Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Rich Steal With Impunity, The Poor Go To Jail; Plus Wolves Of Another Sort

In This Edition:

- Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?

- Wolf News


When I began to read the following article about Wall Street crimes, I was taken back, once again, to my memory of a black teenager being hauled off in a police car from a Von's (now Safeway) parking lot in San Diego County, some 20 or 30 years ago. She had stolen a bottle of wine, having been put up to it by an older male who was still sitting in his car in the parking lot. I thought of the poor and sometimes desperate folks in Baker City who are hauled off to jail on a daily basis for various, sometimes minor, crimes. I thought of Phil Ochs' words sung by Joan Baez in the song "There but for fortune."

In the in-depth article that follows, Matt Taibbi, one of the best investigative reporters in our world, vividly elucidates the crimes that have been committed by the Wall Street scamsters, and the stark differences between our treatment of the crimes of rich and poor. God it is long! But perhaps that is the price of understanding.

He describes how Wall Street scamsters brought our country to its knees while raking in millions of dollars--Crimes that went unpunished by a complicit government.

Here are the final paragraphs (but please read the entire article if you get some time):

Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?
Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

By Matt Taibbi
FEBRUARY 16, 2011 9:00 AM ET
. . . .
". . . .the system is skewed by the irrepressible pull of riches and power. If talent rises in the SEC or the Justice Department, it sooner or later jumps ship for those fat NBA contracts [big money on Wall Street, or as consultants or whatever]. Or, conversely, graduates of the big corporate firms take sabbaticals from their rich lifestyles to slum it in government service for a year or two. Many of those appointments are inevitably hand-picked by lifelong stooges for Wall Street like Chuck Schumer, who has accepted $14.6 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other major players in the finance industry, along with their corporate lawyers.

As for President Obama, what is there to be said? Goldman Sachs was his number-one private campaign contributor. He put a Citigroup executive in charge of his economic transition team, and he just named an executive of JP Morgan Chase, the proud owner of $7.7 million in Chase stock, his new chief of staff. "The betrayal that this represents by Obama to everybody is just — we're not ready to believe it," says Budde, a classmate of the president from their Columbia days. "He's really fucking us over like that? Really? That's really a JP Morgan guy, really?"

Which is not to say that the Obama era has meant an end to law enforcement. On the contrary: In the past few years, the administration has allocated massive amounts of federal resources to catching wrongdoers — of a certain type. Last year, the government deported 393,000 people, at a cost of $5 billion. Since 2007, felony immigration prosecutions along the Mexican border have surged 77 percent; nonfelony prosecutions by 259 percent. In Ohio last month, a single mother was caught lying about where she lived to put her kids into a better school district; the judge in the case tried to sentence her to 10 days in jail for fraud, declaring that letting her go free would "demean the seriousness" of the offenses. [My preference would be to seriously fine those that hire illegals.]

So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000. Lying moms: one. Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It's not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they're sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let's not even make them say they're sorry. That's too mean; let's just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don't make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don't ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. What's next? Taxpayer-funded massages for every Wall Street executive guilty of fraud?

The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don't feel real; you don't see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging coeds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They're crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let's steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy. They're attacking the very definition of property — which, after all, depends in part on a legal system that defends everyone's claims of ownership equally. When that definition becomes tenuous or conditional — when the state simply gives up on the notion of justice — this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality."
[Emphasis added, not that it was needed]

Wolf News

This first one is slightly dated, but adds a little context.

Do ranchers have a right to predator free landscape?
By George Wuerthner, 11-22-10
. . . .
One of the unquestioned and unspoken assumptions heard across the West is that ranchers have a right to a predator free environment. Even environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife more or less legitimize this perspective by supporting unqualified compensation for livestock losses to bears and wolves.  And many state agency wolf management plans specifically call for compensation to livestock producers—but without any requirements that livestock husbandry practices be in place to reduce or eliminate predation opportunity.

In a sense, ranchers have externalized one of their costs of business, namely practicing animal husbandry that eliminates or significantly reduces predator losses. Most of these proven techniques involve more time and expense than ranchers have traditionally had to pay, in part, because they have been successful in making the rest of us believe it was a public responsibility to eliminate predators and not a private business cost.
. . . .
See link above for rest

The Information Below is from Wally Sykes of Northeast Oregon Ecosystems:

[The first story may or may not be true. Wolf hysteria is easily whipped up by sloppy confirmations of wolf kills by federal investigators and then reported by news outlets, only to be overturned by more thorough ODFW investigations. ODFW has not been involved in these investigations, and while they could be true, there is plenty of room for skepticism.

