On 6/20/14 the Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority met at Pardee Center to discuss the Wild & Scenic designation for part of the Mokelumne River. I was in attendance, and heard a designation proponent from Oakland state that the river belongs to all of us and therefore the majority, the Bay Area millions, can rightly decide for all of us. Back in high school, I learned that the basis of our democracy was majority rule with minority rights. Apparently, he does not agree. Some call this point of view the tyranny of majority. Democratic centralism was the term others, such as Joseph Stalin, used.
In my 5/5/14 commentary, “Wild & Scenic With The Law”, I said: “The environmentalists are the robber barons of today.” The Conservation Fund alone has annual revenues of $144.6 million and controls seven million acres. Environmental robber barons appear to be replicating the medieval system, where in only the select few owned the land and serfs worked. These serfs, the literal ancestors of most Americans of European descent, engaged in centuries of bloody uprisings before establishing the rights we are now ceding to the environmental robber barons. Forestland Group, LLC invests only for the sustainable super rich with the blessings of the Forest Stewardship Council through a network of 130 entities. They are also involved with many other organizations, including the Carlyle Group. Forestland Group directly owns 3.6 million acres, mostly in the US, including almost all of West Virginia enabling them to probably function as an unelected government there. They also own almost all of Michigan’s upper peninsula region which contains many strategic minerals.
The Nature Conservancy’s attempted theft of mineral rights in the upper peninsula is currently before the Michigan Supreme Court. Transferring these rights to the environmental robber barons has direct consequences. The SR-71 Blackbird spy plane replaced the ill fated U-2 and served us from 1964 to 1998. It was 92% titanium. We had to buy this titanium from the Soviet Union through various foreign intermediaries. And while global demand for titanium grew by 60% from 2009 until leveling off in 2013, DuPont granted their titanium deposits near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, totaling 16,000 acres, to The Conservation Fund. I call this treason.
Many minerals are mined by hand in Africa by children - often AIDS orphans - without any protection against toxics. An academic study, reprinted by our National Institutes of Health, examined the production of ten minerals essential to our economy and military, concluded: “...armed violence plays a critical role in fostering environmental degradation...” Today’s environmental robber barons are raping parts of the world like the 19th century colonial empires but with a far more contemporary, clever and sanctimonious attitude. The only way to seriously protect the health of miners and of the environment is to mine in places like the US with real standards. But what is occurring is the opposite, while organizations like The Conservation Fund and DuPont propagandize us that they are saving the earth.
Unless all those potential titanium miners now have successful careers in the white water rafting industry, the end game is obvious. No jobs or low wage jobs with increased dependence on a debt-financed social welfare system here, while the abuse of people and resources elsewhere continues. As we all sink to the lowest common dominator, those of the Obama ilk celebrate their victory of social justice.
Copyright 2014, Mark L. Bennett