Tag: immigration

The energizer politicians.

750x450 energizer bunny

They just keep going.  And going.  And going . . .

I don’t need to remind you of the Energizer Bunny commercials.  How can you forget them?  You know, the the mechanical rabbit with fake pink fur that relentlessly marches across your TV screen, pounding a big drum.

But this isn’t about bunnies.  It’s about that exceedingly large number of politicians out there who seem to think that the world just can’t possibly carry on without them.  But be forewarned:  I’m gonna’ name names.  But, given that this is an exceedingly target rich environment, I’m almost inevitably going to miss far more names than I actually hit.

Kickin’ butt.  And takin’ names.

Let me start with one of my least favorites:  Mike Coffman.  (I’ll concede, up front, Mike’s distinguished military record.)  But that record can’t insulate him from a jolt from the Energizer Bunny.  Between military tours, he’s held more political offices than you can shake a stick at:  several terms in the Colorado House of Representatives and Colorado Senate, Colorado Treasurer, Colorado Secretary of State, and then five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the U.S. House, Coffman succeeded immigration hawk, Tom Tancredo (one of few politicians who actually kept his promise to limit his time in office).  In the House, Coffman began his career as the heir to Tancredo’s hard line position on immigration.  But only until that stance threatened Mike’s reelection chances when his House seat was redistricted and became more competitive.  At which point, he cast aside his immigration “convictions” in favor of a higher “principle:” getting reelected.  Which cadged Mike six more years in office.  But despite turning on Trump on “The Wall,” Coffman was swept out when the Democrats took back the House.

But did losing his House seat slow down Mike?  If you thought so, you don’t understand the Energizers.  No sooner had the ashes cooled on his last failed bid for the U. S. House, Mike announced he was running-again.  But this time for Mayor of his home town, Aurora.

Will Mike win this race?  No idea.  But I’m sure of this: even if he doesn’t, I doubt this Energizer Bunny is done pounding his drum.

Let’s get bipartisan!

But lest you believe that Bunnies only inhabit Republican hutches, there are, if anything even more on the Democratic side.  Take, for example, John Kefalas, who’s held a long string of elected offices on Colorado’s urbanized, northern Front Range.

John and I both came into the Colorado House in 2006.  John, however, left the House in 2012 to run for a state Senate seat.  He then resigned part way through his eight year term to run for a seat on the Larimer Board of Commissioners.

Again, I am glad to give John credit where it is due.  While we didn’t often see eye to eye on policy matters, he was, like many of our legislative colleagues, smart and hard working.  But John’s legislative career path was like so many of the others I see down there: a term limit (eight years) in the House,  eight years in the Senate (or visa versa).  And then: “What’s next?”  The bunnies are always on the lookout for the main chance.  In John’s case, it was the County Commissioner seat-which pays significantly better than a legislative seat.

The vacancy game

But my real beef with John and so many other pols like him?  After promising his supporters that he is “eager” to represent them in the House-or, in Kefalas’ case, the Senate-he resigned part way through his term when the prospect of a better deal come along.  And then runs for that “higher” office-either through the truncated vacancy committee process.  Or via a regular election.

In either event, running as a current office holder-the “incumbent”-is a huge advantage in terms of name recognition.  Which also makes it much easier to raise money: the lobbyists who control donor purse strings are eager to back sure bets.  And shy away from long shot challengers.

The Greasy Pole

750x450 naval pole

And now, one of our own, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, has announced he’s running for President.  That’s a pole certainly no less greasy than the one Benjamin Disraeli climbed in 1874 to become Britain’s Prime Minister.

Again, I wish our former Governor well.  I served under him for a few years.  He’s an amiable man.  Perhaps, in fact, overly amiable for our current, bitterly partisan zeitgeist.

But I’m compelled to say this.  After 8 years as Mayor of Denver and then 8 years as Governor of Colorado, is he really any different than all the other professional politicians out there?  Or is he just on the lookout for the next hand hold on the greasy pole that will get him to the top of the heap in DC?

Where he will be content to comfortably wallow with the rest of the denizens of the DC swamp?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Emerald Mile

750450 rafting grand canyon

Or how the Sierra Club was bought and paid for on immigration

Until a few months ago, I had no idea what The Emerald Mile is.  Or was.  But my sister, as is her wont, helped straighten me out.