The billboard, below, featured on previous blogs, was taken down yesterday due to objections from the landowner. It will hopefully be reposted in an alternative location before long. Doesn't the fact that the property owner felt compelled to remove the message speak for itself?]

Wolves kill two cows in Wallowa County
Wallowa County Chieftain
February 16, 2011

Also covered on OPB blog:

Washington Livestock group files suit over wolves
February 16, 2011
Group sues USFWS to force a review of federal wolf protections

Wolf Awareness Week Poster Image Entries Wanted
Ashland Current
February 16, 2011
The theme for the 2011 posters is “Why Wolves? Wolves’ Role in a Healthy Ecosystem.”

Wolf de-listing bill on fast track in DC
February 15, 2011
Spokesman Review

From Ralph Maughan:
Cuts to Wildlife Services proposed by Obama. His budget will not become law due to the giant faceoff between Rs and Ds, but many of the specific cuts could survive.

Elsewhere in the West:

Dangerous Threats:
New York Times
February 15, 2011
NYT Editorial blasts Representative Rehberg’s veiled threat against a federal judge as well as his effort to undermine that judges decisions.

AP News Break – Montana won’t wait to kill wolves
Idaho Statesman
February 16, 2011
Defying federal authority over gray wolves, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday encouraged ranchers to kill wolves that prey on their livestock - even in areas where that is not currently allowed - and said the state will start shooting packs that hurt elk herds.

The Story in:
USA Today
Helena Independent Record
GOP Bill Would Lift Wolf Protections
Associated Press
February 16, 2011

Idaho wolves in lawmakers’ sights
Idaho Mountain Express
February 16, 2011
Idaho wolves are in the crosshairs as efforts to control and delist the predators escalate on the federal and state levels. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was the first to take aim last week, publishing a draft environmental impact statement on Thursday that proposed allowing Idaho to reduce the Lolo wolf population—in north-central Idaho—by more than half.

Styler on Wolves
February16, 2011
Salt Lake Tribune
2 LTE responses to DNR Director's outrageous wolf claims

Elsewhere in the country

Study of wolf population underway in Michigan
Suite 101
February 15, 2011
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment needs help in the northern portion of Lower Michigan to find signs the gray wolf has returned.

Cry Wolf
Express Milwaukee
February 16, 2011
Someone very close to me worries a lot about wolves. She doesn’t worry about being attacked by packs of wolves. Nor is she afraid that when she goes through the woods to grandmother’s house, a wolf will be in granny’s bed wearing a frilly bonnet. She worries that Wisconsin can hardly wait to wipe out all the wolves again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can Progressives an Libertarians Find Common Ground on The Budget?

In This edition:

- Judge Napolitano Interviews Ron Paul & Ralph Nader Together

- Democracy Now! on Obama's Budget

- Tell Congress: Don't pull the plug on NPR and PBS! (Added 2/16/11)

- Alan Simpson On NPR's Morning Edition (Added 2/16/11)

- Liberty Radio's Scott Horton (Libertarian) Interviews Chris Hedges (Progressive)

- More on Obama's Budget

- Wolf Articles


Judge Napolitano Interviews Ron Paul & Ralph Nader Together


Democracy Now! on Obama's Budget

AMY GOODMAN: Obama’s plan includes two modest tax hikes for banks and oil companies. It also calls for ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in 2013 and returning the estate tax to its higher 2009 levels. But it comes less than two months after Obama signed into law a measure that temporarily extended the tax cuts and reduced the estate tax, adding over $500 billion to the federal deficit. According to the White House, the deficit will reach a record $1.6 trillion next year.

The Pentagon meanwhile will see its first spending reduction since the 9/11 attacks, but only at modest levels. The budget allots $553 billion for the Pentagon’s regular spending—$12 billion less than what the military expected, but still three percent higher over fiscal year 2011. Another $118 billion is earmarked for war-time spending.
. . . .


And the important thing is, here you have President Obama saying that they’ve gotten down to the lowest level of domestic spending, domestic discretionary spending, since the Eisenhower era. That certainly sounds good as a sound bite, but understand what that means. It means that now Pentagon spending, defense spending, is a dramatically higher level of what our budget goes to. And I wish President Obama would remember what Dwight Eisenhower said about defense spending versus domestic spending. Dwight Eisenhower said, every time you buy a bomb, every time you pay for a bullet, that’s money that comes out of building a school or putting a roof on a house. I just think the President is making a lot of wrong choices here.


Tell Congress: Don't pull the plug on NPR and PBS!

