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The Political Cleansing of the West

I thought, actually I hoped, that this story would be about four-legged wolves and all the serious concerns along with established myths that go along with a wild pack. But what is happening to Lost Trail and the Cundall family, just as what is happening to dozens of other families in dozens of other places across the West these days, seldom comes down to just wild predators. In fact, the wolves are as much the victims as are the ranchers from a far more voracious and determined attack by roving and ubiquitous packs of overblown environmentalists and arrogant bureaucrats.

The real threat in the West is not from an endangered or threatened wild species, but from an incestuous and growing population of human predators which seems to become more ignorant with every new generation.
George T. Frampton Jr., who, if you will, is part of the alpha pair behind it all, probably knows that very well, just as does his mate in the development of pack behavior, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Together, these two have established a fiefdom over the West that is intended not only to alter the region’s livestock-raising heritage, but to establish their own control over the livelihoods and futures of hard-working people who have lived there for generations.

If you are not familiar with Frampton, then you should at least know that this Yale and Harvard-educated lawyer was president of the Wilderness Society from 1986 until he moved up in the Clinton-Babbitt administration to become assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Frampton wrote the rules on how ranchers in the U.S. would be allowed to defend themselves against wolves intentionally reintroduced in their region. In a way, that’s like the greedy landlord telling you how to deal with the termites, except that in this case, it’s the landlord who puts the termites there in the first place. What Frampton cares about most isn’t saving wolves, it’s stealing the land.

Well, maybe stealing is too harsh a word, likely to trigger litigation. Frampton and the feds would rather it be seen as purchase from willing seller to willing buyer, a fair deal. Except, once the wolves, or whatever other surrogate species is useful, can be made to serve their purpose, the only willing buyer left will be the federal government or some sham front for Frampton and Babbitt’s own purpose like The Nature Conservancy. Ranchers targeted by the Frampton-Babbitt pack don’t sell out to new ranchers. That’s not the way it’s meant to work.

From the time Frampton left the Wilderness Society in 1993 and became a government big shot, the pattern has been established again and again. Something always just gets too important to any longer ignore or abuse. It’s the spotted owl in the Northwest, now accepted by many as a fraud on the endangered species list, but too late to save 70,000 jobs lost in the timber industry. It’s the bull trout, currently the darling species of all who claim to love cold running streams, but actually not a trout at all and only a few years ago considered a trash fish that threatened trout populations. It’s the gray wolf, endangered and nearly extinct in most of the lower 48, but supposedly so over-populated in Canada where there is a season on them that the wolves have started “recolonizing” parts of Montana, conveniently just where Frampton always thought there should be a wilderness.

Is there any relationship between that and the persistant reports of Babbitt’s belief in the so-called Wildlands Project of The Nature Conservancy and other groups that envision half the lower 48 states being taken over by a “wilderness network” in which human populations would be reduced to core “islands” amid the vast wild? “The native ecosystem and the collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans,” said the project report in 1994. Are we so stupid that we will never add it all up?

I don’t want to present personal resumes to this, but I spent 30 years in journalism covering the side of Black Panthers, student radicals, Native Americans, and objectors to the war in Vietnam like myself, all people who had problems with the government. I’ve got too many credentials on the left to be included in Hillary Clinton’s “right wing conspiracy,” but I’d have to be either a damn fool or a world-class arrogant tyrant like they are not to see that Frampton and Babbitt intend to drive honest people off the land one way or another. And, don’t kid yourself, they don’t care how many wolves die in the process.

This just isn’t about four-legged wolves. The wolves are a species that are being used, and sacrificed, in an attempt by our own government that is closer to something we might call “political cleansing” of the West than it is to the ethical preservation of natural life there.

Am I just talking to the choir? Is the congregation so misled by myths and lies about them that they can’t recognize what is truly endangered in the places where we all live? It’s all in how you define freedom.–Tim Findley

Click here for "Wolves at the Door"

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