More Reasoned Rhetoric from the Alliance for the Wild Rockies: Nazis!

Often what people say speaks more about their values than what you say about them. Such is the case of Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. In the typically respectful and rhetorically effective style his organization is known for, he offered this nuanced critique of mainstream environmental organizations in Montana:

Unfortunately, a disturbing trend has appeared as big environmental groups such as the Montana Wilderness Association and the Wilderness Society increasingly take foundation money to “collaborate” with timber corporations. And much like the Vichy French helped the Nazis occupy France during World War II, these collaborators now have to face the harsh and shameful legacy of what they have done and continue to do.

In a piece replete with logical fallacies and specious arguments, the section noted above does an especially effective job of portraying just how far removed from reality the extreme environmental movement in Montana is. They damage the movement by attacking allies and perhaps most critically, by giving the false impression that to be an environmentalist requires adherence to an all-or-nothing mentality which leaves out the vast majority of Montanans, many of whom would be willing to work for a cleaner environment.

The “collaborators” Mr. Garrity talks about are the ones who got meaningful legislation passed to protect Montana’s wild spaces and the nation’s environmental quality.  Those mainstream organizations got the very laws passed that Mr. Garrity’s organization uses when it seeks to protect wild spaces and to even suggest a comparison to Nazi collaborators demonstrates a profound ignorance of history and disrespect for the efforts of those who fought to protect the environment.

It’s more than just shameful rhetoric for which Mr. Garrity should apologize.  It’s the kind of rhetoric that conservatives find terribly useful when they seek to demonize the entirety of the environmental movement.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Not up on my logical fallacies. That’s Kaily’s fort. But I do understand specious.

    I was part of MWA at a time when they had far less money and far more effective fighters. Tester’s FJRA, which is what is at the base of your specicity, is nothing more than what Burns and Baucus tried, by every means available, to pass year in and out. Tester is Burns +150 pounds of meat on the hoof.

    AWR is effective. They win while MWA, flush with Pew money, sells out. You’re on the wrong side, Don. You’re fighting for politicians. They don’t matter. It’s about ideas, ideals. MWA used to be about ideals.

  • I agree with Mr. Pogreba on this issue. Not only on his critique of the referenced letter, but of the failure that follows an “all of nothing mentality” when trying to persuade public policy. It’s simply not pragmatic. The Alliance For the Wild Rockies seems unable to recognize what motivates people to join a cause, or, is not interested in “those kinds of people” joining their cause. They have forgotten the ever repeating truth, in terms of what actually changes policy and law. Evidence trumps Ideology. In the long run, every time.

    Further, it is important to recognize that what is acceptable for “Wild” lands and what is not is purely subjective. We can write laws to achieve some sort normativity, but even those laws allow wiggle room for the subjective. Does allowing cattle to graze on lands that otherwise would not have been protected negate any protection that we have acquired for them? Subjective value questions like this have no “right” answer, though the AFTWR seems damn sure. So much so in fact that anyone who disagrees has “sold out” or isn’t “really” for wild lands. I largely agree with the goals of the Alliance For the Wild Rockies, I just wish they would consider the entire list of outcomes in a probabilistic way when they take a hard line on an issue.
    “If we fail at this goal, what are the probabilities of individual outcomes, in the array of possible outcomes?”
    This is why compromise is a rational action, it weighs not only the probabilities of success, but also of failure. We must focus on better outcomes, not perfect ones. The MWA seems to recognize this.

  • Standing firm, fighting for those things you value, are in the eyes of today’s Democrats
    not “pragmatic.” The people who will sell us out on anything tell us that standing for anything is to be unreasonable.

    Good grief! Democrats! Think I’m gonna puke.

      • I don’t imagine Democrats often feel good about themselves, but who knows the mind of another. This is apparent though: You speak of politics as if there is no winning, and treat losing as a noble force for achieving long-term goals.

        This sort of “compromise” is less about politics than of the human spirit. You treat people who fight for their beliefs as if it is them, and not you, that has a spiritual defect.

        We have wilderness because of people who understood politics and knew what it took to win at that game. You don’t seem to grasp that winning is even possible. This is why I cannot be a Democrat. There’s no dignity in it.

  • It is misleading to compare the organizations of 50 years ago who worked to pass the The Wilderness Act of 1964 to the Pew-funded, collaborators of today. No meaningful legislation has passed as a result of collaboration in recent years. Plenty of bad laws have, however, with the help of these same collaborators.

    This is not about history, it is about behavior today, and its consequences. If you can’t face the fact that things have changed there isn’t much one can do to unravel the myth that “environmental movement” should all goosestep to whatever the corporate funders and their puppets in Congress dictate. By definition, historically, collaborators sell-out their friends, their neighborhoods and countries. Demonizing the messenger seems like a fairly common reaction to learning unpleasant truths about good people doing horrible things to our commons.

    • More misleading than comparing those organizations to the Vichy French? Doubtful, Steve. And you might want to check the definition of “collaborator”, historically even, before pushing your shallow morality on a word that doesn’t mean what you think it means. Finally, “demonizing the messenger”, or more appropriately written, demonizing disagreement appears vastly more prevalent on the part of idealistic zealots. Examples, Mr. Garrity and Mr. Tokarski right up there a few lines. It serves one purpose only, to shame those who may not agree -enough- into silence.

      • I prefer the use of the word “quisling” to the Vichy French comparison, as that word has entered the language and is in standard use. So let’s be straight here – MWA is comprised of quislings, and Tester’s “collaborative” bill, which is everything that Conrad Burns ever fought for, is a work of a larger group of quislings.

        Please don’t ever, ever tell us what our goals should be or how we should go about attaining them. You, Kailey, as a Democrat, have no useful advice to offer. We have eyes and brains and we see what you have wrought with your collaborative efforts – one defeat after another. Thanks, and I feel safe speaking for others in saying that we want no part of that.

    • Goosestep? Nice. Good to see the rhetoric is remaining sensible.

      I think you may want to take a look at some of your own diction before getting too worked up about anyone “demonizing” the messenger. Only one organization and its board have compared anyone else to Nazis.

  • Don: Senator Tester, leaders in the Montana timber industry and even some of the leaders at conservation groups have repeatedly called us “extremists” during their push to get Tester’s mandated logging bill through Congress. Have you forgotten Senator Tester’s “extremists are extremists and I don’t really care” comment?

    We’ve been labeled “extremists” by these folks due to our substantive concerns with FJRA and due to the fact that we believe some of these timber sales haven’t followed the best science and law. Given the fact that AWR wins over 85% of their lawsuits against the Forest Service in the US Federal Courts one has to believe there’s some merit to these cases, as beating the US Government and DOJ attorneys isn’t exactly easy.

    What do you suppose the modern, post-September 11th meaning of the word “extremists” is to most American’s? As such, Don, do you believe we are “extremists?” I assume you must since you label us the “extreme environmental movement” right here in this very post. Pretty ironic, eh?

    Besides, the fact is, Mike never did call anyone a Nazi. He called ‘collaborators’ ‘collaborators’ and used the correct historical reference to do that. I may have chosen not to use that exact reference, but for you to freak out about it, in the face of your profound silence when many of us are being labeled “extremists” by these same folks is just disingenuous on your part.

    And speaking about your concern with “damage to the environmental movement”…the fact of the matter is that most all conservation groups across the country working on forest and Wilderness policy (from tiny grassroots groups to even the larger groups such as Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, etc) all are worried about the “damage being caused to the environmental movement” (and our nation’s bedrock environmental laws) by Senator Tester and the ‘collaborators’ FJRA. That’s the number one reason the FJRA has little support outside of the small circle pushing it. Go dig into the official Congressional record from the hearings on the FJRA and see just how little love Tester’s FJRA really gets from these environmental groups – large and small – around the country.

    I’d also be curious to know exactly what “meaningful legislation” groups like Montana Wilderness Association have helped get passed to protect Montana’s wild spaces over the past twenty years? Heck, MWA itself claims that new Wilderness hasn’t been designated in Montana for over 25 years. Truth is, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies has been involved in some of the most precedent setting court cases over the past fifteen years. These cases have not only helped reign in an out-of-control Forest Service logging and roadbuilding program, but they also have protected millions of acres of critical habitat for critters like bull trout, lynx, grizzly bear and goshawk, to say nothing of the old-growth forests and roadless wildlands that remain the same today due in large part to AWR’s efforts.

    Steve Kelly said it best when he wrote: “It is misleading to compare the organizations of 50 years ago who worked to pass the The Wilderness Act of 1964 to the Pew-funded, collaborators of today.” If you want proof of that Don, I suggest you contact our good friend Stewart Brandborg up the Bitterroot, who was the head of The Wilderness Society when the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964 and when other bedrock laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, etc were passed into law. Brandy will certainly give you an earful on the current state of the forest/Wilderness movement.

