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L. Neil Smith's
Number 766, April 13, 2014

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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It's Not Just About Turtles Anymore: Environmental Extremism's War on Liberty
by Jeff Fullerton

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Santa Claus drives a brown truck!

I always liked that phrase with which the plantsman Don Hackenberry began his pamphlet: The World at Your Doorstep which he sent with the first price list I received from him back in the mid 1990s.

Happiness is also nice weather and another box of turts. Two more Nihon Ishigame—little ones arrived this morning by UPS overnight express!

Decided to order the 4 remaining juveniles on their site earlier this week while I was working on the outside enclosure for the trio that arrived a few weeks ago. When I came in at the end of the day there was a voice message from the Turtle Source. When I called them I found out that two of the ones I had ordered were gone so I took the remaining two.

They remind me a lot of the Central American Woods—Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima—which may be part of why I like them so. They also combine the features and habits of many other favorite semi-terrestrial freshwater turts—the greenish head and build of Rhinos with the stone colored carapace and stream ecology habitat preference of North American Woods—Glyptemys insculpta and the dark underside of a Spotted Turtle—which they also seem to mimic in swimming ability. Truly Ninja Turtles with their black satin limbs propelling them along!

And the babies look so much like baby Glyptemys except for the pale red or pink stripe on the forelimb that makes a really good field marking! I noticed that right off in the Japanese video following a little one as it plodded along about its business on the bottom of a little stream. A much better lesson than looking at a B&W line drawing in a field guide.

There is excitement once again on the cutting edge of herpetoculture! Much like back in the day of my first serious attempts at keeping and breeding the more familiar native turts. I know so little about them in this beginning phase and I'm doing my best to develop a good husbandry routine from the get go in the way of a temporary accommodation in a 50 gal Rubbermaid with a flat rock platform for basking on and hiding under (which they seem to like very much) and the late Miss Kitty's old litter box in case the females start nesting early—a good possibility since they came from Florida where based on field experience I know it is the season! Also they have a reservoir down on the floor filled with strips of old plastic milk cartons which I save for bio-filtration media. Started out in the basement but I was concerned that was a bit chilly—even though these turts are said to like cool streams in a temperate climate similar to the NA Wood. So I moved them upstairs until I can get them outside. They started feeding much better right away.

The adorable babies that came Thursday went into a tub in the greenhouse. It was a bit cool on Friday so I brought them back in and placed them in an identical setup in the same room with the adults and plan to shift them back and forth until the weather gets warmer and they can go outside for the season. Another enclosure is planned for them and future young from my current breeders which I hope to get started on soon. In addition there are even more ambitious plans for getting into the Chinese Golden Box—Cistoclemmys flavomarginata—considered to be the Cadillac of all Box Turtles— not to be confused with the other Asian Box Turtle—Cuora amboinensis I was given by a local pet shop that was unable to sell them and took with me on a spring trip to Florida and traded to the pet store in Tallahassee! A little pricy but still not bad for Asian turts these days. Gosh—I remember when Kwangtungs, Cogwheel Turtles (Heosemys spinosa) and Vietnamese Woods (good old Geomyda spengleri!) were by today's standards a dime a dozen at Steve's Exotics. Now if you can even get them—you're talking prices in the $500 to $2,000 range! Heading north of the critically endangered Bog Turtle! One species -Chinemys kwangtungensis is said to be extinct in the wild now. The Asian Turtle Crisis is a terrible tragedy indeed. Hopefully there will be enough breeders to keep them going. Turtle Source does them along with Cogwheels and Vietnamese Wood and there's a guy in Ohio who is also the inventer of my current style of secure turtle pens who breeds Kwangtungs & Cogwheels. Have to visit him someday.

Back from a foray to the bait shop to get minnows for the turts and some supplies for the bio filter I hope to get up and running this weekend; I began following news I first got wind of this week on Glenn Beck's show and again Friday evening on Sean Hanity as I often listen casually to conservative talk radio driving about town and on the kitchen radio coming and going on my daily routines. This time I had to pause to listen in detail much like I did when the news of the 9/11 attacks broke while I was leveling the inner footers for the greenhouse that fateful morning in the Fall of 01. For it was about a pissing contest between a rancher and the federal government over the Desert Tortoise. Also known as Gopherus agassizii. Going to be something to write about for sure; being a reptile enthusiast who is all to familiar with the mantra of deep ecology environmentalism and has endured his fare share of browbeating for expressing some politically incorrect thought crimes in various email forums! Hanity who had the rancher in an on air interview expressed several times his fear that the ongoing confrontation that is starting to look much like the standoff at the Davidian compound in Waco could turn ugly. It could very well become a watershed event in the battle for the rights of hobbyists and landowners in bringing what had been a long history of such abuses that have been happening mostly under the radar—into the public eye. Many people who make or support those rules don't have a clue about life in the countryside or the animals they are fawning over. And those who do and go ahead to implement these wretched policies anyways are just plain evil.