Your Voice Matters-Defend Federal Funding for Public Broadcasting and Call Today

David Wu, Oregon 1st (202-225-0855)
Greg Walden, Oregon 2nd (202-225-6730)
Earl Blumenauer, Oregon 3rd (202-225-4811)
Peter DeFazio, Oregon 4th (202-225-6416)
Kurt Schrader, Oregon 5th (202-225-5711)
Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington 3rd (202-225-3536)
Doc Hastings, Washington 4th (202-225-5816)
Senator Jeff Merkley, Oregon (202-224-3753)
Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon (202-224-5244)
Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington (202-224-3441)
Senator Patty Murray, Washington (202-224-2621)

Alan Simpson On NPR's Morning Edition (Added 2/16/11)

Alan Simpson: Cut Entitlements, Defense; Not Aid To Poor

"STEVE: Do you think that it is possible, however you figure out the numbers, to balance the budget or move it close to balance while preserving what we call the social safety net that has grown up in this country across many decades?

SIMPSON: Heating. That Leap group.


SIMPSON: Yup, that's a critically important thing. That shouldn't even be touched.

You don't need to touch that, you need to go get rid of 250,000 contractors in the Defense Department where you can really pick up some small change.

STEVE: So you think the safety net can be preserved – that's not really where the big money is anyway."

On Defense related spending:

"SIMPSON: Without any question. We have a defense budget now which is larger than all 14 other countries (with the largest economies.) That ought to get you somewhere.

SIMPSON: Yes, except China, of course, and now they're gearing up.

We found stuff in the Defense Department that you can't believe. Here's one for ya. There's a DOD health system, its separate from the Veterans Administration, its separate from Obamacare. It affects 2.2 million military retirees.

Their premium is $460 a year and no co-pay and includes their dependents and the cost to the U.S. is $53 billion a year.

STEVE: So maybe people ought to pay in a little more that's what you're saying...

SIMPSON: And, I'll tell you what, you mention that, here come the reserve officers, here comes the VA, the veterans groups and they'll rain boulders on your head.

That's how you pass or kill something in this country, you use emotion, fear, guilt or racism, and I've been in them all – I did immigration, nuclear, Social Security, ageing – I learned where the long knives are.

And as long as people are buffaloed by that, and fogged by that on the basis of protecting their hide from any peril, as H.L. Mencken once said, we're in deep trouble."


Antiwar Radio's Scott Horton (Libertarian) Interviews Chris Hedges (Progressive)

February 14, 2011| Democrats, Left, Republicans, Tyranny | Scott Horton

Chris Hedges, author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, discusses the present state of affairs, best described as a convergence of the fictional dystopias in 1984 and Brave New World; the language of tyranny, ranging from soft seduction to overt threats, depending on the audience; how working class outrage is diverted away from the entrenched elite, and focused on scapegoats and fantastic conspiracies; the destruction and co-option of traditional Leftist institutions; and how federal debt is currently serviced by issuing more debt, a problem of sustainability that neither party will address.

MP3 here. (20:10)

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. In 2009 the Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year and granting him the Best Online Column award for his Truthdig essay “Party to Murder,” about the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza.

He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, I Don’t Believe in Atheists and the best-selling American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

[ See also “Death of the Liberal Class.”]

In case you missed the link above to Chris Hedges' article, Recognizing the Language of Tyranny, here are two excerpts:

"Those who administer empire—elected officials, corporate managers, generals and the celebrity courtiers who disseminate the propaganda—become very wealthy. They make immense fortunes whether they deliver the nightly news, sit on the boards of corporations, or rise, lavished with corporate endorsements, within the vast industry of spectacle and entertainment. They all pay homage, even in moments defined as criticism, to the essential goodness of corporate power. They shut out all real debate. They ignore flagrant injustices and abuse. They peddle the illusions that keep us passive and amused. But as our society is reconfigured into an oligarchic system, with a permanent and vast underclass, along with a shrinking and unstable middle class, these illusions lose their power. The language of pleasant deception must be replaced with the overt language of force. It is hard to continue to live in a state of self-delusion once unemployment benefits run out, once the only job available comes without benefits or a living wage, once the future no longer conforms to the happy talk that saturates our airwaves. At this point rage becomes the engine of response, and whoever can channel that rage inherits power. The manipulation of that rage has become the newest task of the corporate propagandists, and the failure of the liberal class to defend core liberal values has left its members with nothing to contribute to the debate.

. . . .

All centralized power, once restraints and regulations are abolished, once it is no longer accountable to citizens, knows no limit to internal and external plunder. The corporate state, which has emasculated our government, is creating a new form of feudalism, a world of masters and serfs. It speaks to those who remain in a state of self-delusion in the comforting and familiar language of liberty, freedom, prosperity and electoral democracy. It speaks to the poor and the oppressed in the language of naked coercion. But, here too, all will end up in the same place."


