Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No More Wilderness Designation

GRANTS – The Coalition to Keep Cibola National Forest Open for Multi-use meeting occurred two days before the National Wilderness Conference and Festival in Albuquerque. Protecting public lands while providing public access was the theme of both events. U.S. Representative Steve Pearce, State Speaker of the House Ken Martinez, State Senator Clemente Sanchez, Cibola County Commissioner Pat Simpson, City of Grants Councilman Edwin Dickens, and Village of Milan Manager Marcella Sandoval attended the “Wilderness Prevention Forum” at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Grants on Monday evening. Approximately 200 people gathered to listen to a three-member panel, Clayton Thayer, Kendra Brown, Les Gaines, pose questions to Cibola National Forest (CNF) Supervisor Elaine Kohrman and Bob Davis, director of ecosystems analysis, planning, watershed and air, Southwestern Region. Derrick Underhill, owner of KMIN Radio, provided live coverage. “This Coalition was established to protect all four of the CNF ranger districts,” said Gaines. “No more wilderness designations.” “We are interested in this process,” emphasized Thayer. “We have no other affiliations; we are concerned citizens of Cibola County.” He explained that the questions posed to CNF officials were based on residents’ interest in making sure no further access restrictions were implemented. Anti-wilderness advocates maintain that seven federal laws are already in place and no additional designation is necessary to protect Mount Taylor. Commissioner Simpson asked, “Is the budget not big enough to maintain the roads in the Zunis? Is that why we are shutting roads down?” “How many roads have locked gates?” asked Congressman Pearce. The Supervisor commented that Forest Service budget allocations had been drastically reduced in the past five years. “You have money to lock roads off but not money to maintain them?” questioned Pearce. “Are you mandated to hunt for wilderness areas?” asked Commissioner Simpson. CNF Regional Planner Davis, whose career spans more than 30 years, replied, “There is a mandate to review wilderness every time we update a management plan.” “Where did that idea come from?” questioned Simpson. “Congress,” Kohrman and Davis answered...more

Feelings Are Mixed About Wilderness Designation As Group Celebrates 50 Years

CIBOLA COUNTY - “It is the job of the [U.S.] Forest Service to ensure that our national forests are preserved, but also to ensure that they are kept open for outdoor recreation and resource development that does not harm the environment,” according to U.S. Representative Steve Pearce’s recently published opinion column. He expressed concern that some groups wish to directly affect the way ranchers and job creators work within the forests and claimed their goal includes the reduction of ranching and resource production. “Recently, environmental groups pushed the Cibola National Forest (CNF) to move forward with the initial steps of a wilderness designation within the Mt. Taylor Ranger District during the development of the new forest management plan,” noted Pearce. Furniture Zone 3 CNF Supervisor Elaine Kohrman explained that federal regulations require the Forest Service to evaluate areas for potential wilderness designation when revising existing management plans. She has repeatedly reassured community members, “We are very far away from deciding on areas of [wilderness] recommendation. This is only one part of the process.” Once the evaluation process is completed, USFS then makes recommendations to Congress, which has the final decision-making authority. Forest Service staff began revising the 1985 CNF Management Plan in 2012. The five-year process is scheduled for completion in 2017. “We (CNF) are at the first stage of a six-step process before any public land can be designated. I am responsible for making the final recommendation(s) to Congress if any areas are identified as suitable,” said Kohrman. One example of concern focused on area ranchers with grazing allotments in the national forest. One man questioned how a wilderness designation might affect them. CNF officials assured audience members that active grazing allotments in good standing would remain valid for use. Kohrman added that existing mining rights would not be affected; firefighters and emergency personnel would be granted access to deal with threatening situations; and valid in-holdings would be provided with access to their property...more

