HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

7/25/2001

Living off the land


It’s always such a revelation to realize that solutions to major problems aren’t easy. For instance, take my prescriptive solution to the situation of the Plains last week. My proposal of the Buffalo Commons was tossed out so easily, so flippantly, even, that in retrospect my statement smacks of smug liberalism in the way that I just can’t stand when I see it in others.

For starters, despite the well supported contention that much of the European farming experience of the plains has been a failure, this doesn’t mean that the plains are completely depopulated, nor that the people living there particularly want to leave, (nor even that I want them outta there, but it certainly wasn’t well supported). In short, solutions to the environmental problems facing rangeland and Native American issues aren’t going to spring full grown from the heads of pundits, but only will be solved in conjunction with the people that know best, mainly the people that live there.

Take the case of the area around Kenton, the ancestral stomping grounds of my family. The issues that face the ranchers in the area are familiar to me (namely, drought, water rights, riparian zones, overgrazing, private leasing of public lands) yet for some reason I’ve always considered such issues in a typical liberal fog of separation of people from the problems. My relatives (cowboys) have demonized environmentalists in a way that really makes me angry, but also makes me realize that much of the blame has to be laid at the feet of the well intentioned “tree huggers” that actually talk to them. It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that the political alignments of the majority of the ranchers is ass-backwards. Republicans, whom they support without even really thinking about it, are in actuality not acting in the best interests of the rural people. I offer in support of this the GOP’s shilling for oligopolistic commodity markets and the massive multinational corporations that keep prices low and screw the same people that actually vote for them. Environmentalists ought to be aligned with the ranchers. They are concerned with the same issues – my relatives aren’t going to allow the riparian zones to be denuded, nor their pastures overgrazed, because such things would destroy their long term viability where range land is scarce. It’s the concentration of ranches that encourage such lazy ranching – if you have so much land the temptation to just let the cattle run can take over.

Environmentalists should do a better job reaching out to these farmers and ranchers who are natural allies. As is my wont, I go back to history, the Grange declaration of purposes from 1874 to show the way:

We are opposed to such spirit and management of any corporation or enterprise as tends to oppress the people and rob them of their just profits. We are not enemies to capital, but we oppose the tyranny of monopolies. We long to see the antagonism between capital and labor removed by common consent, and by an enlightened statesmanship worthy of the nineteenth century. We are opposed to excessive salaries, high rates of interest and exorbitant profits in trade. They greatly increase our burdens and do not bear a proper proportion to the profits of producers. We desire only self-protection and the protection of every true interest of our land, by legitimate transactions, legitimate trade, and legitimate profits.

Still a blog, right?

Right. The unignorable noise. Sounds like the Deplorable Word.

LAPI city: update on the Gold Club trial. Previously mentioned, that’s the Atlanta strip club implicated in money laundering for the Gambino crime family. The client’s list reads like a who’s who of pro athletes. Andruw Jones of the Braves testified about his, uh, involvement; this follows up on Patrick Ewing’s testimony yesterday about the full service he received, and more to come. Whoa, Nelly.

Maggie sent me this: the Cheesy Lights page. So if you want holiday lights shaped like cows, or peppers, or tractors, this site is your one stop shopping site.

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