  • One other thing that conspicuously absent from Don’s article is this….

    There’s not mention whatsoever of the very real fact that AWR’s guest column was in DIRECT RESPONSE to a $30,000 attack Ad campaign by the Montana timber industry.

    The truth of the matter is that last Wednesday the ‘collaborator’s’ ‘timber partners’ at RY Timber, Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Roseburg Forest Products and Sun Mountain Lumber took out a full-page advertisement in at least six Montana newspapers, including the Helena Independent Record, Missoulian, Kalispell Daily Interlake, Great Falls Tribune, Montana Standard and Bozeman Chronicle. According to Ad reps I spoke with, the retail cost of the advertisements likely ran between $27,000 and $31,000.

    Here’s a link to the timber industry’s Ad:

    The full-page Ad from the ‘timber partners’ is full of statements such as: “We believe the Forest Service is being held hostage by a small group of professional obstructionists.” Apparently the ‘timber partners’ comparing AWR to hostage-takers is no big thing, since Don never mentioned it in his post here.

    The word “frivolous” is mentioned numerous times in the timber industry Ad, always in connection with lawsuits. Yet as I already pointed out, AWR wins over 85% of their lawsuits, so “frivolous” lawsuits they are not.

    Among other things, the timber industry Ads calls for 1) scrapping the entire Forest Service public appeals process and 2) exempting many timber sales in Montana from judicial review. To be perfectly clear, these are the same exact timber companies pushing Senator Tester’s mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which would mandate logging on over 156 square miles of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Kootenia National Forest over the next 15 years.

    So, the big question is this: If the ‘timber partners’ spend $30,000 on an Ad campaign calling for the Forest Service public appeals process to be scrapped and exempting many timber sales in Montana from judicial review, just what does Senator Tester and organizations such as Montana Wilderness Association, The Wilderness Society, Montana Trout Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation think about these suggestions from their ‘timber partners?’ If these organizations are such defenders of good environmental policy, as seems to be suggested here by some, should they not speak out against scrapping the USFS public appeals process and exempting many timber sales from judicial review?

    So far the silence from them has been deafening.

    • I know that this may be a blow to your utterly fragile ego, Matt, but you are an extremist. It is not an insult, it is a statement of fact that you revel in. You LOVE being a “rebel with a cause”. You thrive on your puritopian existance. Sadly, you do NOT represent the majority of Montanans. Tester does. This little fact is not important to you as you obviously desire to be the center of the Universe.

      • Thank you, Moorcat, for focusing on the substance of the public lands, wilderness and logging policy issues at play here.

        • Is that really what Garrity was focusing on when he Godwined the whole debate? No? Holding some to a standard you refuse to acknowledge in your “allies” is pretty tawdry, Kohler.

        • What you and Mark fail to get is that I was focusing on the “substance of the public lands, wilderness and logging policy issues at play”. Your extremism and the willingness for your ilk to sue the various decisions, organizations, agencies and people into bankruptcy to assert your radical “wilderness agenda” is very much what makes you an extremist. Moreover, as a poster below pointed out, you are only shooting yourself in the foot by doing so. Keep up the “good fight” moron. The next move appears to be turning over fire fighting to the Dept of Homeland Security because you and idiots like you have been such a roadblock to forest service action aimed at meeting the needs of the majority of the public that the Forest Service can’t afford to deal with fires. The upside of that move will be that you will be unable to force your will on the Dept of Homeland Security. I just hope they give a crap about what the public wants. (Sarcasm) They have such a good track record of doing that in the past (end Sarcasm).

  • Hi Matt – thanks for your continuing and untiring efforts in this arena. Much appreciated.

    Just a note on the labels applied to you – it’s not just environmentalists, but anyone who tenaciously holds on to popular American values like public health care, a safety net, an end to the wars and slashing of the incredibly wasteful military. We are called “extremists,” “the far left”, the “fringe” and other epitaphs.

    Ridicule is a large part of thought control in our society – people adhere to groups, and those groups self-police. Any who deviate from group consensus are called these names, and that force, ridicule, serves to keep most members in line.

    So Mr. Pogreba, just like Tester, is using a standard thought control device to marginalize people who see the Obama agenda, the Tester agenda, for what they are: The Bush agenda, and the Burns agenda. Group membership is more important than anything to most people. It’s how we are wired, and as a consequence, how we are controlled.

    • Though there are some legitimate things to discuss in terms of acceptable thresholds in the environmental movement, Starting off with a nazi reference in an ever-fallacious reductio ad hitlerum destroys credibility. Look up Godwin’s law. To then make an insanely false generalization that Obama’s agenda=Bush’s agenda, for me, ends hope for rational discourse.

      There are better ways to get a point across. Don is right in stating that this was a poor choice.

    • Of course there are legitimate things to discuss in terms of motives and thresholds within the environmental movement. But to start off with the ever-fallacious reductio ad hitlerum argument was a poor choice. Look up Godwin’s Law. To then make the absurd overgeneralization that Obama ‘s Agenda = Bush’s Agenda, ends hope for rational discourse.

      Mr. Pogreba was right in criticizing this letter and the effects it will have on the common goals of it’s readers

  • “They damage the movement by attacking allies ”

    1) who are you to define the “environmental movement?”

    2) In what way are the collaborators “allies?” We choose our allies carefully. Usually by observing their behavior over the years. There is nothing in the FJRA or with its bevy of collaborators with which to “ally.” MWA is not my ally, or the ally of those that love wilderness. It is the enemy of the value that it once was established to protect: wilderness.

    3) Jon Tester sold out much of his environmental base and alienated many of his supporters years ago. How can individuals and organizations ally with those that think of them as “extremist?”

    AWR, and dozens of other nonprofits and thousands of individuals do not ascribe to the notions of “movement” or environmentalism that you do. To demand that we do is the epitome of arrogance. One would have thought that liberal democrats could find a place for minority positions in their big tent. But alas, the tent shrinks as it moves to silence the voices of Montanans who don’t think like they do.

    I think that the Green Party and other third party candidates may do well in this year’s elections among those whom democrats have purged from their party.

    And finally, that “vast majority of Montanans, many of whom would be willing to work for a cleaner environment”, just who and where are they? Or are you just looking for another scapegoat to blame the failure of whatever “environmentalism” you favor not getting success? Everybody looks for an excuse to not get involved, or to not stand up for what they believe in.

    If you want to put that blame on AWR, go right ahead. It just shows how little you know about the successes of AWR and its allies over the years, and how a little of its “respectful and rhetorically effective style” goes a long ways towards advancing the values that it was set up to protect: wilderness and biodiversity.

    • Once you stop castigating thousands of people as being Nazi collaborators, we can really talk about this.To assume that this kind of rhetoric is responsible, appropriate, or effective only demonstrates how far out of touch with reality some members of the radical environmental movement(s) are.

      I’d like to believe that the comparisons to Nazism would only come from the Glenn Becks of the world. Clearly, I’m wrong.

      As for your assertion that the Green Party and third party candidates will do well this year, I’d be happy to take that bet, unless the definition of doing well is scoring a few percentage points here and there.

      • If winning elections were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas?

        You guys “won” in 2006, running against the Iraq war, and then did what .. Oh yeah, continued to fund it.

        You won big, very big in 08, and what have you got to show for it? (I learned today that Obama has a list of Americans he intends to kill. You might want to get yourself on his Do Not Kill list. The man has gone postal!)

        The point is that if elections have no effect on public policy, then voting Green makes perfect sense. After all, voting for Democrats does not appear to matter either.

    • JC –

      So glad you came, because as soon as I read this I wanted to talk to you.

      You are the one who was mortally afraid of being called an extremist. You called it ‘dangerous rhetoric’. It was the sort of language that got people killed.

      Never mind that Tester used the word extremist correctly, as in, one who outside the norm in a political opinion. Never mind that you ought to just embrace the word, like Barry Goldwater. And never mind that it was addressed to moderates, the people least likely to use violence. It was dangerous!

      But collaborator, or quisling? Totally fine. It’s not as though tens of thousands of collaborators, or the eponym of the quisling, were actually executed. No one could get the idea that is someone is a quisling, they are a legitimate target for violence, could they? I mean, it’s just the name of someone who was deemed the legitimate target of violence by the Norwegian state, not generally considered an overly bloodthirsty entity.

      Your hypocrisy here, JC, is outlandish. It’s makes me want to laugh, and cry, and scream, all at once. Unfortunately, you yourself don’t strike me as a person lacking intellectual capacity, and so there’s no way you don’t see the hypocrisy for that reason. Either you are so ideologically blinded you can’t see it (which doesn’t say much about the organizations you defend), or you don’t care, and are willing to use rhetoric to score cheap points against Tester even when you don’t actually believe in what you are saying. Either way, it’s a new low for you (and Matt) personally, and a huge discredit to the organizations and ideologies you represent.