Sen. Reid quietly moves to block development of 800,000 acres in central Nevada

A bill quietly introduced in Congress would restrict mining and energy exploration over a sweeping area of rural Nevada, preserving scenic valleys and buffering a landmark piece of desert artwork. Sen. Harry Reid last month introduced legislation to withdraw 805,100 acres of federal land in Garden Valley and Coal Valley straddling the Lincoln and Nye county lines, a desolate area bigger than Rhode Island. The restrictions would not affect current valid land use such as grazing, but it would forbid the Bureau of Land Management from selling any land or granting permits for oil or mineral prospecting. Activities for new geothermal, solar or wind energy development also would be restricted. The bill would ensure the most significant feature in the 1,250-square-mile area would be “City,” one of the largest earth sculptures ever created. It is roughly the size of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and has taken its creator, noted artist Michael Heizer, more than 40 years to craft. But conservationists said the withdrawal would have a much broader impact, offering a level of protection to some of Nevada’s more stunning landscapes...more

What? No Wilderness or National Monument?  Just a simple withdrawal to protect the lands.  Guess Harry's not as radical as Tom Udall who, when he couldn't get his Wilderness bill passed went running to his buddy Obama and had the lands placed in a National Monument.

Sportsmen seek room for wildlife amid drilling push

Sportsmen's groups see the White River plan as a key opportunity for BLM to enhance protections for backcountry lands that nourish big game and imperiled birds like the greater sage grouse. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has mobilized hundreds of Colorado sportsmen and more than a dozen hunting- and fishing-related businesses to lobby BLM to set aside nearly two dozen backcountry conservation areas (BCAs) under the field office's jurisdiction, totaling about 230,000 acres. The BCAs would be managed primarily for wildlife and nonmotorized recreation. Oil and gas development -- wells, pipelines and new roads -- would be either banned from the surface or tightly restricted. "We want a tool that considers backcountry lands as one value in multiple use," said Joel Webster, who directs the Roosevelt partnership's Center for Western Lands from Missoula, Mont. "BLM has few tools in [the] administrative process for protecting special places." The partnership is mobilizing sportsmen across the West to urge similar BCAs in lands under the jurisdiction of BLM offices in north-central Montana, eastern Idaho, southern Oregon and central Nevada, among other places. It sees a major window of opportunity as BLM updates RMPs covering 123 million acres, Webster said. RMPs are the blueprints BLM relies on to decide where and how the public lands may be used, be it for drilling, all-terrain vehicles, hikers, hunters or wildlife. The sportsmen's effort comes as BLM also pursues a major overhaul of its planning process, a move aimed at updating RMPs more frequently and with an eye toward landscape-scale planning and mitigation...more

Federal Land Managers Agree To Collaborate On National Wilderness Preservation System

A unified approach to managing the country's wilderness areas has been agreed to by the land management agencies under the Interior and Agriculture departments, with goals of connecting more people to wilderness areas and completing wilderness inventories of lands that might be suitable for inclusion in the wilderness system. The 2020 Vision: Interagency stewardship priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System was signed this past weekend in Albuquerque, where a conference was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act. As envisioned, the agreement is to guide the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey, all under the U.S. Department of Interior; and the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The document outlines interagency work and partnerships with non-government organizations for the management of wilderness. The plan emphasizes three broad themes: * Protect wilderness resources. * Connect people to their wilderness heritage. * Foster excellence in wilderness leadership and coordination During the next five years, the agencies will focus on four priorities: * Completing wilderness character inventories across the National Wilderness Preservation System using standardized interagency protocols and institutionalizing ongoing monitoring. * Fostering relevancy of wilderness to contemporary society by inspiring and nurturing life-long connections between people of diverse cultures and wilderness. * Strengthening commitment to and support of the interagency Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute to foster excellence in interagency leadership and coordination. * Conducting climate vulnerability and adaptation assessments across the National Wilderness Preservation System to improved ecological resiliency across broad landscapes...more

Environment Is Grabbing Big Role in Ads for Campaigns

In Michigan, an ad attacking Terri Lynn Land, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, opens with a shot of rising brown floodwaters as a woman says: “We see it every day in Michigan. Climate change. So why is Terri Lynn Land ignoring the science?” In Colorado, an ad for Cory Gardner, another Republican candidate for Senate, shows him in a checked shirt and hiking boots, standing in front of a field of wind turbines as he discusses his support for green energy. And in Kentucky, a spot for the Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, depicts him flanked by coal miners as a woman intones, “The person fighting for our coal jobs is Mitch McConnell.” Ads mentioning energy, climate change and the environment — over 125,000 spots and climbing on the Senate side — have surged to record levels during the 2014 midterm election cycle, reflecting the priorities of some of the nation’s wealthiest donors, with Democrats now pouring millions into campaigns to match Republicans, according to an analysis by Kantar Media/CMAG, which tracks political advertising. The message that voters are receiving about energy and the environment in this election cycle depends on where they live. In Kentucky and West Virginia, where many rely on jobs in the coal industry, political advertisements from both parties have been overwhelmingly pro-coal. In states likely to be battlegrounds during the 2016 presidential race, groups like NextGen Climate have been airing anti-oil and green-energy ads...more

