Will the Snowflake Become an Avalanche?

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avalanche

This post isn’t specifically about wildlife yet it is. So many of us struggle to put into words what we are feeling today. This is my attempt. This is one “snowflake” expressing how they feel about what is happening in our country. Do you feel the same?

Will the snowflake become the avalanche?

What the hell has happened to our country? Each and every day another scandal, another pay to play scheme, and another outrage. The kicker? Nothing is ever done about it. Collusion with a hostile foreign government to interfere with our already fragile election process? Perfectly fine. A grifter con man as president using the office to build the wealth of himself and his family? Perfectly fine. Our already fragile environment and wildlife having the already weak protections gutted each day for extraction industries and spite? Perfectly fine and “Democrats” are joining in to help speed the destruction. The desire to wall off our country like some Chinese warlord centuries ago despite the monetary and eco cost? Perfectly fine. Do we even have an opposition party in this country anymore? The so-called opposition party seems to be tripping all over themselves to pander to those that wouldn’t vote for them ever while demonizing progressives and those tired of the Dem’s corporatist ways. We can have all the marches in the world but nothing seems to change. I have come to the realization that our system is completely broken and we may be seeing the end of the United States as a functional democracy if it hasn’t ended already.

The question is where do we go from here? There is no real political opposition other than those espousing “angry” sound bites and then going right along with the agendas of the corrupt status quo through their votes and acceptance of dark money from the same sources as always.

I don’t have the answer but if this is what is now America then we are indeed screwed unless the people truly wake up. I’m not holding my breath. My words may mean little but every forest fire begins with a spark and every avalanche begins with a solitary snowflake. Angry Facebook posts, blogs like this, and comedic memes are not going to solve this problem.

Is the avalanche coming? It’s up to us to decide.

Photos via Wikimedia Commons and are Public Domain

Wildlife Advocates Must Brace Themselves for the Inevitable Wolf Delisting But We Must NEVER Stop Fighting

Canis-lupus

Photo via WikiMedia Commons.

**UPDATE 12/16/2015** I have NEVER been happier to say that I was wrong. Much to my shock and the shock of wildlife advocates everywhere the desliting rider was not included in the spending bill. The threats remain but for now we can breathe a sigh of relief. 

As Congress is about to sell out our small population of gray wolves for some type of “political gain” on a spending bill I am left to ponder if it was even a good idea to bring a species back only to persecute, torment, and push them back to the brink again out of sheer hatred and revenge? Should Congress follow through with the very real and likely possibility of attaching a delisting “rider” to the current spending bill we are poised to return to the nightmare that we saw in 2012, 2013, and 2014 with reckless kill quotas that ALWAYS go over, the coordinated eradication of entire packs, unregulated 24/7/365 hound “training” against wolves, and the use of hounds to kill wolves in what can be described as no less than legalized dog fighting. States like Wisconsin will preach that they are “responsibly managing” the species while making sure to kill as many as possible with any and all methods throughout the year all the while presenting inflated population numbers and pretending that the species is “thriving.” It’s history repeating itself all over again.

Just as when on the very day that wolves were officially delisted in the Great Lakes in 2012 when anti-wolf Wisconsin legislators introduced the reckless and deplorable bill that led to the three years of hounds, traps, and overkill the same forces will conspire to kill as many as possible as soon as possible when they are delisted again. How this species has been able to hang on in the small numbers that they have in this state despite 24/7/365 harassment by hounds, killings by state hired USDA “Wildlife Services” goons, huge yearly kill quotas, rampant poaching, and all around government endorsed hostility toward the species is astounding. A hostile state like Wisconsin, as they have abundantly shown, is not capable of responsibly and ethically “managing” a polarizing species such as the wolf yet they keep getting the opportunity. No one seems to care that the federal judge relisted wolves because of the reckless, unethical, and frankly sadistic manner in which states like Wisconsin “managed” wolves. No one seems to care that with the 2012 Wisconsin wolf kill bill, Act 169, Wisconsin wrote legalized dog fighting into law by allowing hounds to be used against wolves. No one seems to care that there are ZERO regulations for the “training” of those very same hounds that can be used against wolves 24/7/365. What does that say about our state, society, government, and humanity in general?

All of this hatred over a wild dog? A wild dog that has no super powers. A wild dog that tries to survive like the rest of us. A wild dog that is not hiding in the shadows waiting to eat your grandchildren. A wild dog that is NOT eating all “your” deer. A wild dog that will always be a better hunter and predator than any human or so-called “sportsman” could ever be. Maybe that is the root of the issue. The wolf is a superior predator and hunter despite all of humanities technologically advanced killing implements and maybe some just cannot accept that and must kill them to feel superior. What else can explain the endless lies, myths, propaganda, and beating of the drum to destroy this species? Is it jealousy? Is it revenge? What is it that causes so many grown adults to harbor such hatred for a wild dog?

That being said no matter what happens in big ag/NRA bought and paid for halls of Congress, the killing cartel owned Wisconsin DNR, or in the hound infested killing grounds of northern Wisconsin one thing is very clear: myself and other grassroots wildlife advocates will NEVER stop fighting for OUR WILDLIFE and we will never stop exposing the brutal practices and corrupt “management” of that same wildlife. If the likely imminent Congressional selling out/delisting of wolves teaches us anything it is that we cannot trust our government to do the right thing when it comes to wolves, wildlife, and the environment in general. It is up to US to be vigilant and work to protect imperiled and vilified species from the apathetic government agencies and bloodthirsty killing cartels that seek their destruction.

In the coming days Our Wisconsin, Our Wildlife will be expanding our online presence with a Facebook page to keep you better informed about the daily war on our wildlife in Wisconsin, the nation, and the world. Despite the inevitable setbacks we have to keep fighting while we still have something left to fight for.

