The US House of Representatives unceremoniously approved H.R. 146: Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act last week. The eco-Nazi’s are ecstatic at all the new places they can put up “Do Not Enter” and “Keep Out” signs on 2.1 million acres of American public land.

Preserved for their use and their use only — the arrogant, self-anointed elitists and their faux moral superiority. All of them sit around in their electrically-heated homes — watching their TVs and playing on their computers — using all the things that hard-working American engineers and thinkers and businessmen designed and developed and produced.

They enjoy all this while complaining and carping and crying about it like like whining children. They do painfully stupid, meaningless things like turning their lights out for an hour and then parade around as if they’ve made a statement for mankind. Give me a break. It’s the same kind of do-nothing do-goodery that let’s people puff up over a “click this link and someone, somewhere will donate a penny to a starving child in Africa” campaigns.

It’s quite sad that we have all sat on our asses for so long and let these self-serving fools get in charge. If you want my respect live on a farm. Grow your own damn food. Weave your own cotton. Get off the grid and stop sucking electricity from coal-fired power plants. Ride a fucking horse and stop parading around in your battery-powered hybrid that has a lower overall energy efficiency rating that a well-maintained internal combustion engine you useless, hypocritical piece of human refuse.

But do not run around here claiming you’re saving the planet. Some poor, nearsighted sportsman who’s forced to hunt near residential areas now may mistake you for a nice, fat doe…

As noted in the post below, the Senate is holding the final vote on H.R. 146: Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, the vehicle used to sneak in the Omnibus Lands Bill of 2009 as a 1,300-page amendment, tomorrow.

This bill is very likely to pass, and summarily lock up 2.1 million acres of Public Land, eliminating motorized access for responsible Americans. This is a travesty, foisted on us by eco-Nazis and politicians that are either gutless or wrongheaded.

It’s not too late. Please call your Senators’ Washington D.C. office tomorrow morning and urge them to vote NO on this devastating bill. Here is where you can find your Senator’s phone number.

senate-vote-on-lands-bill-smallYesterday the U.S. Senate voted to proceed with a back-door, sneak attack to lock up more than 2.1 million acres of Public Lands making it illegal for responsible Americans to use them. The vote was 73 Yeas, 21 Nays.

The vote was actually a vote on cloture – a way to see if the Senate is ready to vote on a bill. The bill is H.R. 146: Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act and “other purposes.” The other purpose being to serve as a carrier for a 1,300-page amendment that is the Omnibus Lands Bill — a measure that was defeated in the house last week — to deprive responsible Americans of access to 2 million acres of public land.

Given the huge margin of victory for the eco-nazi-Democrats and their Republican-In-Name-Only colleagues, this bill could pass easily. And responsible Americans will be deprived of hundreds of individual areas, comprising 2 million more acres of public lands, without so much as a minute’s discussion or debate on whether the individual parcels need that designation.

Pay attention to how your Senators voted. 15 Republicans voted for this motion, and could vote in favor of the bill. Four Republicans, including my own Saxby Chambliss, did not vote.

We need 15 Republicans to stand up like men (forget about Olympia Snow, who ought to be disowned by the party) and vote against taking away our right as Americans to use American public land. Had they voted Nay on this motion the bill would have been stalled and likely died. But they didn’t. And it didn’t. GovTrack has a full voting record on the motion for cloture.

It is still possible that this bill will not pass, if at least 15 Republicans vote Nay on the actual bill. This vote will show how your Senators feel about you, your right to ride, and your right to responsible use of public lands. Pay attention. And then let your Senator know you won’t forget their vote when your turn comes at the polls.

Cobra Motorcycles president Sean Hilier was on the Rush Limbaugh program yesterday, to discuss the notorious Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) and its devastating effect on his company.

I didn’t hear the show but you can read the transcript here. According to Hillier, Cobra employs fewer than 50 people, but there are about 100 companies around the country that depend on Cobra for business (probably contractors for the manufacturing of various parts.)

Hillier also noted that when similar, game-changing legislation hit the auto industry back in the 1980s the industry had years to react and re-engineer. The CPSIA was passed in August of 2008 and put into law six months later. With catastrophic effects.

This is not the last we have heard about this law. This is another fine example of people who don’t know what their doing, passing a law on a topic they don’t know anything about, with absolutely no consideration for its consequences. This is what happens when government “works”.

This press release from the AMA says the Office of the US Trade Representative has dropped small-bore motorcycles and scooters from a proposed tariff plan aimed at retaliating against European bans on US beef.

According to the AMA its members, the Motorcycle Industry Council, individual manufacturers, dealers, and others had contacted the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative opposing the idea of the tariff.

In a statement released on Jan. 15, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab noted her office late last year sought comments on which of more than 100 European goods should be subject to the tariffs.

“Approximately 600 comments were received by the requested due date of Dec. 8, 2008,” she said. “An interagency committee of trade experts and economists reviewed the public comments and provided recommendations to the USTR with respect to modifications (to the list of products subject to additional duties) that would result in a more effective action, while taking account of effects on the U.S. economy, including consumers.”

There’s no such thing as a free market, and every government engages in putting up trade barriers for all sorts of reasons. Most of them do far more harm than good. This particular idea was worse than most. Good riddance to one small bit of governmental meddling.

Ok, ok. Call me a cynic. I was watching the new TNT show “Leverage” tonight and there is a scene where some defense contractor is talking about buying Congressmen. He says, paraphrased, “You can get a US Congressman elected for $50,000 to $100,000. But once you get them in the re-election rate is over 90%. You can get 18, maybe 20 years out of them. Buying a Congressman is the best investment you can make.” It is absolutely true.