The black-footed ferret, once thought extinct, is again eating prairie dogs

Rancher Gary Walker squats in his cowboy boots and jeans and rests a small animal carrier against a black-tailed prairie dog hole before swinging the door open. He's careful to keep his hands out of the way. "These are little vicious guys, too," Walker says, with a laugh. "I just love 'em." The black-footed ferret inside is timid at first, and buries herself in the shredded paper of her enclosure. But with a little coaxing, she bounds into the hole, than peeps her head out to stare across 65,000 acres of flat, short-grass prairie that will be her new home. Her pink snout twitches. Her eyes blink behind a Zorro-like mask of black fur. If all goes well, this little girl and her buddies will live to be 3 or 4 years old here on Walker's Turkey Creek Ranch, located between Fort Carson and Pueblo West. They'll live in prairie dog holes, emerging mostly at night, when they'll search from burrow to burrow until they find a sleeping prairie dog, which they'll bite on the neck and asphyxiate with their slinky bodies. A ferret can live on a prairie dog corpse for about three days before killing again. She and the 18 others being released today could produce as many as four litters, usually of three to four kits, but sometimes as few as one or as many as 10. Less than a year after they're born, the young males will begin mostly solitary lives. The females hopefully will grow up and have families of their own...more

Rural Nevada Residents See Bank, Brothel Closures

Life in rural Nevada has its challenges. Jobs can be scarce. A full-service supermarket is usually 70 miles from home. And a doctor’s appointment may be a two-hour trip. For years the local bank branch has been a staple of rural life -- meeting the financial needs of farmers, ranchers and business owners. Now that’s even disappearing from rural Nevada, replaced by so-called smart ATMs. Washington Federal is the latest bank to pull out. The bank is closing branches in Beatty, Pioche and Hawthorne. All three were purchased from Bank of America earlier this year. Lynn Lundahl, division manager for Washington Federal in Nevada, says there just aren’t enough households to generate the income to make it work. Banks aren’t the only businesses that are closing in rural Nevada. Brothels, once a stable business, are facing hard times in some communities. In August, Angel Lady’s brothel near Beatty closed its doors for good, a victim of the recession. Mack Moore bought the brothel in 1997, and for years, business was good. He though it was a sure bet, making an investment in an 80-acre ranch, which included a brothel...more

No brothels and no banks!  

Surprised about the brothels.  If any business qualified for stimulus funds you'd think it would be brothels. 

If the feds owned 85 percent of every state like they do in Nevada, we'd all be facing the no dinero, no dames syndrome.

Feds Capture Accused Head of Cartel Gun Manufacturing Ring in Texas

A South Texas man who claimed to have been a U.S Navy Seal has been accused of running a large gun running group that also manufactured hundreds of firearms for Mexican cartels. The accusations against accused gun runner Jose Guadalupe De Leon come after more than three years of investigation into illegal gun purchases and gun smuggling which included a Dallas area gun manufacturing group whose members have not been charged in the matter, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas show. The investigation into De Leon began on January 2011 when U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge seized a shipment of 15 rifles that had been hidden inside the gas tank of a truck. Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives traced the weapons to a Dallas man who had sold the weapons to De Leon at a gun show just days before. The two men then met several other times to exchange firearms...more

Canada threatens tariffs on U.S. wine, juice and ketchup after WTO ruling

Canada is looking at slapping duties on iconic U.S. products ranging from California wine to ketchup after the World Trade Organization (WTO) found the country’s meat-labelling laws offside for a third time in five years. A WTO appeal panel ruled that a U.S. law requiring grocery stores to list the country of origin on meat products discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock, in a decision made public Monday. The Conservative government warned that it will strike back with punitive duties unless the U.S. ends the “blatantly protectionist” regulations, which its says are costing the North American cattle and hog industry more than $1-billion a year. Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz insisted Canada will use “any and all means” to get the United States to repeal its labelling country-of-origin (COOL) legislation...more