Obama’s Budget and the Rot of American Capitalism

By Patrick Martin

February 15, 2011

"Behind the “debate” in Washington and the media over the budget is a massive lie—the claim that the budget deficits are a product of excessive social spending. Obama’s budget director Jacob Lew summed up this grotesque falsification an op-ed column published in the New York Times February 6, under the headline, “The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us.” Lew claimed that the causes of the projected budget deficits were “decisions to make two large tax cuts without offsetting them and to create a Medicare prescription drug benefit without paying for it, combined with the effects of the recession…”

This list is notable for what it leaves out: the cost of two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, which runs into the trillions; and the bank bailouts, where more trillions in public funds were placed at the disposal of the financial aristocracy, with no questions asked. The military budget by itself accounts for the lion’s share of the ten-year deficit: more than $7 trillion of the projected $10 trillion."


Wolf Articles (From Wally Sykes)

OPB (ran on hourly news)


East Oregonian

AP article was picked up broadly

Oregon Wild blog article

GOP budget bill lifts wolf protections
Seattle Times
February 14, 2011
BILLINGS, Mont. — A Republican budget bill would strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections across most of the Northern Rockies.
A provision tucked into the continuing budget resolution directs Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reissue a 2009 rule that took wolves off the endangered list in Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Rocky Barker: Are wolves still “non-essential” in the West?
Idaho Statesman
February 14, 2011
When U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy placed wolves in the Rocky Mountains back on the endangered species list in 2010, the main impact was on hunting.
Ranchers have still been able to have wolves that attack their livestock killed —with little argument.

Montana pols could imperil wolves
Arizona Republic - Opinion
February 14, 2011
Montana's 2012 Senate race could doom wolves in Arizona. It's politics. And it stinks. The long-fought effort to restore endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wilds of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico is threatened by posturing between two politicians. Montana's Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who intends to run for Senate, are each trying to look more appealing to anti-wolf factions in that state. Wolves are pawns.

Inflammatory words inflame
Helena Independent Record – Opinion - from Judge Molloy’s children
February 13, 2011
We are writing to express our disappointment and voice our concerns over the comments that Congressman Rehberg recently made at a joint session of the Montana Legislature. Although Congressman Rehberg didn’t identify by name U.S. District Judge Don Molloy — our dad — it was clear to whom he referred.
For the benefit of those not there, here is what was said: When referring to a recent federal court decision about wolves and the Endangered Species Act, Rehberg stated, “When I first heard his decision, like many of you I wanted to take action immediately. I asked: ‘How can we put some of these judicial activists on the endangered species list.’ I am still working on that!”

The great wolf debate: hunt them down or let them flourish
The Ecologist (includes NYT video)
February 15, 2011
Long a symbol of the US wilderness - and a totem for the environmental movement - wolves are now the focus of a bitter conflict between those who want to increase the species' numbers and those that want to kill them.
[Link may require subscription]

Monday, February 14, 2011

North East Oregon Wolf News

In This Edition:
[Most of this News is From Wally Sykes, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems,]

- Billboard Keeps the Heat on Wolf Poacher

- Congressional Bills Concerning Endangered Wolves

- Letters to the Editor in Oregonian & OP-EDS--RE: Ferrioli & Wolves


Billboard Keeps the Heat on Wolf Poacher

February 14, 2011

Wally Sykes, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems,
(Phone number available upon request)
Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, 208.424.9385,
Greg Dyson, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, 541.963.3950 x22,
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, 503.283.6343 ext 210,

Billboard Keeps the Heat on Wolf Poacher
Groups advertise $10,000 reward in hopes of catching wolf killer

La Grande, Ore—Local citizens and conservation groups today announced a new effort to bring the poacher who illegally shot an endangered wolf in Oregon to justice. Starting tomorrow, drivers traveling East on Hwy. 82 from La Grande will see a billboard with the image of the young wolf killed in September and the phone number to call with information about its death. The advertisement highlights a $10,000 reward being offered or information about the poaching and the statement “whatever you think of wolves…poaching is wrong!”

Wally Sykes of Joseph, Oregon is a founder of the community group Northeast Oregon Ecosystems which spearheaded the effort to raise funds from neighbors, friends, community members, and wildlife advocates in Wallowa County upset by the illegal killing. The group has also funded predator management presentations for ranchers and the range rider program implemented by Defenders of Wildlife in partnership with local ranchers.

“Tourism is vital to this area.” said Sykes. “People come to see spectacular wild landscapes and wildlife. Just like in Yellowstone, the return of wolves to Oregon has the potential to draw visitors from all over the country. Anti-wildlife attitudes and rhetoric that result in the illegal killing of endangered species are counterproductive and give our community a black eye.”