Over lunch, she the put on the hard sell:  “The Emerald Mile is a fabulous book.  You need to read it.  It’s about the fastest run that’s ever been made though the Grand Canyon in a little, wooden river dory.  Sure, there’s a little environmentalism thrown in. But it’s basically a great adventure story.  My kids loved it.  You will too.”

So I listened to an unabridged version.  And the book’s, indeed, a good one.  The story of three crazed “river rats” who pulled off this hair raising feat by getting slingshot through the Canyon on the back of a raging Colorado River at the height of a hundred year flood is compelling.

450x675 emerald mile

But wait.  There’s more.

But the story of the record breaking run down the river is, in many ways, mostly a peg on which to hang the much bigger story of human interaction with one of our nation’s most iconic natural wonders.  It’s a story that revolves around two polar extremes:  the dam building, engineering geniuses who bent the Colorado’s raging spring floods to man’s purposes. And, in the process, turned the river into an enormous, usually docile plumbing system.

At the other pole are environmental groups, with the Sierra Club in the vanguard, who eventually brought the dam building to a screeching halt.  But not, of course, until after some of the Canyon’s most stunning features were submerged in watery graves.

Much of the book is devoted to a history of the Sierra Club and it’s long time Executive Director, David Brower.  It tells how the Club went from little more than an “alpine picnicking society”, to, under Brower’s leadership, an organization espousing a militantly environmentalist, anti-immigration agenda.

And then, because of strings that were attached to a gift of more than $100 million from David Gelbaum, a pro-immigration, Jewish oligarch, the Sierra Club reverted to its picnicking club roots.  When he made the contribution, Gelbaum told then Sierra Club director, Carl Pope, that “if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.”  Pope, like an obedient lap dog, laid down and gratefully licked the hand that fed him.

See here, as well, for the story of how Gelbaum upped his purchase price for the Club to $200 million.  And how the Club has come out for virtually unlimited immigration.

To protest this immigration sell out, Brower resigned from the Club’s board, saying:

He [Brower] also criticized the Sierra Club leadership for not taking a stronger position against increased immigration into the United States, which in 1998 was the subject of a divisive internal debate over club policy.

”Overpopulation is perhaps the biggest problem facing us, and immigration is part of the problem. It has to be addressed.”

BS talks population control.  And money walks.

When I was in the Colorado legislature, on two occasions I ran bills that would have mandated that all Colorado employers use the E-Verify system to assure that job applicants are legally eligible to work in the U.S.  Illegal immigrants, of course, are usually drawn to this country for jobs.

On both occasions, Colorado environmental organizations opposed E-Verify.  Why?  Because, according to Pam Kiely, an environmental lobbyist, “We have to control world population first.  Then deal with the United States.” (Environmental groups, like most organizations with similar interests, run in packs.  The Sierra Club was one of the pack. Pam was speaking for the Club).

Pam’s logic doesn’t pass the smell test.  Why?  Because the U.S. has the fastest growing population of any industrialized nation in the world.  America accounts for all population growth among advanced countries.  And by 2050 we’re likely to add over 110 million people.  Imagine what 110 million more people will do to your commute.  The price of housing.  The pressure on our national parks.  And virtually all of that is attributable to immigration; the native born US population has stabilized at the replacement level.

Practicing what you preach on population control

Well, Pam, good luck with that strategy for controlling the world’s population.  I can just see the Club lecturing countries with sky rocketing populations like Oman, Niger and Tanzania about getting their population houses in order.   While ignoring what population growth and immigration is doing to the Sierra Club’s own country.  And the world’s population grows from our current, astounding number of over 7 billion.  To an unfathomable 11 billion by 2100.

So, Sierra Club members, party hearty on your exotic cruises.  And keep buying those coffee table books.  While your bought and paid for leadership ignores America’s mushrooming population.  And the tides of immigrants continue to lap up against the shores of places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellow Stone, and the Grand Tetons.

Ted Kennedy’s Immigration Love Child

The Immigration Act of 1965

Not long ago, I had lunch with a couple of guys I know well enough to say with confidence that they’re both politically conservative and active outdoorsmen: my brother and brother-in-law.  But when I brought up immigration, we parted company.  At least in part.

“Did you see the article,” I began, “about our national parks being overrun and ruined by visitors?  Immigrants, and their children, make the US the world’s only advanced industrial country whose population is growing.  And,” I continued, “population growth can’t be doing anything but make the situation worse. How is adding between 100 and 150 million new residents by 2050 going to help the environment.”

But isn’t legal immigration fine?

