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U.S. Sportsmen must vote gun rights next week

[A version of this essay was published by the American Thinker atĀ https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/10/american_sportsmen_must_vote_gun_rights_next_week.html ]

It is not news to anyone who cares about American liberty that guns of every sort, caliber, style, color, and design have been in the crosshairs of anti-gun activists for decades. It is no stretch to describe these anti-gun activists as totalitarians-in-waiting, because their ultimate goal is complete civilian disarmament, which results in only one thing: Tyranny. Yes, even black powder muzzleloading rifles are targeted by gun grabbers, even though the last time an American was hurt by one was when someone took one off the mantel and dropped it on their toe.

Anti-gun activists are especially seeking “universal background checks,” because that process would allow them to build up the kind of individual firearm owner database they need now to do the door-to-door gun confiscation they dream of later on. But on this subject they keep running up against a political and legal buzz saw from the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Firearms Owners Against Crime, and various state rifle and pistol associations. And so now gun grabbers are going after the one chink in the gun owners’ armor, what they see as the weakest link in the gun owners chain, and that is America’s sportsmen.

Sportsmen are an unusual demographic group of mostly political moderates, super-voters who cherish clean waterways, support land trusts and coastal conservation organizations, and who also cling strongly to their often basic hunting guns. Sportsmen are mostly not the AR15 “black rifle” tactical crowd, and that has made them especially interesting to the gun grabbers.

And so an effort is afoot to convince American hunters, trappers, and recreational fishermen that the most important issues they must vote for and about next week are the environment and public lands. And we all know how that mantra goes: Republicans are bad, and Democrats are good, which translates into Trump Bad, Biden Good. Never mind that most environmental groups are partisan Democrat Party activism centers who use the environment as their excuse to make war, now there are fake sportsmen’s groups and fake gun owner’s groups.

When you dig just a bit under the thin veneer of these groups’ “we are wholesome sportsmen and gun owners just like you” message, what you find is no surprise. They are each just yet one more phony, politically partisan, anti-gun concoction that camouflages itself as something else. Several anti-gun groups in particular are targeting sportsmen with deceptive behavior. The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and Gun Owners for Safety are chock full of people professing to be ardent gun owners, but who nonetheless inevitably cite the same garbage anti-gun “studies” and who inevitably promote draconianĀ  anti-gun policies as “fair,” and “common sense” etc. These fake groups are as easy to spot as phonies as is a pheasant breaking thirty yards out against a clear blue Fall sky.

But a third group that is really gaining traction among sportsmen is Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and they much more carefully, perhaps artfully, straddle the natural mix of environmental quality and gun ownership interests that sportsmen have. And BHA is strident this year about voting on environmental issues alone, to the exclusion of gun rights. Its president, a guy actually named Land Tawney, has a long association with Barack Obama and Democrat Party activism. BHA is partnering with Patagonia clothing company, which has underwritten and promoted a movie called Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands. This movie is the centerpiece of BHA’s get-out-the-vote efforts this year.

Public Trust is done in a documentary style, narrated by Hal Herring, a long-time writer for Field & Stream magazine. The movie is masterful and has great cinematography. But it is not always accurate, especially in claims about so-called climate change and hanging every environmental problem and cause around the neck of – you guessed it – Republicans and the Donald Trump Administration. Public Trust also plays the usual environmentalist game of presenting false choices. For example, water quality concerns about the proposed Twin Metals copper mine in Minnesota could be addressed through posting a sufficient cleanup bond, but that would negate all the opportunities for political drama that liberals want.

If President Trump’s political opponents forget to mention that he signed the Great American Outdoors Act just a few months ago, allow me to remind them. The GAOA funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the first time since human-caused “climate change” was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. GAOA funded national and local parks and forests operations and maintenance backlogs, infrastructure needs, and a host of other conservation and public lands needs from sea to shining sea. Trump is not an evil anti-environment boogey man, but Joe Biden certainly is an ardent gun-grabber, and his inner circle is a constellation of anti-trapping and anti-hunting groups.