  • Then your claim is that environmental policy under Democrats differs from that under Republicans? Please, elucidate!


    • ~sigh~ You miss all the nuance. Oh wait, it isn’t nuance; what you miss is rather obvious. A small group of people have set themselves up as the moral arbiters of what is best for ‘the commons’, completely neglecting the fact that what is common is shared by all, not protected against all save the chosen believers. That there is destructive use of the commons and non-destructive use of the commons, no one is arguing.

      I’m not going to touch JC’s will to self-importance here. You and Matthew, on the other hand, argue that the only way to prevent the destructive use of the commons is to divide it’s ‘owners’ into good people and bad people based on an unfounded morality of what is ‘destructive’. You’ve decided that very open question for yourselves and then blame disagreement on the flaws you fantasize residing within those ‘others’. It’s nothing more than your delusionally patented Ad Hominem. You underpin that with the rationalization of “policy”.

      Kohler isn’t delusional. He is an extremist, which is precisely the label one would give to those who strive against the will of the majority when it comes to the property that the majority has interest in. He has decided who is righteous and who is wrong, and decided that policy should be what he says with no regard to what ‘the commons’ really means. So, his arguments of ‘policy’ are always against the more destructive of those he disagrees with and the Straw Man of those he sees as their enablers. Given that he already believes himself to be the arbiter of policy, we all become those enablers. I give him credit. That’s a Straw Man he is truly excellent at destroying.

      But you, Tokarski, you are delusional. You boil everything down to party politics, and then wail that no party favors you. You’ve made it very evident that the parties are the same because they disagree with *you*. Whether you like it or not, Tokarski, the parties agree with those who fund them, vote for them and support them. Those would be the very people who have an interest in exploiting the commons. It doesn’t matter whether that exploitation is for recreation or profit. People have a right to exploit ‘Wilderness’, and policy has no rightful purpose to prevent that exploitation. So, you ask if I “claim” that policy differs under Democrats as opposed to Republicans. Yes it does. Some exploitation is less destructive than others. That would be what Democrats tend to favor. If one can see past the conspiracies you surround yourself with, then yes, there is a difference. That doesn’t make your Ad Hominem caterwauling any less beside the actual point of the post. Driving allies away does not accomplish your goals. Blaming them for being Democrats isn’t a statement of morality. It’s being delusional. It’s being stupid.

      For the record, screaming “REPLY” at the top of your lungs is also pretty stupid. I’ll reply if I have the time and the interest. You can’t say a damned thing about it, Tokarski. That you think you can is pretty delusional.

      • “A small group of people have set themselves up as the moral arbiters of what is best for ‘the commons’…”

        Exactly the problem with Tester’s “collaborative” group. They aren’t making recommendations or writing proposed alternatives, they are a small group of people attempting to write public land policy via congressional rider. They set the terms of the debate, endorse the sagebrush rebel views about local control over federal land, close the door on public input over Wilderness acreage and logging amonts, and have no problem passing their bill without amenendments or an actual vote. What could go wrong with a model like this?

        The Nazi comparisons are out of line and counterproductive, but regardless, Tester’s FJRA is a disaster in the making. Too bad AWR doesn’t realize that these antics take the focus away from where it needs to be, on this disater of a bill.

  • Don, it looks like you struck a nerve with the tree hugger crowd. But you are right. These environmental extremists have gone too far, and their “success” is going to catch up with them. A couple of points.

    1. The federal litigation gravy train is going to dry up. Judges are getting sick of having to second guess every Forest Service decision and become biologists themselves. Recent decisions out of the Ninth Circuit make it clear they are going to refrain from playing Monday morning quarterback on all these actions. The Congress will sooner or later amend the Equal Access to Justice Act and you will stop getting paid to sue us.

    2. The cost of the litigation has gutted the Forest Service. The agency spends too many millions in triple-analyzing everything to meet a standard of perfection, and in litigation, and as a result does not have the budget to do its job. Fewer people out in the field, more bureaucrats doing paperwork in the office, more lawyers in court. Is this the model of success the environmentalists want? The result is the new forest planning rule which is designed to make it easier for them to get through decisions. One big drawback is that it actually reduces the importance of public involvement. So if someone has a legitimate point to make, the agency is now less likely to listen.

    3. This is not 1964. Yay, you passed a wilderness bill. Now let’s live in the present, stop re-living the gold old days. Public involvement in outdoor recreation is going down every year, which means public knowledge of these issues is going down. Most people think wilderness means the multiple use lands 5 miles out of town. That is why there is less demand for new wilderness lands – and partly because of the success of the 60’s and 70’s in stopping massive clear cuts. But the public now wants to know what the agency is doing about beetle kill on millions of acres, and they will want to know even more when those millions of acres go up in smoke. The challenge is to remain relevant. Garrity and Alliance for Wild Rockies are a relic of the past.

    4. Thank God they are a relic of the past. They are bad news for all you Vichy / Quisling / collaborators / normal people. This is a conservative talking. It’s a lot easier to fight against people who file a lawsuit every time a single tree gets cut down, or a timber salvage plan from a forest fire gets approved. It is much harder to fight against seemingly rational and balanced plans like Tester’s bill. His bill still sucks, but only because it does not cut down enough trees and it still tries to add Wilderness. I hope it goes down, thanks in no small part to the purists like Garrity who would rather sue the Forest Service into inactivity.

    Don’t believe me, I don’t care. I hope you left-wing tree huggers stick to your outdated ways of suing the Forest Service on every timber sale. Don’t get tired of your crusade. Just be aware the rest of us are tired of it. The judges, the Forest Service, the moderate / mildly reasonable environmental groups, the politicians, the voters, the loggers, etc. are tired of it. They all recognize there is a need for management, and there is a need to adapt to new facts on the ground.

    More importantly, keep accusing your moderate friends of collaborating with Nazis (you were actually calling the loggers and conservatives Nazis), and keep on trying to defeat Tester’s bill. For that matter, please help us in defeating Tester. Oh and please write a snarky post replying to this one and saying I’m an idiot and I don’t get it, and you are alone in your principles.

    • Wow, a real deal developer. What a piece of work!

      You overstate both the cost and frequency of lawsuits. That has been the meme from the beginning, the same one used by the “tort reform” movement, to remove access to the courts from the list of rights that citizens have to resist corporate governance.

      The problem with lawsuits for your crowd is not frequencynor cost. It has been, from the beginning, that you lose. You break the law, the agencies are corrupted by your influence, so we bypass them and go to the courts, and you are stopped in your tracks. It’s a pisser!

      If I were you, I too would want to eliminate that constitutional right of citizenship. We’re a pain in the ass, but the bigger pain in the ass for you is the law. So you want to eliminate the right of citizens to access the courts for redress, and you want to change the law so that you can bring back those good old three R’s and have your way with the commons.

      And, of course, you don’t have any sense or feel for the Wilderness Act. You’re a bit of a philistine, a pot head at the opera. The law was intended not to preserve land for recreation, but to preserve land in its original state. Yes, it would be good if people made use of the outdoors more than they do, if they’d shed their ATV’s and ealk a step or teo, but more important is the legacy left our heirs of land that was not logged, fenced, roaded, four-wheeled, polluted, and used for corporate profit at the expense of all else.

      Your words above are crude and ill-informed, and your aspirations for our commons dangerous. Don, I hope you see by reading this guy’s thoughts that you (and Tester) have allied yourselves with the corporations whose only goals are to satisfy investors at all costs. You are no different than the “other” party.

      You do see that, don’t you?

      • Undeveloped land is still an indefensible position, logically. When did that state exist? Human beings have been leaving their footprint on the landscape for centuries and millenia. The undeveloped state of the land included millions of human beings hunting, fishing, gathering, and engaging in agriculture. The current definition of wilderness precludes any of those activities to which the ecosystem is adapted. It is therefore not as simple as simply returning the land to an undeveloped state.

        • “So glad you came, because as soon as I read this I wanted to talk to you.”

          Ditto. But first you should go read the Wilderness Act and its implementing rules and regulations, because you don’t have a clue about what you are talking about.

          “…hunting, fishing, gathering, and engaging in agriculture. The current definition of wilderness precludes any of those activities…”

          All four of those activities are permitted in wilderness areas.

          • JC, I’ll never pretend to know more about wilderness areas than you. You are an expert on that. I’m just pointing out that the idea of restoring land to some previous condition without human influence is doomed to failure. The rest of it, I concede.

            But what I really want to hear from you, JC, is how extremist is a more dangerous word than collaborator, Vichy, or quisling?

            • It’s not the word. It’s the one who wields the word. A senator carries much more clout with his words than do individuals. One can incite people to violence (and I have been threatened with violence for my lawful actions in defense of wilderness), while the other does not.