Shame on all of the FAKE “Democrats” that allowed this. Shame on President Obama for DESTROYING the Endangered Species Act. Finally, shame on the states that will ultimately push this species back to the brink or to a second eradication to appease extremist killing cartels and the never satisfied big ag interests.

We will keep you posted.

 

President Obama’s Legacy: The End of the Endangered Species Act?

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“Wolf by Brooks Falls” by BlackburnPhoto from Overland Park, KS, USA – Wolf by Brooks Falls.

There is no other way to put this so I will be blunt. For all of our hand wringing about Congress likely stripping protections from gray wolves and actively working to undermine the Endangered Species Act itself one thing has been made abundantly clear: the Obama Administration has already destroyed the Act right under our noses and it apparently took seven years for anyone to notice. The Guardian Newspaper, out of the United Kingdom, reported yesterday some sobering and frankly horrifying information about the gross failure of the USFWS to uphold the tenants of the ESA and to protect imperiled species as is their responsibility. Instead the USFWS under current Director Dan Ashe, current Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and former DOI Secretary “Cowboy” Ken Salazar, has actively pursued policies that favor ranchers, hunting groups, developers, and big energy interests to the detriment of each and every species allegedly under ESA protections.

From the Guardian article:

The US government has not halted a single project out of the 88,000 actions and developments considered potentially harmful to the nation’s endangered species over the past seven years, a new study has found.

An analysis of assessments made by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the agency very rarely used its powers to intervene in projects that could imperil any of the US’s endangered plants and animals, which currently number almost 1,600.

Of 88,000 actions assessed by the FWS between January 2008 and April 2015, just two triggered significant further action. A 2007 plan to drop fire retardant in California was deemed by the FWS to be prohibitively harmful to forest-dwelling endangered species, although this was challenged in court. The FWS also stepped in over a plan to divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta due to concerns over the impact to threatened fish.

88,000 projects that threatened species under ESA protection and only TWO were stopped? At those two were stopped under the Bush Administration which was certainly no friend to wildlife. Red flags were apparent both before and after President Obama was elected. At no time during his campaign or after did any element of the environment come into play except for the political buzzwords of the climate change movement. Obama appeared completely apathetic toward wildlife and their very survival. This was further confirmed with his selection of rancher and former Senator “Cowboy” Ken Salazar from Colorado. Salazar immediately continued Bush administration plans to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes, and Wyoming despite strong scientific evidence advising against a delsiting for all of these areas. When a federal court stepped in and relisted wolves in the Rockies the Obama Administration allowed a “rider” to be attached to a must pass budget bill in 2011 that stripped ESA protections from the gray wolf, blocked any court challenge, and led to all out eradication policies from the states of Montana and especially Idaho. The only safeguards remaining for wolves in this region is a provision that if they drop BELOW 150 in the entire region they “may” be relisted.

Then Salazar, and newly appointed Director of the USFWS, Dan Ashe, set their sites on delisting wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. Wyoming was not included in the 2011 Congressional “rider” delisting because their “management” plan was too toxic for even the anti-wolf congress members and Bush Administration. The Wyoming plan allowed wolves to be killed by any means, at any time, and over the vast majority of the state except for a small area near Yellowstone which would have “regulated” killing under the guise of “hunting seasons.” This plan apparently wasn’t a problem for Obama, Salazar, and Ashe because after a sit down backdoor meeting with Wyoming officials the plan was given the green light and the mass slaughter started almost immediately and lasted until last fall when a federal judge ruled that the Wyoming plan was fatally flawed and resisted wolves under ESA protections in that state.

The same thing played out in Wisconsin in late 2011 and early 2012 when Salazar, Ashe, and the USFWS removed wolves in the Great Lakes from ESA protections and opened the door to over three years of killing season in Wisconsin and Minnesota and one on Michigan. The Wisconsin “management” of the species entailed the 24/7/365 use of hounds against wolves under the guise of “training,” trapping, baiting, electronic calls, and the use of hounds to aid in the killing of wolves during the “hunting seasons.” Once again a federal judge stepped in and relisted the species based on the severely flawed “management plans” of Wisconsin and Minnesota in particular. Like Wyoming, Minnesota allowed for wolves that ventured out of their habitat in the northern part of the state to be killed at will and essentially cut off potential migration routes or any chance that the species could colonize other areas to the south.

Maybe most disturbing of all of the proposals introduced by the USFWS, apparently with the support of President Obama, is to strip ALL ESA protections from gray wolves in the entire United States with the exception of a tiny population of Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. Couple this with the refusal of the USFWS to provide ESA protections to wolverines despite only a tiny number living in the United States, and the recent decision to allow hostile states to determine the fate of the imperiled greater sage grouse rather than providing ESA protections. The USFWS also seeks to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region and once again turn management of an imperiled species to hostile states hellbent on killing them.

This is what the legacy of the Obama Administration will be when it comes to wildlife and the environment. Despite all of the meaningless lip service that the president pays to climate change and “agreements” allegedly to fight it, he has shown that wildlife has ZERO place in the world that he envisions and apparently is only a hindrance to the real agenda of his administration. If NOT ONE of 88,000 events that impact endangered species were stopped by the USFWS over SEVEN YEARS what does this tell us about the value Obama and his administration place on endangered species and upholding the Endangered Species Act?

Under President Obama the Endangered Species Act has been reduced to a paper tiger that allows wildlife hostile states to run roughshod over endangered species, threatened lands, and anything that gets in the way of “development,” agriculture, recreational killing, or just happens to “upset” anti-wildlife governors. Nothing illustrates this mindset better than this quote from Obama’s USFWS Director Dan Ashe who in 2014 made a comment at a Montana meeting stating that environmentalists:

“must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.”