“But,” my brother in law responded, “you don’t have a problem with legal immigration do you?”

“Actually,” I said, “I do.  In fact, I have a big problem with legal immigration.”

“In 1965, Ted Kennedy pushed an immigration reform bill that continues to dramatically change the demographic makeup of our nation.  We went from a country that was overwhelmingly northern European, to one, where, in your kids’ lifetimes, they’ll be strangers in a strange land.  They’ll be part of a shrinking minority by as soon as 2045.”

Playing fast and loose

Kennedy denied that it was his intention to change America’s demographics:

“During debate on the Senate floor, Senator Kennedy, speaking of the effects of the act, said, “our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. … Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset”.

How wrong Kennedy was.  Although native population growth has tapered off at the replacement level, explosive immigration levels, combined with chain immigration, illegal immigration, and the high rate of births to immigrants, have caused the US population to soar.

“Not be flooded with a million immigrants” a year?  How about more like two to three million.  

The stupid party

The 1965 bill was sponsored in the Senate and House by leading Democrats.  When it came up for a vote in Congress, only 74% of Democrats supported the bill while 85%, of Republicans voted for it.  What’s up with this?

Two things.  First, southern Democrats still exercised a disproportionate share of legislative influence by sticking together under the skilled leadership of Richard Russell of Georgia and his crafty use of the Senate filibuster.  Russell understood the long term impact of the bill.  And couldn’t care less that opponents branded southerns as “racist” for refusing to support the legislation.  Russell foresaw that the Act was going to make ours a nation with a large component of virtually pre-industrial, Third World people that would be bitterly divided between the haves and the have nots.  So, southerners voted “No”.

And, second, most of the Republicans who supported the bill probably didn’t understand the complex and longterm ramifications of the legislation.  And what is equally likely, even those Republican who did understand what was being done, were unwilling to be associated with those benighted, racist southerners.

Is immigration a suicide pact?

And now, with so much of the nation, including a preponderance of the Democratic party, in the fevered grip of identity politics, what is the likely fate of white people who, in only 20 short years, be a minority in the nation their forefathers founded?

Will whites be afforded the minority protections that an overwhelmingly white, male political class granted to minorities when whites were in the majority?  Things like affirmative action?  And the Voting Rights Act?  Surely you jest.

Or is it more likely that minorities will double down and, using their new found majority status, pass reparations legislation that would force whites to compensate them for injuries and grievances that, in some cases, are centuries old?  And, on top of this, continue to demand preferential treatment under existing civil rights legislation.

In which case, when does the dwindling white beast of burden simply collapse?

Nemesis

When the ’65 Immigration Act was signed by President Johnson, America was still in its post World War II, imperial glory days.  But no empire is eternal.  Including the American empire.  And the truism that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall,” remains true.

Because as an empire metastasizes, it assimilates increasingly dissimilar, indigestible, and resentful populations.  Think of the Romans and restless barbarians that eventually sacked the Eternal City.  The British Empire, on which the never set, but to whom the American colonies gave the boot.  And, yet more troubling, the polyglot, dysfunctional, and even dangerous city that London has become with uncontrolled immigration.

Now, the American empire, with a tip’o the hat to Teddy Kennedy, has replaced its formerly homogeneous populace with a Tower of Babel of fractious races and tongues.

Barbarians at the gate

Thus, the illegal immigrant caravans storm our southern border.  While President Trump jawbones the wall rather than actually building the wall.  Speeches that are probably meaningless now that a divided Congress can’t even agree on keeping the government open.  Much less fund the wall.  Speeches that are more like fiddling rather than the “big, beautiful wall” we were promised.  And which wall may very well go up in smoke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just So Sad . . .

school shootings 2Compared To . . . ?

About two months ago there was a high school shooting in Aztec, New Mexico that resulted in the deaths of two students.  The shooter, who died in the incident, was armed with a Glock pistol that he legally purchased.  The weapon is widely used by both law enforcement and civilians.

My sister lives in Albuquerque.  With the tragedy occurring in her figurative backyard, my sister an sent an indignant email to me.  The subject line was, “Just so sad . . .”

Because immigration is often a bone of contention between us, that vexed topic also worked it’s way into the discussion.  She was particularly upset that the shooter was a white, American male. And, according to her, that these are the people that pose a real threat to our safety-as opposed to illegal immigrants.  As she put it, “Who is killing more of us?  White American males or illegal immigrants?”