              Jon Tester’s “Sister Souljah moment” has far more impact on the public’s perception on — and potential actions t0wards — radical environmental activists than anything Mike Garrity could ever say about mainstream hiking clubs and loggers.

              I just see nothing more than a bunch of misplaced indignity from those that would castigate Garrity and apologize for Tester. You accused me of hypocrisy here. I’d offer that the hypocrisy should be reserved for those who think it is ok for a senator to fuel a sentiment of violence towards people who are using nonviolent and lawful methods to advocate their positions.

              But keep it up guys. The more that mainstream dems work to alienate the radical left, the easier it becomes for “extremists” to just be extremists and work for causes they can believe in. Which is why I will advocate the Green Party’s platform — which once upon a time would have been a very mainstream democratic party platform, before said party got sucked so far to the right, that they even make Richard Nixon look liberal.

              • I can’t even begin to imagine how you can justify the argument that Senator Tester has fueled “a sentiment of violence towards people.” That’s simply absurd, even before you compound the absurdity by asserting that it’s okay to compare your ideological enemies to Nazi collaborators.

                No one in the radical left is being alienated here; they’re choosing to leave. You can either choose to work within the system and accept compromise or not. There’s nothing wrong with either choice, but it is a choice.

                • “You can either choose to work within the system and accept compromise or not.”

                  Since when has bringing lawsuit to challenge the federal government’s illegal activities a matter of compromise? Is the law really a subjective matter to you?

                  “I can’t even begin to imagine how you can justify the argument that Senator Tester has fueled “a sentiment of violence towards people.” ”

                  The word “extremist” carries much baggage. Muslim terrorists are labeled extremists, for instance. To pretend that the word “extremist” is only reserved for those who views fall outside of the mainstream political thought is to ignore the complexity of the word and its political usage.

                  Go ahead and negate your senator’s usage of the word. It just says much more about you, and a lack of integrity in your argument against Garrity.

                • To summarize: I am ignoring the the complexity of a word because I am acknowledging that extremist means “extreme,” but Mr. Garrity is making a reasonable argument when he equates the thousands of Montanans involved in mainstream environmental movements Nazi collaborators and, by extension, thousands of those opposed to his views Nazis?

                  You don’t get to play the outraged victim of heated rhetoric once you equate your enemies with those who committed genocide.

                  The claim that Mr. Tester’s response encouraged violence would be laughable if it wasn’t so transparently absurd.

                  Actually, for those of us in the reality-based community, the law is subjective, because there are nuances, unanticipated situations, and areas that simply aren’t clear. That’s why we have trials and judges.

                  You’d also note that my post doesn’t question the right to pursue action in court. It doesn’t question the policy pursued by the AWR. It does, however, take issue divisive and insulting rhetoric, the kind of rhetoric which discredits environmentalism in general. I’m more interested in pursuing and promoting sane environmental policy than in alienating the very people we’ll need to bring that policy to law.

                  As for those laws, I’m pretty sure they were passed through the efforts of those your ally just called “collaborators.” If you’d care to point me to a major environmental law passed in this country by those on the extreme (is that okay?), I’d appreciate it.

                • Well said, Don (though I was hoping someone would get into the whole Conservation/Preservation discussion). In this area, the law is extremely subjective and the radical environmentalists have – in many cases – been able to prevail because the law is subjective. While I don’t disagree with the protection of our environment being specifically referenced in the Montana Constitution, I do very much believe it has been used by the radical environmentalists as a club to be used against anything they don’t agree with. In short, it is a minority holding the majority hostage with the court.

                  It is that very situation which has given all environmental groups in Montana a bad stink with the average voter. As that “stink” goes (and make no mistake, with unemployment as high as it is and companies desiring to do business in Montana growing, the stink is getting unbearable), people will be less and less tolerant of radical environmentalists. Pushed far enough, you may well see the constitutional statement “interpretted” far less supportive of the environmental left – if not removed altogether. Now I honestly do not see that statement being removed from the constitution but I would remind you that the push to re-write the Montana Constitution is pretty strong right now. If they do, by some horrible set of circumstances, get the greenlight to re-write it, do you think for a second that the environmental statement survive a re-write? If that happened, you would knash your teeth, fall down on the ground kicking and screaming like a three year old wailing about the injustice, all the while never recognising that you were at fault for it occuring.

                • Moorcat, I’d just like to point out that none of the lawsuits against Forest Service timber sales on national forests have anything to do with 1) the Montana Constitution and the right of Montana citizens to a “clean and healthy environment” or 2) Montana laws such as MEPA.

                  The lawsuits are all about federal laws such as NEPA, NFMA, ESA, Federal Clean Water/Air Act et al. These federal laws are actually well established and hardly “extremely subjective” based on decades of court-cases and case law through the entire US Federal Court System.

                  Therefore you’re claim that I’ve highlighted below really doesn’t make much sense, especially as related to AWR and the federal timber sale program on national forests. I also think a majority of Montanans support the fact that our MT Constitution includes a right to a “clean and healthy environment, so your statement about “a minority holding the majority hostage with the court” also doesn’t make much sense. But again, I love the references that those ensuring the government follow the law are somehow equated to hostage takers. Thanks.

                  “While I don’t disagree with the protection of our environment being specifically referenced in the Montana Constitution, I do very much believe it has been used by the radical environmentalists as a club to be used against anything they don’t agree with. In short, it is a minority holding the majority hostage with the court.”

                • Sure Don.

                  Stewart Brandborg was on AWR’s Advisory Board, and was one of the principle architects behind the Wilderness Act. Many of the others who pushed the Wilderness Act through Congress would be considered extremists by folks like you and Jon Tester. Maybe that’s reason enough for you and the rest of the lilly-livered dems to suggest that we should begin to dismantle the Wilderness Act in the name of “compromise.

                  Brandborg publicly denounced Tester’s FJRA so I guess he qualifies as an extremist. I daresay that most of those that worked on the Wilderness Act would be considered extremists by today’s liberal standards.

                  “You don’t get to … [x, y, z] once you equate… [blah, blah, blah] ”

                  Don, I didn’t write the words that have so offended your sensibilities. So to try and tell me what I don’t get to do, based on what someone else said, is really quite silly. It also is a trait that is at the root of prejudice.

                • Matt, as usual, you miss the point. It doesn’t matter what the particulars of the current suit are. It only matters to you and the people activily involved with the suit. What the average, non legal trained people see is that the radical environmentalists are suing again. You seem incapable of seeing what your suit after suit after suit has cost the people of this state – both in jobs and in “good will”. It doesn’t seem to matter to you or the rabid environmentalists. If it did, you would work with these agencies to resolve the issues instead of sticking to a minority opinion and invoking the legal system.

                  Now, personally, I don’t give a shit what your opinion is. I don’t care whether you are trying to cripple everything for your own personal preservationist agenda. What I do care about is that your actions, the actions of those like you are having a direct impact on me – by preventing jobs, (in my view) harming the forests, preventing my desired use of the public lands and preventing progress. Frankly, I don’t give a damn if you see me as an “Earth hater”. I don’t believe the utopian nervana you wish to accomplish is possible (if for no other reason that the heisenberg effect). What I would much rather see is a reasoned and well balanced compromise between preservationists like you and conservationists like myself and these groups you hate so much. Your arrogance and obstanance prevents any such compromise and the end result will be something that neither group will like.

                • Moorcat, as usual, you have failed to do your homework about the work we do at the WildWest Institute.

                  I suggest you check out our website at, even if some parts of the site might not be as updated as I would like:

                  The truth of the matter is that in 17 plus years of doing forest/Wilderness policy work I’ve been responsible for 7 or 8 lawsuits. So when you write directly to me about my supposed “suit after suit after suit” you demonstrate a lack of understanding about my work over these years, and the work of the organization I run.

                  I’ve pointed this out so many times in the past, but it never seems to sink in with some of you. Oh well. Truth is, the WildWest Institute has been and continues to be deeply involved in open, transparent and inclusive “collaborative” processes on the Lolo National Forest, the Salmon Chalsis National Forest and the Bitterroot National Forest.

                  Fact is, we do “work with these agencies to resolve the issues” even if in your lack of understanding and knowledge of our specific work you think otherwise. Hell, the US Forest Service even gave one of our collaborative groups the “Breaking Gridlock” award a few years ago.

                  Fact is, the Lolo National Forest didn’t see one single timber sale lawsuit in the past 5 years, until the most recent Colt Summit timber sale. Fact in the past 11 years the Bitterroot National Forest has seen exactly two timber sale lawsuits, one suit was concerning one of the largest timber sales in Forest Service history (impacting roadless areas, old-growth, critical habitat) and the other was in regards to the first timber sale in Montana under Bush’s “Healthy Forest Restoration Act.”

                  In the future, Moorcat, if you want to bring me down or make this all about my ego, at least get your facts straight. Thanks buddy.

