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Democrats Trick the Greens, Treat Big Timber

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

After years of playing the hapless Charlie Brown as Lucy Democrats pulled away the protection football time after time, it’s perhaps only fitting that the best the hapless environmental movement can muster following its major defeat on Bush’s Healthy Forests Initiative, now forever enshrined as the Cochran-Wyden-Feinstein Act, is to hold a cartoon protest.

Halloween will see folks meeting outside the offices of Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Diane Feinstien (D-CA), both darlings of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) who maintain their 80% positive rating from the group precisely because the Democrat Party front group LCV studiously avoids using such votes in their calculations.

Will the folks be tearing down the walls to get at their “champions?” Will they be “locking down” to show their displeasure? Will they demand that no one ever support the conniving Democrats again?

No. They’ll be participating in the Great Pumpkin Protest, taking out their frustration on innocent pumpkins rather than their turncoat senators. The too cutely named Texas Chainsaw Massacre (get it? nudge, wink) protest will run under the “Carve Pumpkins, Not Forests” slogan.

It used to be that one could count on the oil-foundation-paid Democrat sycophants in the green movement to come up with clever, if mendacious, pro-Democrat distractions — like the worse-than-useless Roadless Rule that Big Green dreamed up to take the 2000 election-year focus off of the horrid environmental record of the Clinton/Gore administration. After sucking up all available funding and all the air time for over a year, the Roadless Rule was finally put in place by Clinton — literally hours before he left office. Of course, it protects nothing.

As Denise Boggs of the Utah Environmental Congress noted when informed of the Great Pumpkin Protest, “I still think the dumbest thing was the Roadless Rule–short-sighted; no strategic thinking; opened roadless areas to pressures we had largely stopped {in some areas}; and redefined the definition of roadless to weaken it. Now that’s STUPID! And we ended with nothing actually protected on the ground.”

Now, some would say that rather than stupid, it was a stroke of genius for the Democrats, the Big Greens and the foundations that fund them. Some have said that “nothing actually protected on the ground,” was one of the intents in the first place.

But, again, stuff like the Roadless Rule came out of the minds of some pretty awful, twisted, yet, at least intelligent, self-promotional characters. This Great Pumpkin “response” to such a Senate ass-whupping really hits a new low. As if a few wingnuts carving pumpkins outside their offices will make them think twice — once they get over their laughing fits. The Roadless Rule was/is an Enron-worthy scam. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre frivolity fall more on the side of color-copier counterfeiting.

In all fairness, the Halloween “Day of Action” was planned by over 140 young activists in mid-September, not specifically as a response to the Cochran/Wyden/Feinstein Bill. Like the Darwin Award winner who obviously had no buddies to say, “Wait a minute. That might not be a good idea,” these activists obviously had no one to point out the silliness last month. They didn’t even know that the Timber Industry has called big, old growth trees “pumpkins” since before Paul Bunyon. “Carve pumpkins?” Good Gaia, Charlie Brown.

The horrid Forest Health Initiative (Cochran-Wyden-Feinstein Act) unveiled by Bush on August 22 last year and met with a year of vocal opposition in what the combined Big Greens called their “number one priority,” passed the Senate’s only true poll, an early vote on Cochran/Wyden/Feinstein by a 97–1 vote Oct. 29th with solely Sen. Jack Reed from Rhode Island voting Nay. Don’t hold your breath waiting to see if Reed will now be the sole Senator to maintain his 100% LCV rating. Defeated Democrats know how it works and, in the end, final passage was Oct. 30th by an 80–14 vote, with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) the sole vote west of Iowa — an historic and heroic vote, given the long-standing Big Timber toadying of Western Democrats.

Is it even possible that there could be any other advocacy group in DC who could lose their “number one priority” so soundly? Could there be any others that have their “number one priority” undermined by their own “champions?” Pretty unlikely.

But then again, given that the combined Big Greens called Clinton’s 1994 resumption of Old Growth logging our “greatest victory” when it allowed for logging over half of our remaining fragments of Ancient Forests, how can anyone (certainly not the Democrats) take their claimed priorities seriously?

Not Getting Nader

What it really boils down to is this: the Democrats and their Big Green sycophants still do not get Nader. It is precisely this type of no accountability for Democrats on the environment that led to Nader’s garnering 77,000 Oregon and 419,000 California votes in the 2000 Presidential Election.

