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Slamming Geese While Wall St.’s in the Slammer

In Agression, Air, Armor, Black-billed Bird on May 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm

This is where I can find neither border nor scope to my rage, similar to what my dearly beloved Times Readers express when fighting Brooksie boy.  I wish it were possible for me to muster such unending umbrage, and I rejoice that you all do, but Brooksie is so sadly dime-a-dozen and emblematic of 99% of the men I have danced with or dated in 20 years of my adult life, with or without a large newspaper column.  I didn’t change or reform any of those men, so I don’t expect one shred of conscience to rub off on Brooksie.  Instead,  I happily waltzed away, because, while it takes 2 to tango, I became tired of tangoing….

But this geese attack by the Times is more blatant and unconscionable than the front page lift of the NPR pseudo-scandal from Daily Caller to NYTimes.   While the front page gloats about at last jailing a hedge fund manager, the blog slyly chronicles this taxpayer funded massacre while concealing public outrage.

* update, 8 pm–At last, the Times printed reader comments with excellent comment by Johanna in Clearfield, Brooklyn, with link to her website:  I quote excerpt of her comments:

“WE DO NOT NEED TO REDUCE, WE DO NOT NEED TO KILL OR CULL. What we DO need is to protect, preserve and nurture our blessing of wildlife. Do your readers have any idea of the millions of birds who have been painfully exterminated by the recent BP oil spill (very little of the relief money went to wildlife rescue, most went to building back up business); and the recent nuclear disaster in Japan. Is there any oversight or understanding of the “big picture?”

We have ONE earth. And here in Prospect Park we are blessed to have wild, healthy geese, ducks, starlings, pigeons, sparrows and hundreds of other species (migratory) that come through the park. It is a TREASURE. Now the Parks Dept. brings in it’s barking dogs to chase the geese and to help foster a hostile, horrible nature-hating atmosphere in a place that so many of us used to call our sanctuary.

Here is a link to the recent Prospect Park rally to PROTECT our geese:

http://handsacrossprospectpark.wordpress.com/

Here is a link to show you — In FACTS — how many thousands of our wildlife the USDA (through “wildlife services”) is killing ACROSS the country. Thousands of wild, defenseless animals are slaughtered including deer, starlings, hawks, Bobcats, beavers, otters, eagles (yes!), ducks, squirrels, raccoons — YOU NAME it. Where is the democratic process here? Or is this more of a Tyranny?

Call your local reps — Brad Lander, Bill DiBlasio, Chuck Schumer, the Prospect Park Alliance, The Mayor’s office (call 311) — and tell them to LEAVE our wildlife ALONE!!!!!!!!

fieldjo@aol.com Recommended Recommended by 4 Readers ”

And I resume:

Which moronic beasts have forgotten how quickly the passenger pigeon met extinction? Apparently all of them running this federal goose murder program, which lacks any real supporting data.  And, according to the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese, this is the point.  And by redefining the geese as “resident,” the killers can get around the protections of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act  of  1918 which came into effect after the Passenger Pigeon extinction!!

As this Wikipedia entry notes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_Pigeon), there were 3-5  billion passenger pigeons when Europeans arrived in North America, but they quickly reached extinction by 1890.  “In 1896, the final flock of 250,000 were killed by the hunters knowing that it was the last flock of that size.[citation needed]

In other words, the size of the original group of geese that state of New York cites needs to be reduced to 85,000 (by killing  170,000 of them) is the size of the last known viable population of passenger pigeons before they were decimated to extinction.  The New York Times provides ZERO supporting data that any such populations exist, and their follow up article reporting the euthanizing of hundreds to about 2,ooo geese defies the earlier article with the outrageous and alarming number of a goal of 170,000.   Thus you can assume with such wild inaccuracies the entire article is mere propaganda.

(http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/state-plans-to-eliminate-170000-canada-geese/)

The mere nine-page report justifying this murder is appalling. (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/state-plans-to-eliminate-170000-canada-geese/)  With no basis other than the Hudson river landing and a 1995 Air France flight damage (but not crash), it declares “the population of resident Canada geese needs to be reduced.”  The report mentions no methods used for determining the number of existing geese, nor what is the minimum viable population, nor what will happen if 2/3 of a population is wiped out in a short span of time.