And now we now have an even worse school shooting in Florida.   Again, the shooter was a white, American male.  But this time the shooter survived the episode, was arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.  The latest reports are that while the shooting was underway, four deputy sheriffs were hiding behind their nearby patrol cars-rather than storming the building. And that law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, ignored warnings signs of the danger posed by the shooter.  The shooter was armed with a legally purchased, semi-automatic, AR-15 rifle.  It’s estimated that there are several million of these weapons in circulation in the country.

Rivers of electronic ink have already been spilled discussing gun violence in this country.  What can be said that hasn’t already been said?  Well, here are a couple of ideas.

Compared To Most Of The World And Most Of Its History, America Is Peaceful

This is going to sound crazy coming on the heels of these horrific shootings, but by comparison to most of the world and for most of it’s history, America is peaceful.

The bloodiest war we ever fought was our Civil War, which left about 700,000 dead, more than the rest of our wars combined.  A terrible tragedy, without question.  But by comparison to the rest of the world, the US is a piker when it comes to blood letting.

One hundred years ago, Europe was nearing the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars”-which did nothing of the sort for that bloody continent.  In four years of savage trench warfare, over 9 million combatants lost their lives; additional millions of civilians perished.

But World War I was just the prelude to an even more horrifying conflict:  World War II.  This time, there were over 24 million military deaths, and nearly 30 million civilian.  American deaths (about 419,000), were a tiny fraction of these mind numbing totals.  And behind most of these countless deaths and maimings there were loved ones who, no doubt, experienced every bit as much grief as those who were left behind by our school shootings.

Am I making light of the shock and intense sorrow that has followed the school shootings in our country?  Of course not; it’s just to put it in context.  Do you charge me with being cold hearted?  Fair enough.  But what’s it called when you’re more grieved with 19 murders-than with the industrial scale slaughter of 24 million?

In light of these terrifying numbers, preachy articles like this one from an English newspaper, comparing European and US gun violence, and which are so prevalent after something like the Florida shooting, strike me, at best, as historically myopic.  And, at worst, as hypocrytical.

“But,” you say, “those wars were a long time ago.”  That’s right.  So was The Holocaust-and the 6 million who died in the gas chambers.  Are you saying, “It’s time to put The Holocaust behind us and focus on Florida”?  The question answers itself.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you the gruesome details.  But please, don’t lecture me about how “peaceful” Europe is in comparison to America.  Scholars estimate that the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, may have been responsible for up to 50 million deaths.  This quote, usually attributed to the Communist monster, is particularly apt here: “A single death is a tragedy.  The death of millions is a statistic.”  Yes, America has its share of tragedies.  But, thank God, we’re short on statistics.

Compared To Whom?

There’s an odd thing about these mass shootings that you probably haven’t noticed.  And that’s that not all of them are committed by white, American males.  In fact, a sizable number of these killings are committed by culprits that aren’t white, American males.   And the reason you haven’t noticed this fact? Because the main stream media doesn’t want you to notice it.  It doesn’t fit into their meme of white, American males as violent, gun happy criminals.

But the facts, here, tell a different story.  Immigrants of all races, both legal and illegal, have killed at least 635 and wounded at least 2,160 as of December, 2017.  And that doesn’t even count the 3,000 killed and over 6,000 injured in the September 11 attacks.  But these facts are often concealed in the coverage of these immigrant crimes because the main stream media usually doesn’t even talk about these attributes of the culprit. Unless he’s a white, American male.

So, is it atrocious when a white, American male is involved in one of these horrific crimes? Absolutely.  But it’s every bit as bad when the criminal is an immigrant, regardless of his race.  And if it’s relevant that some of these crazed criminals are white, American males, then the ethnicity and immigration status of the the culprit should be relevant and reported in all cases.

Compared To What, Realistically, Can Be Done

I live within a few miles of where the Columbine High School massacre occurred.  The body count in that tragedy left 15 dead (including the 2 perpetrators) and 24 wounded.  The Superintendent of that school district, Jason Glass, knows all too well the suffering caused by these crimes. Since the Florida shooting, he has weighed in on school safety with some ideas worth paying attention to.

First, he doesn’t believe that more restrictive gun control laws or arming teachers will get any more traction this time than it has after the numerous, previous incidents of this kind.  Thus, he doesn’t believe we should waste energy on the politically impossible.  And, that, instead, we should focus on the politically possible.