The wolf killed in September was collared by biologists in early August in an effort to track the Wenaha pack – one of only two known packs in Oregon. In a monthly wolf update, ODFW claimed the collaring effort began in 2007 and represented the agency’s single largest wolf collaring effort. Photos of the silver male were circulated widely. The wolf was found dead on September 30th by wildlife agents and represents the third illegal wolf killing since the species first returned to Oregon after being exterminated over 60 years ago. Oregon’s confirmed wolf population now stands at 24 wolves in 2 packs.

In response, local citizens, conservation groups, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have offered a combined reward of $10,000. High profile wolf poachings have also recently occurred in Washington.

“There is room in the West for both wildlife and people. Old attitudes of intolerance and fear don’t get us anywhere,” said Sykes. “Wolves were shot on sight until they were all gone. Living with wolves is going to require some adjustments, but it’s the right thing to do in a state that prides itself on its conservation values.”

A press release about the reward can be found at Anyone with information about this wolf poaching should contact Special Agent Cindi Bockstadter at 503.682.6131

Congressional Bill Concerning Endangered Wolves

S 249 – The Orrin Hatch Bill would remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act forever nationwide.

S 321 - The Baucus/Tester (D, Mont.) bill would make the 2009 delisting rule law in Idaho and Montana, but would additionally allow Idaho to reduce their wolf population to 100 animals as directed by the Idaho legislature. Montana's plan calls for at least 342 wolves. It makes no mention of state management plans conforming to any prior delisting agreement between the states and the USFWS, which was part of the 2009 delisting agreement since overturned by Judge Malloy.

HR 509 – One of two Rehberg (R, Mont.) bills, it would delist all wolves nationwide and prevent them from ever receiving protection under the Endangered Species Act.

HR 510 – The second Rehberg (R, Mont.) bill would delist wolves only in Montana and Idaho but would not require the states to follow their own management plans, leaving the door open for wolf eradication if directed by the legislatures of each state.

Note: Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson said he will add a provision to the continuing budget resolution necessary for the government to continue that would reinstate the 2009 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana. This would also include recovering wolf populations in eastern Oregon and Washington.

Text of the Provision: SEC. 1713. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this division, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on April 2, 2009 (74 Fed. Reg. 15123 et seq.) without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such re-issuance (including this section) shall not be subject to judicial review.

Letters to the Editor in Oregonian RE: Ferrioli & Wolves

Howling over wolves
Regarding "Wolf input from EU gets Oregon hackles up" (Feb. 10): State Sen. Ted Ferrioli is a throwback to frontier days, when the land existed solely for exploitation by resource extractors, and hang anyone who stood in their way. If the people he represents cheer his swagger and applaud his bare-knuckle arrogance, clearly it is Grant County, not Greece, that has become a "haven for morons."

He will no doubt bristle at this suggestion and redirect his vitriol to "outsiders" from western Oregon. But before he defends his knee-jerk reaction to world opinion, perhaps he would be wise to learn about the remarkable ecological recovery wolf reintroduction has brought to the rivers and valleys of Yellowstone National Park.

Perhaps then he would tone down his rhetoric. Perhaps he would work for the balanced approach we need if we hope to avoid joining the long list of endangered species we are driving to extinction.

West Linn

The incivility and immaturity shown by state Sen. Ted Ferrioli in response to the letter from the out-of-state (and out-of-country) wolf advocate boggles my mind. It was the adult equivalent of a 6-year-old folding his arms, stamping his foot and saying, "You're not the boss of me!" I certainly hope the only way this person represents the denizens of John Day is by his presence in the Legislature.
Southeast Portland

Editorial: What e-mail needs: a delay

Add Ted Ferrioli, the state Senate minority leader, to the victims of impulsive e-mailing. That’s the ailment that causes people to answer an annoying e-mail with a snarky remark and hit the send button before they’ve cooled down. [Hey Ted, I do that too!]

There’s a bill pending in the legislature removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list. Somebody from Europe, a singer living in Greece, e-mailed Ferrioli urging him to oppose the bill.

Ferrioli could have ignored the message. He could have thanked the singer for her concern even though she’s as far removed from the facts as she is from the location of the issue.

Instead, he snapped that input from residents of the European Union made no difference to him on this or presumably any other issue. And by way of illustration or example, he added that maybe he should write to the EU and recommend that it no longer subsidize Greece since it had become a “haven for morons.”
[See link above for more. ...]

Scotta Callister
Editor, Blue Mountain Eagle

A heated e-mail from Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) to a wolf advocate in Greece last week sparked howls of protest and eventually elicited an apology from the senator to people of Greek descent, wherever they reside.

It also made it pretty clear that this county should never appoint Ferrioli to be its Minister of Tourism.

