Friday, June 03, 2011

Drums Along The Border - Arizona Wildfire - Atascosa Ranch

Dear Friends

This photograph was taken today, June 3, 2011. Inside the center of smoke plume is the Atascosa Ranch House, residence of David and Edith Lowell, in Rio Rico, Arizona. Ten miles north of the Mexican Border.

The Forest Service determined to allow this fire to jump Peck Canyon South and go up the North face of the Atascosa Mountains rather than attempt to control the fire, they are simply watching the fire now for four days rather than trying to fight it or control it.

The North Lowell allotment grazing pastures went up in smoke the last three days and the Forest Service is going to allow the second allotment to go up today. The Lowell's will have to sell their cattle because there is no grass for them to graze on.

The drums along the border say that Border Patrol jumped a group of 12 marijuana backpackers who intentionally set the mountains on fire to effect their escape. Allegedly, between two and three of the illegal alien marijuana backpackers were apprehended and admitted setting the fire. Also, one of these arsonists is reported to be on life support at a local American hospital.

The beating drums also say that the Forest Service will not admit that the fire was caused by illegal aliens, only that it is human caused. Some even wonder if the illegal aliens will be charged or just kicked back across the border.

The border is not secure, America is in jeopardy as are all residents along the Arizona Border. Do not believe otherwise.

Zack Taylor,

Second night of Silver City rodeo action tops Boyz-n-Bulls

Thursday night s rodeo action was just as good or maybe even better than the night before. There were some great rides, and the WWWR seems to be moving along just fine. It was a much better night than Wednesday, rodeo chairman Pat Bearup said. I think it s the best Thursday crowd we have had since I ve been chairman. I assumed it was because it was family night. The crowd we had was unheard of. The bareback riding kicked off Thursday night, and Ryan Gray and Tilden Hooper tallied 84s to pace the pack. Luke Creasy followed with an 81, while Joe Gunderson had a 75. The saddle bronc riding event saw Cody Taton and Tyler Corrington rack up 83s to stay tied for first place. Taos Muncy had an 82, while Issac Diaz, Ace Long and Brandon Biebelle scored 80s. In the bull riding event, Wesley Silcox hung on for eight seconds to tally a 90. That followed L.J. Jenkins 93 Wednesday night, and Stormy Wing s 90 as well on the same night. Guytin Tsosie rode for an 87, while Steve Woolsey had an 82. Tyler Bingham was the final bull rider to tally points, a 78. In steer wrestling, Ben Shofner leads the pack, with his 4.1 second time. Ben Bates Jr. follows in second, at 4.3, while Brandon Bates was third at 4.7, sharing the spot with Jeff Richardson, also at 4.7. The tie down roping event saw Johnny Salvo turn in a time of 10.5 to take the lead. Monty Lewis was second, at 10.7, while Bill Snure was third, at 11.2, and J.D. Kibble was fourth, at 22.5. In team roping, Wyatt Althoff and T.J. Brown had a time of 5.4 seconds to take the lead from Arky Rogers and York Gill, who s time was 5.7. Casey Wilson and Beau Marshall tallied an 11.7. The barrel racing event saw Dolli Lautaret race around the arena in a time of 17.76. Lisa Anderson followed, at 18.12, while Jolee Lautaret was third, at 18.21. Erin Parsons was fourth, at 18.22. Allan Wallace 6-years-old won the Circle Heart Mutton Bustin title of the night...more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gave $1.29 Million to China

The Environmental Protection Agency has given at least $1,285,535 in grants to China to promote environmental research in the country. In all, the EPA issued six grants that went to China, most of which pertained to researching methane in Chinese coal mines and reducing carbon emissions in China, a communist dictatorship long criticized by human rights groups. Two of those grants were awarded during the Bush administration; four were awarded during the Obama administration. The grants to China were awarded through the EPA’s Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (CMOP). Since 1994, CMOP has worked cooperatively with the coal industry in the U.S. and internationally to reduce coal mining methane emissions, according to the EPA...more

We have some really kind hearted folks in the EPA. They can't possibly spend all that money hear so they just ship some over to our good friends in China.

You appropriators out there, remember this: Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (CMOP).

Obama's Commerce Nominee: Cap and Trade Good for ‘Hiding’ Carbon Taxes

John Bryson, President Obama’s nominee to head the Commerce Department, told a University of California Berkeley audience in 2010 that a cap and trade system was a good way to hide a carbon tax from the public. Bryson, formerly the CEO of Edison International, said that a carbon tax was the new “third rail” of politics because politicians wouldn’t want to tax energy directly. “I think it’s still unlikely there’ll be a carbon tax bill because I think in the end a very high percentage of the members of Congress think it’s kind of the third rail to support a tax, even if it’s a carbon tax,” Bryson said. “Greenhouse gas legislation, either with a tax or with cap and trade – which is a more complicated way of getting at it but it has the advantage of politically sort of hiding the fact that you have a tax – but that’s what you’re trying to do,” he added...more

That's not all on Bryson, see Obama Nominee: Redistribute Wealth To Keep Poor From Cutting Trees

Clean Water Act prevents cleanup

In Colorado, a lot of that water trickles into abandoned mines and washes across the tailings piles found in the upper end of nearly every drainage in the state. According to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, there are at least 7,300 abandoned mines in the state, and 450 are known to be leaking measurable toxins – including arsenic, cadmium, copper and zinc – into the state’s watersheds. Yet according to the Post, the fear of liability has deterred anyone – companies that want to renew mining, water utilities, environmental groups and even governmental entities – from tackling the cleanup. If they accidentally make matters worse, they could face federal prosecution under the Clean Water Act for polluting waterways without a permit. That is wrong. Highly qualified contractors who submit mitigation plans that include detailed documentation about the potential for unexpected releases of contaminated material and plans for stringent monitoring should be held responsible only for conditions they can actually control. By all means, hold them to extremely strict standards; just do not hold them to impossible ones. The Environmental Protection Agency is willing to partially shield cleanup efforts from liability, but the Clean Water Act, ironically, will require legislative change to help clean up watersheds...more

Should the Giant Sequoia National Monument be Transferred to the National Park Service?