                • I could make the comment about not seeing the forest through the trees but you would A) not get the irony and B) not get the joke.

                  Matt, you are a smart guy but you suffer from the same problem I have most of the time – a complete inability to get beyond the minutia of an issue and see the big picture. I don’t give a damn how many lawsuits you have personally been involved with. I really don’t. You are just one cog in a larger wheel that has stymied public use of public lands. That is the big picture you are missing. If you get pidgeon holed with the other extremists, it is because of your own actions, words and posts openly advocating that position. The majority of Montanan’s are getting fed up with your (meaning you and the people who act and talk like you do) actions. The result is proposed laws limiting your actions. The first few attempts failed but each one got more and more public support. Eventually, the actions of people like you will drive public sentiment to finally approve actions to limit your activities. You are doing yourself no favors.

                • Time to put up, kkailey. You’ve made broad statements concerning use of the courts by environtal group. Unless you intend just to hurdle bundles of goo hoping some will stick, Limbaugh style, you should substantiate that claim.

                  Facts are a little more sobering – environmental grops are not swimming in dough, and so have to choose their issues carefully. So you’ll see above two lawsuits with Bitterroot in 11 years, each of the of a substantial nature, each meant to get to the heart of a legal issue or stop an,illegal activity thatnthe agencies are involved in. They are not harassment suits. there is simply no ther recourse once the agency’s the lawbreaker.

                  The whole notion of suit-happy enviros is a PR meme – that’s a public image industry uses to tar and feather. That it’s not true is of no importance to them. That you buy in is no surprise to me.

              • “It’s not the word. It’s the one who wields the word.”

                In other words, violent words are fine as long as no one who disagrees with you uses them.

        • Nuance is a fine concept when you are using it as a shield, and a finer touch when using language as a paintbrush rather than a hammer. I see a hammer in your hands.

  • I should not have said “original state” regarding wilderness. It should be “undeveloped state.” “Original” is an almost religios concept … belief in something that cannot be defined.

    • It would be interesting if you could define “undeveloped state”. Undeveloped by what? Climate change? Boot prints? Hiking trails? High mountain stocked trout lakes? Species imbalance? Rock rats that haven’t been exposed to diesel except through acid rain?

      I’ve been reading for days about the ‘traffic jams’ headed up Mount Everest, the most inhospitable mountain in the world. Undeveloped? Please do clarify.

      • Ah jeez, Kaileyness, reduce to minutia and bore me to death. Read the Wilderness Act of 64. that’s where, as best we are able, we defined it.

        It’s sophistry and obfuscation to try to undermine the act by changing the definitions in that

        Industry and motorbacks want to undo that act, by hook or crook. MWA went down, AWR still stands. Tester declared sides. Lines are drawn, Dems and Republicans have joined forces. We may lose, but it will be with swords drawn.

        • Really? How old were you in 1964, Mark? Were you in Congress? If not, your use of “we” is rather blatant sophistry. You didn’t define anything.

          It’s also interesting that others in this conversation have been dismissed as ignorant of “policy”, and yet you show a rather alarming degree of ignorance yourself. The lands that current policy fights surround are not “wilderness”, but rather wilderness study areas. Those lands have been subject to a wide use since 1964. So, I ask again. Please define “undeveloped state”.

          • I remember in 1963 or so walking into the “Beartooth Primitive Area'” later to become the BT Wilderness. I could not help much at that age. I did my best for ten years in the 1990’s to help the cause.

            Most of the land is “roadless” and not “study area.”

            Two points here: Under the original act, if land had a road, it per se did not become wilderness. So you’ll see in the BT that roads go right up to the boundary, like the Goose Lake jeep trail, and then wilderness starts. That road was there prior to the act.

            The other point is a good example of what this debate is about: Wilderness Study Areas came about in 88(?) or so when they could not decide on the final disposition of lands. The law said that WSA’s were to be treated as wilderness until a final decision was made. Law aside, Forest Service in the 90’s opened some of them up to ATV’s, motor bikes and snowmobiles. That was illegal but it was the agency that was breaking the law.

            I was on MWA council at that time, and we were wringing our hands wondering how to get the agency to obey the law. Bob Decker, Exec at the time time, said “we have to sue them.” We and others joined in a lawsuit, and won, hands down. Slam dunk. There was no question of the outcome, and no alternative when it is the agency itself that is the lawbreaker.

            That is your lawsuit-happy enviros, Kailey. What other option was there?

            Anyway, your obsession about “define define define” is Kaileyism, trying to drive the car in the ditch and force others to dwell on minutia as you struggle with the larger concepts. If you want a definition of wilderness, drag your sorry bones to the end of the Goose Lake jeep trail, and you’ll find the answer.

            Oh, wait – you can drive that far.

            • Mark, you are confusing me with my brother. I’m not the one who’s been discussing lawsuits.

              I grew up hiking the Bitterroot/Selway. What’s your point? You’re still engaging in sophistry, claiming your part in a greater effort you really had no hand in forming; nor apparently protecting, since 2000, after which much of the policy concerning roadless areas has radically changed. But of course, Bush = Gore, right? As you yourself indicate, much of the area that was designated ‘roadless’ is in fact not roadless at all. A considerable amount of it was designated roadless in the mid 80s, even though roads had existed for decades before the land was magically designated “roadless”. The south Pioneers, much of the Gallatin watershed and the Centennials are perfect examples of that very thing. It is not ‘undeveloped’, which is the point myself and others have been trying to get across to you.

              I am glad that you are a paladin standing forthright against what isn’t real. That’s the problem, though. Many who have environmental concerns want to deal with the reality of the situation and not a fantasy of 50 years ago. You dismiss us as ‘pragmatic’ and ignorant. Garrity calls us collaborators with evil. I tend to think we are realists, certainly more so than yourself.

              Tokarski, you constantly claim that small groups of people can organize others to accomplish big changes. You then go out of your way, just as Garrity and Koehler and JC do, to make certain that your group is as ‘pure of purpose’ as possible. The whole point that Pogie was making in this post is that that is counter-productive. It doesn’t organize people; it creates enemies. I’ve dealt with you too long to even be amused by the irony of your actions any more. The point my brother has been making is a good one. If you keep expecting the courts to defend your pure will with the righteous stand of the law, and you keep alienating those who support and favor that version of law, don’t be surprised when the law changes, and all of us dirty collaborators shrug and say “what the hell did you expect”?

  • For those interested in a blog devoted to a lively discussion of policy issues related directly to the management of America’s National Forest, might I suggest this. Thanks.

    A New Century of Forest Planning

  • Hello: Lost in this very interesting debate has been the actual substance of what the $30,000 ad campaign from the “timber partners” called for.

    Specifically, the timber mills who took out the Ad claimed “We believe the Forest Service is being held hostage by a small group of professional obstructionists” and then they offered these solutions:

    “We see several options available to Congress to immediately rectify these abuses:

    1) Amend the Equal Access to Justice Act by requiring a Cash Bond in these types of administrative appeals and lawsuits. Amend the Act further by implementing a Loser Pay System, where the loser is responsible for paying the attorneys’ fees and costs of the overall prevailing party.

    2) In designated Timber Management Areas already established under the approved Forest Plans, Congress could exempt from judicial review those Timber Sales which deal with trees that have been killed or severely damaged by the Mountain Pine Beetle. The authority of Congress to limit court jurisdiction can be found under Article III Section 2 of United States Constitution. A similar limitation was recently enacted by Congress when they removed Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List and barred the federal court from any further review.

    3) Scrap the entire Forest Service Administrative Appeals Process and use the more streamlined approach that the Department of Interior – BLM uses for their timber projects.”

    Does anyone here care to offer their views about the timber industry’s proposed solutions? Would these solutions be in the best interest of America’s national forest? Would these timber industry solutions be in the best interest of endangered and threatened species and their habitat? Or science-based management that preserves and restore important ecological functions on our public lands? Or keeping the public and everyday citizens involved in the management of their public lands?

    If these answer to these questions is “No” then who will speak up and out against the timber industry’s demands in their $30,000 Ad campaign? It seems pretty obvious that groups like the Montana Wilderness Association and The Wilderness Society will remain silent and say nothing about their ‘timber partners’ solutions. One has to wonder if the oil and gas industry or the coal mining industry took out similar Ads around the state calling for these same exact solutions as the timber industry what the reaction would be from these same groups.

    I guess part of the point I’d like to get people to think about is that the manner in which some small sub-set of conservation groups go about “collaboration” appears to really just prevent them from speaking out against any of the timber industry’s desires. These groups appear to care more about not upsetting their ‘timber partners’ then they appear to care about standing up for the management of public lands based science, law and the right of all Americans to fully participate in the process.