Yes, he really said this and nothing better illustrates the complete and utter contempt that the Obama Administration and his Department of Interior has for environmentalists and wildlife advocates. Time and time again his administration has sided with ranchers, hunting groups, developers, and big energy interests while spitting in the faces of wildlife advocates and environmentalists. I regret voting for this man and I am under the impression that most wildlife advocates share this opinion.

While we have been scrambling trying to stop the disgusting wolf delisting “rider” now pending in Congress, it is apparent that the damage has already been done and the Endangered Species Act has been all but destroyed by an apathetic, arrogant, and pandering Administration more concerned with getting insignificant short term political “victories” than preserving imperiled wildlife. I hope that I am wrong and that Congress and the Obama Administration proves me wrong and stands up for wildlife. I am not holding my breath. This administration is poised to go down as the most anti-wildlife one since the introduction of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, signed by of all people, Republican Richard Nixon. What a shame. Those of us in the wildlife advocacy movement had such high hopes for President Obama after what we thought at the time was the disastrous wildlife record of George W. Bush. We could not have been more wrong and felt duped into supporting this president that is on the verge of destroying not only the gray wolf population in the United States but also the bedrock law of species protection, the Endangered Species Act, and for what? A short term budget deal? A few meaningless concessions from the right wing in Congress?

I do not say this lightly when I say that President Obama has failed our wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. I can show you two wolf riders and 88,000 other reasons proving this to be the case.

 

 

Anti-Wolf Zealots and Fake “Democrats” in Congress Planning to Sell Out Wolves and the Endangered Species Act This Week

Howlsnow

Here we go a again. Where have we seen this before? The courts rightfully step in and restore protections for the gray wolf and the NRA/big ag zealots in Congress step in and remove those protections and take away your recourse to challenge it in court. Just like the infamous 2011 anti-wolf “budget rider” that was tacked onto a must pass spending to declare war on wolves in Idaho and Montana, the anti-wolf zealots in Congress are planning to do the same for wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming this week.

As I wrote about earlier in the year, there is a group of right wing politicians and a collection of fake “Democrats” like the “Democrat in Name Only (DINO)” Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and the anti-wolf “Democrat” Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin that will stop at nothing to resume the 24/7/365 persecution and hounding of wolves in Wisconsin and elsewhere. This week they along with Tea Party extremist Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin are trying to slip a wolf delisting “rider” into another “must pass” spending bill. This bill will delist wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming while blocking YOUR right to challenge YOUR government in the courts.

Not only will this bill destroy what is left of the Endangered Species Act and open the door to anti-wolf states once again pushing the species back to the brink through the use of hounds, traps, guns, arrows, and everything short of artillery, but it will open the door for each and every species currently under ESA protection to be delisted by Congress for some alleged short term “political gain.” This is a disaster waiting to happen and I am not so sure that Congress or the President care one way or another.

Does President Obama want his legacy to be that of the president that presided over the second eradication of wolves and the destruction of the Endangered Species Act? If he and Congress allow this “rider” to be slipped into the spending bill, passed, and signed then that is exactly what will happen. First it was the wolves of the Northern Rockies he sold out in 2011, then the failure to protect the greater sage grouse, and now wolves once again are in the sights of this administration. But make no mistake wolves are not and will not be the final nail in the coffin of the ESA. Next we will see the delisting of the grizzly bear in the west  likely leading to an all out war against that species by the same factions hellbent on destroying the wolf. When does it stop? When, if ever, will President Obama say ENOUGH and uphold his responsibilities to protect our dwindling wildlife and wild lands?

It is crunch time folks. The time is NOW to contact your congressional representatives, senators, and the White House to demand a stop to the assault on the Endangered Species Act and imperiled species like the gray wolf. If this passes and is signed we will be right back to the endless months of reckless killing of wolves and 24/7/365 hounding to placate the violent and extreme minority seeking to destroy this species one way or another.

Short of the disastrous Iraq war and those responsible I can’t say that I have ever been so disgusted in OUR government. I am sick and tired of our dwindling wildlife being sold out year in and year out as a political giveaway to extremists. Will they be satisfied when the last wolf is trapped or shredded by a pack of dogs? When the last sage grouse is gone? When the last grizzly is a rug or stuffed trophy for a great white hunter to brag about? ENOUGH.

Find and call your representatives and senators here:

https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

Call the White House here.

Call the President
PHONE NUMBERS
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Here is a script to use if you wish:

As a constituent of yours I ask that you strongly consider voting against (VETO for the President) any and all bills and or “riders” to spending bills that seek to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protections. Despite the hyperbole and propaganda from hunting groups and agricultural interests, the gray wolf is still imperiled by centuries old hatred and reckless state “management” plans that allow for only a token number on the landscape and in isolated pockets only. It also must be noted that supporting any effort to delist wolves in Wisconsin will be viewed as a tacit approval for what is essentially the legalized DOG FIGHTING that the state allows by law. Wisconsin is the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of hounds to be pitted against wolves with ZERO oversight and the allowance of 24/7/365 “training” against wolves also with no oversight. I implore you not to support any law that furthers the persecution against this species and that seeks to weaken the already imperiled Endangered Species Act. Any legislation delisting a species from the protections allowed by the Endangered Species Act will be the death knell for not only the gray wolf but for the Act itself. Your actions on these issues will be closely watched and strongly considered in future elections.

Do Modern “Democrats” Support Legal Dog Fighting and Limiting Your Free Speech Rights? Actions Speak Louder than Words 

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This is what Senator Tammy Baldwin and other anti-wolf politicians support if they support Wisconsin’s “management” of wolves.

As a wildlife advocate nothing is more infuriating and revolting than people who speak out of both sides of their mouths. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with the modern “Democratic Party” and their spineless manner when dealing with wildlife issues and legislation. They are so afraid of upsetting the NRA/big ag lobby that they vote for anti-wildlife and even anti-free speech laws despite knowing they are deplorable. Because of this I have distanced myself from the Democratic Party and vowed not to ever vote again for any politician that supports anti-wildlife legislation and causes.