Today’s article, “Goslings Defy Prospect Park’s Birth Control Effort”

(http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/goslings-defy-prospect-parks-birth-control-effort/?scp=3&sq=geese&st=cse    )

predictably did not accept my comment.   I  said the geese cause less harm than congress does and should be left alone.   And I suspect that previous articles in City Room were peppered by industry commenters, since most of them are short.

“Even with these additions, the lake’s goose population now numbers only about two dozen, down from many hundreds before the 2010 massacre.”

Will this be the last sentence we read before, ooops, sorry, we guess killing 2/3 of the population was not such a good move.  They mate for life, and the remaining 1/3 may not be viable.  No article explored that issue, nor did any of the articles suggest, as a reader comment did, the planes could put nets over their engines or create some other plane-based solution, as opposed to a bird-based, grim “final solution.”

But I quote at length for the rest of the blog from the website, a 1996, and a 2002 version, from the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese, which lays bare the ruthless tactics wildlife managers, politicians, and newspapers use to hoodwink the public into thinking there is a widespread consensus about ridding suburbia of the menace of  “resident” geese.  I worry that the site has been shut down after 2002, and the lack of real dissent allowed in the commentary of the Times relentless series in the City Blogs proves these narrow minded “wildlife managers” have proved necrotizingly victorious.

excerpt from:

http://www.canadageese.org/doc3.html


In a growing number of situations, programs have been planned or are underway to kill Canada geese on a regular basis. The government wildlife management establishment (the US Fish and Wildlife Service, state “game” agencies, and seemingly-benign representatives from local cooperative extensions) each play their part in advancing the various stages which make these atrocities a reality. These stages include; convincing a municipality that killing via depredation permit (or hunting) is the only solution, approval of the permit, and public sentiment manipulation by carefully planned media maneuvers.

Local politicians are easy prey to these agencies, which offer only superficial guidance on the use of non-lethal methods of goose dissuasion. When poorly-chosen and sloppily implemented non-lethal methods fail, politicians are convinced that killing is the only answer.

As will be elaborated shortly, government wildlife managers go to great lengths to spread their archaic killing-centered philosophy on how wildlife controversies should be handled. Communities that eventually succumb to goose extermination programs do so after being thoroughly soaked with disinformation, often from ostensibly respectable local figures.

With little or no supporting evidence, geese are accused of posing a health threat, compromising water quality, damaging crops, and overpopulating areas where they live. Those who actively perpetuate such ideas – mayors, health department officials, sportsmen’s clubs, park rangers, etc. – when challenged, find themselves unable to support their claims with sound scientific information. Whether by ignorance or premeditated deciet, the misinformation they dispense can usually be traced to the government wildlife-killing establishment and their beneficiaries (“sport” hunters, weapon manufacturers, etc.).

The following sections serve to shed some light on the more common issues and corresponding misconceptions used to justify the killing of geese. Other topics will be added in due course.

Then, from– http://www.canadageese.org/doc3a.html

Population


When the topic of Canada geese arises, it invariably includes sweeping generalizations about the status of their population. Those attempting to do unethical things to geese have a tendency to exaggerate and speak with great certainty about the rate of future goose population increases. The intent is clearly to sway public perception into accepting a state of imminent crisis. Close examination reveals that such predictions are commonly based on population data that is of questionable accuracy or altogether imaginary.

Even though population is a straightforward concept, determining wildlife populations accurately, except in the simplest of situations, is a complicated undertaking. Simply put, the quality of population data depends on the thoroughness with which one is able to count individuals in a population. Clearly, as the land area under consideration increases, the difficulty of collecting data increases; as difficulty in collection increases, so suffers accuracy. Indeed, the point (territory size) after which actual counting becomes impractical is usually small relative to the total area of interest. Of course, it also depends to some extent on the species being counted. It is an accepted practice of those studying waterfowl populations to do limited surveys and then derive final population numbers based on extrapolation. Obviously, numbers concocted in this way are susceptible to enormous sampling error and, therefore, run the risk of being highly inaccurate. One needn’t pore over numbers to prove this point.