A California congressman and a coalition of environmental groups are calling for management of the Giant Sequoia National Monument to be transferred from the U. S. Forest Service to the National Park Service. The debate highlights the long-standing confusion for many Americans about terms such as "national monument" as well as differences in the mission and management approach of the Forest Service and Park Service. There's plenty of reason for the head-scratching by the public. According to a U. S. Forest Service publication dating to 2003, "Today, depending on how one counts, there are 81 national monuments administered by the USDI National Park Service, 13 more administered by the USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM), five others administered by the USDA Forest Service, two jointly managed by the BLM and the National Park Service, one jointly administered by the BLM and the Forest Service, one by the USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, and another by the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home in Washington, D.C. In addition, one national monument is under National Park Service jurisdiction, but managed by the Forest Service while another is on USDI Bureau of Reclamation administered land, but managed by the Park Service."...more

For some, FS green just ain't green enough.

Solar energy plans pit green vs. green

Plans to create huge solar energy plants in the deserts of California, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere in the West are pitting one green point of view vs. another. Janine Blaeloch, executive director of the Western Lands Project, a non-profit group that examines the impacts of government land privatization, supports developing America's renewable energy sources but says fields of mirrors along miles of open desert isn't the way to do it. "These plants will introduce a huge amount of damage to our public land and habitat," she said. On the other side are people such as Johanna Wald, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's land program, who supports the idea and its potential to curb climate change. "There's no free lunch when it comes to meeting our energy needs," she said. "To get energy, we need to do things that will have impacts."...more

Don’t look behind the green curtain

Global warming alarmists are throwing a temper tantrum this week after a Virginia judge affirmed that scientists who receive public funds to study global warming are subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding their taxpayer-funded research. The alarmists’ outrage at being required to divulge and justify the data and theories that lead to their predictions of doom and gloom stands in stark contrast to the often-vilified skeptics who welcome scientific transparency with open arms. A Virginia state judge issued a May 24 order requiring the University of Virginia to produce by Aug. 22 documents the university acknowledges are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. A separate order sets the stage for the American Tradition Institute to review and challenge the withholding of documents the university claims are exempt from disclosure owing to asserted academic freedom or proprietary research claims. One might expect that Michael Mann, a former University of Virginia professor whose research and documents are at the heart of the FOIA dispute, and other prominent alarmists would welcome scientific transparency as a means of affirming their global warming predictions. Of course, that presupposes the scientific evidence they refuse to disclose actually supports those claims...more

'Global weirding' besieges Texas

The wind in West Texas is famously powerful and incessant. But more big blows than anyone can remember have roared through this year, stripping away precious topsoil and carrying off another season of hope for farmers and ranchers. Everywhere, it seems, the land is on the move: sand building up in corners of the just-swept front porch and coating clean laundry on the line, dust up your nose and in crevices of farm machinery. Drive along unpaved county roads and the farmers' plight becomes clear: Wind rakes the surface, scouring sand into adjacent fields, sweeping into deeply tilled furrows. These clogged fields are said to be "blown out," and some belong to Matt Farmer. He grows cotton and peanuts, or would like to, but the sand, he says, keeps "ooching and ooching" into his fields. In a normal year, his wheat crop would be about knee high. This is not a normal year; the anemic stalks barely rise above the heel of Farmer's dusty boots. The wind, the dust and the hair-crackling dryness are ubiquitous reminders of persistent drought gripping the Great Basin, a broad dry swath tracing much the same outline as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. It's part of the "new normal" that climate scientists talk about: the climate of extremes. April was such a month, with tornadoes wheeling across seven states, monumental flooding of the Mississippi River through the Midwest and the South and a searing drought in parts of the western plains. " 'Global weirding' is the best way to describe what we are seeing," said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University. "... What's happening is our rainfall patterns are shifting. In some places it means more heavy rainfall, in some places it means more drought, in some places it means both."...more

Colorado Supreme Court upholds limits on transfer of water rights from farmers to suburbs

Colorado's Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a state water court's ruling limiting the amount of water that the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District can deliver from the South Platte River drainage to thirsty suburbs in southeast Denver The case reflects increasingly close scrutiny — driven by scarcity and rising water prices — given to deals that transfer ownership of water rights from farmers to expanding suburbs. In a 77-page decision, Justice Gregory J. Hobbs emphasized that "in order to prevent an unlawful enlargement" of agricultural water rights the suburban provider had purchased, those water rights had to be limited to the 200 cubic feet per second historically diverted from the South Platte River and used for irrigation above Barr Lake. Suburbs applying in water court to convert agricultural water to a municipal- use designation must show that their use of water will not hurt other users of water rights, Hobbs said. And once a provider acquires water from farmers, the utility "runs a real risk of a re- quantification of the water right based on" historical use...more

About 350 bison pushed into park during first day of hazing

A helicopter buzzed over Horse Butte peninsula Wednesday morning, turning back and forth above the brush- and tree-covered land where hundreds Yellowstone bison have been wintering. Four-wheelers and horseback riders joined the helicopter to haze about 350 of the animals back into Yellowstone National Park, assisted by a convoy of state and federal officials. The bison trotted in neat lines down forest service roads with small calves running to keep up at their sides. A string of them struck out across U.S. Highway 191, temporarily blocking the roadway for cars, trucks and tractor-trailers. The helicopter roared and clamored above them, and horseback riders rode behind and to the sides of the animals. By the end of the day, only about 60 bison remained west of the park, according to Steve Merritt, a spokesman for the Montana Department of Livestock. The bison are hazed into the park every spring as ranchers bring cattle to summer grazing pastures in the area. The two species aren't allowed to co-exist because of a fear that bison may spread the disease brucellosis to livestock...more

Memories burn deep for 106-year-old cowboy

When Boss Winter's childhood home was built in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt had just completed his second term as president and the Ford Model T was 2 years old. Texas was still horse country. Farmers plowed fields with horses, and ranchers worked cattle on horseback. Boss was 5 and already riding a pony when his father, uncle and grandfather built the family home with field stones for the foundation and 1-by-12-inch planks to frame the three-room house. Boss can't remember a time when he wasn't on a horse. Now 106, he doesn't have much left but memories. "He grew up in a Texas without electricity, without paved roads, without any of the modern conveniences. Life was hard," said Dr. Light Cummins, a professor at Austin College in Sherman and an expert in Texas history. "And his life is a window into another era of the great cattle-range industry that disappeared from Texas." Boss has survived the state's worst droughts, including the Dust Bowl of the 1930s that devastated the Great Plains. For decades, he eked out a living farming his plot, working cattle for other ranchers and earning a reputation as a reliable cowboy. "You found a lot of people like him, who often had their own small plots of land, but they also hired out as cowboys on the big ranches," Cummins said. "It really created individuals who in many respects are passing from the scene. They lived on their own hard work, they lived on their own resilience, they lived on their own toughness, and they lived in a very hostile environment."...more

Song Of The Day #589

We'll close out the week with George Morgan and Don't Knock It.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lummis amendment passes, 238-177

The Lummis amendment strikes the language in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that authorizes payments from the Border Patrol to the federal land agencies.  These are so-called "mitigation" funds, which is really the federal land agencies extracting money from the Border Patrol to allow agents access to federal lands.  I believe $13 million has already been "extracted", but an MOU exists that would have allowed a total of $50 million in such transfers.  See Interior Extorts $$ In Interagency Border Battle from November of last year.