Next week, American sportsmen cannot afford the luxury of voting for anything but Second Amendment rights. Without our guns, there is no sporting tradition, period, so vote for President Donald J. Trump. See you in the field afterwards!

Patagonia clothing company has this confusing message posted on its website. See, to me, a “climate denier” is a “science believer” and a human-caused climate change proponent is at best a gullible fool hyped up on a political cause that has no science in it, behind it, around it.

Who knows where Patagonia got this smokestack city photo, but if it is in America, the white emissions are probably steam. Which is water. Which is not a pollutant. To try to sell this as a picture of commonplace industrial pollution, Patagonia and BHA want viewers to believe we are really living in 1968.

A greedy white man in a suit, carving up parts of America for dinner with his cruel, bloody chef knife. A part of my experience tells me there is a grain of truth to this propaganda, because it is true that America’s natural resources have been utilized for three hundred years. Including now by the Crow Indian tribe on tribal lands, thanks to President Donald Trump.

PA’s Keystone Fund: Symmetrical Program in an Asymmetrical Political World

If there is one rule or overarching principle that taxpayers want applied to how their hard-earned money is spent by government bureaucrats, it is symmetry.

If taxpayers put money in, they expect to get money, or value, back out.

Gasoline taxes? Show me the newly paved highway! Etc. Real simple symmetry.

This is the most elementary social contract between citizens and their self-selected governments, and today ain’t Ninth Century Europe, where armed tax collectors come knocking and begin turning the humble home inside out in search of hidden wealth to take, er…collect.

Today, when the government takes your money by threat of coercive force, you grudgingly turn it over, expecting to at least see some benefit from it.

At budget time is when the legislature and the executive negotiate over how the collected resources of a state or nation are going to be spent. Right now it is budget time in Pennsylvania, and there are no guarantees. Neither the governor nor the legislature has my trust.

Both are up for re-election.

In the middle of it all we have the Keystone Fund, Pennsylvania’s conservation engine. The Keystone Fund is used to run most of Pennsylvania’s “Ranger Rick” – style conservation programs. State parks, state forests, land acquisition, new kiosks, etc. Good stuff. Worthy stuff. The kind of stuff that makes the taxpayer say “Hey, I finally got my money’s worth back!”

The Keystone Fund is funded by taxpayers, but also in large part by the net returns from timber and natural gas sales from public lands. There is an appealing, nearly holy symmetry to any government program that uses money from its own programs to pay for its own programs.

It is the way government should be run!

Now, the Keystone Fund is at risk because it is a symmetrical program living in an asymmetrical political world populated by career politicians who disburse public funds to win public favor, and votes.

Instead of returning the proceeds from timber and gas sales back into the very natural resources that produced them, we now see the likelihood that elected officials will use this income stream to buy off their favorite constituencies. So they can get votes, and get re-elected.

How sad to see one of the very few examples of good public policy, the Keystone Fund, fall victim to something so crass, vulgar and common as an elected official.

To quote Mark Twain: “I think I can say, and say with pride that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world.” (Speech 7/4/1873)

Take a kid fishing

Tomorrow marks the beginning of trout season in Pennsylvania. It’s a big deal. Half the population is associated with it, either fishing, eating the fish, or cheering on the mighty hunters who bring home the bacon.

Our next generation needs a helping hand. Too many gadgets, electronics, virtual nothingness and digital pretend friends are separating kids from the beautiful reality surrounding them. They might grow up to think that water comes from the tap, heat from the wall thingy, and food from the grocery store. Fishing teaches crucial lessons about being a real human being, not the least of which is self reliance, a trait once quintessentially American and now considered quaint.

Fishing also teaches the importance of conserving natural resources for the future kids.

So take a kid fishing. You’ll be doing everyone a big favor, now and later.