    As I keep mentioning, as someone who’s deeply involved with the forest and Wilderness movement nationally, not just in Montana, there is a general impression throughout the larger movement (as clearly evident at conferences, through internal list-serves, via official written testimony on bills like FJRA, etc) that the manner in which some of this “collaboration” is taking place in Montana is mis-guided, politically driven, potentially in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and doesn’t serve the long-term interest of America’s public lands legacy. There is also a general belief throughout the larger movement that some of the policy solutions being offered up by some of these Montana “collaborations” (ie mandating logging, releasing Wilderness Study Areas for development, allowing motors and other non-capable uses in designated Wilderness) would set a very dangerous precedent that would simply trickle down throughout the entire national forest system.

    These are the types of substantive public lands policy discussions taking place everyday within the larger forest and Wilderness movement around the country.

    • Matty, these guys have no interest in nor understanding of environmental policy. All they care about is that they are good foot soldiers following the policy dictates of their senator (no matter its substance), and that anyone who doesn’t fall in line should get a good whipping.

      • Which part was the substantive part again? Was it the broad generalizations about the motives of those who have the temerity to suggest that using Nazi rhetoric is inappropriate?

        Was it the part you claimed Senator Tester was inciting violence against you for using less inflammatory language than you are defending?

        Or was it simply the part where Mr. Garrity called his opponents Nazis?

        I’d appreciate clarification.

        • I suspect your harping on “Nazi rhetoric” is tactical, as you haven’t put anything else up, Don. You don’t seem to have a factual basis for debate here, so you are name-calling. You are trying to paint environmentalists as “extremists” in an effort to give the dog a bad name. That way you can beat him. That’s Tester’s goal too oddly, Burns’s as well. The odd thing is that I doubt very much you’d be doing this if FJRA were being pushed by Burns under some other name, as it has in the past.

          I constantly point out that Dems and Republicans are the same force in action, backed by the same money. Even if you can’t see it, as it is obscured by your fear of the “other” party holding office, you are an example of why it is so.

          Someone above said that my equating the Obama agenda with the Bush agenda was extreme or something. It is not. It is plainly apparent, but also hidden in plain sight. That you cannot see it is something that I have long scratched my head about. Why so blind? Why?

          • “I suspect your harping on “Nazi rhetoric” is tactical, as you haven’t put anything else up, Don.”

            He hasn’t put anything else up, I’m guessing, because he’s not an opponent of wilderness or the wilderness act or environmentalists of any kind. In fact I would say he has done more than anyone in Helena that I know of to spread the understanding of Deep Ecology and the rest of the theoretical underpinnings, and for that environmentalists should thank him.
            I am also not arguing against wilderness, or against a particular organization, because I don’t understand either well enough to have a strong and well-supported opinion. My suggestion about the populace was directed to people like the Kailey’s who are frustrated by environmental lawsuits – it’s fine to disagree with the outcomes, but if a group keeps winning its cases (and not suing merely to slow down or intimidate rivals), those who disagree with the verdicts are better off trying to change the law than hope that the plaintiffs will stop suing.

            I am an opponent of calling people Nazis or quislings who most clearly have done nothing approaching that level. I keep harping on it because that is what the post is about – using language that hurts your group and hurts anyone associated with it. It is part of why Tester can call you extremists – because if you think the Wilderness Society is comparable to Phillipe Petain, you are pretty extreme, or have a poor grasp of history. This is foolish not only because it fractures the movement, but because it makes the movement less popular (In 30 years, there has never been a higher portion of Americans prioritizing the economy over the environment; until 2007 they had never been a majority). Sure, you can keep suing, but only until the laws are ripped out from under you (take the example of wolves). If those opposed to the environment are granted the ‘ultimate weapon’ of majority public opinion, the courts, being essentially undemocratic, can only hold back the tide for so long.

            • Let’s tackle this head-on, PW. First, Garrity did not call “big environmental groups such as the Montana Wilderness Association and the Wilderness Society” Nazis. So any debate that revolves around that notion is just a red herring.

              What he said is that the foundations that fund those organizations–foundations like Pew, which is nothing more than an arm of Sunoco, the Fortune 100 oil & gas company–are using these organizations to move their political agenda.

              The analogy in Garrity’s piece is that the foundations are the Nazis, using their corporate money–laundered through their foundations–to entice locals to do their bidding. In this case, It is not a stretch to say that Sunoco–through the Pew Foundation–is paying off MWA and the Wilderness Society to work with businesses whose missions are incompatible with the wilderness values supposedly represented by these nonprofits.

              And if you know anything about the history of France, the Vichy allowed the Nazis to occupy their land. What MWA and the Wilderness Society are doing is inviting timber companies, ORV enthusiasts, and other extractive industries to occupy land once protected as roadless.

              The analogy that Garrity used is an interesting one, but any attempts to say that he was insinuating that any people other than the Foundations using corporate money to buy off local opposition were analogous to Nazis is just wrong. So Don–and anybody else who plays along–with this meme is just participating in a big ole strawman. Par for the course, I might add.

              What any of this has to do with lawsuits, or the rights of individuals to hold the government accountable in court, I don’t know. Just a bunch of slop over hatred of effective enviros, I guess.

              And then my final parting thought, as I’m done with this thread, is that I find it incredibly hypocritical for the author of this post and his cheering squad to defend a senator who out-and-out called his one-time supporters “extremists”–refusing to acknowledge or even debate any potential hazard that might carry–and then turn around and mischaracterize the words of Mike Garrity as accusing Montanans of being Nazis. It’s hypocritical, disingenuous, and misleading. Why Don chose to do so, I won’t hazard a thought at his motivation.

              But the outcome has cast aspersions on many people who have different values, and choose to use lawful and nonviolent tactics to achieve their goals.

              • You can’t cry about “casting aspersions” on many people when you’re defending a piece which calls thousands of people the moral equivalent of Nazi collaborators. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

                I know “you’re done with this thread” but how can you not see that you lose all moral ground to condemn Senator Tester’s rhetoric when yours is far more egregious?

                I do know a great about the history of Vichy, and the comparison Mr. Garrity made is beyond the pale. He should apologize.

              • I think it’s funny, JC. You note correctly that moderate environmental groups are not being compared to Nazis – just anyone to the right of them (ie, most people). Good work. It’s indefensible rhetoric, JC.

                Here’s a good litmus test for what makes rhetoric indefensible – If essentially non-violent people, looking for popular support, give a label to themselves, it is a defensible term. Barry Goldwater labeled himself an extremist decades ago, and that quote is one of the most admired, in certain circles, ever uttered by an American politician. So extremism can at least be interpreted positively or negatively. Indeed, Ralph Nader called Joe Lieberman a ‘right wing extremist’. I would say Nader has a higher profile than Tester, and yet no reasonable person could argue that he was inviting violence against Lieberman or his supporters.

                Now, no person in American political or civic life would label themselves as a quisling or compare themselves to the Vichy government. Why? Well, in addition to the incredibly negative connotations (compared to extremist), those people were SHOT BY THE THOUSANDS AFTER THE WAR, and few people argue that it is unjustified. So, in comparing non-violent, moderate civilians to a group of people who were justifiably executed en masse in living memory, how do you figure you aren’t inciting violence?

                But hey, you’re done with this thread. I would take this up with you on 4&20, but I don’t drink nearly enough for that site to be tolerable.

            • And Don as herald of Deep Ecology in Helena? Really???

              Deep Ecology was the philosophical seed of Earth First! I daresay that there isn’t a person in power at either MWA or the Wilderness Society in Helena that practices Deep Ecology, or has any understanding of its precepts–or if they do, they must be undergoing some pretty serious cognitive dissonance these days. Reading “On Walden Pond” as an English assignment does not more make a person a devout follower of Deep Ecology any more than assigning poli-sci students to read “Atlas Shrugged” makes them a conservative.

              • I also teach reading comprehension. You might want to drop by sometime.

                PW said that I teach my students about a wide range of environmental thought, including the precepts of Deep Ecology, which is a pretty fascinating movement. I’m fairly certain that he neither suggested that I am a devout follower of Naess or Sessions or that I seek to make my students that. Instead, crazily enough, I expose them to environmentalism from the mainstream to the extreme–and even let them read critics of environmentalism.

                You know, educate them.

              • “any understanding of its precepts”

                You can understand a theory without subscribing to it. Wait- let me rephrase. Most people can understand a theory without subscribing to it. The vast majority of people in Helena have little understanding of environmental philosophy at it’s most basic, much less the more involved theories. A substantial portion of the minority that does, does because Don taught it to them. I know of no other teacher in the city (and I know nearly all of them) who could claim the same.

      • False, JC. The Kaileys may disagree with the tactics, and I can’t speak for their mastery of the environmental knowledge. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re winning most of your lawsuits, then either the law needs to be changed (if the populous is unhappy with the outcome), or the relevant parties need to stop breaking them.