Here is the Dear Colleague letter that was circulated to House Members.

Dear Colleague,
    The Lummis Amendment to the 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill is focused on the serious problem of our Nation’s border security taking a back seat to environmental laws and the regulatory whims of Department of the Interior land managers. An October 2010 GAO report revealed that critical access by the Border Patrol to federal land is routinely blocked and frustrated by the Department of the Interior leaving vast areas open to criminal cartels.
    Your constituents may not be aware that Border Patrol Agents must ask permission of Park Rangers, and other federal land managers, just to do their job to secure our southern and northern borders.
    Unfortunately, federal land managers have used this authority over the Border Patrol to require payments in return for access to public land. The amendment offered by Congresswoman Lummis would strike language in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that authorizes and approves these payments.      
    Additionally, the amendment would strike language in the bill that allows these funds to be used by the Interior Department to purchase even more land. Additional federal land acquisition only exacerbates the problem by limiting access to even more land and further bloating the federal estate – at a time when the government cannot even afford to provide the basic care and maintenance needed for existing national parks and other lands.
    It is no coincidence that Border Patrol makes nearly 50% of their total, nationwide apprehensions in the Tucson, Arizona Sector where the land is more than 80% publicly owned. Investigations by the House Natural Resources Committee have found alarming examples of the Border Patrol being literally locked out, barricaded and frustrated from doing their jobs by land managers inhibiting necessary access to federal lands.
    The House of Representatives must send a clear message that 1) National Security is our top priority, 2) the border patrol does not cause environmental damage – but the drug cartels and criminal elements that come across the border do, 3) the best way to protect the environment is to allow the Border Patrol to have the access they need to stop the flow of criminal activity that is taking such a harmful toll on the wildlife and ecology of these natural areas, and 4) if we have limited funds to appropriate for border control, that money should go to border control, not to buy additional federal land.
    We are pleased that Chairman Aderholt, of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, supported this amendment during Floor debate last night and we urge all our Colleagues to vote “aye” on the Lummis Amendment.

Signed by Rob Bishop, Doc Hastings & Peter King

Border Fire

This was sent along from an associate in response to the story I posted earlier today.

Dear Friends:

Wild Fires caused by illegal aliens along the U.S. Border with Mexico are a common historical event and WERE reported as such by the U.S. Forest Service. The truth today is that these Wildfires WERE a common historical event until the current administration arrived in Washington, DC.

Public Lands located along the Arizona Border constitute major corridors used by illegal aliens to enter the United States in violation of law. A large percentage of these lands in Santa Cruz County & Cochise County Arizona are National Forest Lands.

Example scenario:

Border Patrol Agents tracking a group of illegal aliens from where they illegally crossed into the United States to where they started a wildfire in the Coronado National Forest, Santa Cruz County Arizona, are accompanied by U.S. Forest Service Wild Lands Firefighters. While tracking these illegal aliens, from their point of illegal entry into the United States, the Border Patrol Agents and U.S. Forest Service Wild Lands Firefighters overtake the group of illegal aliens who readily admit that they started the wildfire in question. When asked by news reporters on the scene the U.S. Forest Service is prohibited from stating that the wildfire was started by illegal aliens, even though there is absolutely no doubt that the wildfire was in fact started by illegal aliens and both the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Forest Service not only know that the wildfire was started by illegal aliens they also know who the illegal aliens are that started the wildfire and that those illegal aliens are in United States custody.

The process goes something like this. The U.S. Forest Service Wildland Firefighters notify the district ranger for the Sierra Vista Ranger District in Sierra Vista, Arizona, of their findings. The upward chain of command from there is Jim Upchurch the Coronado Forest Supervisor in Tucson to Corbin Newman the Regional Forester in Albuquerque. None of this chain of command is allowed to reveal the facts of who started the fire. However, Heidi Schewell in the Public Affairs Office at Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, contacts the State Department and determines what, if anything, the Forest Service may say publicly about how the Willdfire was started and by whom. The Department of State decides what the Forest Service is allowed to say about the incident regardless of what the facts are. Whatever Heidi Schewell reports about the Wildfire is controlled by the Department of State, not the U.S. Forest Service and not the facts.

Referencing the Arlene Fire in the story below we can then deduce that there is nearly a 100% chance that the fire was human caused and because of the proximity to the border it has a better than an 80% chance of having been started by illegal aliens.

Arlene Fire burns in San Rafael Valley

Obama Administration Backs Away From Wilderness Plan

The Obama administration is dropping a controversial plan to restore eligibility for federal wilderness protection to millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West after the GOP-led House put up a strong fight. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a memo Wednesday that his agency will not designate any of those public lands as "wild lands." Instead Salazar said officials will work with members of Congress to develop recommendations for managing millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West. A copy of the memo was obtained by The Associated Press. Salazar's decision reverses an order issued in December to reverse a Bush-era policy that opened some Western lands to commercial development. A budget deal approved by Congress prevented the Interior Department from spending money to implement the wilderness policy. GOP lawmakers complained that the plan would circumvent Congress' authority and could be used to declare a vast swath of public land off-limits to oil-and-gas drilling. Republican governors in Utah, Alaska and Wyoming, filed suit to block the plan, saying it would hurt their state's economies by taking federal lands off the table for mineral production and other uses...more

When Salazar announced his plan last December all the headlines and stories said Salazar had "reversed" the Bush policy on wilderness. Now that he has withdrawn the reversal, that must mean he's back to implementing the Bush policy, right?

Actually he never reversed the Bush policy, he just went around it. In a legal settlement Bush had agreed BLM's authority to designate Wilderness Study Areas under Sec. 603 of FLPMA had expired. Salazar said ok, then I will issue a Secretarial Order which directs the BLM to designate "Wild Lands" under Sec. 202 of FLPMA. Kind of cute don't you see. Don't disturb the Bush court settlement, just go around it by using a different section of FLPMA to accomplish what was essentially the same thing.

There was also the cute way they announced the policy. Recall there was an attempt by Senators Reid and Bingaman to include an Omnibus Public Lands Bill in the budget in the waning hours of the last Congress. Salazar held back the policy waiting to see if the bill would pass and when it didn't he waited till Congress had adjourned and left town to announce his little jewel.