Native Women Aim to Make Waves in NM Political Arena

A record number of Native American women in New Mexico are jumping into the political arena, looking to win over non-Native American voters in races with statewide impact. For the first time in the state’s history, a Native American woman is running for lieutenant governor from one of New Mexico’s two largest parties. Two Native females are vying for a seat in the House of Representatives and three are seeking House reelection. Debra Haaland of Laguna Pueblo is on the ticket for lieutenant governor. Catherine Begaye and Doreen Wanda Johnson, both Navajos, are on the ballot for a House seat. Sharon Clahchischilliage of the Navajo Nation and Georgene Louis of Acoma Pueblo are running for reelection. Sandra Jeff, a Navajo and an incumbent in District 5, which includes Gallup, is running against Johnson as a write-in candidate after she did not produce enough signatures to be eligible to run in the primary. Seats in the New Mexico House are up every two years, whereas elections for the Senate are every four years. Although Native women have been part of the New Mexico Legislature since 1989 when Lynda Lovejoy, a Navajo, was the first Native American female elected to the House, this is the first time there are several Native women running and competing in districts without a high Native American population...more

Don Imus puts New Mexico ranch up for sale

A northern New Mexico cattle ranch belonging to radio personality Don Imus is on the market for $32 million. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the 2,400-acre ranch near the small community of Ribera and about 45 miles east of Santa Fe has been used to benefit children afflicted by cancer. The 74-year-old Imus says he is selling the property to support charitable foundations with the sale proceeds. He says he hopes to sell the ranch to a group interested in continuing the goal of benefiting kids. Imus and his wife founded the ranch in 1998. It has hosted children for nine-day visits during summer months. AP

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Federal Judge: Eric Holder’s DOJ Likely Defrauded Company of $55 Million And 22,500 acres

Judge England
In 2012, Sierra Pacific Industries was ordered to pay $55 million to the United States and transfer 22,500 acres of land to the United States government after the Department of Justice launched a massive lawsuit against the company. The DOJ argued that the company was responsible for a massive fire that destroyed 65,000 acres of land in California. Since the beginning of the case, however, Sierra Pacific has insisted that the fire started elsewhere and that the Department of Justice was being deceitful in their prosecution. Now, new evidence showing an outrageous miscarriage of justice has emerged, including the DOJ’s interest in gaining large “revenue” from a “deep pocket:” large companies. In other words, the basis of the lawsuit was not justice, but rather making money for the government. In a stunning turn of events, Judge Morrison C. England Jr. agrees that the appearance impropriety occurred. He has taken a second look at the case and ordered the recusal of every single federal judge in the Eastern District of California. He wrote in his ruling, “Based upon facts alleged in the Motion and accompanying Declarations and Exhibits, the impartiality of the District and Magistrate Judges in the Eastern District might reasonably be questioned… Accordingly, all District and Magistrate Judges in the Eastern District of California are RECUSED from hearing case number 2:09-cv-02445 and all related matters.” The same case was looked at by Judge Leslie C. Nichols earlier this year. He stated bluntly that there was not nearly enough evidence to pin the blame on Sierra Pacific.More, he called the government’s actions “egregious and reprehensible”...more

Commissioner pleads not guilty to charges stemming from ATV protest ride

A San Juan County commissioner who organized a ride to protest the federal government's closure of an ATV trail in southeastern Utah pleaded not guilty along with four others Friday to misdemeanor charges. Federal prosecutors charged the five men, including Commissioner Phil Lyman, with one count of conspiracy to operate off-road vehicles on public lands closed to off-road vehicles and one count of operation of off-road vehicles on public lands closed to off-road vehicles. Also charged are Jay Demar Redd, Shane Morris Marian and Franklin Trent Holliday. This spring, Lyman told reporters he organized the ride in San Juan County's Recapture Canyon to protest the decreasing access to ATV trails on public land. The Bureau of Land Management declared the area off-limits to all-terrain vehicles because off-roading was causing damage to ancestral Puebloan ruins. The county submitted a right-of-way application to the agency for construction of a new trail in the canyon, a decision that remains under review and is fueling frustration over a closed trail that Lyman says has been a thoroughfare for cattlemen and others since pioneer days. Lyman appeared in court without a lawyer, but U.S. District Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse appointed him one for the hearing. Lyman told the judge that the County Commission has an interest in the validity of the right-of-way and is willing to participate in his defense, which adds "complexities" to his hiring an attorney...more