        What I, and I presume Don, oppose, is comparing people who don’t share your passion for lawsuits to a group of people who assisted in the murder of thousands, especially when you already decried a moderate senator’s use of the word ‘extremist’ as ‘dangerous’.

        • Nothing more need be said on your end there PW. We should also leave civil rights open to vote as well. Your appeal to the gallery here is beneath you. Either argue the values underlying the 1964 law, or back down. Public opinion, when 90% of the public is busy doing other stuff, is nothing more than a refuge from debate. As Dagline said, you’re beat. Stay down.

            • You do realize, of course, if you were as committed to your principles as you claim, you’d probably not purchase a product that fuels global capitalism, destroys the environment, and exploits workers, right?

              I mean the rest of us struggle with that dilemma, too, but we don’t present ourselves as ideologically perfect.

        • Polish Wolf: Please register my vote for:

          “The relevant parties need to stop breaking [the law].” Thank you.

          It’s curious to me how everyone seems to express concerns with how the Forest Service manages our public lands, yet some people seem to have issues when certain groups successfully hold the Forest Service accountable through the judicial system.

      • Another ridiculous Ad Hominem, JC. Here’s a hint guiding you to examine your own internal contradictions. Agreement does not imply understanding, nor does disagreement imply disinterest or ignorance.

        If there is something that others in this thread have no interest in, it’s the foolish belief that those not stridently in *your* camp are making deals with the fascist devil. That’s conspiracy twaddle worthy of Tokarski.

        • That is a wild leap on your part, part of the rhetoric of polarization. We have not changed over the years, our values are intact. But your side has accommodated to the degree that you are now aligned with the developers and corporations whose guiding ethic is to do whatever it takes to gain access to the commons. You’ve gone off the extreme end.

          On that end, by the way, are not demons or evil people, but rather a reflection of a common development due to the top-down structure of corporations: The people calling the shots demand only results, and the soldiers down below have to achieve those results or lose their jobs. Those in charged are not in the trenches. Ergo, down below, ethics go out the window.

          It’s not people so much as the way we are structured, with corporations by law having to satisfy investors over all other objectives. Here in Colorado this year there was a bill before the legislature to allow for a corporate charter that would place public good above investors. It did not pass, of course, but does highlight the problem.

          I see I’ve become a demon in your mind. Interesting!

          • You might want to reread my comment, Mark. My only comment about “devils” was “fascist devils”, the Nazis that Garrity and others accuse ‘us’ of collaborating with. Gerrity would be using the rhetoric of polarization that you fantasize coming from me. Your delusion is truly out of control. See, I don’t think you’re a demon. I think you’re an idiot.

  • Enviros traded wilderness protection for endangered species protection in 2011.

    Wilderness designation does not ensure sanctuary from political, social, economic and environmental events that threaten the ecological integrity of these areas. Even the ecosystems in these most protected of public lands are threatened. In addition to the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service are charged with stewardship of these lands while providing for appropriate human use and enjoyment.”

    The Forest Service is broken: it should come out of the USDA and look more like the Bureau of Reclamation. The land it manages is broken and should be divided among BIA, the Park Service, BLM, and the tribes.

  • The Forest Service is broken: it should come out of the USDA and look more like the Bureau of Reclamation. The land it manages is broken and should be divided among BIA, the Park Service, BLM, and the tribes.

    Enviros traded wilderness protection for endangered species protection in 2011.

    “Wilderness designation does not ensure sanctuary from political, social, economic and environmental events that threaten the ecological integrity of these areas. Even the ecosystems in these most protected of public lands are threatened. In addition to the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service are charged with stewardship of these lands while providing for appropriate human use and enjoyment.”

    • Larry, it might surprise you to know that I at least agree that the Forest Service is a hybrid organization that is in desparite need of restructuring. There is an amazing amount of duplication between various land management federal organizations that could be simplified by combining some some of them. Even the structure of the Forest Service is hybridized (their money comes from one agency and their administration comes from another).

      Where we part ways is in the idea that any ecosystem in the US can be “untouched” or “true wilderness”. That is silly think in my opinion. Nor do I believe that it should be.

      These lands are PUBLIC. You do understand what that means, right? We – as in the public – should, as a body, determine what happens to those lands, not a handful of eco nuts that are bound and determined to institute a policy of NON-use to preserve an idea of “wilderness” that simply doesn’t exist. The very fact that man has tread on those lands ensures that they are far from “pristine”. As a member of the public, you will never convince me that locking those lands up behind a wall of rules and fences is in the best interest of the majority of the public. Moreover, you can’t convince me that these lands are somehow untouched and will remain untouched if you have your way. They are subject to the vagarities of man’s existance and trying to “restore” them to a pristine wilderness is doomed to failure. What is needed is a reasoned, negotiated compromise that stewards these lands while still allowing public use and enjoyment. You don’t get to dictate what that use and enjoyment is, no matter how many suits are filed. The public at large does and should.

    • This article ties in with another story I am currently researching. As yet, I have not found any concrete beginnings to the story, but it appears that one option being considered to deal with firefighting is to move national firefighting crews under the Office of Homeland Security (you guys thought I was joking). This appears to be a real idea with people involved in three governmental offices. I first heard about it from three Forest Service employees and I have since had it confirmed from a BLM employee and a seasonal Fire Fighting Crew Chief. If the organizations involved in fighting fires blow their budget this year (and it is expected that they will spectacularly), we may well see this function moved to the Dept of Homeland Security. Is this the agency you puritopians want to see handling forest fires? It would certainly limit your ability to have a say in anything.

  • It’s amazing how our allegiances to an ideal can rob us of all reasonableness when that ideal comes under attack. Regardless of where your values lie on the continuum of enthusiasm and passion for the wilderness issue, the truth is this thread would be a hell of a lot shorter if just one person on the “wilderness-expert-defender” side of the debate would make a simple concession: The nazi comparison was an extreme dis analogy. This was the main thrust Mr. Pogreba’s post in the first place.

    It’s an interesting look at what politics can do to an individual’s rationality, regardless of which side of any debate you fall on.

    • If we were not branded as “extremists” by your Tester perhaps we’d be less sensitive. After all, we haven’t changed over the years. Your side went to the other camp. You’re not Nazis, but if you were with us once and were lured away by the power of money that dwells behind Democrats, you are quislings. If you were always on the other side, and now feign to be with us to entice us to collaborate with developer corporations, then you are merely agents provocateur.

      We have remained steady in our beliefs. Our goals our plainly apparent to all who know us, friend and enemy alike. We are not the problem. Democrats are the problem.

      • “If we were not branded as “extremists” by your Tester perhaps we’d be less sensitive.”

        Indeed. But you are now, supposedly, more sensitive to the power of inflammatory words, having been put on the receiving end of them by a Senator. Now, shouldn’t that greater sensitivity cause you to realize that calling people Nazis is disrespectful to any number of people, and counterproductive to boot?

        • Tokarski was never branded an “extremist”. He simply includes himself in the group to feel like one of the ‘cool kids’. Tester called Koehler an extremist, he called JC an extremist. Tokarski is an accountant.

          • I served my time, Kailey, and yes, I’d like to take LSD or meth or something after all these ears to get taxation and accounting out of my head. I was 14 when the original bill passed, didn’t know anything aboutit but did love hiking and camping the beartooth. I was a member of MWA and served on the executive committee for many years while you wee acing your philosophy courses and sleving your books. During all of that that time I never nice heard the name “Kailey.” Fortunately.

            PW and Rod, you both indicate that the public has moved behind the corporations who want access to the remaining roadless roads, and offer no evidence to that end. What has changed is that Pew corrupted MWA with money (my wife and I resigned in disgust before we left Montana), and they backed off long-held ideals and began the work of opening the doors to the corporations who want to impose a final solution for the roadless lands, claiming now to be “moderates” as you so shamelessly do. You are collaborators, nothing more. Stop harping about how reasonable you are being! That makes my skin crawl.

            When the lands are roaded and logged, when the ATV’s and snowmobiles come screaming in, the land will never again be the same, it will be over. The public appetite for resources is insatiable, but resources finite. There is no point n taking all that is left. There s such a thing as “enough.” There is no need to overrun everything. You could not resist the power of money, you Democrats, and engaged in quisling selling out while proclaiming moderation. You guys are like that about every single damned issue – soft in the middle, no fight in you. Eesh!

            As I’ve often said, having Democrats fight for you is lke sitting atop a bowl of Jello. I also said, way back when, that someday we’d not be fighting for new wilderness, but trying to hang to the old, and indeed the corporations are now knocking on Tester’s door with a bill to change the definition of wilderness to allow roads, ATV’s and building.

            Thanks Democrats. Thanks. You’re the best.

            • Hmm, you fought the good fight and things got worse. Reads to me like you weren’t very good at it, were you? ‘Good thing you didn’t quit your day job.

