President Obama has offered a proposal to amend the ESA or perhaps better described as offering a clarification or definition of the use of the term “significant portion of its range”. The president uses 84 pages to accomplish that feat. This approaches nearly twice the length of the entire ESA.

Now I just received a copy of this proposal so I haven’t had the chance to read it but I will. It was just that my first reaction was that it would take only a government agency to define a 5-word phrase used twice in the ESA, 84 pages to do so.

One would also suppose that being that the House Natural Resource Committee began hearings this week to examine the ups and downs of the ESA, that Obama’s Administration would want to get into the act. Some see this as a good thing and others as being very bad.

Dr. Charles Kay, Ph.D. Wildlife Ecology at Utah State University and one who never minces words, had this to say in an email on the subject of Obama’s proposal:

To all—-What do you not understand that they, CBD [Center for Biological Diversity] and others, want wolves, grizzlies ,etc. EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!——Even if this policy is adopted by the OA [Obama Administration], all they will have done is invited CBD to the courthouse to have it overturned—–This, on the part of the OA, is simply a ploy, in a long list of similar ploys, to reduce the growing political movement to repeal the ESA, as presently written BY THE COURTS————-Charles

If I find worthwhile information and/or commentary to pass on after struggling through 84 pages of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, you’ll find it posted here.

Tom Remington

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I’m So Glad Wind Turbines Are Environmentally Good

What happens when the prairies catch afire and race across thousands of acres of land? What happens in states like Maine, where these monsters litter the tops of mountain ridges surrounded by some of the most densely forested land anywhere in the United States? What happens when your house burns down? Are we suppose to just say we need to “go green”? Idiots!! Saving the planet are we?

And why doesn’t crap like this make the news?

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Obama Administration’s Attempt to Define “Significant Portion of it’s Range”

Let me say right off the top in order that some may not want to waste their time seeking truth, that I believe very strongly that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA)(Act) is unconstitutional. It is such because it does not stand up against the authority of the Constitution in which a statute cannot, in and of itself, be a violation of the Constitution. It also does not mean that I oppose species protection. The majority of people in this country don’t care nor are they free to undertake independent thought to learn about the truth. Most every, if not all, laws on our books are nothing more than tools to extract power from the people and put it into the hands of government. I pray for your epiphany for truth.

However, simply because I believe the Act is criminal, doesn’t dismiss me from exposing the further fraud behind the ESA and now the attempts by Congress and the Obama Administration to “fix” it.

As I have written about recently, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has begun a series of hearings to examine the Endangered Species Act, (ESA) in hopes of determining: “How litigation is costing jobs and impeding true recovery efforts.” With the Committee using that description of the intent of their hearings, should we hold out any hope that any efforts will be directed at amending or, as some are asking, repealing of the ESA? Not likely.

But this has not stopped the Obama Administration of getting into the ESA fray. After all, we do have an election coming up and doing and saying anything to steal a vote is chichi these days in Washington. The “Services”, collectively the Department of Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have gone all out to help Americans define the simple phrase, “significant portion of its range”.

That phrase is used extremely sparingly in the ESA and it pertains, at least in my mind and after reading Obama’s proposal I question if the “Services” have any mind, to criteria used to determine when and if a species might be considered for federal protection under the ESA.

Either I’m not fully enlightened or am too honest, but I happen to think that “significant portion” would mean a big or perhaps as much as a majority or more of something, especially when used in the context of a word that describes size, i.e. “portion”. Evidently I’m wrong, according to the “Services” Draft Policy to define “significant portion of its range”.

There is a reason that Congress and the President, beyond the usual politics, are taking a look, finally, at the ESA. It’s badly broken. In its day, it was intended, we were told, to provide a means in which government regulation could prevent the needless destruction of plant and animal species. Perhaps because the bill was signed into law by President Richard Nixon, who was embroiled in the Watergate scandal, set the stage for a bill designed to fail. And fail it has.

The Act has done little to save species and a lot to put a lot of money into the bank accounts of environmentalists, stifling job growth and stripping Americans of their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If you and I can get beyond arguing whether the ESA is worth anything and discover that it’s not, then surely we can begin to see the efforts of Congress to examine portions of the ESA and President Obama’s administration to define words in the Act as laughable.