Well it turns out it may have been just a little too cute.

Republican members of Congress were outraged saying it was the prerogative of Congress do designate wilderness under the 1964 Wilderness Act. There must have been some Dem's who didn't like it either as the program was defunded in the recently passed budget.

The Governors of Utah, Wyoming and Alaska had sued to overturn the Secretarial Order.

Many are saying the Congressional opposition along with the recently filed lawsuits led to the reversal of policy. I'm sure they were important but I believe there was another factor lurking in the decision. There is an election coming up in 2012 and Obama's "War On The West" is unpopular in many quarters. I can't help but believe presidential politics also played a hand in this.

Let's not forget, though, the enviro's are very unhappy. Scott Groene of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance called the Obama administration “a steady and enormous disappointment on public lands.” As we near the 2012 election expect Obama to be under heavy pressure to placate the enviros. And how to do this? I'm afraid it's called National Monuments by Presidential decree. Remember Clinton? Will we see a replay?

In the meantime, here's some more headlines for your reading pleasure followed by Salazar's memo:

Salazar shelves policy to analyze more acres for wilderness protection  Washington Post

Salazar backpedals: Politics stalls wilderness designation, again  LA Times

See No Wild Lands, Speak No Wild Lands
  NY Times

Obama abandons wilderness plan  AP


JUN 0.1 2011


To:  Director, Bureau of Land Management

From:  Secretary

Re:  Wilderness Policy

Congressionally approved wilderness areas are an important part of the conservation assets of the United States. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently manages 221 wilderness areas and 545 wilderness study areas designated by Congress, which comprise approximately 8.8 percent of the nearly 245 million acres managed by the BLM.
There is longstanding support for the designation of wilderness areas. A number of proposed wilderness designations are pending before the I 12th Congress, and other areas are being actively considered for additions to the wilderness system. Wilderness areas provide a number of benefits, including unique hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities.
The BLM maintains an inventory of all lands under its jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 20 I of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). As these inventories confirm, the BLM manages large landscapes that have wilderness characteristics.
On December 22,2010, I issued Secretarial Order 3310 to address the BLM's management of wilderness resources on lands under its jurisdiction. Under Secretarial Order 3310, I ordered the BLM to use the public resource management planning process to designate certain lands with wilderness characteristics as "Wild Lands."
On April 14, 20 II, the United States Congress passed the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 201 1 (Pub. L. 1 12-1 0)(20 1 1 CR), which includes a provision (Section 1769) that prohibits the use of appropriated funds to implement, administer, or enforce Secretarial Order 3310 in Fiscal Year 2011.
I am confirming today that, pursuant to the 20 II CR, the BLM will not designate any lands as "Wild Lands."
As required by law, the BLM will continue to maintain inventories of lands under its jurisdiction, including lands with wilderness characteristics. Also, consistent with FLPMA and other applicable authorities, the BLM will consider the wilderness characteristics of public lands when undertaking its multiple use land use planning and when making project-level decisions. In that regard, I am directing Deputy Secretary David Hayes to work with the BLM and interested parties to develop recommendations regarding the management of BLM lands with wilderness characteristics.
Based on my conversations with members of Congress, there is broad interest in managing our public lands in a sensible manner that takes into account such lands' wilderness qualities. There continues to be broad support for providing permanent protection for some of those lands under the Wilderness Act.
Given our shared interests in managing the public lands for the benefit of our communities and for future generations, the Department of the Interior will be soliciting input from members of Congress, state and local officials, tribes, and Federal land managers to identify BLM lands that may be appropriate candidates for Congressional protection under the Wilderness Act. I am directing the Deputy Secretary to work with the BLM to deliver a report to me and to the Congress regarding those areas.

As Arizona Fire Rages, So Does Rumor on Its Origin

It is a dramatic tale: that illegal immigrants being pursued by the Border Patrol started one of the nation’s largest wildfires, which has burned up more than 70,000 acres of national forest along Arizona’s border with Mexico since it began almost four weeks ago. But the authorities say that despite the tale’s being repeated often by some residents of the rugged countryside here, they do not know for sure if it is true. “We know it was man-caused, and it probably started in a campfire,” Mr. Hughes said. “Do we have a suspect? No. And we can’t say it was an immigrant either.” But some are saying just that. “Who set the fire?” asked Ed Ashurst, an area rancher who is convinced that he knows. “It’s obvious. There’s a few people in America who don’t think man walked on the moon in 1969. To say that illegal aliens didn’t set the fire is like saying that Neil Armstrong didn’t walk on the moon.” Mr. Ashurst acknowledges that his case is circumstantial. “Did anyone see the aliens drop a match or a cigarette? No. But we all know who started this. Who else would be up there?” The Coronado National Forest, despite its thick forest cover and high altitudes, is in fact a major smuggling route for both drugs and migrants. Firefighters say they have even encountered illegal immigrants crossing the area as it is burning. Border Patrol officers continue to patrol there, using all-terrain vehicles and stopping cars in search of smugglers...more

Cry, Wolf

“Nabeki” didn’t expect everyone to love her when, in September 2009, she founded the website “Howling for Justice” to celebrate the return of gray wolves to the Northern Rocky Mountains and to protest the then-pending wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho. She didn’t expect to fear for her life, either. But after she posted the names of Montana wolf hunters on her site, the threats began. On a single day in February 2010 the anti-wolf movement sent to her 3,000 messages. Some of the e-mails expressed their desire for her to leave the Rockies immediately. Some messages contained graphic descriptions of wolf killing clearly meant to cause her anguish. “When I pulled the trigger, I think I saw the wolf cry,” one person wrote. “Then it’s [sic] guts where [sic] blown onto the hillside and it moaned.” A few of the messages hinted at attacking her personally. “Until that day I wasn’t thinking about the hatred,” Nabeki, a professional from California who moved to the Rockies 15 years ago, told me. Nabeki is an Internet ID, a pseudonym that she asked me to maintain since she fears for her safety. “The idea that someone can hate you that much and not even know you is really daunting. It was the first time I got really scared. To this day I’m still scared.” What bothers her the most, though, is the sense that no one outside the Northern Rockies grasps the peril wolf advocates face. “I don’t know if people realize how serious a culture war this really is.”
For the last few years, a new version of an old war against the American gray wolf has raged in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming...more

Song Of The Day #588

Staying in the Fifties, Ranch Radio brings you Webb Pierce's 1958 recording of Tupelo County Jail.