              • I was but a small part of a larger effort.I met some of the smartest people, strategically speaking, that I have ever known. My contributions were small, to be sure, and their ability to see the big picture was my guiding force. I am not strategically gifted, but am a good judge of character. That’s probably why I don’t much care for you.

  • So, is anyone still confused about the ad nauseam media narrative that touts the “historic” collaboration that brought together longtime adversaries — the timber industry and their radient new partners at TU, TWS, NWF, MWA and Pew?

    C’mon boys, we’re shooting for 100!

      • Pogie even over there is dissembling, JC, talking only about the Vichy remark. Don, if you got something besides that, now would be a good time to bring it. Otherwise you might want to take a moment to self-reflect about the power of money and the nature of collaboration.

        Here’s a simple metaphor (Rod, leave the room): Imagine metal particles scattered about on a table, and that someone takes a powerful magnet and merely waves it over the table top. See how the particles, not ever aware of the magnet, align with it.

        That’s just how power works, back in the 1940’s and now, in the 21st century. Most people are indifferent or distracted, those who are aware mostly follow power and align with it, and a few of us fight in the trenches and endure the ridicule of the collaborators, who are of course “reasonable” people of “moderation.” So the Vichy remark, while it upsets your “moderate” sensibilities, ought to give you pause, not that you are going to harm people, but rather that you have accommodated power now to the point that you are part of it, and of no use to any energetic progressive or conservation cause.

        And I suspect that your overreaction to that remark has more to do with your internal discomfort at your collaborative behavior, and that you are acting out, demonizing the non-collaberators, perhaps out of guilt? Sucks to be you?

        OK Rod, metaphor over. you can come back in now.

        • And now Tokarski brings out the amateur psychology. To his credit, he made it almost two days.

          I’d suggest, actually, that it’s you who is struggling with repressed shame and guilt. I mean, there you are, railing against the corporate interests that dominate American society, all the while unable to stop talking about your iPad, built by those same interests.

          As a result, you’re projecting your guilt on others. Good luck.

          • I drive a car and live in a wood house.

            That all you got? I mean, seriously Don, that’s really lame.

  • One of us has to somehow make collaboration seem noble, feign some kind of dignity in such low behavior.

    The other is typing this on an IPad, and once owned a desktop, and therefore has no voice in the destruction of wilderness by collaberators. I am supposed to be sending messages on onion skin using an Olilvetti to be true to the wilderness ethic.

    Gotcha, Don. Keep chuggin’. As was said in the 60’s, you sold out. I say you bought in. Tomato tomahto? you tell me which it is.

      • All righty then! You sold out, Don!

        I cite SK citing BG that your “moderation” (no fight in you – Eesh!) is no virtue.

          • Lame! By your standards, no one should ever fight for anything unless we live in the backwoods. You’re deflecting, dissembling, not good at thinking on your feet. I suggest Toastmasters.

            • Actually living in the backwoods is generally worse for the environment than living in an urban area – infrastructure costs and all that.

              By his standards, and mine, you make more of a difference ditching your car than refusing to vote for Jon Tester

            • Nope. Not my point at all. It’s that people like you refuse to accept their culpability for the very environmental problems they rail about. It’s psychologically satisfying, but incredibly damaging to the environment.

              Professor Emilio Moran explains it pretty well:

              What to do? What must be done is perhaps the most difficult thing of all, especially for those addicted to high levels of consumption and unfettered individualism: they must choose to consume a lot less and become models of a new biocentric model of production and consumption. Is this unlikely? Perhaps. The good news is that it is precisely in these countries that resides a substantial number of people who have begun to question our current economic model as an environmental and social disaster, and who long for greater simplicity (see Figure 8.2). It is from a growing awareness that our well-being is threatened by these myriad and interconnected insults against the functioning of the planet that such a shift may occur. We already have a growing number of people who are choosing to move out of mega-cities to smaller towns where a closer relationship can be built between people and the physical environment that supports them. It is there that it is possible to begin to reconnect to the challenges of production in a given growing zone, and to make do with what the land can produce sustainably.
              Without those who currently consume the bulk of the world’s resources in a very public and convincing way giving up their current patterns of consumption, we cannot hope to turn around what is now a global consumerism that threatens us all. Like anything else, what seems pretty good when done by a few people, is a disaster when it becomes a global phenomenon. In small villages it is ok to throw one’s mostly organic garbage in the street because there are plenty of scavenging animals loose to clean it up and recycle. When everyone does that in a mega-city, or even a modestly sized city, it is completely untenable. A sophisticated system of garbage cans, daily clean up of streets, and penalties for littering must conic into place to keep the city livable. All it takes is for the Garbage Workers to go on strike for a few days, to see a city like New York, or Sao Paulo come to its knees in a few days and concede. Likewise, the use of private cars offers unparalleled convenience. Asa complement to public transportation it is a useful convenience. But when it dominates as a mode of transportation, it is an unmitigated disaster to the health of people and the planet.

              • Faux environmentalism as a cover for your typical Democratic no-fight impulse? This is almost Rovian, Don. You’re placing yourself in the shoes of the fighters. Insult much?

                We are not Birkenstocks and granolas. We are people from all walks of life, almost all of whom live in urban settings. Our objective is to preserve what little is left of untrammeled land. I personally did not set out to stop people from driving or living in wooden houses or using computers. I joined MWA to play a small part in saving what we had left. I learned right away that, despite my initial confusion, that Democrats were not allies, and worse than that, Baucus was a faux bonhomme, or false friend. I realized that to succeed we had to eschew party politics, as alliance with Democrats would be fatal to wild lands.

                I mentioned the magnet above, which is concentrated wealth. When I was with MWA, Pew had already shown up. They offered grants, but we had to crawl to them and show them that our agenda was in their play book. It wasn’t, and we lived without their blood money. But Pew, from the beginning, was out only to neuter MWA and the others. They succeeded. MWA is no longer a player. They are doormats.

                The push now is that there has to be some resolution of the “problem” of roadless land. The underlying notion is that things are not OK as is, what with industry wanting in and pesky environmentalists stopping them. So Tester’s role, as with Burns, is to knock down walls, open up the lands, close the courts and shut the doors once and for all on citizen activism. If Rehberg wins instead of Tester, he too will push the same agenda, but will have less success, as you and yern might wake up.

                Your alliance with industry via Tester is the pull of money, the metal particles aligning, not even aware of the magnet. That’s not psychology, but politics. If concentrated wealth funds both parties, then there really is no alternative. The Democratic Party a nursing home, a moribund place where popular citizen movements go to die.

                • I think you should do some reading about the subject, Mark.

                  It’s pretty common, actually, for affluent Americans to do exactly what you do. You condemn global warming while driving a car which contributes mightily to it. You criticize the impact of globalization while buying the products it produces.

                  The only way we’ll save the environment is if we stop externalizing our guilt and confronting our own responsibility. Stop blaming Jon Tester and the Democrats–look at yourself.

  • Both Udalls now in service have angered tribes and enviros to litigation with botched Forest Service directives: why do you choose to bash Tester with solutions, Toke?

    • I suggest for you a blind taste test – take the actions of the Senators, Baucus, Burns and Tester without knowing their names, and distinguish one from the other. That’s what convinced coke to go with New Coke – they didn’t realize that their product was only distinguished by consumer perceptions.

      Tester is only distinguished by perceptions, and is no different than Burns. At least I get a sense here that people realize what a slug Baucus is, but are yet to realize that Tester is no different. (Those folks who will vote for Baucus next time around claim now they won’t. That’s a change.)

      • “I suggest for you a blind taste test – take the actions of the Senators, Baucus, Burns and Tester without knowing their names”

        Better plan – let’s compare the two men we are actually choosing between, on something they both have proposed plans about.

        Candidate A would like to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list entirely

        Candidate B would like to remove endangered species protection for gray wolves only in those regions that have shown they have a plan to deal with it.

        Which do you vote for? Sure, you may dislike both plans, but is one not better?

        • Lesser-evil politics. God what an undignified way to live! Buck up man! Flex your muscles! Breathe the air! Live, dammit! Live!

  • BTW:

    Tricon Timber in St. Regis, one of the timber mills who took part in $30,000 in Ads attacking the Alliance for Wild Rockies and calling for an end to the public appeals process and exempting many Montana national forest timber sales from judicial review
    has just announced that the could close if the Forest Service won’t let them out of a timber sale contract, which they’ve apparently had since 2003. And to think some people think we should have Congress mandating more logging on our national forests.

  • BTW, Part II:

    Judge: USFS failed to study how Colt Summit timber sale affects lynx habitat

    Question: What does this ruling saying about the type of “collaboration” taking place in Montana right now between the timber industry and a handful of well-funded conservation groups? Is the future of national forest management best served when industry gets together with well-funded special interest groups to push through illegal timber sales? Or is it best served when the Forest Service is required to follow the law and best science when managing our public lands?

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