Superintendent Glass thinks the following are possible:

  • Putting trained, armed law enforcement officers in every school.
  • Increase funding for school mental health services.
  • Redesign schools to be more like airports, stadiums, and other public facilities, so that access is better controlled.
  • Create a federally funded center to study school safety and security.

I think three of the four of these ideas make sense.  I’m opposed, however, to turning the problem over to the federal government-even the funding.  If the feds fund school safety research, it will almost certainly try to impose a “one size fits all” solution.  When I was in the legislature, I learned that the “golden rule” rigidly applies to federal funding:  he who has the gold, makes the rules. Colorado isn’t California or North Dakota or New York or Alaska. We’re smart enough to come up with a solution that works for Colorado; keep the feds out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Left Or Right

male refugees floating in by boatIt’s Globalist Or Nationalist

My sister, to put it mildly, is well traveled.  Throw a dart at the globe, and there’s a good chance that, on one trip or another, she’s been there.  Or, at least, on that continent.

While I’ve been out of the country a few times, I’m pretty much a home body.  That gives us a different perspective on things.

It’s also true that, politically speaking, she comes down to the left of me.  Which isn’t too surprising, since I fall somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun.  Our political  discussions can be contentious.  On more than one occasion, I’ve stated my resolve that “We just shouldn’t talk politics.”  She responds, “You’re right.”  And, don’t you know, next time we’re together, we’re back at it.

One of the issues that has been a regular bone of contention is immigration.  We’ve emailed articles and links to websites back and forth trying to drive home our points.  All to little avail.

But she gave me an article from a recent edition of The New Yorker during our last visit that made an impression on me.  It’s entitled, You Will Not Replace Us.” The European thinkers behind the white-nationalist rallying cry” by Thomas Chatterton Williams.  I’ve got to hand it to my sister, it’s definitely worth a read.  And, I must confess, goes a good way toward proving her contention that she’s more open minded than I am.  Which, again, isn’t too surprising, since when it comes to immigration, I can pretty much look through a knot hole with both eyes open.

The line in the article that really jumped out at me appears near the end when the author turns his attention from Europe to the United States:  “And yet the country has nonetheless arrived at a moment when once unmentionable ideas have gone mainstream, and the most important political division is no longer between left and right but between globalist and nationalist.”

Coming from an historically leftist publication that’s produced in a city that has represented the belly of the leftist beast, this is a remarkable concession.  Politically speaking, it’s the equivalent of a tectonic shift in earth’s crust in the blink of an eye.

But consider.  Running on a decidedly nationalistic platform, Trump’s resounding victory confounded everyone:  the Republican establishment; Hillary still hasn’t resigned herself to it; the mainstream media remains in a state of dazed disbelief; the pollsters missed it by a mile.

The Brexit vote was equally unexpected.  And, basically, was also a show down between globalism and nationalism.  And the resentment in the European Union over the heavy handed, “right thinking” globalist bureaucrats in Brussels doesn’t stop with Britain.  A majority of citizens in many European countries support a ban on further immigration from Muslim majority countries: they want their nations back.  In this, they are following the lead of the globalists’ favorite te noire, Donald Trump.

The article quotes at length a leading French philosophe, Bernard-Henri Lévy, who, according to Thomas, “has long embodied elite thinking on the French left.”  With respect to the hordes of impoverished Syrian refugees washing over Europe, Lévy has written, “They are applicants for freedom, lovers of our promised land, our social model, and our values.  They are people who cry out ‘Europe! Europe!'”

At this, Thomas charges Lévy with “blithe cosmopolitanism” when, from his impeccable apartment in an exclusive Parisian neighborhood, the multi-millionaire Lévy dismisses the concerns of average Europeans about the hordes of Muslim refugees descending on the continent.  This callus attitude, continues Thomas, “can fuel resentment toward both intellectuals and immigrants.”  To which I can only add this suggestion for Monsieur Lévy: “Keep it up.”  And so he does; further on in the article, he flatly declares that France “has no refugees.”

The central theme of the article is one originally suggested by the French writer and member of the alt-right, Renaud Camus:  “The Great Replacement is very simple.  You have one people and, in the space of a generation, you have a different people.”  Explains Camus, the replacement is the result of mass immigration and low birth rates among native French people-and other Western countries and peoples.  (Here, by the way, is a thoughtful, non-boogieman manifesto of the alt-right coauthored by a gay, Jewish prankster/bomb thrower and a writer for Breitbart.)