Regardless of whether President Obama thinks he can define “significant”, it is NOT going to do anything to change the problems with the ESA. Among the massive issues that makes the ESA look like a falling down old barn, is the lack of specific information in the administration of this bill. This leaves the door open to giving the Secretary of Interior too much discretion, flexibility and deference as it pertains to interpretive policy, and it has led to a myriad of court rulings in which judges have taken it upon themselves to interpret the ESA in any fashion they can.

One of the downsides to the judicial branches of our government is that every time there is a court ruling the words created in that ruling become case law and at least to some degree becomes precedent in future court cases, regardless of the truth or accuracy of what is written.

So what I can say right from the beginning that what the “Services” are attempting to do in defining “significant portion of its range”, is to hand select from existing statutes, case histories and case law, some or all which are seriously flawed, combined with their own interpretations of what they think the intention of the legislators were in writing the Endangered Species Act.

What on earth could go wrong?

Remember back in 1998?, when then President Bill Clinton was answering questions before a grand jury about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky? He was asked if there was anything going on between him and Miss Lewinsky. Bill Clinton responded to the jury:

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

This kind of jibber-jabber spin is endemic among politicians and governmental agencies. That’s why we all hate them so. Obama’s “Services” people don’t go quite to that extreme in their attempts to define “significant portion of its range”, but read what they did say.

This Draft Policy took approximately 20 or more pages to conclude using the various resources and criteria I have already described above to determine that “significant portion of its range” in its entirely, together, as a whole, means:

provides an independent basis for listing and protecting the entire species

In other words, this is pretty much what we have all become subjected to over the past near 40 years. Some too highly paid, well indoctrinated person(s) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) made a determination that a particular species was in trouble and was in trouble over a “significant portion of its range” and therefore was declared “endangered” and the “range” essentially became critical habitat.

But the “Services” have determined that it depends on what the meaning of significant is as to whether or not significant actually becomes significant.

This draft policy includes the following definition of “significant” as it relates to SPR [significant portion of its range]: a portion is “significant” in the context of the Act’s “significant portion of its range” phrase if its contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction.

Significant, used as an adjective, which if my English 101 is correct, is defined in most dictionaries as:

1. important; of consequence.
2. having or expressing a meaning; indicative; suggestive: a significant wink.
3. Statistics . of or pertaining to observations that are unlikely to occur by chance and that therefore indicate a systematic cause.

If “significant” is used as an adjective to describe portion, and portion in this context relates to a physical area or size of land, i.e. range, then wouldn’t significant portion suggest what is being talked about here is geographical scope of the range of a species?

The “Services” concluded that the choice of definition for “significant” is “important”. Therefore, it’s not the size of the portion of the range but the importance of the portion of the range they have decided to use.

I could go on with such foolishness but it’s more important to provide focus on what’s the bottom line. The bottom line here is that not only will Obama’s Draft Policy not only not help anything as it pertains to the ESA but will in fact make matters even worse.

Nothing in this policy limits the discretion and authority of the “Secretary” to implement and make definitions and rulings as he/she deems “scientific” and necessary for the administration of the ESA. Not only that, but this policy seriously places into the hands of the government, greater authority to not only create “portions of its range”, in other words, the Secretary can declare a species endangered and establish all the “critical habitat” he wants. He will still have power to create Distinct Population Segments. However, this new policy will allow the Secretary, through a series of predetermined “thresholds”; a measure of how important it is to protect one small area where a certain species may exist in order to save the entire species globally, create millions of tiny DPSs that the “Services” have said they don’t want to do.

Try to paint a picture in your mind of what this might look like. Haul out a map of the U.S. and it is peppered with 6,537,129 little dots where the Secretary has created a “significant” “significant portion of its range”. And that “significant” range happens to be the 350-acre ranch your trying to eke out a living on. I think this is significant.

Oh, that won’t happen! You all say. Won’t it? If not, then why is this included in the Draft Policy?

Therefore, if a species is determined to be endangered in an SPR, under this draft policy, the
species would be listed as endangered throughout all of its range, even in situations where the facts simultaneously support a determination that the species is threatened throughout all of its range. However, we recognize that this approach may raise concerns that the Services will be applying a higher level of protection where a lesser level of protection might arguably fit if viewed across a species’ range. The Services are particularly interested in public comments on this issue.

I am sure that how I see this Draft Policy and how others may see it will be worlds apart. For those who have faith and confidence in government and believe the ESA is a viable statute that actually protects species, while preserving the rights of Americans, you may think this attempt at defining “significant portion of its range” is a good thing. I do not!