The uproar began after the senator got an e-mail from a woman in Greece, urging him to oppose an Oregon Senate bill that would remove wolves from the state’s endangered species list. Ferrioli shot back that he supports the bill, but added that “perhaps I should be writing to EU ministers to stop bailing out Greece. Clearly, it has become a haven for morons. Go away!”
. . . .
The senator may have shot himself in the foot, but we’re catching the ricochet. Maybe he should apologize not just to Greeks, but to this community. And perhaps next time, rather than telling foreign correspondents to “go away,” he should be inviting them to visit Grant County and see rural life for themselves. Our county leaders and Extension agents took that approach few years with their urban-rural exchange, an award-winning program that arose out of verbal clashes over – what else? – wolves.
. . . . [See link above for more. ...]

See also Fallout for Ferrioli: from the hometown paper

Oregon GOP leader cries wolf over emails from abroad

When singer and Greek resident Louise du Toit wrote to Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) urging him to oppose a GOP-sponsored bill that would weaken environmental protections in the state, she probably didn’t expect her voice to carry much weight overseas.

But she certainly didn’t expect the sheer boorishness of Sen. Ferrioli’s answer:

"Are you kidding? Why do you expect that input from [European Union] residents make any difference at all to me? I'll be supporting Dr. Whitsett's bill (he is a VETERINARIAN). By the way, perhaps I should be writing to EU ministers to stop bailing out Greece. Clearly it has become a haven for morons.

"Go Away!"
[See link above for more. ...]

From Defender's of Wildlife:

Sneak attack on wolves.

There’s not a lot of love for wolves or wildlife on Capitol Hill today.

In fact, some in Congress are trying to use a must-pass spending bill to eliminate lifesaving protections for gray wolves across the U.S., opening the door to widespread trapping and poisoning of wolves in the Northern Rockies and Greater Yellowstone.

Worse, they are proposing deep funding cuts that could be disastrous for wildlife protection in the U.S.

Don’t let them get away with it. Urge your U.S. representative to oppose attempts to attach anti-wolf, anti-wildlife legislation to a bill intended to keep the government running.

The spending bill, called a continuing resolution, is designed to ensure that military and government workers continued to get paid, that social security recipients receive their checks and that the government continues to function.

Unfortunately, some in Congress are using this legislation as a vehicle to attack protections for wolves and enact some of the deepest cuts in recent memory for the agencies that protect our wildlife and environment – a move that would have dire consequences across the country for your wildlife and for the quality of your environment .

Some of the crucial programs that will be slashed include those that protect imperiled species, acquire key habitat around the country, including for our national wildlife, refuges, parks, forests and other public lands, help state protect wildlife before they decline to the point where they are endangered, and assist wildlife in surviving climate change.

It’s a sneaky, backdoor assault on protections for wildlife, and I need your help to stop it.

It’s up to caring wildlife supporters like you to stop this assault on the precious natural treasures we all love. Please take action now.

The U.S. House of Representatives will consider the continuing resolution this week, and we need to make a strong showing against this assault on our wolves, wildlife and environment.

Help us send 65,000 messages to Capitol Hill by Wednesday. Please take action, forward this email and share our message on Facebook.

We can protect our wolves, wildlife and environment, but only if we work together. Will you take just a few moments to help today?

For the Wild Ones, 

Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife

 © Copyright 2011, Defenders of Wildlife

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli Brings More Shame To Grant County

I lived in Grant County for about five years, off and on when I could bear it, and I met a lot of decent people there. Unfortunately, the local government seemed to serve as little more than a variety of protection racket run for the ranching and timber industry. Timber lobbyist and John Day resident Ted Ferrioli was easily elected to serve Grant, Baker, and other struggling Counties as State Senator in District 30. I know that he does not represent the views of many in Grant County, or here, but his views do a lot to discredit Grant County and Eastern Oregon in the eyes of other Oregonians, and now, after his latest comments, in the eyes of the whole world.

Before posting the articles concerning his recent opinions, please watch the following video by the the most recent victim of what I believe to be his sometimes arrogant, bigoted, and insensitive views.

Louise du Toit - Ode to the Wolves - Wolf Paintings by Vincent A Kennard

Watch on YouTube

When the Greece based South African singer, Louise du Toit, sent him an email asking that he oppose State Sen, Doug Whitsett's recent proposed anti-wolf bill, Ferrioli responded with, among other things, "By the way, perhaps I should be writing to EU ministers to stop bailing out Greece. Clearly it has become a haven for morons."

Here are two Oregonian articles concerning his statements:

Ferrioli to European wolf advocates: Go away, morons!