Sheep rancher clashes with feds

A Temecula-area rancher is in a dispute with federal officials over a program created to eradicate the sheep and goat version of mad cow disease. Natalie Redding, of Namaste Farms, alleges mismanagement and a lack of communication by those running the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Scrapie Flock Certification Program. She contends that officials said she complied with the program's requirements, then told her the opposite years later. The program aims to prevent and eliminate scrapie, a deadly disease that affects sheep and goats, by certifying flocks that meet certain conditions as disease-free. Redding's farm produces expensive, high-quality wool and yarn. To prevent scrapie, the USDA has a mandatory monitoring program. Since 1992, the agency also offers what it describes as a voluntary certification program that requires ranchers to keep records of sales, births and deaths in their flock. As part of the program, Redding said a veterinarian inspected her flock annually. She said the veterinarian signed her off as compliant during her first inspection without doing a thorough inspection of her flock or verifying her recordkeeping. Redding said her flock also passed its second and third yearly inspections. But this year, she said she told by a state official that an audit of veterinarian records found "huge, giant gaps" in the paperwork for her and other ranchers. Soon after, she said she went on USDA's website and "flipped out" after seeing her farm's suspended status. It was the first she heard of it, Redding said. It took three weeks with an attorney's help to get the listing removed, she said. Redding said she's "livid" at how she's been treated and that it's hard to get a hold of anyone with the program...more

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

50+ Groups Urge Congress to Reject $1 Billion in Cuts to USDA Conservation Programs

The budget battles are on, witness this press release:

A coalition of more than 50 agriculture and conservation groups representing millions of Americans today are urging lawmakers to reject nearly $1 billion in proposed cuts to farm bill conservation programs. The organizations are asking the House Appropriations Committee to "ensure that reasonable funding levels are continued" when the committee meets today at 5 p.m. to vote on these huge cuts in the FY2012 agriculture appropriations bill; $500 million already has been slashed from farm bill conservation programs in the FY2011 spending bill.

What you really have here is 50 different lobbying groups who may lose part of their annual sustenance.

Notice the cuts are "huge" and funds have been "slashed". The only thing that has been "slashed" is people's bring home pay and what we really need is a "huge" tax cut, not the same old wasteful spending.

Additionally, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which assists farmers and ranchers in identifying and addressing natural resource concerns on their land, is facing cuts of nearly $100 million in the bill, depriving our farmers and ranchers of the technical assistance they need for effective conservation.

This assumes farmers and ranchers are incapable of "identifying and addressing" these issues or that any "technical assistance" if needed is not available in the private sector. That's two bad assumptions in my book.

These programs are really there to keep bureaucrats employed and to bribe private land owners into doing what the government thinks is best.

Well, the government can't manage the millions of acres it owns and surely should keep it's poor management practices away from private lands.

The cuts aren't "huge" enough, so "slash" away Congress, slash away.

Wyoming seeks to join Utah, Alaska in challenging federal wilderness protection rule

Wyoming is seeking to join Utah and Alaska in challenging an Obama administration plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West eligible for federal wilderness protection. The state filed papers Thursday asking U.S. District Judge Dee Benson of Utah to let it join in a lawsuit Utah filed last month. Alaska already has moved to join the suit, which challenges the federal “wild lands” policy announced in December. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said Friday that joining the legal fight is his state’s best option. He said he repeatedly has asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to take the policy off the books, but has not succeeded. “The order is a de facto wilderness declaration and it could have serious impacts on Wyoming’s economy, which depends on the multiple use of the public lands,” Mead said. In its legal filing, Wyoming points out that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management controls more than 18 million acres in the state. “The state receives approximately 48 percent of the total mineral revenues generated from BLM lands in Wyoming, which in fiscal year 2010 amounted to nearly $1 billion,” the filing said. “Accordingly, any management direction from (Salazar) that takes BLM lands out of multiple use management and treats those lands as wilderness will have a significant economic effect on the state of Wyoming.”...more

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Renews Interim Directive Covering Roadless Areas in National Forests

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that he is renewing an interim directive regarding inventoried roadless areas within our National Forests and Grasslands for an additional year. This is the third one-year, interim directive issued by Secretary Vilsack that governs projects in roadless areas in our National Forests. "As we await a ruling on the 2001 Roadless Rule from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, I will continue to work with the U.S. Forest Service to ensure we protect roadless areas on our National Forests," said Vilsack. "Renewing this interim directive for a third year reflects this Administration's commitment to conserve our forests by ensuring that projects in roadless areas receive a higher level of scrutiny by this department." The directive provides decision-making authority to the Secretary over proposed forest management or road construction projects in inventoried roadless areas. This directive also ensures a consistent national review of all proposed projects. In 2009, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2001 Roadless Rule. The Rule is currently under appeal in the 10th Circuit. A ruling on that case is expected soon...Press Release 

Ranchers shoot mountain lion

A mountain lion was spotted mulling about Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred's ranch in the Black Hills on Monday night and his ranch hands sprung into action. Mountain lions are synonymous with Arizona and are found throughout the state from the snowy mountains in the north to the deserts in the south. They are specialized top predators whose food preference is deer, elk, javelina, bighorn sheep and livestock; It is the last food preference that usually gets the big cats in trouble with ranchers and necessitates their removal. The hands were pumping some water when they encountered the male mountain lion. The animals maintain spatial separation from one another and use considerable skill in executing their stalks and killing large prey species. Males typically weigh between 80 to 150 pounds. Because mountain lions stick to their own hunting areas and Allred had recently lost several of his calves to a mountain lion, it was a safe bet the one the ranch hands observed was responsible for the killed cattle. A call went out to a specialized lion hunter whose dogs found and treed the lion by the next morning. Allred's son, Laine Allred, then carefully took aim with a pistol and felled the beast in one shot...more

Historic NM drought spurs large wildfires, hurting farmers and ranchers

New Mexico is experiencing a historic drought and Albuquerque and Roswell are on pace for their driest years on record. The drought has led to large wildfires and it is hurting farmers and ranchers who say they there's not enough grass to feed their livestock. Albuquerque and Roswell have not been this dry during the first five months of a year since 1892, when the state began keeping track. The dry conditions have spurred several wildfires this year, including one that has burned 137 square miles north of Silver City. A study by the University of Arizona found that wildfires had scorched more than 655 quare miles across New Mexico as of mid-May. AP

