From: JAMES BEERS [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 2:29 PM
To: Jim Beers
Subject: Ivory-billed Showdown
THE REAL QUESTION
As Secretary of the Interior Norton saddles up to ride off into the sunset and Governor Kempthorne ties up his pony at the Interior Department hitching post a tempest in a teapot rages in "scientific" journals and University hallways. I speak of the truly outrageous matter of the manufactured "discovery" of the long-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Federal woodlands in Arkansas.
If we are to learn anything from this matter it is that nothing is too illegal for our Federal bureaucrats; nothing is out of bounds when votes are to be bought; PT Barnum was correct about the American public; and the continued use of "best science" and "University experts" as references or as a basis for public policy ranks right up there with fortune tellers and Mafia enforcers.
I have written seven articles and much personal correspondence on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker scandal over the past nine months. The articles can be read on my website and blog noted at the end of this article. In short, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Cornell University and several environmental profiteer-insiders like The Nature Conservancy and the National Wildlife Federation secretly told Congress that they had discovered a heretofore thought to be extinct woodpecker. They did this about 3 years ago and Congress secretly gave them ($10?) ($15?) (?) million dollars to set about buying easements and buying land and creating new positions and whatever else was "needed" to "save" the Woodpecker.
This was kept secret for two years while land was purchased and easements purchased on woodlands in southern Arkansas. After it became public almost a year ago, the rural folks were told they were going to get rich from tourism and that "experts" were in the process of determining what would be done to "save" the woodpecker. Environmental organizations began to warble about "needing to protect 5.5 million acres throughout the south". Everyone was told hunting for ducks and turkeys and deer in the woodlands would not be impaired (this in spite of the fact that the Ivory-billed woodpecker is described in old literature as appearing like a "pintail duck in flight").
During this secret period, land easements were purchased from uninformed landowners by tax-supported organizations. During the secret period, plans were laid by government and a select few "partners about how they would buy land, publicize and fund future needs, and who would be allies and opponents and what to do about them. In other words it was like what these same actors did on the west coast when they used the spotted owl to close down logging and forest use and management and rural communities. When I applied under The Freedom of Information Act for all documents, correspondence, phone calls, meeting notes, etc. from this secret two-year period the "honorable" solicitors in the Department of the Interior denied my request because I wouldn't understand all of the technical nuances.
Fast forward to March 2006. After almost a year of battalions of "researchers", "graduate students", bureaucrats, and amateur "birders" saturating southern woodlands with every technical device known to man no one has found said woodpeckers anywhere in the southern United States. Envy (like puppies watching others feed) has generated competing claims of more needed woodpecker research and inventories in Texas and the Carolinas and even in Florida. But alas, this has all generated only a few more ignoramuses like me and even a few esteemed professors saying that there may not be any Ivory-billed Woodpeckers flitting about the southern woodlands.
Imagine that!The question is not (in spite of what the newspapers and journals and public affairs flacks for the US Fish & Wildlife Service and their environmental crony organizations say) whether the bird exists or whether it was mistaken for a Pileated Woodpecker amongst the thick southern forest tree trunks or honest men having made an honest mistake. NO, no, no. The questions that should be asked are:
- On what basis can the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ("public" agencies all) keep "secret" a two-year collusion with select non-government organizations?
- How can Congress dole out Millions of dollars of our tax money for a bird that does NOT exist?
- Who is responsible in the Federal bureaucracy for this travesty? Who will be disciplined (i.e. fired)?
- How can Congress maintain tax breaks and a business relationship (buying back land, "partnering" in purchase and easing of private property, etc.) with organizations that participate in a scam (for profit) of this magnitude?
- What assurance do we have that this will NOT be repeated? If enforceable legislation that makes this illegal is not in place, when will it be in place?
- Since the premiere ornithology University in the nation (Cornell) is involved in this misuse of Federal funds and the appropriation of land rights from private owners based on their "science", why should "best science" and testimony from "University experts" be anything more than it ever should be - namely advisory information and NOT the basis for raiding the Treasury, lining Bureaucrat pockets, pandering to rich non-government organizations, or justifying the vote-getting needs or politicians constantly assuring their re-electability?(I could go on for pages here but my time and your patience are limited.)The real question is how did this happen and how do we prevent it from ever happening again?After spending the last six years of my career getting beat up by these environmentalists and animal rights outfits and then writing about them for the past six years in retirement, the chance that this was all a mistake and that any of these bureaucrats, professors, and environmental "executives" believed any of this or were working with pure motives is about as great as asserting that Pol Pot was about to open refugee centers just before he was overthrown.I won't be taking any bets either that anyone will ever be held accountable. Remember this the next time you read about the US Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy and Cornell and the Wildlife Federation or listen to one of their presentations or discover them in your backyard. Remember and ask yourself how these increasingly egregious affairs got worse and worse. Like bullies in class or thugs on the street, unaccountability breeds worsening conditions for everyone.
17 March 2006If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.
This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at http://jimbeers.blogster.com (Jim Beers Common Sense) or at http://www.jimbeers.net
Jim Beers is available for consulting or to speak. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and
Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security
Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.