There are two very recent examples of Wisconsin based “Democrats” turning their backs on wildlife in favor of anti-wildlife and anti-free speech proposals at the state and national level.

Over the years I have voted for Senator Tammy Baldwin several times dating back to her days as a Representative in the House and for her current position as a senator. Only after her election to the senate did I learn of her anti-wolf positions and how she panders to the big ag interests that want to see wolves eradicated from Wisconsin and elsewhere. It was only after her 2012 election to the senate did I find this webpage where she takes credit for having the wolf delisted and Wisconsin allowing a slaughter season immediately following.

2011: Tammy Worked Across Party Lines and Worked to Remove the Wisconsin Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List
Tammy supported the commonsense approach of removing the Wisconsin Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List after population numbers exceeded both the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Plan and the federal recovery goal. This action opens the door to a new wolf hunt.

Baldwin likes to pretend that she is a “progressive” and people believe her due to her sexual orientation and how she rightfully stands up for equal protection. The problem is that she panders to big ag and the killing cartels seeking to eradicate Wisconsin’s tiny wolf population and pretending that they no longer need protection. What does she gain from it? Do those “common sense approaches” include dog fighting? Apparently, yes they do.

A couple of weeks ago a letter imploring President Obama to reject any and all “riders” weakening the Endangered Species Act was signed by 25 Democratic Senators. As expected the usual fake “Democrats” from ND, IN, WV, MN, and a few others didn’t sign it likely due to being owned by the same big ag/NRA/SCI/Koch groups that also control the GOP. Also noticeably absent were signatures from the two anti-wolf and big ag owned “Democrat” senators from Minnesota and, of course, Tammy Baldwin. As evidenced by the canned letters I receive from Baldwin’s office, she buys hook, line, and sinker the propaganda from the Wisconsin DNR and anti-wolf groups that wolves are being properly “managed” by the DNR and that they are just “decimating” livestock, deer, and grandchildren all over the state. Upon learning her stance against wolves, and apparently being perfectly fine with the legalized dog fighting that Wisconsin allows, I decided that she will never get my vote again for the Senate or any other position. I have made this very clear in letters to her office. Of course the opinions of one Wisconsin citizen like myself apparently does not matter because each response that I receive from Baldwin’s office is the same canned response regurgitating the Wiscosnin DNR propaganda even if it’s not related to the purpose of my letter. It used to to be that we could depend on the Democratic Party to stand up for wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. This is no longer the case as ones like Baldwin and the two phony senators from MN are openly anti-wolf/wildlife and owned by big ag as much as the GOPers are. This is also why Baldwin has been known as “Shammy” Baldwin among wildlife advocates for some time. But she apparently doesn’t care as long as those campaign contributions and “awards” from big ag groups keep rolling in.

For Baldwin and the other anti-wolf/wildlife “Democrats” let one thing be clear. If you support any legislation that returns “management” of the gray wolf to states like Wisconsin, you support legalized DOG FIGHTING. There is no other way around it. Because Wisconsin allows 24/7/365 hound “training” against wolves and allows dogs to be used against wolves during the killing season any Dem that supports giving Wisconsin back “management”  also supports DOG FIGHTING. There is no other way to put it. I expect this from the anti-everything GOPers but for Dems to be on board is shameful and frankly horrifying for the prospects for the survival of not only wolves but all imperiled species. Please call Senator Baldwin and your other Senators and Representatives and ask them this:

Dear Senator/Rep……

As a constituent of yours I ask that you strongly consider voting against any and all bills and or “riders” to spending bills that seek to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protections. Despite the hyperbole and propaganda from hunting groups and agricultural interests, the gray wolf is still imperiled by centuries old hatred and reckless state “management” plans that allow for only a token number on the landscape and in isolated pockets only. It also must be noted that supporting any effort to delist wolves in Wisconsin will be viewed as a tacit approval for what is essentially the legalized DOG FIGHTING that the state allows by law. Wisconsin is the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of hounds to be pitted against wolves with ZERO oversight and the allowance of 24/7/365 “training” against wolves also with no oversight. I implore you not to support any law that furthers the persecution against this species and that seeks to weaken the already imperiled Endangered Species Act. Your actions on these issues will be closely watched and strongly considered in future elections. 

Thank you, 

Find Your Senators and Representatives

In Wisconsin, at the state level, we also have a collection of “Democrats” that always seem to pander to the kill everything crowd and now apparently are also for attacking YOUR free speech rights and navigation of YOUR public lands. Yesterday, by a vote of 14-1, the rubber stamp for the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the deceptively named anti-wildlife, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Assembly Natural Resources Committee, approved moving forward with the anti-free speech bill disguised as a “hunter harassment” bill. Only one Democrat had the conviction to vote against the bill:

The Assembly’s natural resources committee passed the Republican-authored bill on a 14-1 vote. The committee’s minority Democrats questioned whether the bill might violate nature lovers’ free speech rights but only one of them, Rep. Diane Hesselbein of Middleton, ultimately voted against the proposal.

Just like the 2012 wolf kill bill the so-called “Democrats” questioned the bill yet still voted for it regardless of the consequences. Why? All that this bill does is legitimize the disgusting acts of hounding and baiting and makes those that participate in them a protected class. This despite no permitting requirement for either activity. Under this bill if you happen to take a picture or even be “in the line of sight” of a hunter, baiter, trapper, or hounder, you are potential criminal if you hold any anti-hunting beliefs. This is apparently okay with our so-called “Democrats?”

The bill would add scouting, dog training, baiting and feeding to the list of protected hunting activities. It also would expand the definition of interference to include remaining in a hunter’s sight, photographing a hunter, using a drone to photograph a hunter and confronting a hunter more than twice with the intention of interfering with or impeding their activity. First-time violators would face a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses would carry steeper fines as well as jail time.