PETA wants Royals to stay away from rodeo while in Calgary

The first official royal tour for the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge in Canada will end in Calgary. Some involvement with the Stampede is a possibility as William and Kate will leave Calgary the same day as the parade. There is a group that hopes the royal couple will take a pass on one of the more famous aspects of the Stampede. PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been a crusader for animal rights and is hoping the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge spend their final day in Calgary away from the rodeo. The group has no problems with many of the other activities at the Stampede but would prefer the Royal couple enjoy the mini doughnuts rather than the beef on a bun at the rodeo. link

We'll see, but PETA may lose on this one. Here's what the Daily Mail says:

Wills and Kate to visit largest rodeo during north American tour The new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit the world’s largest – and richest – rodeo during their first foreign tour together. The couple plan to visit the legendary Calgary Stampede when they fly to Canada next month. Billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth, it offers $2 million in prize money to competing cowboys and attracts some of the top names in the field...more

Tradition & innovation mix at Vold Rodeo Company to keep pace with changing times

It is hard to escape the sense of history and tradition when you are on the Harry Vold ranch located near Avondale, Colo. It starts at the gate as you enter the ranch, where you see the bucking horse sign that was presented to Harry Vold at his induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1994. On the sign is a small metal plate that reads “Two Champs — Ty Murray on Bobby Joe Skoal.” Bobby Joe Skoal is one of 10 bucking horses that are running free and spending their retirement on the ranch. A little farther up the road is the famous Rattlesnake Butte sign, and, as you approach the ranch house, you see the famous black horses of the WNFR as they run back and forth between pastures and in front of the ranch house. The ranch itself has history, in that a section of it was part of Gene Autry's Flying A ranch. In the house you will find hundreds of photographs of the history of rodeo and early western contract acts covering the walls. In every room you will find trophies and mementos from Harry Vold's 60 plus years in rodeo. Tradition is everywhere — and closely held...more

Song Of The Day #587

Ranch Radio will be meandering around the 50's this week, so from 1955 here is Ernest Tubb & Red Foley with You're A Real Good Friend.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Just In

According to Biz Ladner, the Lesser Prairie Chickens have eaten all the Sand Dunes Lizards.

Wife of Utah doctor in Indian artifacts case sues FBI, BLM for his suicide

Jeanne & James Redd
The widow of a Blanding doctor who killed himself after being arrested in an American Indian artifacts trafficking sting contends the federal agencies that conducted the raid caused his death. Jeanne H. Redd filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against a dozen agents with the Bureau of Land Management and the FBI, claiming they pushed her husband, James D. Redd, to suicide. Federal agents armed with semi-automatic weapons arrested the Redds along with 22 others June 10, 2009, after a two-year undercover operation in the Four Corners area of southern Utah. "The next day, June 11, 2009, reflecting on the excessive, overreaching and abusive treatment he had been subjected to, after making a recording based upon his tragic experience, Dr. Redd took his own life. His final words connected his death to the defendants' egregious actions," according to the 31-page suit filed in U.S. District Court. Redd, 60, asphyxiated himself by connecting a hose to the exhaust pipe of his car. Two others associated with the case also committed suicide. Jeanne Redd is represented by Montana attorney Edward Moriarty, who worked as a partner with famed Wyoming attorney Gerry Spence for 30 years. Federal prosecutors charged James Redd with one felony count of theft of tribal property, specifically an effigy bird pendant. Redd found the quarter-inch-long relic while on a family walk. "Little did he know, federal agents inebriated with power and acting with no remorse, would use this shell to attempt to justify the arrest of Dr. Redd for a felony, ultimately shattering the sanctity of his life," the lawsuit states...more

The article goes on to report:

The suit lambastes what the BLM and FBI dubbed Operation Cerberus Action as overkill. In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed dog that guards the underworld.

Cerberus was a three-headed monster with a mane of live serpents and a snake's tail, who guarded the entrance to Hades. It was Heracles (Hercules) who had to enter the Gates of Hell to capture the beast.

Let's hope we don't have to go to the same lengths to get agents like this under control.

Pickens slams Koch brothers on gas bill: 'They don't answer to anybody'

When not helping his wife try to save wild horses, T. Boone Pickens is on the hill pushing for a bill to jump start natural usage in the trucking industry by providing federal tax breaks.

The Koch Brothers oppose the bill as "undue government meddling in the energy markets."

For that and since they aren't playing his political game Pickens finds the brothers "mysterious" and he's concerned "they don't have to answer to anybody."

Not answering to anybody - why that's down right Un-American. Opposing "government meddling" is apparently something Pickens doesn't understand either.

Pickens better stick to wild horses, all of which are owned by the government. And Congress has also outlawed any market for the critters. Sounds like a system he would be more comfortable in.

Ag conservation may be permanent

Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jim Gerlach have introduced the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, landmark legislation that would provide family farmers, ranchers, and other moderate-income landowners with a permanent incentive to donate development rights to their land. By providing tax benefits to landowners who choose conservation, the bill would help preserve our nation's cherished farm lands and open spaces for future generations. The bill has received broad bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, with 251 original co-sponsors. Under Thompson and Gerlach's bill, landowners who donate a conservation easement would maintain ownership and management of the land, but forgo their rights to develop the land in the future. The Conservation Easement Incentive Act would make permanent a tax incentive for donating development rights that will otherwise expire at the end of 2011. Eliminating this ever-changing deadline will give more farmers, ranchers, and forest owners the assurance they need to choose land conservation over development. "Tax incentives can be a powerful tool to help green our economy and protect our natural resources," said Thompson, D-Napa. "Conservation easements have been particularly effective, encouraging landowners to conserve millions of acres of farm lands and scenic open spaces. By making this important conservation tool permanent, my bill would help preserve even more land for future generations."...more

These same Congress critters are funding agencies that are regulating ag producers out of business and they are supporting tax laws that prohibit the inheriting of these properties by family. Those are the problems that need to be fixed. Instead they try to skirt these government-created problems by starting another "gimme" government program. I hope I'm still around when the public finally wakes up to these shenanigans.

Obama administration buying 101 Chevrolet Volts despite their high cost

The Obama administration is buying 116 Chevrolet Volts and other plug-in electric vehicles -- despite their high cost -- and installing charging stations in five cities. All but 15 of the electric vehicles will be General Motors' Volt extended-range electric. The General Services Administration didn't say what price it is going to pay, but the Volt compact cars are priced at $41,000 for consumers. Although the move is aimed at spurring electric-car adoption, it's not that the Volt was a slow seller: GM is basically sold out of the car through the end of the year because of limited production. At least the electrics will be pittance compared to the 650,000 vehicles that the government manages overall in its fleet. The charging stations for government vehicles will be installed in Washington, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, the Associated Press reports. The moves are mostly symbolic to show the government is doing its part in trying to reduce America's dependence on oil...more

No, they are doing their best to waste taxpayers' money. Besides, what they are really buying are votes, not Volts.

