Counterrevolution in the wilderness

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Last week another of the Iran-Contra criminals, Elliott Abrams, was elevated to a position of influence in the American foreign policy disestablishment. Domestically, this process was underway by day one of the Bush era. From the beginning, foxes, and only foxes, have been appointed to guard the chicken coops of America. This is not aberration but essential policy. Below, Ed Vulliamy of the British Observer describes one such case, the leveling of much of what’s left of the Western wilderness, thanks to new rules devised under the guardianship of that forestry giant Mark Rey, who just happens to be former vice-president of the American Forest and Paper Association (and a massive contributor to the Bush campaign).

As, these days, the American mainstream press generally can’t put two countries together in the same piece, no less offer serious regional analyses, so domestically, the daily indignities of domestic policy can be reported, but never combined into a larger picture. When was the last time you saw a major piece, no less a series, on the Bush domestic agenda or the Bush record? A friend recently suggested to me that a simple and effective way to write up the Bush record would simply be to do a group portrait of, say, ten of the scores of foxes to whom the Bushites have handed us chickens. A rare attempt simply to record and archive the Bush administration’s acts is at the National Resources Defense Council’s website: “The Bush Record” (To go to The Bush Record, click here.)

I’ve added a piece by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ruth Rosen, wondering why the Democrats have managed not to mount the environmental issue and ride it anywhere. Maybe it’s because they’re all driving SUVs. Tom

Ancient timber tumbles in new battle over America’s wild West
By Ed Vulliamy, December 8, 2002, The Observer

Ray McMahon steadies his feet on the spongy soil of the forest bed and sends his saw screeching through the wood of a Douglas fir. It totters, creaks and crashes to earth slowly, the weight ripping its own trunk. ‘It’s a tree,’ he said, ‘it will grow back’.

This is land that borders US Highway 101, west of Seattle through the Olympic National Forest and down to a series of tiny, ancient, maritime Indian reservations; a wonderland of lakes, killer whales and forest.

The sky is pierced by snow-painted pines, their craggy trunks pre-dating the existence of the United States by centuries.

But now a new feature marks the landscape – the barren ‘clear-cuts’, where the trees have been felled.

To read more of this article from The Observer, click here.


It’s the environment, stupid
By Ruth Rosen, December 5, 2002, San Francisco Chronicle

SOMEDAY, PEOPLE will look back at President Bush’s environmental record and shake their heads in disbelief. This administration has waged a relentless war against environmental protections supported by the vast majority of Americans.

Maybe folks don’t worry all that much about shrinking glaciers. And perhaps we can’t follow debates about arcane EPA regulations. But in every poll, Americans reveal how strongly we desire clean air and water, oppose oil drilling and treasure pristine wilderness. If Democrats want to stand for something and attract all kinds of voters, they should make the defense of the environment one of their guiding principles.

They might start with our national parks. Despite a deluge of protest from the public, the Interior Department has decided to permit snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. (But it banned off-road vehicles in Florida’s national parks, where brother Jeb Bush, next in the dynastic line, governs.)

To read more of this article in the San Francisco Chronicle, click here.