Sen. Ted Ferrioli: 'I offer my sincere apology to the citizens of Greek extraction'

Grant County deserves better.

See Also:
FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wolf News; Oxbow Reservoir Eagles & Bighorn Sheep

In This Issue:

- Wolf News
----- Who Killed The Wenaha Wolf? (Video)
----- State & Congressional Legislators Attempting to Remove Protections for Wolves
----- Wolves In Umatilla County

- Oxbow Reservoir Eagles & Bighorn Sheep (Scroll through wolf articles for eagle and bighorn ewe photos)


Who Killed The Wenaha Wolf?

Watch on YouTube.
From WolfAdvocates:
The young male Wenaha Wolf lived in the Umatilla National Forest of the Blue Mountain Range, in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. He was fitted with a radio collar in early August, and shot dead by an unknown assailant in early October 2010. That person likely had a receiver tuned to his frequency who tracked him down and brutally shot him in his home territory.

The Wenaha wolf pack has never been associated with one single instance of depredation. The killing of this beautiful wolf was not only cruel and illegal, it was unjustified in every sense of the word. If you have any information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of the one who killed the Wenaha Wolf, we urge you to call the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at 503-682-6131.

To learn more about Oregon wolves, please visit
Bringing Wolves Back Home to Oregon


State & Congressional Legislators Attempting to Remove Protections for Wolves

Fish & Wildlife Service Photo (above)

Oregon Wild Press Statement on Whitsett Wolf Kill Bill Introduction

PORTLAND, ORE Feb 03, 2011
On February 1, 2011, state Senator Ted Whitsett [District: 28, Klamath Falls, 541-883-4006, - Chris], introduced Senate Bill 583 which seeks to remove the gray wolf from protection under the state endangered species act. The bill is the first of many expected legislative efforts aimed at undermining the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, adopted in 2005 after months of stakeholder meetings and negotiations. The following is the reaction of Rob Klavins of the conservation group Oregon Wild, a leading voice for wolves in Oregon:

“This wolf kill bill is a dangerous distraction from sincere efforts to recover and manage gray wolves in Oregon. It is sad that 60 years after wolves were eradicated in our state through poisoning and trapping some feel we should turn back the clock to those dark days. Wolves are native to Oregon and have a place on the landscape of our state. Just days after confirming 3 new wolves in Oregon, the state’s known population stands at 24 wolves and 2 breeding pairs. Now is not the time to repeat the mistakes of the past and send them back down the path to extermination.

This extreme bill takes wildlife management decisions out of the hands of professional biologists, and plays politics with what should be a scientifically-based process. In addition, we are fearful that this proposed legislation represents the tip of the iceberg of anti-wolf bills to be proposed during this legislative session. Oregon Wild will work to ensure we don’t take a step back in our efforts to recover gray wolves to the state and continue our efforts to educate Oregonians about the benefits of this once maligned animal returning to Oregon.”

Text of bill:
Relating to wolves.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any provision of ORS 496.171 to 496.182, the State Fish and Wildlife Commission may not list the gray wolf on the list of wildlife species that are
threatened species or endangered species adopted by rule of the commission pursuant to ORS


Rehberg sets the stage for nationwide wolf eradication

New legislation would allow elimination of gray wolves, puts all America’s wildlife at risk
Washington, DC (January 27, 2011) - Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg introduced two bills yesterday that would strip federal protections for gray wolves across the country. Together, these bills would allow states to eliminate all wolves in the Northern Rockies, Great Lakes and Southwest, including the 42 Mexican wolves struggling for survival in New Mexico and Arizona. If passed, this legislation would be the first to exempt a single species from the Endangered Species Act, setting a dangerous precedent for removing protections for other imperiled wildlife.

The following is a statement from Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“These bills are bad for wolves, bad for the Endangered Species Act, and bad for the future of all America’s wildlife. Some members of Congress are willing to sell out America’s wolves by looking for a quick legislative fix. In the process, they are undermining not only one of our greatest conservation successes, but also unraveling the Endangered Species Act, one of the world’s most far-sighted conservation laws.

“Most Americans care very deeply about our nation’s wildlife and want to see all animals protected from needless persecution. However, these bills would sacrifice wildlife belonging to all Americans just because a small minority of people don’t like wolves. Obviously, some folks still think all predators are bad, even though those animals are an essential part of this country’s wildlife heritage.

“These bills set a terrible precedent that will open the flood gates to legislation to strip protections for any other species that a politician finds inconvenient to protect. Grizzly bears, salmon, whales, polar bears and Florida panthers are just a few that could be at serious risk. If enacted, this legislation would constitute one of the worst assaults on the ESA since it became law in 1973. If we allow Congress to overrule the courts and usurp the authority of professional wildlife managers and expert biologists, there’s no telling where it will stop.

