Attack of the Killer Buckthorn

Or, There Oughtta Be a Law!

Steve Brandt is the usual Spokesmodel type for the Democratic Party-run StarTribune.  Brandt’s writing epitomizes the deeply warped thinking of the average collectivist who believes deeply that government is everything and if only we let the ‘smart’ people run things, we’ll all be better off.  This centralized command and control thinking has permeated the Democratic Party completely and as a result, everything they propose reeks of this “bowing to authority” mentality.  This includes even how to treat a weed.  Brandt’s story was so hilarious and so outside the realm of common sense, it is the perfect example of how the Left views the world and their kneejerk approach to even trivial things.

Busting buckthorn – over and over and over

by Steve Brandt, StarTribune 11/10/2010

Act I – Create a problem and turn it into a crisis of world-shattering magnitude.

“Common and glossy buckthorn are invasive species that crowd out native plants. They’re also allelopathic, which means they release a toxin that suppresses other plants. Where buckthorn takes over, the number of species of birds and vegetation plunges. Even insects that feed on native plants generally eschew buckthorn.”

First, Brandt has to explain to us mere mortals, that buckthorn is a really, really bad problem.  You see, it’s invasive, and that’s bad.  Nobody wants to be invaded, right?  On top of being invasive, they crowd out native plants.  See, they are invaders that push away the natives.  These plants are just like the European colonists, er conquistadors.  These plants invaded and pushed out the delicate, fragile natives.  Oh. My. God.  The horror.  But, it gets worse.

You see buckthorn also releases a toxin that suppresses other plants.  You know, like white people do to people of color.  Like capitalism did to all those ordinary, everyday people who are just exploited by The Man.  It must be destroyed, just like white, honky, racist crackers.  We aren’t done yet though.  When buckthorn takes over the number of species of birds and other plants crashes.  So, buckthorn, in addition to its oppressing qualities, also destroys that most important concept of all, “diversity.”  It just marginalizes all the other plants and animals and takes over.  Bad buckthorn, Bad!! 

Act II – The crisis is about to cause impending doom if we don’t stop it, now!!!

“Some birds feed on buckthorn berries on other park land; others feed on stands of buckthorn growing in yards. Birds eat the fruit and excrete it quickly because it gives them the runs. That means stands of buckthorn are constantly being replanted, even as they’re being removed.” 

This is the most hilarious part of his story.  So, these berries, which we have been previously told, marginalize and chase off birds, are suddenly like candy to them.  While we believed there was absolutely no redeeming value, it seems a bunch of birds are happily munching on them.  Hmm?  Well, ole Brandt has some horrifying news for you about these crazy birds.

They get the runs.  Really. 

Now, I’m trying to figure out how ole Brandt got this little tidbit of information.  Did he run around after these birds cataloging their buckthorn berry intake and then follow them to their outhouses?  For that matter, how does Steve know the difference between regular bird poop and bird diarrhea?  Isn’t most bird feces pretty sloppy to begin with?  Maybe he’s an amateur ornithologist and can tell by the relative densities of healthy bird guano and unhealthy diarrhea? 

Most likely, Steve called up Larry Jacobs’ ornithological equivalent at the U and asked her.  She probably looked it up on Wikipedia and told him there are mild laxative qualities to the berries and so these birds probably got the Hersey squirts.  But, since she’s a qualified, verifiable ornithologist, she’s gotta be right.  Right? 

So, back to the impending doom of these birds that need Pepto-Bismal and are flying all over dropping seeds everywhere and spreading the dreaded native-hating buckthorn.  Brandt explain the impending crisis in terms that bring home the direness of the problem.

“Retired Park Board horticulturalist Mary Maguire Lerman has compared photos of the river gorge taken about seven years apart in the late 1960s and mid-1970s that show how quickly buckthorn spread there, something she attributes to it being able to take advantage of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.” 

Thank the heavens, we have an ‘expert’ on the case.  So, Ms. Lerman, who we’ve now been told is accredited and therefore beyond questioning, compared photos of the river gorge and found that low and behold, a plant originally brought to America to grow in swampy, inhospitable areas did indeed grow in swampy and inhospitable areas.  What I don’t understand is why she didn’t just look at pictures from last year and compare them to this year?  If this is such a terrible crisis that needs our immediate attention, why are we looking at photos from the late 60’s and early 70’s?  Don’t we want to know how our pulling up the stupid weeds is working today? 

Ms. Lerman then gives us the piece de resistance.  This obnoxious, hateful, native-oppressing little weed is becoming out of control because of rising carbon levels in the atmosphere.  <Gasp>  You mean to tell me, carbon dioxide, which is what plants suck up out of the atmosphere and through photosynthesis create carbohydrates and cellulose, are doing that more because of higher concentrations.  Hallelujah.  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.  So, carbon dioxide is actually contributing to the rapid growth of plant life. 

Isn’t this a good thing?  Don’t think too deeply on that one, it might make your head hurt.

Back to the crisis.

So how bad is this epidemic of evil, oppressive, native-hating buckthorn?  Well, we have a case study just to prove to you how terrible it is.

“Working into the neighborhood from the river, Longfellow made a substantial dent in its buckthorn population, according to Hillary Oppmann, who helped spearhead neighborhood efforts. But she can testify from personal experience how persistent buckthorn can be. Just this past spring she discovered that a bird-seeded buckthorn sapling had sprouted in her yard.” 

Are you serious?  After all her hard work and efforts, some damn bird ate a buckthorn seed and pooped in her yard.  And then, that seed, in spite of all her hard work and best intentions, grew.  Now, even though she’s already pulled up a bunch of the nasty, brutish things, now she has another one growing in her yard.  Growing in her yard.  Can you imagine a weed, after you pulled a bunch of its brothers, had the audacity, the temerity to grow?  I’m absolutely appalled.

Act III – The Ultimate Solution – Have Government Make it Illegal

“One potential path to making bigger inroads on buckthorn was offered during the 2010 legislative session by Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shoreview. His bill would have offered municipalities the chance to go beyond state restrictions by giving them the local option to require buckthorn eradication on all public and private property.” 

Of course, the first thing you’d think about doing is making it illegal.  That’s, of course, the very first refuge you’d take in a storm, have government mandate something.  How brilliant.  How foresighted.  How wise these people are.  If we just force people to remove the stupid weed, all our problems will be solved.  The world will once again be safe for native plants if only that wicked, vicious, vile buckthorn was eradicated. 

Of course, government doesn’t just mandate people to do something.  That’s crazy.  No, you have to build an entire framework of government to oversee the pulling of weeds. 

“The law could be enforced, with adequate training, by city housing inspectors who already patrol alleys for overgrown weeds. Such a program should be coupled with programs to give financial help to homeowners who need to remove buckthorn, Oppmann said.”

Because, we need more government programs and more oversight.  We can’t possibly expect people to pull their own damn weeds.  We need a nanny-state structure to enforce this important, vital, life-protecting law.  We also need government programs to help people pull their weeds.  Of course, we’ll need some more bureaucrats to structure these programs and hand out the money for people to pull their weeds.  It’s just so smart, and fair.

Because afterall, this is buckthorn.

Buckthorn is unfair to the native plants.  In order to construct a fairer, more just country and world, we have to tame the buckthorn.  We need to teach the buckthorn its place and allow the poor, delicate native plants a chance to breath and grow.  Steve Brandt is, in essence, proposing a new ideal; eco-fairness.  This ideal would allow some plants, that have been so oppressed and crowded out, a chance to thrive and grow.  Enough with the nasty, bullying buckthorn and its apparent ability to survive.  We need a fair chance for natives too.

Sound familiar.

Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com