Is it inevitable in our winner take all system that ALL onetime advocacy groups become wedded to a party that then takes them for granted, or worse yet, runs Machiavellian games (monetary and strategic) on them?

Maybe. But look how America’s African-American Community has responded to the bland crop of Democratic candidates who have yet to address the concerns of Black America, even when invited to debate in Black America’s capital to do just that.

Just this week, in a scathing opinion piece, Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley takes the assembled dissemblers to task. In a Detroit forum that was supposed to focus on urban issues, Left darling Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) showed his ignorance by overstating Detroit’s already dreadful murder rate. Kucinich alleged that some 300 people died on the streets of Detroit in September, when the true figure is 35. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick responded by angrily leaving the auditorium.

Riley wrote her response capturing the debate thusly: “What Detroit got — and the country watched — was a debate made of Wonderbread, its slices no different from those at the last debate in Phoenix.”

She ended with: “Sharpton is no Jesse Jackson. The other candidates are no Al Sharptons.

And urban America is still without a true candidate.”

How’s that for a response? Sure beats taking it out on pumpkins.

This Democrats sticking-it-to-the-environment and getting a free pass from Green Central is nothing new. For years in the 70s and 80s, the charge against our forests was led by Reps. Tom Foley (D-WA), Al Ullman (D-OR), Les AuCoin (D-OR) and Sen. Henry Jackson (D-WA).

Just last month, Big Greens were all over the media touting their champion Sen. Hilary Clinton’s vow to keep her “hold” on the Bush nomination of Utah’s Mike Leavitt as head of the EPA. Clinton, along with presidential candidates Sens. Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and John Edwards made a media splash with their efforts on September 11th–a simple Google search turns up over 100 published accounts of Clinton’s vow. Yet, again, when it came down to it, Leavitt was confirmed Oct. 28th by an 88–8 Senate vote, including Clinton’s Yea. (Lieberman, Kerry and Edwards failed to vote, as they also failed to do on the Cochran/Wyden/Feinstein bill, thus preserving their records of not taking any environmental stands this election season.)

Bill Clinton and Al Gore also campaigned as champions of the environment. Yet, it was on their watch that Ancient Forest logging was resumed (one in six old growth trees that existed BEFORE Clinton is now a stump), the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve (twice the size of ANWR) was opened to the oil companies with nary a peep from Big Green.. the list is long. To see a larger list and the Big Green(washing) response go to: http://www.commondreams.org/views/101000-103.html)

Such double-dealing on the environment by Democrats and the Big Greens has a long, tired history. So when push came to shove on the Cochran/Wyden/Feinstein Bill, Green Central put out a last-minute letter to their Senate allies.

Fifteen national conservation groups — League of Conservation Voters · Alaska Coalition · Alaska Rainforest Campaign · American Lands Alliance–Center for Biological Diversity · Earthjustice · Defenders of Wildlife · National Environmental Trust–Natural Resources Defense Council · National Forest Protection Alliance · National Wildlife Federation–Sierra Club · The Wilderness Society · U.S. Public Interest Research Group · World Wildlife Fund — called on the senators to vote No on H.R. 1904 (they can’t quite force themselves to call it by name) which they still call the “Bush Administration’s misnamed Healthy Forests Initiative” and Yes on Bustamonte–oops I mean Yes on a series of eight amendments they say will improve the awful Bill.

As in CA, the results are in: these fifteen “green” groups went 0–9 on their “Number One Priority.”

If they were managing the Red Sox, they’d be long gone.

When it became known that Wyden was the architect behind the unHealthy Forests bill, local activists met to discuss what to do. Some folks wanted to reprise the Weenie Roast they held outside Wyden’s office to protest his past bad actions. But, the Sierra Club was mortified and blocked it stating, “We can’t do that. He’s our friend. He was quite wounded the last time someone did this.”

So, weenies (and the Weenie) remain safe, but look out pumpkins.

MICHAEL DONNELLY of Salem, OR has been a long-time defender of our Public forests. For his version of a Healthy Forests Act (written one week after Bush unveiled his version) go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/

Donnelly can be reached at: Pahtoo@aol.com

 

MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

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