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The wolf is yet another pawn in a dangerous game.

"If this is allowed to occur, there truly will be a global warming, the warming of the earth with wolf blood."
     I think the subjects of wolves and global warming are related, but not for the same reason as that expressed above by Mr. Robert M. Lacy, who appears to be in a hyperbolic meltdown brought on by his dismay at the court-ordered removal of non-native wolves from Yellowstone National Park.
     Three years ago when the federal government introduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park and Idaho they broke the law. The Farm Bureau sued to make them accountable. Now they’ve been ordered by a federal judge to pull the wolves out. They should round them up right now and ship them back to Canada. But they won’t. They’ll avoid obeying the law as long as they can by stringing out the appeal. The wolves will keep killing livestock and in the end federal agents will have to shoot the wolves they brought in and all their offspring. If there is blood, as Mr. Lacy predicts, it will be on their hands.
     The Farm Bureau originally filed an injunction asking Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt to hold off bringing the wolves in until our suit was heard. We said then that if the government and the environmental groups really cared about protecting these animals they wouldn’t be shooting them with darts, killing some in the process of kidnapping them from their happy homes in Canada, dragging them here in cages and turning them loose, knowing they may have to hunt them down and kill them and their pups in the future The proof is in the testimony of Ed Bangs, head of the government wolf program who, at the time when asked by the judge, "What harm am I doing to the animal...if I let these wolves in...and ultimately determine they should be removed?" answered, "My recommendation would be to kill the animals."
     Everything the public was told about wolf introduction was a lie. Wolves aren’t endangered. There are over 50,000 wolves just to the north of us. The government’s plan doesn’t protect wolves. The program is killing them. Landowners couldn’t protect their property from wolf predation under the government’s wolf introduction program any more than they can now, under the judge’s ruling that the Endangered Species Act preempts their plan. It always did. They knew that when they put the new rules in place. So did their friends in the environmental movement. That’s why they sued. That’s why we sued. We just asked the court to take the next logical step under the law. No new rules. No new wolves.
     The whole wolf program was a fraud. The real goal was to use the Endangered Species Act to expand federal land use control. Neither the federal government nor the leaders of the major environmental groups have ever really cared a hoot about the welfare of the wolves. If they did, they would have waited until our suit was heard. They didn’t care then and they don’t care now whether the wolves live or die, because none of this is about protecting the weak or the endangered. It’s about money and power. It always has been.
     The environmental groups made a bundle of cash promoting the wolf program. They put wolves on coffee cups and T-shirts, set up a booth in Yellowstone Park and collected signatures from every busload of foreign tourists coming through. They knew all the while that they were killing what they claimed to love for money. At the same time they were excoriating the livestock industry every time we mentioned the cost of wolf predation.
     They’ll make a bundle more saving the wolves from this latest "threat." Of course, they won’t admit they caused it. Like their friends in the Interior Department they’re never responsible. The black hat will be on the poor cowboys who get to raise the calves, lambs and dogs (yes, dogs) to feed the wolves.
     That’s bad enough, but the federal government has been even more hypocritical. They’ve spent millions so far bringing the wolves in. Now they’ll spend more getting them out, not to mention the legal fees they’re running up arguing why they should be able to break the law with impunity. They have used the wolf program to expand their power far beyond what the authors of the Endangered Species Act ever intended. In writing these regulations, Interior moved well past species protection. They erred by exposing their actual intent. They sought to empower themselves to dictate to landowners how they may or may not use their land. Their reach exceeded their legal grasp and now they have to answer for their hubris.
     The problem with government power is once the boss hogs get a taste for it, their arrogance knows no bounds. Our founding fathers understood that and designed our government so that the three branches would balance one another, restraining the expansion of government power which always occurs at the expense of individual freedom. That the federal judiciary is reining in the overreaching of the executive branch is reassuring evidence, although narrowly applied, that our system of government still works. But what if one branch stops doing its part as Congress has been accused of or worse, does more, as some suggest has been the recent history of the U.S. Supreme Court? Within our system these scenarios require the other branches to exert their influence to bring the whole back in balance. Given time, democracy usually ensures they do.
     Unfortunately, although they understood the inevitability of government’s unquenchable thirst for power, our founding fathers never imagined that our political leaders would sacrifice our national sovereignty to bypass the constitutional checks and balances they designed. They believed as I do, that our citizens would never allow that to happen. That’s a risk we assume though when we elect people who aspire to a lifetime of wielding government power. Do so and you can be sure that our constitutional safeguards and our citizenry will be tested.