I see it as further pushing the ESA bus over the cliff. It defines nothing. It only serves to foist even more autocratic power into the hands of government, particularly that of the Secretary of Interior. And, gives authority to the Secretary to amass hundreds upon thousands of SRPs (Significan Range Portions) and DPSs (Distinct Population Segments) all over the country.

One can think of instances where this authority and application may be practical but you shouldn’t think it actually will. One example might be the instance in Wyoming, where the state, in working with the Feds, has come up with a SRP of sorts that provides protections for the gray wolf in one zone, while at the same time the rest of the state isn’t burdened under the same ball and chain of ESA protection. But when you consider the amount of abuse that will come from this authority, it becomes a more effective fire starter than an extinguisher. There are so many catch words and phrases in this Draft that one would be foolish to think it’s intended for anything of value to the people.

While I am not expecting anything productive to come out of the Committee hearings in Washington, I will write them and tell them that they need to derail this Draft Policy and actually get down to meat and potato changes or consider complete repeal of the ESA.

If you would like to take the time to read Obama’s Draft Policy, you can read it at this link. In addition, at the end of the Policy proposal, you’ll find specific questions the “Services” are seeking comments on and how you can submit comments about this policy. Comments will be opened for 60 days after the official posting of the Draft to the Federal Register.

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House Natural Resources Committee Begins Hearings on Endangered Species Act

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources has begun hearings on the Endangered Species Act, its problems and successes. Here’s a link to Rep. Doc Hastings’ opening statement. Hastings is Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.

In addition, you can read this piece entitled, “Excessive Endangered Species Act Litigation Threatens Species Recovery, Job Creation and Economic Growth

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How Much Oil and Other Natural Resources Does the U.S. Really Have?

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“When enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish.”

Those words are from Aldo Leopold. The entire quote goes like this: “All conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish.”

I am not very much of an Aldo Leopold fan, nor am I much of an idealist as are most fans of Leopold, Muir, Roosevelt and others.

When hunting in the woods, as I did this past November, early on, even though much of the terrain I cover is the same terrain I and others like me and those before have tread, I sometimes desire to escape to a fool’s paradise, imagining I am some place no man has ever been.

One day I reached a place. It was ever quiet. The sky was deep blue, a light breeze and seasonably warm was the air. Nature’s breath smelled earthen, full of rot at times blended with brief whiffs of sweet fern. In the distance I distinguished the bubbling and crackling of a brook. Dead leaves would drift lazily to the ground as the gentle and yet invisible zephyrs took control, seemingly to steer the leaves where God could best make use of them.

I must be there. I must have reached that happiness that exudes when a man believes he has stood where no man has mounted before.

Okay! This is all made up stuff. None of this really happened but I was surprised when I reached a place where I knew few, if any, hunters probably made their way only to discover perched on a small rock just to my side was an apple core. Judging from the picture, it hadn’t been there too long as some of the apple still appeared white and the elements hadn’t taken the fruit from its lofty perch.

Sometimes we can be just as surprised with what we see as what we don’t.


Photo by Tom Remington

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Iowa Speech to the North American Elk Breeders Association Annual Convention

*Author’s Note:* As requested by many readers, below is a copy of my speech I delivered to the North American Elk Breeders Association Annual Convention in Waterloo, Iowa on August 6, 2011 at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center.
Please note that when I give speeches I generally work from an outline and notes. I do not “read” my speeches. So the content of what is below is similar to the remarks delivered during the speech but is not an exact replication of what was said.
For readers of this blog, I also took the time to add hyperlinks to references whenever possible and also at the end included notes, comments and quotes that I may not have used during the speech due to time constraints.

Keynote Address to the North American Elk Breeders Association Annual Convention
Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, Waterloo, Iowa
August 6, 2011

I would like to take a moment to thank all the members of the North American Elk Breeders Association for providing me with the opportunity to come to Waterloo, Iowa, to the annual North American Elk Breeders Association Convention to speak to you today. In particular, I want to thank Brenda Hartkopf for working with me and figuring out all the logistics to get here and exactly what I was going to do when I did. Thank you!

I thought I would begin this evening with an old humor story that is quite fitting with the theme for which I am going to speak. It’s the story of my Uncle Virgil and Aunt Florena. They were country folks. As a matter of fact they lived very far out in the country and ran a small farm raising a few cattle, some pigs, chickens and the like. Where they lived wasn’t the end of the world but you certainly could see it from there.