There are several incidents ongoing. The one involving the rancher & the tortoises is in Nevada [Link] and another one is in Colorado where the state government is using eminent domain to take land from a couple for public open spaces [Link]—shades of Nazi Germany where they did that kind of thing. Like the government which owns something like 40 percent of the landmass in North America—most of it in the West—does not have enough land!

As for the tortoises; they actually coexist well with cattle which like any large grazing mammals enhance the habitat. Same is true for Box Turtles here in the east. Much like the war on the reptile hobby, these kind of confrontations are less about conservation and more about consolidating control over society by locking up and cornering a monopoly on access to natural resources by the government and its minions. There is also the element of the true believers of the Deep Ecology movement who are using the government to impose their philosophical and cosmological preferences in regard to what they believe is the proper role of humanity in the Natural World—upon the rest of us in violation of our First Amendment Rights. There ought to be screams of bloody murder about this the likes of what is heard from the Left in regard to the teaching of Creationism or open expression of religion in public schools because despite the great lengths that environmentalists go to in order to argue that their moral and philosophical preferences which they insist on making the law of the land do not constitute a religion; it is hard for anyone on the receiving end of their collectivist bullying to think otherwise. They try to dismiss critical inquiry by dismissing it as fringe conspiracy theory and even going as far to say there is no such thing as an "environmentalist". Or a "progressive."* Or the devil in the details for that matter!

But I do see the raging devil in the details and if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck; then it is surely a duck! In my dealings with radical environmentalists through the years I have noticed that there is virtually no difference between them and your run of the mill zealot from any fundamentalist religion. They pretty much insist that they have a moral and historic mandate to tell other people what to do and how to live and you don't dare disagree with them. End of story.

As I hope the ongoing confrontation at the ranch does not end badly—I hope that is a sign of a turning point in which the long standing record of landowners and others being bullied by government agents and ecofascists is revealed to the public eye and more are emboldened to push back. For the sake of our country and freedom as a way of life upon which the government has all but officially declared war.

As for you—the government agents & LEOs who have converged to harass the rancher and eat his sustenance by seizing and carrying off his cattle—its time to consider obeying your conscience instead of your superiors. Like every man and woman serving in the armed forces you also took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. Don't violate your oath and don't become complicit in an atrocity.

Just following orders didn't wash at the Nuremberg Tribunals and it won't wash at Nuremberg II either!

Sorry for such an unhappy note to end what started out as a happy thread. I will go back to pursuing happiness for the remainder of a week's vacation in Porchville. And save the remaining vitriol for later.

As the countdown to E-Day continues.

End notes: it gets even better. Also mentioned Friday evening on Hanity is that the government has destroyed many supposably endangered Desert Tortoises because it has too many and doesn't know what to do with the surplus. Of course it would be sacrilege against the Gospel of Deep Ecology to even consider placing them with good reptile keepers throughout the Southwest who are in a good position to provide in their own backyards for their needs and maintain an additional reserve population to ensure conservation. [Link] But government always knows best and only professional conservation people funded by tax dollars are qualified and competent enough to handle an endangered species.

Reminds me a lot of that incident in Maryland when the DNR confiscated a nice colony of outstanding red phase Mole Kingsnakes from a breeder and then offered to return them months later when the regulations had been overhauled in response to mass protest by the state's reptile keepers—as freeze dried specimens in a ziplock bag! The DNR like many state wildlife agencies often give confiscated animals to public institutions like zoos or nature centers or public institutions (like the University of Maryland in that case) which often end up having reptiles—snakes in particular—euthanized because they are ill equipped or unwilling to care for them. In many cases the conservation people in their obsession with achieving regulatory compliance would rather see animals—even rare and endangered ones destroyed than tarnished by the vile hand of private ownership.

Finally—an issue that reptile enthusiasts have been painfully aware of for so many years is being given much needed nation wide media exposure!

Leftists are coming out in defense of the government's position are calling the issue a "Right Wing False Flag". I guess that's what you call it when you want to ridicule your political opposition for rallying around an issue or incident in order to advance their agenda. From those who on record for taking advantage of every crisis or disaster; or even staging one as an opportunity to rob others of their property and freedom and can't wait to do it again! [Link]

In many ways the Desert Tortoise which they have dubbed a "scapegoat"—again from the people who excel in the manufacture of scapegoats as is an unfortunate pawn for environmentalists to prostitute as a "victim" as is done with human victim groups as well. Custom manufactured victims make great tools for shaming the real scapegoats—people who come out in opposition to environmental fascism and other progressive causes done in the name of "fairness" or world saving humanitarianism. Have you forgotten how they painted the TEA Parties as being at fault for the government shut down last fall?

* No. There's no such thing as an "Environmentalist." As I was told by one of them: that they are regular everyday people from mainstream America who just want sensible regulatory standards for clean water and clean air and conservation of wildlife and open spaces for the public and Equality & Justice for All.

Being a student of History I am reminded that the 30 percent or so of German voters who elected Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party in the 1930s were were looking for pretty much the same.

Footnote to a footnote: A new official definition of "Environmentalist": a practitioner of America's unofficial state religion.

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