Wildlife management decisions are based on the belief that the population data collected have a useful degree of accuracy. One way in which the inadequacy of such data may manifest itself is when actions based on the data give unexpected or undesired results. In 1995, the population of (long range) migratory Canada geese in the Eastern Flyway crashed suddenly. With the population on the verge of irreversible destruction, wildlife managers had to shut down, for an indefinite period, all hunting of these geese. The regular “hunting seasons” leading up to this decline were presumably justified based on population levels made from population data that were collected using standard techniques. It would seem that these practices nearly caused a catastrophe.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Bureau of Wildlife, provides us with a good example of how contradictory and therefore unreliable Canada goose population data can be. A NYS DEC News Release dated March 13,1991 proclaimed that, according to population surveys, there were 75,000 Canada geese in all of New York State. On the back page of the same release, another article mentioned that the total number (a direct count) of geese at two lakes in upstate NY was 109,000. Why the disparity? According to the DEC, the lower number was based on extrapolations from an aerial survey.

In 1996, a formal proposal was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to withdraw itself from the permitting process by which states get approval to kill Canada geese. If adopted, it would allow towns and cities to slaughter geese without oversight from the USFWS, and hence without much justification. A Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) was published to support this proposal. The following table is one of 7 similar tables found in Appendix C that deal with the Canada goose populations in several states. Presumably, these are their best population data, yet note the outrageous margin of error; it often approaches, and sometimes exceeds, 100%! It is fraudulent but common, that they would attempt to make policy based on such statistically useless information.

As is true with many types of wildlife, most goose population projections are extrapolations based on estimates based on poor data. It is remarkable that an endless stream of definitive statements continue to be made about future trends: “The population of geese is exploding;” “If nothing is done, the population will grow exponentially;” or even “double in the next 5 years.” While statements similar to the one about an “exploding” population are clearly subjective, the others can be validated by fulfilling mathematical criteria – that is, if accurate data are available. In reality, most exaggerated claims about population fall into the category of wishful thinking and are never validated before the killing begins, nor does it seem to matter.

In Rockland County, NY, a plan to kill geese was initiated in 1993 when it was estimated that about 3500 geese lived in the county. Yet in 1996, when the killing began, the population had already dropped to around 2000 geese. The killing of 251 geese, despite a drop in population by approximately one-third, defies logic.

Grudgingly, wildlife biologists must concede (but not publicly) that in established populations, under ordinary conditions, long-term, high-level exponential growth of most wildlife species, certainly geese, is virtually impossible. The word “exponential” is used to draw fear from the public; it implies enormous change over a short period. However, exponential growth may proceed at a slow rate and never reach levels of practical importance. The idea of continued exponential population growth, as showcased on so many speculative graphs about future population trends, fallaciously requires the assumption that no biological limiting factors (factors that regulate population) exist.

Among those who would like us to believe this fallacy are the wildlife biologists in Minnesota (where rounding up and killing geese originated). On the first page of a report issued in 1996 is a graph showing projected population growth over time. The chart tells us less about future population trends for geese than it does about the willingness of Minnesota’s wildlife biologists to risk appearing incompetent, so as to scare and deceive the public. Note that fully 75% of the Y-axis is speculation.

The graph was created to imply, despite the biological absurdity of the implication, infinite population growth. The intent is clear, to scare the public into accepting their plan of mass destruction. (Note the cover design of the report: The skyline is filled with menacing Canada geese – a tribute to traditional propaganda and reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”).

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Suburbia: Inviting Territory for Geese

Outpacing any increase in goose populations is the steadily growing size of suburbia. Such rapid and unregulated expansions via modern development practices exact a heavy toll on suburbia’s already precarious ecological state. The tremendous imbalances that such actions bring to the land set the stage for a growing number of human-wildlife conflicts.

The common construction practice of clear-cutting, building, then replanting with turf-grass and foreign ornamentals (non-native species) reinforces a wrong-headedness about the natural world and advances the philosophy that “cleaning up” and controlling nature is the thing to do. Intensively landscaped areas such as those found at golf courses, corporate facilities, public parks and around many homes, despite their ecological barrenness, still maintain potent attractions for certain types of wildlife. Unfortunately, the artificiality of these places, in combination with the mentality of those who fight to maintain them, afford little leeway for co-existence. Under such circumstances, wildlife is forced into the role of an unwelcome invader whose natural activities can not be accommodated, and therefore, are considered “destructive.”