Thousands of federal workers on extended paid leave

Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show. During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone. The extensive use of administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct. And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason. But a report by the Government Accountability Office, first made public by The Washington Post on its Web site Monday, found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months during the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013. About 4,000 were idled for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years. This is the first time the government has calculated the scope and cost of administrative leave...more

These are the same federales that everybody claims do a much better job of managing land than the states could ever hope to...

Rugged ranchers or welfare cowboys? Dispute over grazing fees on public land rages on

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE, N.M. — The accusation is a blunt one: That ranchers who hold permits from the federal government to graze their cattle on public land are little more than welfare recipients. The response is just as blunt: Like hell we are.

The argument has kicked around the West for years, and it’s come into sharper focus in recent months as ranchers in parts of northern and southern New Mexico have clashed with environmentalists over the recent listing of a critter most people in the Land of Enchantment have never even seen — the meadow jumping mouse.

In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed the mouse — which can hop up to three feet from its hind legs — on the endangered list. That has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to reinforce a gate along the Agua Chiquita in Otero County and erect barbed-wire fencing near the Rio Cebolla creek in the Santa Fe National Forest to keep cattle from damaging the mouse’s habitat.

“The livestock industry has enjoyed special treatment from the federal government for so long that our streams have been trampled to death,” Bryan Bird, program director at WildEarth Guardians, said earlier this month when his group filed a lawsuit just before the fencing was constructed.

Bird’s comment echoes a long-running complaint environmentalists have about grazing fees on public lands.

They say ranchers have been getting a sweetheart deal from the government for too long, pointing to fees charged by the entities such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service charging $1.35 a month for what’s called “Animal Unit Months,” compared to an estimated $16-$20 a month on private land.

They also cite data from a 2005 report from the General Accounting Office and say U.S. taxpayers suffer a direct loss of more than $120 million because of the fees.

“Ranchers have benefitted from a whole suite of subsidies. I used to call them welfare queens,” John Horning, the executive director of WildEarth Guardians-NewMexico, told New Mexico Watchdog in an interview in July. “I don’t really care if it’s welfare because the bigger issue for me is not that (taxpayers) subsidize it, but that we allow the activity to degrade so many valuable things.”

But cattle growers push back just as forcefully.

“It couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association. “And it’s a tired old argument.”

Cowan says the price difference between grazing fees is misleading because ranchers have to pick up the costs for things such as managing and fencing their allotments, supplying their herds with water and absorbing any losses due to death and attacks by predators that aren’t usually incurred when grazing on private property.

“It’s kind of like you renting a house in Albuquerque that has all the amenities,” Cowan said. “It’s furnished, you’ve got electricity, all the utilities are done.” But grazing on public lands is like “renting a house that’s totally vacant, has no amenities … and anyone can come through your house and use the bathroom anytime they want … The price is low until you look at the amenities that don’t go with it.”

Conservation Leaders to Discuss North America’s Large Landscape Challenges and Offer Solutions

This week conservation leaders and policymakers are meeting to consider landscape-scale conservation initiatives that are helping to address some of North America’s most significant land and water challenges. The National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation (NWLLC) on Oct. 23-24 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is a collaborative forum that will feature keynotes from conservation leaders such as Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Mike Boots of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. They join other notable conservation experts from the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors, including USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and the former governor of Wyoming, Jim Geringer, now a director at Esri, a leading provider of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. Presenters are sharing research and insights that show how large landscape efforts are an integral part of our response to challenges such as wildlife habitat degradation, threats to water quality and quantity, losses of working farms and forests, and limited public access to urban, rural, and wild open spaces. The sold-out workshop draws nearly 600 national experts interested in large landscape conservation issues, which directly impact environmental, wildlife and public health...more

  "Large landscapes" - Sounds a whole lot like National Monuments.