When asked why the notion of the great replacement resonates so widely in so many places, Lévy dismisses it as a “junk idea.”  “The Roman conquest of Gaul,” asserts Lévy, “was a real modification of the population in France.  There was never something like an ethnic French people.”

It’s ironic that Lévy is so dismissive of the possibility of French ethnicity.  Because, as a Jew and a strident proponent of Zionism, he certainly seems to believe that Jewish ethnicity is no “junk idea.”  And, for that matter, that Jewish blood is sufficiently pure to be inextricably linked to the soil of Israel.

In January, 2015 Lévy addressed a meeting of the UN General Assembly on antisemitism in these terms:  “The Jews are detestable because they are supposed to support an evil illegitimate state-this is the anti-Zionist delirium of the merciless adversaries of the reestablishment of the Jews in their historical fatherland.”

This is intriguing language.  Imagine his “delirious” outrage if a member of the alt-right, on the basis of ethnic “purity,” attempted to claim an “historical fatherland” in front of an august body like the UN.  Lévy would be calling for their heads on a platter.  Evidently, only a Zionist is entitled to argue for an “historical fatherland” on the grounds of ethnic purity.  And only Jewish blood is sufficiently pure to save it from being a “junk idea.”

But Lévy, no more than any other disciple of identity politics, can’t have it both ways.  If Jews can press their case on the basis of race or ethnicity, so can blacks, and Hispanics, and Asians.  They do.  And they are.  As the article asserts, this is the new way of the world.  So, why not whites?

Lévy might not like the fact that it’s “no longer left and right, but globalist and nationalist.”  At least, when it comes to Europe and France.  But he, apparently, is perfectly content with the notion that Israel and Zionism and Judiasm represent a near apotheosis of blood and soil.  He better get used to the idea of other groups practicing what he really preaches.  Because it’s coming.

Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot

Daniel, WY: A little corner of paradise.

Daniel, WY: A little corner of paradise.

How The Sierra Club Sold the US Environment Down the River For $100 Million

After reading this post, you could be forgiven for believing that I’m perpetually on the road, leading the Life of Riley.  And you won’t get much of an argument from me; this retired life is sweet.

My latest trip was what my wife describes as my “slow boat to China” drive to visit our daughter and her family in Spokane.  What a fabulous country we still have.  And I saw some of the best of it.

My advice to you?  Get out and see it for yourself before it’s overwhelmed by population growth.  Which is the highest of any of the advanced industrial countries.  And is driven primarily by immigration-both legal and illegal.  The mid-range estimate by the US Census Bureau for our 2100 population?  Nearly 600 million people.  And on the high side?  Well over a billion.

So, staying off interstate highways to the extent possible, I took about eight days to make the trip.

Going first over the spectacular Trail Ridge Road, I  spent a night at the venerable Grand Lake Lodge.

The next day, on to Steamboat Springs where I stopped into the  F.M. Light store and picked up a beautiful, western belt buckle to go with my Stetson.  Now, I can honestly claim to be a full fledged cowboy.  Except, of course, for the cow, the boy and the horse.

That night I stayed at the Little America motel, just west of Rock Springs, Wyoming.  Talk about a trip down memory lane.  When I was a kid, we made annual pilgrimages to Idaho to visit relatives.  Little America, with its innumerable road signs counting down the miles until we could get an ice cream cone, relieved what seemed to be an endless ride in a cramped back seat across those vast stretches of sage brush country.

As the sun crept over the eastern horizon the next morning, I left I-80 behind and went north to the hardscrabble town of Kemmerer.  In the heart of Wyoming energy country, it’s the improbable home of the J.C. Penny mother store.

North of Kemmerer, the country went from starkly beautiful to hauntingly lonely.  Nothing except antelope and snow fences for mile after mile.

Until, that is, I came to a slightly wider spot in the road called Daniel.  Its ramshackled structures are being slowly reclaimed by the harsh Wyoming winters.  For several years in the 1830’s, it was home to the legendary fur trappers’ rendezvous that highlighted the rough and ready lives of the mountain men who blazed the trial west for the homesteaders that followed.

Again.  It’s a paradise you need to see before it’s paved to accommodate the hordes of migrants that are making our country a world sacrifice zone.

But, in reality, it’s not the migrants’ fault.  They’re just doing what comes naturally.  That is, leaving the hell holes they’ve made of their own countries.  And rather than doing the hard work of fixing things there, taking the path of least resistance and moving to paradise.  In other words, the good old U.S. of A.  You know, Texas tea, swimming pools, movie stars.  Not to mention food stamps, welfare and Section 8 housing.