The dysfunctional biology of these manicured areas exacerbates the awkwardness of the relationship between say, Canada geese, the natural pond-turned-public park and its human visitors. Claims about “overpopulation” have very little to do with any knowledge of statistics, banding studies, aerial surveys or biological carrying capacity than they do about geese being an inconvenience. Such claims exemplify the arrogant notion that nature must conform to unnatural selfish human standards, standards that humans themselves cannot meet. In other words, talk of Canada goose overpopulations is not a biological reality as much as it is one of attitude and perception – a perception born of the idea that it is rightly within the domain of human activity to determine how many of which creatures there should be, what behavior is acceptable, and which should live and which should die.

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Government Wildlife Management:
Creating & Exploiting Wildlife Imbalances for “Sport” Hunters

In suburbia, the wildlife management establishment clearly lets the ecological disruptions fall where they may: Wetlands, lakes and ponds are made into parks and incorporated into housing developments, corporate centers, and shopping malls. When the predictable human-wildlife conflicts erupt, wildlife managers roll in with their usual approach to wildlife crisis management. They advocate actions for which they have the most experience: killing. Wildlife extermination proves to be ineffective because it has little or no relationship to the biological imbalance that gave rise to the human-wildlife conflict in the first place. Wildlife managers often refer to extermination plans as “long-term management”. It is an intentionally vague concept used to perpetuate the killing of wildlife (usually in the form of “sport” hunting) for an indefinite but long period of time. Indeed, precedent shows that this type of thinking sets the stage for a cycle of killing that is repeated year after year.

The inability of state and federal wildlife agencies to protect, in the true sense of the word, Canada geese from the poor planning and ignorance of humans is not surprising, as they subscribe to the archaic philosophy that the value of an individual goose’s life is inversely proportional to the population to which it is affiliated (the geese-as-a-commodity mentality). This is the result of having wildlife agencies that economically benefit from high populations of species, such as Canada geese, that “sport” hunters like to kill. Contrary to illusion, “game” agencies are not in the business of population reduction, they are in the business of optimizing hunting opportunities, and more hunting requires more living targets (i.e., more geese).

One might say that the wildlife management establishment maintains a substantial conflict of interest between the “sport” hunters they serve (approx. 6% of the US population) and the best interest of wildlife and the general public. The often-heard refrain that goose and other wildlife populations are growing in suburban areas because hunting is not allowed sounds almost reasonable until one reads government documents such as the 1986 North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NWMP). In short, this plan is an agreement between Canada, Mexico and the US to work together to increase populations of ducks, geese and swans throughout North America. Indeed, hunting and its economy are actually working in concert with suburban ecological changes to make imbalances worse and conflicts more common.

Protecting waterfowl habitats is one thing; establishing goals to increase waterfowl populations by using public lands “…to increase their productivity and carrying capacity” (NWMP, May 1986, p. 14) is another matter altogether. Furthermore, by saying that “the financial participation of private conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and Wildlife Habitat Canada is critical…” (NWMP, May 1986), the intent of the plan is revealed since these organizations are waterfowl hunting groups whose interest is in conserving hunting above all else.

Our Dictionary of Wildlife Management Euphemisms

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Wildlife Discrimination: The “Resident” Goose Syndrome

The concept of the “resident goose” is the arbitrary creation of government wildlife managers. By their terminology, a “resident” goose is defined as any Canada goose not nesting north of Quebec, Canada. Thus, a goose spending the summer in Maine who winters in North Carolina, despite the impressive migration, is a “resident” goose. The term allows wildlife managers the flexibility of defining this imaginary goose in any way that suits their purpose. In public they regard “resident” geese as evil and migrants as desirable. For reasons described below, waterfowl managers would like the public to share their attitudes.

Their hope is that by separating the populations, “resident” birds will eventually be legally exempt from the regulations and “protective” provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty (1916). This would lead to more liberal “sport” hunting opportunities, and in turn more revenue. Such a scenario is already being played out with the introduction several years ago of so-called “special” early and late hunting seasons on Canada geese. In essence, like so many other manipulative euphemisms in wildlife management, the term “resident” goose is a discrimination tool employed with an eye toward exploitation.

One ironic twist is that since most of the NWMP “wetland enhancements” for the “increased productivity of waterfowl” are carried out south of Quebec, these managed wetland areas amount to “resident” Canada goose (waterfowl) factories. Thus, waterfowl managers are making a concerted effort to produce “resident” geese, talk incessantly about their population increases, then recommend special seasons to hunt them. In light of this, it seems perverse to call on government wildlife officials to resolve controversies involving Canada geese.

