Snake-Oil Salesmen vs. Snake Oil-Salesmen, Part 1

The black-banded sea krait

Snake oil actually works.

Did you know that? I didn’t until recently. “Snake oil” has become a byword for useless and even harmful products that are marketed on the basis of false claims. When you call something “snake oil,” you’re saying it doesn’t live up to its hype.  There is a lot of snake oil in modern life: spiritual snake oil, political snake oil, organizational and corporate snake oil, even conspiracy theory snake oil.  Bullshit abounds under many brand names.

Except … actual snake oil, which really does work. Confused? Stay with me. Continue reading “Snake-Oil Salesmen vs. Snake Oil-Salesmen, Part 1”

Campaign of Illusions: Where the Zero Cut Movement to Save the National Forests Went Wrong

Zero-Cut No Commercial Logging again? A quarter century after it became the banner and guiding star for much of the grassroots forest movement, and then over a decade of semi-retirement, the campaign for this legislation is trying to mount a national revival. My question is simple: Is it the best strategy for a collapsed forest movement, daily confronting the debacle of rapidly increasing logging and roadbuilding in the national forests?

The combination of President Trump and an overtly hostile Republican-controlled Congress has shocked the grassroots, non-collaboration forest movement. Awakening from over a decade of a sort of slumber, these forest defense activists are daily burning up internet chat rooms with news chronicling cascading losses in Agriculture and Interior Department rules, regulations, administrative edicts, and newly-passed laws and congressional riders that roll back decades of environmental laws and court victories.

They are stunned to see the reality that their strategy of timber sales appeals and lawsuits are no longer holding back the bulldozers and chain saws of the timber industry and its U.S. Forest Service puppet. As they ponder these mounting losses, they watch their local forests logged with increasing ferocity, a comprehensive assault on public lands with transgressions that few imagined they would live to see. Continue reading “Campaign of Illusions: Where the Zero Cut Movement to Save the National Forests Went Wrong”

Law enforcement in our climate of fear

Schifferns
Schifferns

This is an event that happened during the week of March 19th near Red Lodge, Montana. This is a small community at the base of the Beartooth Mountains, and is about fifty miles from Billings, where I was born and raised, and from which I escaped in 2001.

 

According to news reports, Thomas Joseph Schifferns occasionally lived with James McGregor and his common law wife, Shiloh Moncada. McGregor’s body was found near a trailhead in the mountainous area west of Red Lodge. He had been shot and his body dragged, but was easily discovered by police. McGregor’s truck was stuck at the trail head, and Moncada claims his safe was open and empty.

Continue reading “Law enforcement in our climate of fear”