And, of course, you’re right.  Not all are coming here for welfare-many are coming for jobs.  But that doesn’t mean they’re having any less impact on our environment: the air, the water, and our wild lands.

But don’t tell me that they can’t fix their own countries.  I’m 66 years old.  Within my lifetime, China was an impoverished, murderous hellhole.  But now, by most measures, their economy is bigger than ours.  And all without a penny of US foreign aid.  Not to mention mass immigration.

And if you’re counting on organizations, like the Sierra Club, that you thought were devoted to protecting our environment to save us, you’re fooling yourself.  They won’t.  In fact, they were bought and paid for by the “more people is better” lobby years ago.

For me, this strange story begins when I was in the legislature and introduced a bill that would have required every employer in the state to use the federal E-Verify system.  E-Verify enables employers, with a high degree of reliability, to determine whether a person applying for a job is in the country is here legally and so eligible to work.  Since jobs are considered one of the leading “magnets” for illegal immigrants, effectively preventing them from working here would go a long way towards “demagnetizing” the US.

Naïvely assuming that environmental groups would want to limit the environmental damage caused by population growth, I spoke with a woman named Pam Kiely, who was the lobbyist for a coalition of environmental groups.   With the capital’s golden dome soaring far above our heads, I vividly remember our discussion over the hubbub of other lobbyists and legislators on the stairs just outside the Senate chamber.

Her response to mandatory E-Verify?  “Of course, we’re concerned about population growth,” she said.  “But only from the perspective of world wide population growth.  So,” she concluded, “we can’t support your bill.”

So, there you have it.   We tackle urban sprawl and traffic congestion on Colorado’s Front Range by reducing population growth in Mexico.  And Africa.  Sort of like boiling the ocean: good luck with that.  And in the mean time ignore immigration.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this for groups like the Sierra Club.  As recently as 1989, the Club’s position was that it should work to bring about population stabilization “first of the United States and then of the world.”

What caused the Sierra Club to do a 180 degree turn on The Population Bomb (a book the Club helped get published) with respect to America’s environment?  You guessed it:  money.

In the early 1990’s, California plutocrat, David Gelbaum, told then Club president Carl Pope that that if the Club ever came out anti-immigration “they would never get a dollar from me.”  Pope obediently complied; the Club changed it’s tune.  Gelbaum then ponied up a cool $100 million or so-the largest gift in Club history.

The issue has remained contentious in the Club.  Proponents of limiting immigration have been denounced as “racist;” the perfect tool for shutting down reasoned debate.

The controversy also has significant Colorado connections.  Former Governor, Richard Lamm, a Democrat, has been one of the activists fighting to bring the Club back to its immigration limitation roots.  He also joined in a recent law suit alleging that the federal Department of Homeland Security has failed in its obligation to enforce the Environment Protection Act by ignoring the impact of legal and illegal immigration on the environment.  Lamm charges that ignoring the impact of immigration is “environmental malpractice.”

The Sierra Club has a pretty website:  seals, polar bears, stunning vistas.  Very slick.  Very politically correct.  It hits all the right environmental notes.  Except, of course, on what immigration is doing to the American environment.

There’s a saying in politics that goes, “Money talks, bullsh*t walks.”  The Sierra Club, from first hand experience, knows a lot about how that works.

So the next time you’re enjoying a weekend at your favorite “secret” spot in the back country, remember this: with the waves of immigrants coming this way, it probably won’t be a secret for long.  You better get out and see it again before they pave it. And put up a parking lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POWER POLITICS

My wife and I drove into Denver the other evening for a night out. As we emerged from the Alameda underpass going north on I-25,  several locomotives leading a coal train south thundered by on the tracks just to our right.

As we neared Colfax, the Zuni power plant’s stacks skewered the evening sky on the west side of the Platte River to our left.

The sinews of a modern industrial nation.  But largely for environmental reasons, the continued viability of both appears to be in question.  At this point, the general contours of what is driving these developments are both well publicized and well known.  What may surprise, however, is what is not being said.

Originally coal fired, the Zuni plant is part of the world’s oldest continuously operated commercial heating district.  Powered by natural gas now, it has been producing steam and electricity since  it came on line in 1900.  This particular station is slated to be closed as early as 2017, but there is a need for other plants to fill the demand for steam when it is gone.