“Special” hunting seasons have less to do with reducing the population of so-called “resident” Canada geese, than they do with providing more (and convenient!) “sport” hunting opportunities for their paying customers. Thus, “special” seasons serve as a revenue-generating bonus or, if needed, an economic back-up for “game” agencies during years when regular seasons have been curtailed. [In 1995, the “regular” hunting season for Canada geese in the Eastern Flyway was cancelled due to a declining population. To compensate, the “special” hunting seasons on Canada geese were lengthened.0

~~~~~~~~

an excerpt from a  1996-2000 page ( I http://www.canadageese.org/doc1.html)

Various investigations by the Coalition revealed that local politicians and state wildlife agencies routinely employ deception and illegality to achieve the goal of wildlife destruction. One common tactic is the use of gross exaggeration. For example, the supervisor’s 1993 claim that there were 10,000 – 12,000 Canada geese in Rockland County was wrong: There were less than 3500. When he finally conceded his error, he said he wanted to reduce the Clarkstown goose population to around 2000 geese, yet when goose killing began in 1996, counts revealed there WERE only about 2000 geese in the whole county. As predicted by basic biology, the extremely costly extermination of geese was a complete failure; once geese were killed, others moved in from surrounding areas to fill the void. (The full story is available here.)

While he denies it now, he has known from the start that most people are opposed to his irrational and deadly schemes.

“…And, he readily admits the plan is unpopular.”
Rockland Journal-News, January 25,1993

We have confirmed this unpopularity — thousands of people have signed our petitions in opposition to the killing of Canada geese. While not apparent initially, his obsession with killing is now widely recognized throughout the community, even among his supporters.

The Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese is a diverse group of concerned citizens that came together to protect Canada geese and those who consider them among the jewels of our ecologically bankrupt suburban landscape. The Coalition rigorously challenges goose extermination plans from a scientific, ethical, and practical standpoint. Further, the Coalition monitors the emergence of similar schemes throughout the country. Our research indicates that, despite having decades of precedent, lethal methods of wildlife control are generally ineffective, and leveraged into place by playing to the fears of the public. This web page serves to share some of our findings and foster a greater appreciation for a much-maligned species.

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Hiking for Tax Hikes in Beverly Hills (re: Krugman, “Let’s Take a Hike”)

In Armor, Balanced, Decisive, Difficult on April 25, 2011 at 12:39 am

Interior showing family of nine

Indeedy, Mr. Krugman, our country would do well to send a few tax collectors hiking up Beverly Hills, CA, swinging by Manhattan, NYC, on the way….a hike in such terrain would be salubrious for body, mind, and soul of our nation, no doubt!

Thank you for reminding me that the original Bush tax cuts were sold as a way to dispose of a large budget surplus…

How did that simple “high taxes= surplus” truth twist into the magical thinking that _cutting_ taxes, not increasing taxes, creates revenues and budget surpluses? The louder the frothy-mouthed “debaters” scream this lie at each other on FOX news, the more the veneer wears off their hysteria, coming back to the perfectly obvious arguments you patiently state.

Most vexing of all, why do the Democrats fall into this deficit trap? Every time we do, the budget surpluses travel right upstream to the rich. The last surplus was a give-away in lavish tax breaks to people who did not need them. Now that the rich have spent even that surplus, they are willing to extend their largesse to themselves by brazenly stealing from the elderly and middle class.

The word “private” has it origins in Middle English and Latin of 1350-1400, literally “taken away from public affairs, special use of past participle of ‘privare’ to rob” (Random House).

So whenever you hear the word “privatize,” just think “rob from the common good.”

Our hard-earned, rich reservoir of common good in this country has been too successful at welcoming everyone, even people who blatantly profess to propel the rich ahead at the expense of everyone else. Those are the very few who need to be barred from continuing to help themselves while the hard-working and humble avert their eyes in shame for them.

The People’s Budget is a stepping stool for the American people to rise above the hysteria of tax-cuts-for-the-rich, spending-cuts-for-everyone-else.  It is a budget proposal head-and-shoulders above the trash talk and kick in the teeth the Ryan budget propels.