That’s right. If a hounder or baiter gets upset because you are near them, you are a criminal. If you take a picture of a hunter, baiter, hounder, or trapper and happen to hold a different belief or political affiliation than the law enforcement officer and county District Attorney, you are a potential criminal. How can any sane person, let alone an alleged “Democrat” support this bill that criminalizes free speech, free navigation, and penalizes people based on their political ideology or views on “hunting” practices?

Then we have this:

Republicans on the committee joined with Democrats Tuesday and adopted an amendment from Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, which clarifies that someone would have to intentionally interfere with a hunting activity to be convicted. But Rep. Katrina Shankland, a Stevens Point Democrat who voted in favor of the bill, still pressed the committee’s attorney, Larry Konapacki, for his opinion on whether the bill would withstand a constitutional challenge.

“That is a really difficult question,” Konopacki replied. “This is something that might be tested at some point.”

Spreitzer said he was satisfied that it would take an intentional act to land someone in trouble. Shankland pressed on, seeking more reassurance from Konopacki. He told her no one could be convicted unless a prosecutor could prove they intended to engage in harassing conduct.

That seemed to satisfy the Democrats, except Hesselbein. She said she still had questions about the bill. She didn’t ask any, though.

Shankland STILL voted for this sick bill despite acknowledging that it may violate the constitutional rights of a segment of citizens with a different value system while protecting unethical “hunting” practices? This plays right into the revenge politics of the Walker administration and GOP dominated legislature since 2011 and they STILL went along with it?Absolutely shameful but not all together surprising considering that many of the same people voting for this bill also voted for the wolf kill bill in 2012 making Wisconsin the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of dogs to be pitted against wolves. But it’s all about “heritage” and “tradition” to protect the most sadistic and vile among us I guess. These are the “Democrat” committee members that voted for this disgusting assault on free speech and bear hounder/baiter public land takeover:

Representative Milroy

Representative Danou

Representative Shankland

Representative Spreitzer

Please contact them and ask why they support a bill that limits free speech and free navigation of our public lands while making those that practice most sadistic and unethical “hunting” methods a protected class. Also ask them why people, such as hounder and baiters, are now a protected class even though no permit is required for their disgusting activities? Shame on them.

Milroy also had a hand in the recent and astonishingly sexist bill that allowed “blaze pink” clothing for hunting to “attract women” to the “sport.” Danou is the same guy that claims to have “questioned” the wolf kill bill, yet still voted for it in 2012 and bragged to the committee in 2012 that he hoped to get a wolf tag, and then invited other people on the committee to come to his place and “shoot some ducks.” He was also part of Baldwin’s 2012 killing brag fest campaign when she was running for Senator. With “friends” like these……….

So what is the takeaway from the actions of Baldwin and the anti-wildlife/free speech “Democrats” that voted for the bill yesterday? The takeaway is that wildlife and wildlife advocates are now also an imperiled species that have very few friends in the halls of state and federal government. I think that for wildlife advocates we need to realize that the modern Democratic Party is not aligned with our interests and seems to side with the anti-wildlife factions more than not in recent years. It’s time to call them out on it and stop pretending that they are the party of the environment when in reality half are nothing more than GOP-Lite that will pander to the anti-environment factions more often than not while spitting in the faces of their supposed “base.” We will remember their stances when it comes time to vote. If they even care…..

Pope Francis and President Obama: Which is the Real “Progressive” When it Comes to the Environment?

U.S. Government Photo used in public domain.

U.S. Government Photo used in public domain.

When I was growing up my parents tried to get me indoctrinated into Catholicism. When it didn’t take they came to the realization that it was a lost cause and gave up around the time I was 12. I was born a freethinker and I wouldn’t change that element of my genetics for anything. To this day I find the vast majority of religions to be nothing more than mythical fantasies used as justification to destroy or exploit life on our planet, both human and animal.

When it comes to Catholicism in general I am hard pressed to find an institution that makes me bristle more following the numerous child molestation scandals and their nonsensical teachings about contraception and family planning. With that being said I have found it quite humorous and ironic that I find myself agreeing with and even cheering on Pope Francis and how he is speaking out against unregulated Capitalism and how human greed is destroying our environment and life on this planet.

While it is hard for me to take anything seriously coming from a 70 something year old dude wearing a dress, I have to say that it takes a lot of courage for the leader of that institution to speak out regarding such critical matters. If a religious institution that is historically stuck in centuries old mindsets can evolve enough to see what damage we are causing our planet with unregulated human arrogance and greed, why can’t modern day “conservatives” or even those that are allegedly “progressives?”

Upon seeing and reading the “conservative” responses to Pope Francis’ speech before Congress and before the United Nations regarding climate change and the environment, I am led to ask what exactly modern American “conservatives” are “conserving?” Other than holding on tight to xenophobic, homophobic, and hatred of anything progressive feeling, I fail to see them “conserving” anything else. When the often hypocritical and misguided Catholic Church can see and acknowledge that human caused climate change is a very real and present threat to the very existence of life on this planet, why can’t American “conservatives?”

It seems that for many of the so-called “religious conservatives,” even ones that profess to be Catholic, the “church” of greed and modern day corporate fascism are what they kneel before.

I NEVER thought that I would find myself siding with a pope and agreeing with most of what he is saying at least regarding how we are failing the environment and our planet. I personally find religion in all forms to be a disease and the number one justification for the violence, hatred, and greed that controls our species, but if the Catholic Church of all institutions can accept the reality of climate science, why can’t American “conservatives?” It seems that American “conservatives” would rather worship at the altar of greed and grovel at the feet of modern day corporate fascists like the two brothers from Kansas rather than listen to the alleged “emissary of “god” here on Earth.