One day, it was midday when most farmers were inside, out of the hot summer sun, a knock came on the front door, an indication it must not be someone of familiarity because nobody they knew used the front door. Florena answered the door. She opened the fairly large inside door and through the screen door observed a weasily-looking man with thick glasses and messy hair.

“I am from the Department of Agriculture. Here’s my card. I am inspector 356124987920475443. I am here to inspect your farm,” he said.

“We ain’t buying nothin you’re selling so git out!” exclaimed Florena and as she was shutting the door in his face he yelled, “My card says I can inspect your farm!”

Florena yelled to Virgil and told him he had a visitor. Virgil went to the front door and opened it and still standing there was the same man.

Before Virgil could speak, the man says, “I am from the Department of Agriculture. Here’s my card. I am inspector 356124987920475443 and I am here to inspect your farm!”

Virgil examined the card and then told the man to get off his property. The inspector, not taking no for an answer says, “You can see on my card that I have a right to come on your property anytime I want to perform random inspections.”

Virgil once again examined the card and said, “You go do what it is you have a right to do and then get the hell off my property!” and with that slammed the door ever so deliberately in his face.

Virgil returned to the living room where he was trying to watch a little television and catch an afternoon nap. After about an hour, Florena woke up Virgil asking him if he could hear something peculiar. Both heard noises coming from what appeared the side of the house. Virgil went to the back door, opened it and listened. He could hear hollering.

“Hello! You, up at the house! Come and get your bull!” cried the inspector.

Virgil assessed the situation to discover his prized bull had the inspector pinned up a tree with no intention of letting him down anytime soon.

The inspector yells again, “Come and get your bull!”

Virgil called back, “Why don’t you show him your card?”

I grew up in the country poor. Poor meaning I had little in the way of material things. We had electricity, no indoor plumbing and not until later as a kid growing up did we enjoy the convenience of running water in the house. But I had it all. I thank God everyday for parents who instilled in me the importance of being fiercely independent. One cannot fully enjoy the God-given, unalienable right to liberty unless they have been taught to live independently. As a boy I was taught that you work to solve your own problems and the last thing ever mentioned was a need to ask government for something.

From the moment we are born we are free. We are individuals gifted from God with rights, none of which are bestowed upon us by man. It is only man, since our birth that has striven to deny us of our rights. Why is that?

It’s all about control. For any individual or group of individuals to force their will upon the rest they must first gain control over the people they wish to control. This is being done in many ways. I will talk about a few of them tonight.

The biggest threat against those who desire dictatorial powers over you, is an independent person. They hate us because they can’t control us. We must become independent in both our actions and our thoughts.

(*Demonstration* – At this juncture, I will do a demonstration using a rope and a jackknife. I present the rope. It’s about 6 feet long. I will ask the audience to picture this rope as big and as long as they wish and to imagine how many important and powerful uses such a rope could have.

I then will take the jackknife and cut the rope in half and then ask the audience if the rope still has the same powerful possibilities and uses.

I keep repeating the cutting of each piece of rope in half until I am left with a tiny piece. At some point I will ask the audience if there are any issues going on in our country today that are dividing us as citizens (the long piece of rope) that will eventually render us useless.)

I would like to read a quote to you tonight from Thomas Jefferson:

“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add, ‘with the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

I was asked to come to Iowa tonight to speak to you about H.R. 2210, the “Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2011”. H.R. 2011 has had several identities over the years. Among them, H.R. 1688, H.R. 3829, H.R. 2308 and several Senate versions of a very despicable and useless piece of legislation geared at one more step toward the annihilation of our property rights.

Fortunately none of the versions of this bill have ever made it to the House floor but we cannot rest on any comforting feeling that this bill is dead. We know for a fact that Congress adds bills such as this to other pieces of legislation in order to get them passed. It isn’t until later that we discover what had happened. We must fight this legislation.

Jefferson understood that true liberty cannot be recognized and appreciated without the respect of others’ rights and he blamed the law or laws as often a projection of the will of tyrants. It is the tyrant that seeks to destroy you and me. They hate our independence.

The most pitiful and hypocritical part of H.R. 2210 is that it is worded in such a way as to promote good ethics and sportsmanship. Imagine if you will our Congress imposing on us its will of something moral or ethical. Talk about hypocrisy! Talk about tyrannical!