Photographers sue to stop Grand Teton elk hunt

Two Teton County photographers filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. Monday seeking to stop the annual elk hunt in Grand Teton National Park. Tim Mayo and Kent Nelson, operating as Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, target the “elk reduction program,” in which hunters killed 202 elk last year. The hunt also resulted in the shooting of a grizzly bear, a federally protected species, in 2012. The suit goes beyond hunting alone, challenging supplemental winter elk feeding on the nearby National Elk Refuge. The hunt violates a slew of federal laws, the suit claims, including the Grand Teton Act, the National Park Organic Act the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Nelson and Mayo ask a judge to declare the 2014 hunt illegal, along with the park’s “policy, practice and pattern,” of adopting it annually. The suit challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2013 determination that park hunters could kill four additional grizzlies by 2022 before Grand Teton would run afoul of the Endangered Species Act. The suit seeks reversal of that Fish and Wildlife “incidental take” number. It also asks for an environmental review, with public comment, of the park’s elk reduction program...more

Monday, October 20, 2014

US Ordering 34 Million Green Cards for Immigration Plan

With some lawmakers predicting a sweeping executive order on immigration from President Barack Obama after the Nov. 4 elections, one federal agency is already making plans to hire a vendor to crank out up to 34 million  blank green cards to accommodate an expected surge in immigrants in 2016. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a draft solicitation for a contractor capable of producing 4 million cards a year for five years — and 9 million in the early stages — that would allow immigrants to live and work in the country, Breitbart reports.  One estimate suggests 34 million cards will be printed in total. An official from the government agency told MailOnline on Monday a plan was developed "in case the president makes the move we think he will," even though the agency's Document Management Division isn't yet committing to buying the materials. Another official cautioned the plan was only a "contingency" in case immigration reform legislation passes in Congress, stressing to MailOnline it wasn't in anticipation of an Obama executive order...more

Court weighs gun rights (property rights) of felons

The Supreme Court is taking up a case that pits property rights against firearm regulations, with the justices poised to decide what becomes of a person's guns after they are convicted of a crime. The case, Henderson v. United States, is among three new cases the high court has agreed to hear this term, according to orders handed down Monday. It centers on Tony Henderson, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent who was charged with selling marijuana in 2006, and later convicted of a felony. Federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms, and Henderson turned 15 personal weapons over to the FBI while his case was pending. Two years later, he submitted a bill of sale to the FBI, indicating that he had sold the guns to another man and asked the FBI to transfer them accordingly. The government refused, reasoning that doing so would amount to granting “constructive possession” of the guns to Henderson. By denying his sale of the guns, the government is trampling on his property rights, his lawyers argued in a petition seeking Supreme Court review of the case. “It allows the government — based on a statutory prohibition on mere possession — to bypass formal forfeiture procedures and effectively strip gun owners of their entire ownership interest in significant, lawful household assets following a conviction for an unrelated offense,” petitioners say...more

WTO rejects US country-of-origin labels for meat

The World Trade Organization has rejected U.S. rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat identifying where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. In a ruling Monday, the WTO said the requirements put Canadian and Mexican livestock at an unfair disadvantage. In 2012, the WTO had ruled against the "country of origin labeling" (COOL) requirements, which Congress originally wrote in 2002. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rewrote the rules to win WTO approval. But Monday's ruling held that the revised guidelines still violated trade rules...more

EPA water proposal is stirring up Senate race

Sasse left, Domina right.
A proposed federal rule is muddying the waters in Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race. Democrat Dave Domina and Republican Ben Sasse say there should be no confusion on the matter. Domina says it’s clearly much ado about nothing. Sasse says it’s clearly an attack on state and local government and private landowners. At issue are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed regulations to clarify part of the Clean Water Act by defining what is meant by “waters of the United States.’’ The proposal expands the definition of waterways and focuses on streams and wetlands that feed into navigable lakes and rivers. Critics contend the proposed Waters of the United States rule poses a serious threat to farmers, ranches and other landowners. They say permits could be required to till soil or fertilize crops. Puddles, ponds, water in farm ditches — even streams that carry water only after rainstorms — could come under EPA control, critics warn. Food prices could climb if farming becomes a field in which it becomes more difficult to remain competitive and profitable, they say. Domina said the doomsday scenarios are myths that prey on well-meaning farmers and ranchers...more