As for coal, its future seems to be even more tenuous-at least in this country.  In 2010, HB-1365 was introduced in the Colorado General Assemble to shutter a number of Front Range coal fired power plants to convert them to natural gas.  Given the moniker, “The Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act“, I was one of the few members of the House, of either party, who voted against it.

The politics of the bill were confused.  Republicans of my party supported it because it appeared to be an easy way to burnish their environmental credentials by supporting the replacement of coal with cleaner burning, but more expensive, natural gas.  It was also a bone for the West slope natural gas industry that was then struggling with low prices and excess supply.

Democrats, and their environmentalist backers, supported it because natural gas is perceived as a “bridge fuel“, transitioning us from reliance on “dirty fossil fuels” of all sorts and, ultimately, leading to a rapid change over to very expensive (and less reliable ) “renewable” alternatives, such as solar and wind.

After breezing through the House, the initial bi-partisan consensus largely dissolved in the Senate. It become political hot potato for its Republican sponsor, former Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, among his more conservative colleagues.  And, in fact, may have played a role in the demise of his gubernatorial aspirations.

Be that as it may, when Governor Bill Ritter signed the bill into law it marked the beginning of the ongoing “War on Coal” in Colorado.  And a minor skirmish in the same battle on a national scale.

The impetus behind 1365 came from a host of Colorado environmental groups and their national associations.

Ironically, however, there is an elephant in the environmental room that is being entirely ignored by the very same organizations: our nation’s soaring population, eighty-some percent of which is driven by immigration, both legal and illegal.  How do I know it’s being ignored?

Because I asked. Pam Kiely is one of the Colorado’s most prominent environmental lobbyists. In 2012, a I co-sponsored a bill that would have required all employers to use the E-Verify system to confirm that job applicants were in the US legally at the time of hire.  The effect of the bill would have been to eliminate the employment magnet that draws so many illegals to Colorado.  If you think the bill would be a great fit for environmental groups concerned about the preservation of natural our resources, you would be wrong.  When I asked Kiely why her organizations couldn’t support my legislation, she gave the evasive reply, “We need to look at the population issue on a global scale.  Not just in the US.”

Well, that might be so.  But before we start worrying about what’s going on in, say, China or Africa, why don’t we try to address the issue right in our own back yards?  Of course, some claim that it is “racist” to even discuss the connection between pollution and US immigration policy. But who, with a straight face, can deny that a country of 417 million by as early as 2051 isn’t going to generate more pollution, less open space, more trash, more endless housing tracts, more traffic, and more crowded schools than is currently the case for a nation of 319 million?  And if nearly 100 million more people isn’t going to result in more climate change, et cetera, when will the tipping point be reached?  And do we really want to find out?

So what caused Pam Kiely’s environmental groups, including the venerable Sierra Club, to morph from the organization that helped triggered population alarmism by playing a key role in the publication of Paul Erich’s 1968 best seller, The Population Bomb to the Dr. Stangelovian posture of no longer worrying and, instead, loving the population bomb?  At least as it concerns the United States.

If you guessed money, you’re right.  In fact, a cool $200 million.  In an October 27, 2004 story reported by the Los Angles Times, it was revealed that ultra-rich donor, David Gelbaum, demanded that the Club change its long held position resisting the flood of immigrants into this country, despite any environmental harm that would result.  Kenneth Weiss, author of the Times article, quoted  Gelbaum as saying this to the Club’s Executive Director, Carl Pope:

“I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.”

So, over the protests of many of its less affluent but more environmentally conscientious members, including former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, the Sierra Club backed down from its long held stance on immigration.  And pocketed the cash.

As my wife and I drove home after our night out, we stopped at a light behind a ramshackled, exhaust belching vehicle headed toward I-25 across the street from the REI flagship store.  The car had Mexican plates.  Two things crossed my mind:  are the occupants here legally?  And do they have insurance?  I don’t know.  But, political correctness aside, what would your guess be?

The United States is already the world’s third most populous country.  It also has the highest population growth rate of all developed countries-almost entirely due to immigration, legal and illegal.  Is it important that we take reasonable measures to protect our environment?  Yes.  But I voted against HB-1365 anyway because I don’t like the idea of the government picking favorites in the energy business.  Especially when consumers, particularly low income consumers, suffer in the process.   But legislation such as 1365-and even more draconian measures-will simply be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of immigrants if we are not willing to face the real issue-immigration fueled population growth-squarely.  And, dare I say it, adopt the immigration policies that were for so long held by The Sierra Club?