“For decades there has been a worldwide scientific consensus that human society is causing a rapid and accelerating loss of species, species that hold together the web of life that supports all life on earth, including human life. During President George H. W. Bush’s administration, his science advisory council identified this phenomenon as representing one of the most serious long-term threats to human welfare, and it has only become worse since then. The ESA is the single strongest law we have for combating this enormous threat to future generations, and it would be enormous human folly to mindlessly begin unraveling it based upon political whim.
. . . .

On August 5, 2010, federal protections were restored for wolves in the Northern Rockies under the Endangered Species Act. A U.S. District Court in Montana determined that wolves had been illegally delisted along state lines by removing protections in Idaho and Montana but not Wyoming.

Under current delisting plans, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming would have been allowed to manage wolves down to 100 to 150 wolves per states. Wyoming’s plan would allow wolves to be shot on sight in 90 percent of the state. Idaho’s official position, as adopted by the Idaho state legislature in 2002, is to remove all wolves by any means necessary. The 2002 Idaho state wolf management plan calls for no more than 150 wolves. Montana has so far committed to maintaining a minimum of 15 breeding pairs, but there is nothing to prevent the state legislature or future administrations from using this number as the maximum as well. There are currently an estimated 1,700 wolves in the region. More than 1,000 wolves could needlessly die because of this legislation.

At the last count in January 2010, biologists could find just 42 Mexican gray wolves and only two breeding pairs in Arizona and New Mexico – a dangerously low number that scientists say contributes to ongoing genetic inbreeding that is causing low birth and pup survival rates, creating a downward demographic spiral. The population dropped by 19 percent between 2009 and 2010. A new count is being conducted this month.


Read a chronology of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies

[See link above for entire article.]

Wolves In Umatilla County

From ODFW: Michelle Dennehy
Feb 2, 2011

You may have already seen this in the news or heard it elsewhere…
Track evidence found by ODFW and U.S. Forest Service biologists on Jan. 20 confirms that three wolves have
been using the Walla Walla Unit and represent a potential new wolf pack. The wolves’ territory is not clear yet; they
could be primarily using territory in Washington State. There is currently no evidence that these wolves reproduced
in 2010


Wolf pack confirmed in Umatilla County

Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 2:39 pm | Updated: 3:16 pm, Mon Jan 31, 2011.
East Oregonian

Wolves are now living in northern Umatilla County, a state wildlife official confirmed today.

Mark Kirsch is the Umatilla District wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He said more than one Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf has settled in the Walla Walla River/Mill Creek system.

"When we say more than one wolf, I think we're pretty confident we have no less than three," Kirsch said.
But it's too early to say just what kind of "social formation" these wolves are in, he said.

"We know so little at this point," Kirsch said. "The source of our current efforts is to try and understand that."

Andrew Picken of Pendleton reported seeing a trio of wolves south of Milton-Freewater on Jan. 2. He even shot some video and took photos, but the animals were too far away to positively identify them as wolves
[See link above for article.]

Oxbow Reservoir Eagles & Bighorn Sheep

Bald Eagle Near Brownlee Dam, February 2, 2011
[Some sort of incompatibility between Google and Photoshop puts too much blue in this photo. I've tried to correct it to no avail!]

I took Joanne Britton's (our local bird historian and count organizer) advice and went out to enjoy the sunshine on Tuesday & Wednesday of last week. Saw 14 Bald Eagles on the Powder River arm of Brownlee Reservoir on Tuesday (Don't have a scope so there may have been more.) There were also 5 on a cow carcass in the lower Keating/Powder River Valley near Middle Bridge, and 4 golden eagles enroute to Brownlee. Couldn't find the Hooded Mergansers that Jim Lawrence had seen on an open pond near there a week or so earlier.

Quite a few Common Goldeneye have returned to the Powder, which is flowing with ice-melt.
Common Goldeneye, Powder River, March, 2010

On Wednesday, February 2 (Groundhog Day), I went down to Oxbow on the Snake River and counted 52 BAEA between Oxbow dam and Brownlee dam, including 20 juveniles. Most were perched in the larger trees (with a few on the shoreline) on the Idaho side, but several were on the Oregon side. Both adults and juveniles were in flight around Brownlee Dam. Posted some of the eagles on Flickr.

Juvenile Bald Eagle, Brownlee Dam, February 2, 2011

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ewe near Brownlee Dam, 2/2/11

Four Bighorn ewes were grazing on grasses just off the road on the Oregon side. One had a collar and a number 99 tag. Wish I knew more about her. The fur had been considerably shortened on her neck around the collar.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ewe with collar near Brownlee Dam, 2/2/11