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As I write this, Al and the gang are still hanging-out plotting
election strategy. Since they’re playing old-fashioned, machine
politics, they’re probably in a tobacco-smoke filled room — or, who
knows what kind of smoke, maybe from a fireplace. And they’re probably
fueled on occasion with adult beverages … iced tea, no doubt.

As I write this, Bill and the family are being feted in Hanoi. Gosh,
how many years has it been since Bill missed his opportunity to be there
with guys and gals of his generation? I guess he figured that now’s the
time — since the family travel passes are about to expire.

Whether Bill is armed with a blank check to buy international favor
or whether his accompanying army of American businessmen will handle
that part of the deal is anyone’s guess. But then, money talks.
Always. Just ask the Clintons — any of them.

So while the cats are away, just what’s going on back home? As a
matter of fact, quite a bit. While the media are all up to their
shutters and camera lights in vote counts, Bill is up to his old
tricks. He put it over on us again, and most of us hardly noticed.

Let’s talk environment. Let’s talk government control. Let’s talk
land grab, overstepping authority and out-of-control environmentalism.

Do you remember the words of the cowboy song “Home on the Range”? “Oh
give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope
play. …” There was a time, not too long ago that folks could dream of
a home on the range, or in the mountains, or in the desert so they could
live on the land, with the animals and nature.

But not today. Not with the environmental mechanisms set into motion
by Al Gore with the permission and encouragement of Bill Clinton and his
bureaucratic dictators.

Just this week, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt released his latest
bombshell, the new Yosemite Valley Plan. Every single mainstream news
account of the plan described how hard it was for the government to work
with the “environmentalists” to arrive at a plan they could both live
with.

Notably missing from these accounts was what the people want
for Yosemite. Keeping in mind that the people own the national
park; the people pay taxes to support the park; the park exists
for the people and the people use and enjoy the park.

But no, in the world of Al and Bill, they know what’s best for the
people. As a result, there will be more than a 40 percent cut in
valley lodging (motel rooms and camp sites), parking spaces will be cut
to 550 (that’s less than a third of the already reduced number), and
park services will be slashed. Oh, and the cost to taxpayers is $441.7
million (nearly $110 million more than the March estimate) plus a 25
percent increase in annual operating expenses!

Congressman George Radanovich, R-Calif., whose 19th district includes
Yosemite Valley, says that “only an inherently backward and illogical
plan of action calls for outrageous spending increases and, at the same
time, slashes the amount of services available to the public.” He wants
congressional hearings to investigate.

Oh, by the way, in my mailbox this week was my very own copy of
Babbitt’s plan — all six volumes and 20-plus pounds of it! It adds up
to the removal of roads, bridges, dams, toilets, camp-sites, cabins,
employee housing, public services and, of course, parking places and
cars. Babbitt says he wants to “invite visitors away from their cars”
and take us back to the way it was in 1905. This is considered
environmental progress.

But that wasn’t all. On Nov. 9, Thursday of election week, without
bothering to tell the governors or other officials of Arizona or Idaho,
Bill Clinton used the 1906 Antiquities Act again for new national
monuments, the 10th time this year and the fourth one in Arizona.
First, he created the 293,000-acre Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
in Arizona; second, he added 661,000 acres to Idaho’s Craters of the
Moon Monument, a more-than 12-fold increase. Imagine, nearly a million
acres more, off limits for logging, mining, drilling, grazing,
development, roads, ranching and most other human use.

In still another move, the Forest Service was given the power to put
ecosystem health over all other concerns in the 192 million acres in 155
forests it controls. This is the first such rule change in 18 years. If
anything might disturb nature, it will not be done. Until now, they had
to balance ecosystem with public access and other uses. No more. Now,
everything else is first; people and their activities are last, if at
all.

Also, in the works, is a new national park which would follow Ice Age
canyons across four states: Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon. No
details on how many acres, but it will not be small.

If you live in the country, you understand the intrinsic horror of
what these raw acts of power will do. If you live in the city and think
that loggers and miners and ranchers are just rotten people who abuse
the land, best you think again.

The next time you want to buy a house but can’t afford it or none are
available, or have a business you can’t expand, or want a job that isn’t
there, or want food that has become expensive or scarce, or want heat
and electricity in your home, or want gas for your car, or don’t want
your house to burn down in forest fires that can’t be fought because
there are no access roads, or don’t want bureaucrats to tell you what
you can do with your own land, or, or, or … you’ll get the picture.
And it won’t be pretty.

As they said in Vaudeville, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” Believe
me, you haven’t. And if Al and Bill and the boys and girls have their
way, you won’t see anything until it’s too late. They’re already doing
it.

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