If the AMA wants to actually protect the rights of motorcyclists the answer is to unabashedly buy Congressmen. I don’t care what you think, I don’t care how offensive this idea may be to you. This is inarguably, demonstrably, the way the world works. It’s not open for debate. If you don’t understand this you are either incredibly naive or in denial. Either way you’re wrong. And if we want our rights we’re going to have to pay for them.

Here’s your government at work, again. This time the morons in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative — the bureaucratic jackasses responsible for trying to globally mandate ridiculous, user-hostile, US Copyright laws written for the benefit of Disney and Hollywood — are trying to use small- and mid-displacement European motorcycles as a bargaining chip in a pissing match over hormone-fed beef.

The deal is that Europe doesn’t want hormone-fed beef. I don’t blame them. But the US says it’s fine. Good stuff. And we should be allowed to sell it in Europe despite the fact they don’t want it. The US got the World Trade Organization (WTO) to agree with them, but Europe refuses to lift the 20-year ban.

So the Beef Lobby, a vehicle of the massive US agribusiness oligopoly, has convinced the Trade Rep they should go out and tax all the Euro products they think people won’t fight back over.

Once again, big business writes the policies that affect us all, and writes them to their own advantage without regard for what it means to real people like you and me. I don’t know who to contact on this. The Trade Rep is taking comments until Dec. 8. Let’s hope that someone hits these guys with a clue-x-4. Motorcycles don’t belong in an agriculture trade dispute. Here’s the letter (pdf) the AMA sent to the Trade Rep.

Whatever else you may think about the recent election, one thing is certainly going to change — public policy about the public’s right to use public lands. Specifically, our right to ride and responsibly use public trails and land will be under even greater assault.

The latest major assault on our rights as American off-road enthusiasts is the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008. Please visit the AMA Rapid Response Center or Save the Trails to let your representatives know you want them to kill this bill.

This bill is bad by it’s very nature. There are more than 140 separate parts in it, and you can bet your last dollar that no one voting on it knows what they all are. Any bill in Congress with the word omnibus in its title is bad. Period. No exceptions.

The word omnibus means dealing with many items at once, and it’s the straight path to hell for decent legislation. Omnibus bills are expressly designed to obfuscate their contents, create hidy-holes for pet projects, and get things passed that would never pass on their own if they had to survive the harsh light of open debate. They are a favorite tool of corrupt, lazy politicians and special interests, who use them to hide things for which there is no public support. Half the time there are no, or very few, specifics in the bill at all when it is passed. Most of the specifics get written later by useless bureaucrats. Great, huh?

The only sure thing about this bill is that, as off-road enthusiasts, we will be worse off if it passes. It’s possible (but very difficult) to get good land use legislation. But it requires open debate, consideration, participation by the public, and lots of hard work. The Omnibus Bill got none of those things. It’s a shortcut, half-ass, slap-and-go, piece of lame duck legislation. Let your Representative know that we’ve had enough of their stupid legislating and they should just go home.

This note comes from my friend Robert Bergman in Phoenix, AZ, via the TMSuzuki Yahoo! Group. Advocates for Access to Public Lands is sponsoring a petition to fight the California Wild Heritage Bill S-493, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, and other such wholesale closures of public lands. Take a minute to add your name to the Public Lands Petition. Also be sure to check out the BlueRibbon Coalition, one of the leading public land access organizations in the country.

Via Oligopoly Watch, a New York Times article from last month reports on how “earmarks” – special amendments and addenda that Congressmen write into spending bills to payoff their supporters and cronies – are raining down a feast of cash on defense contractors. What’s interesting to us is the table of figures, compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, that shows how much contractors spent in lobbying money vs. how much was returned to them via earmarks:

A comparison between money spent on lobbying and the amount received in earmark funds in the first half of 2007
Company Millions in earmarks Millions spent on lobbying
L3 Communivations $69.5 $0.14
DPS Technology $31.5 $1.3
Raytheon $30 $0.99
General Dynamics $26.5 $0.58
Science Applications $26.5 $0.44
Northrop Grumman $22 $0.17
BAE Systems $21 $0.23
Honeywell $18.5 $0.08
Concurrent Technologies $18 $0.16
Getstalt $18 $0.12
Data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense

Notice that the payoff is a minimum of 10:1 and can be as high as 100:1. Raytheon invested just under $1 million and got $30 million in return. General Dynamics invested half a million and got $26.5 million back. Northrup Grumman invested a paltry $.17 million and got $22 million back. You can see the pattern here. It doesn’t take all that much to buy a Congressman. A half-million here, a half-million there and pretty soon you get some real nice results.

This tells us the AMA needs to be spending some cold, hard cash on Congress. AMA president Rob Dingman knows how this works. As a former AMA lobbyist he knows the system. But it’s clear that the AMA’s lack of focus in the past has led to a rather pathetic lobbying effort. We need more. Much more.

Of course,it’s not quite as straightforward for us as for the weapons builders. The AMA isn’t after juicy, overpriced contracts. But we do need funds for all kinds of research. We haven’t had a decent motorcycle crash study since the Hurt Report in the ‘80s. And we’ve never had any kind of research to understand the physics of offroad injuries. But what we really need are the right kinds of legislation. And Congressmen who are genuinely on our side (meaning we’ve paid them) to stand up against boneheaded attempts to regulate us out of existence.

With just under 300,000 members at $39/year the AMA raises over $10 million each year from the membership. I don’t know what they get from Corporate Members. But a couple of million dollars spread around on 5–6 key Congressmen would go a long way in addressing some of our legislative issues. And yes, it really is that simple. It can’t be that obivious – politicians do have some standards. And it takes some time to get the right Congressmen. But it really is all about the money. Don’t believe otherwise for a minute.