Contrasting Pope Francis and President Obama 

But it is not just “conservatives” that worship at the altar of greed and have complete and total apathy toward our environment and wildlife. When President Obama was elected in 2008 I made the foolish assumption that he would at minimum protect the Endangered Species Act and work with those of us that truly care about wildlife and our dwindling wild lands. I could not have been more wrong. I am of the opinion that President Obama, and his Department of Interior, have turned out to be the most destructive, pandering, and anti-wildlife in my lifetime at least. Since taking office in 2009 President Obama has proven to have zero regard for wildlife and wild lands. His administration has allowed the neutering of the Endangered Species Act through misguided “riders” attached to legislation and by appointing extractive industry shills to lead the DOI and the agencies under it.

In the past week we saw firsthand the complete and total disregard this administration has toward imperiled species with their decision not to provide the dwindling greater sage grouse with ESA protections.

Even before the decision was announced it became quite obvious that the Obama Administration would once again pander to the big ag and big energy special interests and allow another species to be pushed to the brink of extinction for some alleged “political gain.” This is why I bristle each time alleged “wildlife advocates” claim Obama is a “progressive” or that he gives a damn about the environment in any way, shape, or form. This is why for the first time in my life I actually listen to and agree with a religious figure without the title of Dalai Lama. While I tend to ignore proclamations form religious leaders I was pleasantly struck when I read these words from Pope Francis:

“We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures,” he declared in his encyclical on the environment. “The Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism.”

While I don’t believe or follow the bible or any other religious text I appreciated reading these words because Christianity and the idea of “dominionism” have long been used to justify the exploitation, torture, and killing animals for selfish human wants. I like to contrast these words to the actions of our sitting President and one could conclude that may be what the Pope was talking about.

President Obama, in my opinion, has been an absolute disaster for wildlife. While I can support many of the issues that he as championed such as equal rights for same sex couples, the Iran nuclear deal and, improved healthcare access I have been horrified at how apathetic and hostile he and his administration have been toward wildlife. Unfortunately his apathy toward wildlife isn’t exclusive to just him. Several other so-called “progressive” or “liberal” politicians appear through their words and actions to share the same disdain for wildlife that Obama harbors. Let’s not forget these words by Obama’s appointed head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, where he said that conservationists:

“must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the very agency most responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.”

What Obama, Ashe, and other anti-wildlife “Democrats” apparently cannot understand is that there is a difference between “compromising” and pandering. While the Obama Administration plays lip service to climate change they have expanded destructive fossil fuel extractive processes across the country. Of particular note was when the Obama Administration approved oil drilling in a sensitive part of the Arctic. Then as if to rub his hypocrisy in the faces of environmentalists, a few months later he visited the Arctic to talk about climate change.

Much like the hypocritical idea that “killing is conservation” put forth by the killing cartels like the National Wildlife Federation and their state affiliates, President Obama thinks that he can address climate change while ignoring the “canary in the coal mine” that is the destruction of our wildlife for selfish human endeavors. Even Richard Nixon, who was by no means a “liberal,” understood the threats that our wildlife faced due to habitat loss and from a growing human population. Apparently President Obama doesn’t see the same threats or he just doesn’t care, which is even more dangerous. In my view and in that of many other wildlife advocates that is the legacy that Obama will carry with him after he is out of office. The legacy that “Tricky Dick” Nixon was by far a more caring and effective President regarding the environment than a supposed “progressive” like Obama.

I never thought I would see a world where I could make this observation. The Pope, of all people, GETS IT when it comes to animals and the environment while an allegedly “progressive” American president does not. I used to think that the biggest threat to our imperiled wildlife were the great white hunters, habitat loss, and human greed. Now, I think that the greatest threat to our wildlife is the indifference and total apathy exhibited by President Obama and other pandering “progressives” that now seem to think that the environment and wildlife can be used as objects to barter for short term political gains. This is the real threat to our wildlife and also the legacy that President Obama will carry with him once he leaves office.

Please remind President Obama about this here and ask if this is what he want to be remembered for:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

U.S. Rep. Sensenbrenner’s Staffer Claims that “there was no wolf hunt in 2014” and Continued Big Ag Lies and Fear Mongering

According to Rep. James Sensenbrenner's staffer "in charge" of the wolf issue this never happened.

According to Rep. James Sensenbrenner’s staffer “in charge” of the wolf issue, this never happened.

Many people in our society often wonder how colossal mistakes such as the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and other world changing blunders have been allowed to occur throughout history. Most Americans foolishly believe that politicians overall care about this country and look at all sides of an issue before taking action. The Iraq War disproved this to the max and now we are seeing the exact same thing when it comes to wolves and the reckless eradication bills currently before Congress.

As I have mentioned before there are currently two very dangerous and disingenuous bills that have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first bill, H.R. 843, with the fluffy title,  “Western Great Lakes Wolf Management Act of 2015,” seeks to permanently strip wolves in the Great Lakes of all Endangered Species Act protections and prevents them from ever being relisted in the future. A better name for this horrific bill would be the “Western Great Lakes Wolf Eradication Act of 2015.”

The other bill before Congress, H.R. 884, is an attempt to reinstate the severely flawed 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisting order that led to the mass slaughter of wolves and the legalized dog fighting that Wisconsin allows. This delisting order was struck down by a Federal judge in December 2014. This bill should be called the “Wolf Eradication, Legalized Dog Fighting,and to Hell With Your Rights Act of 2015.” This bill takes the disgusting approach of telling American citizens that we are not able to exercise our rights to challenge laws and agency rules in court. How “American” of them.