Domina, the Democrat, goes on to say:

“There is no question the proposed regulation goes beyond what existed, but the rule does not disturb agricultural practices that I’m aware of anywhere in Nebraska,’’ he said. “This misinformation is a disservice to people who will spend money and energy they don’t have on unnecessary consultants selling them services they don’t need to manage their businesses.”

Ah yes, the whole issue is a "myth" caused by "misinformation" and if only the rural heathens were as smart as Domina & the envirocrats at EPA,  they would understand.  

The real problem, don't you see, is not the proposed regulation but the evil private sector and those "consultants" who are scaring the hell out of us with "misinformation" just so they can sell their services.

We also have a little divide and conquer going on here.  If the proposed rule "goes beyond what existed, but...does not disturb agricultural practices...anywhere in Nebraska", then we should just keep our mouths shut.  How dare someone oppose something just based on the principal involved.

Sasse, the Republican, says:

“I believe in reasonable, smart regulations,” Sasse said. “The Clean Water Act has done good things. But this is not smart regulation. Farmers are scared.’’

Sasse is apparently one of those Republicans who believe our environmental laws are OK, we just need "reasonable" reg's to implement them.  In fact, the reg's must be "smart."  I'm trying to remember the last time I saw a smart regulation.  Experience shows that what is "reasonable" will vary from one administration to another and we'll continue to be stuck with this problem until the law is amended.  A "smart" Republican would know that.

Finally, look at the photo.  If I hadn't labelled them, which one would you have guessed to be the Republican?  At least some things are looking up.

Castrating conservative principles in Iowa

by  Froma Harrop

...Two fierce winds have made it especially thorny for conservatives to justify blowing huge sums on energy projects — for oil and gas in Alaska, as well as for ethanol in the Corn Belt.

One is the conservative respect for market forces. A boom in production has actually created an energy glut. The global price for oil recently sank below $90 a barrel.

The other is the successful conservative crusade to curb federal spending. There's less money sloshing around for dubious programs, as well as the noble ones.

"National support for the ethanol program is collapsing as the reality of corn ethanol has become more and more apparent," Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group told me. EWG has been a forceful critic of U.S. farm programs and their impact on the environment.

The ethanol giveaway comes on top of the usual bonanza of farm subsidies. But now, because of the ethanol craze, "farmers trip over themselves planting every square foot they can find with corn," said Cox, who's based in Ames.

The result has been fouled water supplies. There's also a soaring world price for food — and for feed, hurting pig farmers and cattle ranchers.

Oil refiners are also taking it on the chin. Today's big ethanol subsidy comes in the form of a mandate requiring refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol into motor fuels by 2015.

"There's only so much ethanol that can be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply," especially as fuel consumption declines, Cox noted. The blend is typically 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline.

The current flashpoint is a pending Environmental Protection Agency decision to possibly roll back the mandate. The American Petroleum Institute is leading the charge for that.

By the way, the one compelling rationale for ethanol was that it would reduce carbon emissions. And the blending mandate theoretically rests on ethanol's cutting those greenhouse gases by 20 percent.

Recent science shows that on the contrary, ethanol increases them. But no matter.

"The funny little secret," Cox said, "is the fine print in the 2007 energy law, which exempts all existing ethanol plants or plants that commenced construction from that requirement." In other words, all 15 billion gallons stay.

Ranchers Offering a Reward for Information Regarding Cattle Shooting

Nevada ranchers are offering a $20,600 reward after the shootings of about 60 head of cattle across northern Nevada since midsummer. Nevada Cattlemen's Association President Ron Torell says 10 of the animals were killed and the rest received serious or minor injuries. He says the latest case was discovered Wednesday, and the toll could climb as ranchers continue their fall gathers on the range. The shooting spree has occurred in remote areas over a wide swath of northern Nevada stretching from north of Winnemucca to Wells...more