Americans say 'no' to electrics despite high gas prices

Nearly six of 10 Americans — 57% — say they won't buy an all-electric car no matter the price of gas, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. That's a stiff headwind just as automakers are developing electrics to help meet tighter federal rules that could require their fleets to average as high as 62 miles per gallon in 2025. And President Obama has set a goal of a million electric vehicles in use in the U.S. by 2015. The anti-electric sentiment unmasked by the poll shows that pure electrics — defined in the poll question as "an electric car that you could only drive for a limited number of miles at one time" — could have trouble getting a foothold in the U.S...more

Hatch, Barrasso Bill Helps Ranchers by Preserving Grazing Rights

WASHINGTON –Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing legislation that will bring greater certainly to ranchers and farmers in rural Utah and other states who graze livestock in the face of constant legal challenges from environmental extremists. The Grazing Improvement Act of 2011 (S. 1129) helps ranching communities by preserving the use of livestock grazing permits. It provides more flexibility to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service, allowing them to continue issuing grazing permits while required environmental analyses are pending. Under current law, livestock grazing permits expire after 10 years, and a new environmental analysis is mandatory before a new one can be issued. Unfortunately, federal agencies have been hamstrung in renewing permits because of the backlog of environmentalist lawsuits aimed at delaying the process. For more than a decade, grazing permit holders and public land agencies have relied on Congress to temporarily grant continued use of grazing permits every year. The Grazing Improvement Act changes this by allowing the BLM and Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while an environmental analysis is being completed. It also provides more flexibility with categorical exclusions and other needed reforms to grazing permits...
Press Release

Who Owns ‘Big Oil'? Not Who You Think

According to a report published in 2007 by Sonecon, an economic advisory firm that analyses U.S. markets and public policy, corporate management owns only 1.5 percent of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry. The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans through retirement accounts (14 percent) and pension funds (26 percent). Mutual funds or other firms account for 29.5 percent ownership and individual investors own 23 percent of oil stock holdings. Institutional investors hold the remaining 5 percent...more

Food makers resist lawmakers’ proposal for guidelines in marketing to children

The food and advertising industries are pushing back against an Obama administration proposal that calls for food makers to voluntarily limit the way they market sugary cereals, salty snacks and other foods to children and teens. From yogurt makers to candy manufacturers, they lined up Tuesday to tell regulators that the first-ever proposed guidelines for marketing to children would not stop the childhood obesity problem but would certainly hurt their businesses and abridge their right to free speech. The guidelines, ordered by Congress and written by a team from the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agriculture Department, ignited a debate about the role of marketing in soaring obesity rates among children. The far-reaching guidelines would cover a wide array of marketing, from traditional media such as television, print and radio to pop-up ads on Internet sites. They would apply to social media, toys in fast-food meals, ads shown in movie theaters , sponsorship of athletic teams and philanthropic activities, as well as product placement in movies and video games...more

First they will regulate the food makers...and that won't work.
Then they will regulate the parents...and that won't work.
Then they will regulate the children...and that won' work.

In the meantime new programs will be created, billions of dollars will be spent and they will be praised for "doing something" about obesity.

In the end, folks will be fatter and less free.

Stephen Harrigan's mesmerizing tale 'Remember' weaves ties of people, places

It's not too early to anoint "Remember Ben Clayton" as one of the best novels of 2011. Author Stephen Harrigan has written a moving, profound book about art, the wages of war and family, brilliantly condensed into 352 pages. Skillfully composed, emotionally engaging, the story (set just after World War I ends) of a Texas rancher trying to reclaim his son by the commission of a statue is alternately heartbreaking and uplifting. Like Ian McEwan's "Atonement" and Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," Harrigan magically re-creates a point in history while engaging readers with a mesmerizing story...more

Over Regulation All Across The Nation Blues - Music Video

Check this out from NCBA.

Song Of The Day #586

Instead of Swingin' Monday Ranch Radio will have Swingin' Tuesday this shortened week. To get that blood flowing this morning we bring you the Rhythm Rascals blasting out Milenburg Joys.

U.S. Senate report: Mexico violence is not slowing down

As gun battles raged across western Mexico this week, a new U.S. Senate report warns the United States must do more to bolster the south-of-the-border war on drug-trafficking cartels. “Violence in Mexico continues unhindered without any signs of slowing,” states an accompanying letter signed by the seven members of the U.S. Senate's Caucus on International Narcotics Control, including Texas' Sen. John Cornyn. Skirmishes more akin to guerrilla warfare than underworld score-settling killed dozens of people and drove several thousand more from their homes this week as gunmen battled both criminal rivals and security forces. Mexico has about 450,000 law enforcement personnel, notes the report, which contends police remain under trained, under equipped and that corruption runs rampant. Among the glaring shortcomings pointed out is the need by both governments to learn more about how the cartels sneak home between $18 billion and $39 billion in cash proceeds each year: “Trucks filled with bulk cash literally are being driven across the U.S.-Mexico border,” notes the report. “Far too little is known about the financial structures and procedures of Mexican drug-trafficking organizations,” it continues...more

29 dead after drug gangs battle in Mexico

A gunbattle between rival drug gangs in western Mexico left 29 bodies in fake military uniforms heaped across a roadway and inside bullet-riddled vehicles in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, the army said Thursday. The bodies, all male, were found Wednesday scattered around 14 shot-up pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, two of which had bulletproofing. Television images of the scene near the town of Ruiz showed what appeared to have been a convoy of cartel vehicles that was ambushed or engaged by another column of gunmen on a stretch of rural highway. Military-style boots, bulletproof vests, hand grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found at the scene...more

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DHS: An Acceptable Level of Illegal Migration; a Downsized Border Patrol?