Both of these bills have support from anti-wolf Tea Party extremists and fake “Democrats” like the Teahadist in drag, Colin Peterson, of Minnesota. One of the overlapping supporters of both bills is far right Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner. Yesterday a northern Wisconsin wildlife photographer and wildlife advocate posted an update regarding her contacts with Wisconsin federal representatives regarding the wolf bills and she reported this very disturbing contact with a staffer from Sensenbrenner’s office.

Saw a wolf this morning. A young one. Wondered if it will have a chance to grow up. How much time do the wolves really have? I’ve called Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Ron Johnson, US Rep Sean Duffy and US Rep Jim Sensenbrenner. I have written Baldwin and Duffy numerous times. I am still waiting for their return phone calls…yeah, right. I noted several interesting facts while calling. Tammy Baldwin’s female assistant took some notes as to why I was calling but stated Tammy cannot call everyone back who calls. Ron Johnson’s female assistant was very interested in my call and took many notes. Sean Duffy’s male assistant was short off and uncaring as if public input was not wanted. Sensenbrenner’s male assistant argued with me stating there wasn’t a wolf hunt in 2014 because the Gray Wolf was an endangered species (OMG. Is this dude for real?). He also stated HE was handling the Wolf situation for Sensenbrenner (that IS scary!). He stated there were wolves in southern WI. REALLY! I lived in Southern Kettle Moraine for 30-yrs. Lots of coyotes, no wolf packs.

So according to the person “handling” the wolf issue for Sensenbrenner, there was no wolf hunt in 2014? This is the moron in charge of legislation that may very well lead to the eradication of a species? So did the 154 wolves slaughtered in Wisconsin and the 272 killed in Minnesota during the fall of 2014 just kill themselves? THIS is how lies and misinformation make it into law. This is how bankrupting wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people start and this is how imperiled and demonized species get laws that help to eradicate them passed. There are also no documented wolf packs in southern Wisconsin. An occasional disperser goes through the area but there are no known packs. Again another fabrication and misinformation from the person “handling” the wolf issue for a U.S. Representative. The post continues continues:

I wrote Dave MacFarland, WI DNR Carnivore Biologist to get a response. He stated, “Wolves are occasionally sighted in south east Wisconsin, but the furthest south that we have confirmed an established pack is in northern Columbia County”. This is Portage/Poynette area. I questioned Sensenbrenner’s assistant as to the primary reason for delisting. Their reason to delist the wolf is primarily due to livestock depredation by wolves in WI. I do not think he had any idea that in 2014: 2-sheep, 26-calves, 62-missing calves and 15-cattle were considered to be wolf depredation claims. These figures are directly from the DNR website. This is 00.1% total depredation? So, with this gigantic percentage humans should hunt/kill/slaughter/trap wolves? I questioned Dave MacFarland on evidence proving the livestock depredation was death by wolf. He stated: “We do not conduct genetic testing following livestock depredation events. We do require that all reported depredations be evaluated and confirmed by USDA Wildlife Services agents”. (I’d be interested in seeing a report by USDA). Dave said, “In order to be listed as a wolf related event there must be evidence that wolves were responsible (tracks, scat, bite wounds that match the dimensions of wolf teeth and jaws, etc.). You are correct that reported wolf conflicts are not always wolves, in fact approximately 50% of investigations do not show signs of wolves. That said, the numbers you report above are of confirmed wolf events”. How does one prove 62-missing calves were truly due to wolf mischief? I have added a link to a PDF page from the DNR that depicts damage payouts to farmers in WI. In 2014: $151,333.36 was issued due to losses. Are the new Bills sitting in Congress to delist the wolf an economic issue? If so, back to the fact that wolves were here first and we all make choices…farmers make choices to raise livestock knowing the risks just as farmers who grow crops know weather is a risk. Many farmers agree to this analogy and have dogs that patrol their livestock. There are solutions. How many are willing to accept them? After speaking with a county board official and several business owners in northern WI, it is clear the older generation who is uneducated believes wolves are getting in the way of their hunting opportunities; deer in WI, Elk in western states. DNR wants to introduce Elk in WI. Is that yet another reason for delisting the wolf? Wolf kills Elk, no Elk to hunt. This is not biodiversity or how one controls an ecosystem. Nature can be one tough mother. Leave her alone.

If there is an “established pack” in the Portage/Poynette area then why is this area still in the what is essentially the “free for all” “Zone 6?” Also this same USDA Wildlife Services is the exact agency under fire for their reckless and brutal slaughter of wildlife across the country that prompted a recent lawsuit calling out the agency’s secretive and reckless killing methods. Would you take the word of an agency like this? From Western Watersheds Project announcing their lawsuit regarding WS activity in Idaho:

The gruesome war on native wildlife is done primarily to benefit private livestock and agricultural interests and is just another public subsidy to support those industries.

Are we supposed to trust the word of this disgusting agency as to whether or not something was a “depredation” or nothing more than wolves scavenging a carcass that died by other means? Wisconsin has long used very dubious methods for paying out “depredation” claims for livestock, especially for “missing claves.” I dug into this deeper in a piece I wrote back in June of 2012 for my old blog.

When I looked into the numbers for 2012 I found something that caught my eye. In 2012 the DNR paid out a total of $214,794.16 for alleged wolf depredations. Of this number an astounding figure of $190,702 were paid out for 257 missing calves. Last year there were only 25 “missing calves.” So apparently in just one year wolves suddenly became responsible for 232 more “missing” calves. Remember these calves are “missing.” There was ZERO trace of them. But of course these were automatically blamed on wolves because all the rancher had to have is ONE confirmed wolf depredation during the grazing season and “evidence” of wolf activity near their operation. So by just seeing or hearing a wolf the rancher can have any “losses” blamed on wolves and be reimbursed by the state. I was astounded by this so I sought out official comment from the Wisconsin DNR about what their reimbursement policy is. What I found was even more astounding. Here is the official “missing” calf policy from the DNR:

Missing Calf Policy

There must be at least one calf verified as wolf kill during the grazing season by the department, and there must be evidence that wolves continued to be present on the property.