Our Congress is probably the most corrupt organization in this country. They consider themselves above the law. They talk down to “we the people”. They are out of touch. It seems everyday we hear of another scandal coming out of Congress, enough to make a grown man vomit. We hear of congressmen taking photos of their private parts and plastering them on the Internet and these idiots want to legislate to us something concerning ethics, fair chase and sportsmanship? They wouldn’t know decency if it bit them.

And for you holier-than-thou “hunters” who subscribe to such nonsense, get down off your high and unethical horses and let he that is without sin cast the first stone.

What is “fair chase”? Who decides? And why do you think it should be you? Can you realistically sit in your well-equipped tree stand, in which you have driven to in your lavishly expensive ATV, over land you paid thousands of dollars for a lease to hunt, park near to the food plot you planted in order to “bait” deer or other game to come to, so that you may take your pick of the litter and then call high-fence hunting unethical, lacking in fair chase?

Another important quote that I would like to share comes from Abraham Lincoln.

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

And here we find ourselves in this convention better than 150 years later wondering why the people have been subdued. The people have been overthrown! And thus we are sitting here looking at legislation that is clearly an overthrowing of the U.S. Constitution if not our God-given rights to freedom, property and the use of it. We must overthrow the men who are perverting our laws.

I’ll remind you again, H.R. 2210 has nothing whatsoever to do with sportsmanship, ethical hunting, fair chase or any of the rhetorical garbage we are having forced into our brains. It’s about control – pure and simple.

Those wishing to control us have several agendas and many tools in which to accomplish their goals. We must learn them. It’s the only chance we have to fight back. H.R. 2210 is only a small tool. There are wolves, Canada lynx, tiny little fish, global warming, etc., the lists are endless. Learn what they are.

How many people sitting here tonight are aware of President Obama’s Executive Order #13575? If you are not, you MUST learn about it. I do not have time this evening to give you details. President Obama understands that the last stronghold or frontier in America that generates independent thinkers and those aimed at living independently (the biggest threat remember?) is rural America. EO#13575 aims to destroy rural America as we know it today.

Read about it. It’s vitally important that you know. I will however ask you this: If President Obama’s goal of EO # 13575 is to “help” rural America, then why did he appoint members from his cabinet, such as Defense Secretary, Homeland Security, Federal Communications Commission, etc., to his board of directors? Think about it.

It’s about control ladies and gentlemen!

Gary Allen, in a book he wrote called, “None Dare Call it Conspiracy”, wrote:

“Control necessitates a static society……So, legislation is promoted to restrict entrepreneurial effort”.

Everyone sitting in this audience tonight exemplifies “entrepreneurial effort”, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You are independent thinkers. You want to live independently. You want government to butt out of your life and your ranches. People cannot control you if you are not static. Attending this convention is one means of being in action, working to improve what you do. This is all contrary to what government wants in you. Therefore, the attempt once again at an H.R. 2210-type of legislation – promoted legislation to “restrict entrepreneurial effort”.

There have been many attempts over the years to ban high-fence hunting. The most recent resulted in a victory for the citizens when a citizen’s initiative was voted down that would have ended high-fence hunting in North Dakota. Idaho had a similar outcome and Montana did not. There are others. We must fight these together.

Efforts like this will never end. There are enough useful idiots in this country eager and willing to carry out the agendas of those entities wishing to subdue the independent and freedom loving people.

What kind of people knowingly work to destroy their country or their constitutions? If I had the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be here tonight now would I? But let me try to explain using examples from people who have asked the same questions.

Most people are not even aware of the fact that during and shortly after the Revolution, the United States rounded up no fewer than three esteemed gentlemen and sent them to Europe for the purpose of making treaties and finding trade partners. The U.S., after all, had lost all of their business dealings and partners with England when it declared its independence.

The three me were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Quite the trio.

Thomas Jefferson visited many towns about Europe and he had a bit of a ritual he would undertake as a way to gain a sense of what kind of people he might be dealing with before actually sitting down to talk business.

His first action was to find the tallest building in the village – often this was a church steeple. He would climb it and gaze about the landscape hoping for a sense of the surroundings.

This was soon followed by walks about the village simply meeting people and talking to them. Yet, this was another attempt at gaining a better understanding of the people before expending time and energy hoping to find good character people he wished for his new country to do business with.