     Scoffing at the law as a technical problem and twisting the truth to serve their agenda is typical of the Clinton Administration and their friends and is symptomatic of the pattern of abuse of authority that has defined their tenure in office. This has been our experience with wolf introduction, and such is the case with global warming. The federal government says it has to be done. That’s a lie. They say it won’t hurt. That’s an even bigger lie.
      The true story about global warming is found in the words of Tim Wirth, undersecretary of state who, in 1990, when he was a U.S. senator from Colorado, said, "We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy." This is the modus operandi of Bill Clinton’s administration.
      Who cares about truth, justice and the American way? Ride whatever nag will put you in the winner’s circle. Just don’t forget, the plan remains the same. It’s the economy, stupid, and how it can be dismantled. Redistribute wealth by consolidating power in the federal bureaucracy using whatever tools are at hand, be it the Endangered Species Act or the Global Climate Change Treaty.
     Global warming doesn’t sound like such a bad idea in January in Montana, but then how hot we are isn’t the point. All the talk surrounding the December meeting in Kyoto, Japan leaves you with the impression that the end of the world is near. Somebody stop us. We’re out of control.
     Vice President Al Gore said we got "a good agreement" in Kyoto. I don’t know what’s in the agreement but I’ve read his book. Most Americans would be shocked to find out what he thinks is "good" for them. Cornell University political scientist Jeremy Rabkin has been quoted as saying, "One way or another, the climate control system means a global plan for reducing energy consumption or, in other words, a scheme for rationing energy use."
     We’re certainly overheating but mostly from vice presidential rhetoric. There is little science showing we’re in the kind of trouble that justifies the several hundred billion dollar economic dislocation being proposed which will fall disproportionately on the heavily energy dependent among us like agriculture, automobile manufacturers, and you and me.
     Most of the debate now seems to be whether we should spread the cost of the fix to all countries instead of just sticking it to the U.S. of A. The more important question is whether we even have a problem that needs fixing. We don’t. But the reason that this question isn’t getting much press is because the ends justified the means for the players at Kyoto. Just as we suggested with the wolves, the prudent among us are asking that we wait until we know the facts about global warming. But of course, as Mr. Wirth told us, nobody in this administration or among their supporters in the environmental movement really care whether the earth is heating or cooling.
     What the meeting in Japan was all about was?you guessed it?power. Who’s got it and who wants it! The U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world. In a world where our own media constantly reminds us that big denotes bad, the U.S. is the natural villain. Our own president and vice president seem to be embarrassed and ashamed by our warlike heritage and our unabashed economic success. Hence they seek every opportunity to give up our national sovereignty to world bureaucratic bodies like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that they and our competitors would invest with the authority to scold and punish us for our faults and then redistribute our wealth to the sick, lame and lazy nations who have suffered so from our overachievement. Question this silly system and you get accused of belonging to the militia just because you have the audacity to wonder why it’s mostly our tax dollars paying for these outfits.
     For an administration that has consistently sought to emasculate the world’s most potent military force, destroying our ability to feed, clothe and transport ourselves by taxing our energy use to the breaking point, is just one more long stride in a steady march toward a world where the poor will be kings and the rich no more. This is a utopia promised by a communist ideal they esteemed in their youth and secretly still admire but which the communists themselves have deserted in an effort to emulate the American dream.
     The Senate must ratify a treaty to make it binding on U.S. citizens. If the debate turns only on whether or not we spread the pain to undeveloped countries, then we’re in trouble. That means we will have accepted that something has to be done, that pain has to be suffered to make the world well. We don’t, of course. We don’t have to punish ourselves by depriving ourselves and the global economy of the benefit of growth by restricting energy use. If we do, we will turn the best of times into the worst. Tie this anvil around the economic neck of the world and toss it off a bridge and Asian flu will be long forgotten in the wake of the economic black plague that follows.
     It could bring on a world-wide depression that will make the last one look like a tea party, bringing the U.S. of A. down, along with the many nations of the world that are truly dependent on our strength and leadership. Don’t be surprised when we’re told a compromise is necessary to protect us from global warming and just a little sacrifice now is what we need. That’s the first step down that long road of empowering those who want to protect us from ourselves at the expense of those who are most productive among us, especially those of us in agriculture whose miracle of creativity based on individual freedom is where our true power and greatness as a nation originally derived and is best sustained today.
     Fortunately, our democratic form of government is designed to protect us from this kind of tyranny. But it’s up to each of us to make it work.

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Jake Cummins is executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and a former Marine lieutenant colonel.


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