Reimbursement would be provided for calves that are lost above the normal loss rate for a beef cow-calf operation.  The normal loss of 2.3% would be used, unless research in Wisconsin has determined that another figure is more reasonable for the specific operation.  If all the conditions listed above are met, the department will reimburse for missing calves that exceed the normal 2.3% level.

You read that right. Any losses over the normal 2.3% will automatically be blamed on wolves if there was ONE confirmed calf killed by wolves and if there is “evidence” of wolves on the property. So conveniently 257 wolves end up “missing” and they all get blamed on wolves, with no remains, and ZERO evidence that wolves “took” them. We also were told by a retired DNR wolf biologist that over $90,000 of the $190,702 claimed for “missing” calves went to one operation. The DNR told us that they could not confirm this without checking with their lawyers because they didn’t know if it was “public record.” That’s right this is not public record. If you signed the Walker recall petition your name, address, and personal information is out there for ALL to see, but the records of those who received government money for “missing” calves is confidential. When questioned about why the “missing” calf numbers skyrocketed this year this is the response that we received from Davin Lopez of the DNR via e-mail:

“It is hard to say why missing calf claims jumped this last year…it may due to better reporting, increased number of “depredating packs” due to no lethal controls in those areas for several years, or something else.”

Something else? Perhaps fraud? So if a rancher just happens to “lose” or illegally sell these calves they can blame it on wolves and get a nice fat check from the DNR. Can you say gravy train?

If this “reimbursement” program is not the scam of the century, it is pretty close. All we heard from the proponents of the wolf kill bill was how the DNR were making record payments for wolf depredations and that was why we needed to have an “emergency” wolf hunting season. When you look at the numbers things aren’t quite so clear cut. Does anyone else find it a little convenient that the “missing” calf numbers go from 25 in 2011 to 257 in 2012 when the anti-wolf factions are pushing for a killing season? How can the DNR justify blaming ANY loss of livestock over 2.3% on wolves with no evidence? Basically their policy is that if livestock dies of ANY cause over 2.3% wolves get the blame for it if there was ONE confirmed wolf depredation. This is the perfect propaganda for anti-wolf groups, individuals, and legislatures to justify their upcoming mass slaughter. “See, wolves cost us $200,000 this year, so we have to kill them” I guess wolves are even more amazing than I thought. I didn’t know that they had the ability to make 257 calves just disappear without a trace.

I wrote the above back in 2012 and not a damn thing has changed. Check out how the same game is being played in Minnesota for propaganda effect:

Farmer Troy Salzer of Barnum lost five calves to wolves last fall, and with another calving season coming soon, he’s worried he could lose more.

More Big Ag fear mongering:

Mark Thell, who has 150 cattle and is president of the Carlton County chapter of the Minnesota Farmers Union, was one of about 50 farmers who gathered recently with state and federal officials to discuss the problem.

“We’re stuck in limbo,’’ Thell said. “You can’t even protect your own animals. It’s not a good situation.’’

Yeah you can protect your animals. There are these inventions called fences along with actually watching over your animals. But that would constitute work and not expecting the government killing every predator nearby wouldn’t it?

For Salzer, the Barnum farmer, the loss of five calves last year was a financial hit. He valued them at $1,500 each. “That’s significant,’’ he said.

He never found the carcasses, and there was no state compensation money available then anyway, so he didn’t file a claim with the state.

“I’m very lucky. There are people with much worse situations,’’ he said.

So wait. This guy claims to have “lost” five calves, there are no bodies to prove this, he never reported it for compensation, and makes the assumption it was wolves? Really? This is the kind of blatant crap fear mongering that the mainstream media is reporting? This is the kind of garbage that our bought and paid for politicians use as a basis for species eradication bills? Is there ANY other business that freeloads off of the taxpayer and refuses to accept any responsibility to protect their “product?” If these calves even existed and did die, who says wolves did it? What if it was disease? What if they were stillborn? What if packs of hunting dogs killed them? The possibilities are endless, but wolves and their federal protections make the perfect scapegoat.There are no bodies or anything else connecting wolves if this even did happen. Even more IF it happened why didn’t this rancher submit a claim? According to this page Minnesota does indeed “compensate” for livestock killed by wolves. If you or I start a business we need this little thing called insurance to cover damages or loss, if you are a farmer you get the government to subsidize your product and pay for any loss. Nice gig if you can get it. Then you get anti-wildlife politicians like the fake “Democrat” senators from Minnesota to buy into your fear mongering and push to kill off any “threats.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has filed notice that it will appeal Howell’s ruling, and bills have been introduced in the U.S. House to remove wolves from the endangered species list in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., introduced one of the bills, and others in the state’s delegation have indicated support.

“Senator Klobuchar has supported delisting the gray wolf, and believes the science and the facts support the delisting,’’ said spokeswoman Julia Krahe.

Said Sen. Al Franken: “Our farmers and ranchers are rightfully concerned about losing their livestock — their livelihood — to wolves.”

Can’t let a little thing like facts get in the way of a little fear mongering, can we senators? These two, like so many other so-called “Democrats,” are bought and paid for by the big ag and killing cartel interests that want to see wolves eradicated from our landscape. Shame on them and shame on the media for running with lies and dubious accounts like the ones reported above. Fear mongering and lies from the media and anti-wolf politicians illustrate exactly why wolves need continued federal protections.

Please contact Rep. Sensenbrenner’s office and set his staffer in charge of the anti-wolf legislation straight about the fact that there indeed was a wolf killing season in 2014 and that his information regarding pack location in the state is a flat out lie.

http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/contact/info.htm

Also please keep up the pressure on Congress and the White House to make sure that they get the facts and not the lies and misinformation from misinformed staffers and fear mongering media.

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