This action was described in a book titled, “The Young Jefferson” by Claude G. Bowers. Bowers wrote that in Jefferson’s travels, anytime he arrived at a village were he witnessed that people placed the importance of dogs or other animals above that of man, he packed up his belongings and left town immediately. Jefferson understood that people who think like this are untrustworthy and certainly someone he would not consider a viable trade partner. This is a difficult concept in America today. Just look around you.

Eric Hoffer, in his book, “The True Believer” spends a great deal of time giving us clues as to what makes people eager and willing to follow “mass movements” tick. Hoffer’s book, although written in the mid 1940s and dealt with a subject he called mass movements, really can apply to any large or small group. We today, tend to call them special interest groups.

It must be pointed out here that some of us don’t understand that there are a lot of people in this country today who want to live in a communist or socialistic country, where government decides everything for us. This begins very early on in the “education” process, so that today, regardless of the truth of historic outcomes of all attempts at socialism/communism, still we are able to lead people to believe this time will be different.

Hoffer says that those who are willing to work to destroy their own way of life, are obviously very unhappy with the life they have. For that I am saddened. I had nothing and yet I had everything, among the most important a strong foundation in God as my creator and a firm belief that I am, like the Bible says, created in God’s image. I do not see God as a weak person and someone who has to depend on government to survive or to even enjoy life. No, I am of His image, therefore, I am independent, free, respectful, caring of others and not wishing to impose my values on those of other people because I respect their rights as mine. If what I have to offer is good, people will be drawn to it.

I’ll remind you yet again, you become a threat to those wanting to control you when you are independent and seek to protect liberty, not just for yourself but for everyone.

Recall what Gary Allen said, “Control necessitates a static society…..So, legislation is promoted to restrict entrepreneurial effort.” H.R. 2210 is but another tool in which it’s design is to render you elk ranchers static and ineffective. They want you to go away. They know they can’t convince you to give it up all at once, but they sure know one small step at a time will surely get the job done.

Elk are your property. You have rights to your property, none of which came from man or our and any other government. Ending high-fence hunting is a destruction of your property and your property rights. You, the person sitting next to you, your neighbor or the U.S. Government does not have the right to take your property away simply because they don’t like what you do with it.

Ayn Rand, a Russian immigrant, who some believe possessed idealistic views on rights while other find her writings spot on, once wrote about property rights this way:

“The right to life is the source of all rights – and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave.” Ayn Rand from “The Virtue of Selfishness”.

Is it then for this reason that countries that are run by dictators ensure that the people never own property? What say you then of those in this country who openly admit that man should never own property, that all things are owned collectively for the good of all?

Once again, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“Property is the foundation of all civilized society.”

As people in this country work vehemently to give our country away, they want to give your property away as well. According to Jefferson, such a move would lead to an uncivilized society. Is that the goal here?

One step at a time, those wishing to control the masses will take what is yours if we do nothing about it.

A few months ago, I wrote a multi-part piece called, “The Crippling and Destructive Power of the Endangered Species Act”. I want to invite everyone here tonight to go to my blog and read it. It will begin to give you insight into how complex and deep reaching the efforts are to end your independence and entrepreneurial effort. It’s not a simple H.R. 2210 bill. It’s about control and the powers seeking that control are much bigger than you might imagine but that shouldn’t discourage us from fighting.

As I close tonight, I want to leave all of you with a challenge. I want you to leave here tonight not taking what I told you as necessarily the truth. I challenge you to go find out for yourself. This will further strengthen you as an independent thinker, someone who is not going to be controlled so easily.

Please take what I have shared tonight and consider if anything I have said makes sense. Hopefully, enough of what I said will at least get you thinking and finding hope that with a stronger you, we can become a stronger nation.

I’ll leave you tonight with a quote. This is actually something my brother sent me a short while ago. With his permission, I added a word or two for effect.

“The dog, the owl, the whale, the seal, the elk, the wolf, the smelt, are all tools, lies and deceit used against property rights, to include what is yours in your mind and to see who is still paying attention in America. Those paying attention threaten the tyrannical dictators of the planet.” – Al Remington

Thank you!

Included below are names with links that didn’t get mentioned due to time constraints. Please feel free to take the time to read these and go to the sites linked to and learn more about the powers seeking your destruction.

The United States Constitution reads in Article II, Section 2, Line 2; “2: He [president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;

United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

World Heritage Convention

United Nations Agenda 21

Quotes:

The United States Constitution has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written. – Franklin Roosevelt

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