As with most of the pop media, Democrat senators from key timber-industry states who might protest Joe Biden’s criminally-connected Bureau of Land Management nominee are following the example of pop band The Go-Gos: their lips are sealed.
The nominee is Tracy Stone-Manning -- who, if she were a character in a Roald Dahl tale, might better be called “Aunt Spiker” – to be Director of the Bureau of Land Management.
And her story not only can make one wonder about how wicked, dangerous, and self-serving people can be, it can inspire a few of us lucky Americans to take a look at the Bureau itself, and ask larger, more timeless, questions.
Stone-Manning was a member of one such group called Earth First! when she was a graduate student at the University of Montana in Missoula. In 1989, Stone-Manning mailed a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, an individual in her “circle of friends,” crudely warning federal authorities that trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest that were scheduled to be cut down had been sabotaged with metal spikes to prevent them from being harvested. Tree spiking, as this form of sabotage is called, is both a crime and, according to the FBI’s definition, an act of ecoterrorism that can be fatal to loggers or millworkers processing the spiked trees.
Indeed. Take the 1987 case of George Alexander for example, a story that the Washington Post actually covered in 1990. Alexander was a saw mill worker who was just beginning his shift in the Louisiana-Pacific Mill in Cloverdale, CA:
It was May 1987, and Alexander was 23. His job was to split logs. He was nearly three feet away when the log hit his saw and the saw exploded. One half of the blade stuck in the log. The other half hit Alexander in the head, tearing through his safety helmet and face shield. His face was slashed from eye to chin. His teeth were smashed and his jaw was cut in half.
Now, Ms. Stone-Manning stands to receive a six-figure, tax-payer funded salary. She also served no time for her participation in this severe act of terrorism.
That’s because she made a deal.
The case was not solved until Blount’s ex-girlfriend reported him to authorities two years later, and in doing so, also named Stone-Manning as the person who mailed the letter for him. In exchange for immunity, Stone-Manning testified in the 1993 trial against Blount, who was convicted for the tree spiking crime and sentenced to 17 months in prison.
And, par for the course, Stone-Manning was not forthright when asked about this for her new position. Some might say she lied.
Former BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley references interviews in which Stone-Manning admits she did not come forward about her knowledge of Blount’s 1989 tree spiking until her 1993 testimony. Stone-Manning later filled out a questionnaire for her Senate confirmation hearing with inaccuracies related to the tree spiking case.
But concentrating on the specifics of Stone-Manning’s nomination and dangerous philosophy miss two larger, longer-lasting, pictures.
The first is the existence of the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM controls more than 250 MILLION acres of surface land, and over 700 million acres of what the feds claim is beneath one’s feet, i.e. “sub-surface”, i.e. MINERAL RICHES.
The federal government owns nearly 30 percent of all the land in the country. In the West, those numbers soar even higher. The federal government controls more than 84 percent of the land in Nevada, more than 50 percent of the land in Alaska, Utah, Oregon and Idaho, and more than 40 percent of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.
In fact, in Utah, it’s more than 66 percent. As the Washington Post reported in 2013:
The nation’s 13 western states are home to 93 percent of federal land, according to 2010 agency data compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Almost exactly two-thirds of Utah land—66.5 percent—is federally owned, making it second only to Nevada’s 81 percent.
According to their vaunted Constitution, that’s against the rules.
The U.S. Constitution allows the federal government to control only three kinds of land. The first is the ten-square mile district in which the seat of the federal government is supposed to be located – a parcel that is not supposed to be turned into a state because of the potential political influence that might have on Congress. The rule can be found in Article One, Section Eight, Clause Seventeen.
The second type of land the feds can run is the property for federal military bases, termed “garrisons.”
The third is a federal “territory.” And when a territory is admitted into the union, as spelled out in Article Four, Section Three, Clause Two, it is supposed to enter with all the reserved powers of any other state. In other words, it is not supposed to cede land to the feds to be “managed.”
It was the 1906 “Antiquities Act” that subverted this clear constitutional system. Proponents claim that the 1906 federal statute vests the president with the power to establish “National Monuments” and for Congress to create “national parks”. But there simply is no power enumerated in the Constitution for any of it, and no one in his or her right mind would claim that nearly half of the land west of the Mississippi is a “federal garrison.”
Which brings us to the second, larger, ethical point.
Even if the Constitution allowed the feds to run land (above and below the surface), it would not be moral or ethical for politicians to do so because the only way politicians can run land is by taking money from citizens through taxation. This is legally-rationalized theft, perpetual plunder, and negates the market signals necessary to let people husband land properly and show what uses they value. It also places those politically-run lands into the hands of special interests, be they mining, logging, or environmental, and everyone fights over the resources.
But, does anyone think Democrat Senators in states where logging is big are commenting on Biden’s nominee for the unconstitutional BLM?
Breitbart’s Oliver shows us that the answer appears to be, “No.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee — the committee responsible for voting on Stone-Manning ahead of a full Senate vote — did not respond to multiple requests for comment about her stance on the nominee, nor did fellow Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
What a surprise.
And how about the senators from Oregon?
In addition to BLM’s wide influence in Oregon, the state also has the country’s highest concentration of fallers, a job requiring axes or saws to strategically fell trees. Its two senators, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkely (D-OR), have not responded to multiple requests for comment on if they support Stone-Manning’s nomination.
And what of mineral-rich Arizona?
Arizona, where BLM manages more than 12 million acres of land, is also represented by two Democrat senators, (Kyrsten) Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), neither of whom have commented on Stone-Manning’s nomination.
And, to round it off, how about West Virginia, home to “heroic” Dem Joe Manchin, who fooled a lot of hapless Republicans into thinking he might block the insane $2 trillion “infrastructure” (aka PORK) bill, when, in fact, he appears to have been angling for more pork to be sent to WV?
According to Bretbart, Joe has been mum.
And, in case folks thought this was just a Democrat problem, let’s not forget the wonderful pseudo-Republican from Maine, Susan Collins and "Independent", Angus King. As Oliver reports:
Maine, the most forested state in the country, has the highest concentration of logging equipment operators. Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who typically votes with Democrats, said he is “still reviewing” Stone-Manning’s nomination, while Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a moderate voter within her caucus, has not publicly stated her position.
And to round it off, what about Montana?
In Montana, another state heavily tied to the BLM, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) has been an outlier in advocating for Stone-Manning, who was a former staffer of his.
A nominee tied to ecoterrorism, who isn’t forthright with the anti-constitutional Senators, an who is nominated for a bureau that breaches the Constitution.
Is it any wonder why many American’s are fed up with this kind of arrogance and craziness?