A variety of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on the US border with Mexico interviewed by Homeland Security Today offered a candidly astonishing revelation. They said because of the decrease in apprehensions of illegals and the increase in seizures of narcotics trying to be smuggled into the country, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leaders in Washington, DC are mulling over the notion of whether, as a matter of official policy, there's an acceptable level of illegal migration into the United States - and whether the CBP workforce needs to be slashed as a result. The officials said the decrease in apprehensions has caused some officials to believe that some Border Patrol stations and outposts and CBP operations along the southern border are “over-manned” and not as busy as they’d been in recent years. Some of the officials even said "things" have had to be "found ... to [keep some agents] busy." But officials and former officials said the notion that there’s an acceptable level of illegal migration fails to take into account the lack of sufficient numbers of CBP agents at land Ports of Entry (PoEs); not enough Border Patrol agents on patrol in the most inhospitable areas of the northern border; and Border Patrol’s insufficient policing of federally owned lands on both borders because Border Patrol agents aren’t allowed to routinely patrol these lands without first “jumping through all sorts of environmental and other hoops," as an agent complained. Consequently, according to senior Border Patrol agents and officials Homeland Security Today interviewed, there are significant stretches of land along both the US/Mexico and US/Canadian border that aren’t adequately patrolled by boots on the ground...more

A must read for those interested in this issue. Also please note the following:

Ferguson was referring to the discovery earlier this month in Mexico of more than 500 persons in two 18-wheelers bound for the the US border. According to the Chiapas, Mexico, Attorney General's office, specialized X-ray machines that were used on the two tractor-trailer rigs at a checkpoint at Chiapas detected the illegal aliens, who were from El Salvador, Ecuador, China, Japan, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The illegals represented a $3.5 million cargo. Another tractor-trailer packed with 219 people was discovered in January. The two trucks' drivers tried to speed away from the Chiapas checkpoint, but they were quickly apprehended by law enforcement. The illegal immigrants reportedly told Mexican authorities they’d paid $7,000 to be transported and smuggled into the US. Mexican authorities said some have paid as much as $30,000, and that the illegal human-trafficking business into America operated by Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) is a $6.6 billion annual business.

TCO is government-speak for Drug Cartels. The drug cartels are fighting over the routes into the U.S not only for drug trafficking but also for human trafficking. And now that they control the border look at the prices they are charging for illegal entry - $7,000 to $30,000 per entrant.

The cartels are seeking routes into the U.S., especially on "federally owned lands on both borders because Border Patrol agents aren’t allowed to routinely patrol these lands." Bingaman's Bandito Boulevard, created by his wilderness legislation, will be very lucrative for them.

HT: Hugh Holub

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Any idea where he is?

by Julie Carter

The agriculture census taker was more than just a little determined to catch up with the head honcho at the ranch and showed up regularly trying to pin him down.
He'd ask the missus. "Do you know where your husband is?"

She'd smile kindly and think to herself, "You've got to be kidding me."

When a cowboy heads out in the morning, he may have a semblance of a plan for what he intends to get done in the day, but rarely does it ever work out that way.
A typical scenario would go something like this.

"I'm going to fix that hole in the fence on the north side of the Bull Pasture," he told his wife.

"Just how big is that hole?" she queried. "Didn't you do that yesterday?"

That had been his plan, but instead, this is what happened.

He'd left the house with that very project in mind, but on the way, he saw a prolapsed cow. So he went back to the house, got a horse and a trailer and herded the cow to the nearest corrals. He loaded her in the trailer and headed toward town and the vet.

On the way, he spotted his neighbor having trouble getting a very angry bull into a trailer. So he stopped to help. Noticing his neighbor had a broken spring on his trailer, he mentioned it and the pair loaded up in the pickup and went to get parts to fix it. That trip also involved stopping to fix a flat on the pickup they were driving.

After they got back and the trailer was fixed, the neighbor asks, "Got any cold beer on you?"

"No," said the cowboy, but they agreed it was probably closer to town to get cold beer than back to the house, so off to the Quik Stop Burrito and Beer store they go.

In summation, that would be the reason the fence didn't get fixed that day.

Mule-ish appetites

The rancher was headed to town for his weekly mail pickup and to buy a few groceries for himself and his hired hand. The list from the hired hand's wife was written in Spanish and he was a little concerned about selecting the correct grocery items.

However, the grocer was able to help him translate and the shopping went quickly. He loaded a dozen bags of groceries into the back of the pickup and headed toward the ranch.

A few miles out of town, an old buddy that he hadn't seen in years flagged him down. They pulled off to the side of the road, visited a spell and then decided to continue catching up at a local watering hole just up the road a ways.

The afternoon wore into the early evening and they decided it was time to get on home. At his pickup, the rancher found complete mayhem among the grocery sacks.
Flour was strung out over everything, cans rolled to the tailgate, heads of lettuce torn apart and left with but a few leaves along edges of the pickup bed. The afternoon shopping results had been turned into a garbage pile.

It seemed a rancher local to the bar area had some mules running in the pasture surrounding the establishment. While the two friends were tipping cool ones and telling tall tales, the mules had helped themselves to the groceries. What they didn't eat, they tore up.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Safety On The Border

The Federal Response to Employee Safety
S.1024 Revelations
Discrimination of Values
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

     The legislation, “The Organ Mountain – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act” included in S.1689 by Senators Bingaman and Udall died without action in 2010.  Now, the legislation has been reintroduced as S.1024.  Once again, the citizenry must endure the ramifications of the discussion and the divisive process.  Bingaman supporters are already reminding their base of the wonder of such a legacy for the senator.
     Border Patrol Insight
     The fact that Senator Bingaman has had to address the border security issue in this iteration is very apparent.  In the news releases surrounding S.1024, the majority of the wording now deals with that issue.  That wasn’t the case in similar releases accompanying S.1689 when Mr. Bingaman and his staff left the matter silent.
     Much information has come to light since then and Mr. Bingaman can no longer dismiss the matter without qualification.  Evidence even this week has come from David Aguilar, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).   In his tour of the Arizona border, Mr. Aguilar said, “it is a third country that joins Mexico and the United States.”  Experience shows that the Bingaman legislation will expand that “third country”.
     Recent comments by the Tucson Sector Chief also add another twist to the debate.  Realize that only about 25% of the total numbers of illegals breaching the border are apprehended, but he has divulged that CBP can apprehend about 80% of those illegals when unencumbered access is allowed within five miles of the border.  Most of the others are apprehended within a 25 mile distance, but, beyond that, illegals have gained entry into the United States.  What the Bingaman bill will clearly do is to allow the five mile metric to take place, but will disallow the 25 mile component. 
    What is silent is what happens when designated Wilderness or de facto managed wilderness is installed.  The nearest example is firmly embedded 70 miles west in New Mexico’s Bootheel.  It is there that intrusions, as measured by apprehensions, are running ten times the rest of the El Paso Sector on a border mile basis.  The de facto wilderness restrictions installed there clearly demonstrate the real risk in the Bingaman legislation.
     To the Book
     The danger of the legislation is no longer a message from the bill’s opponents.  It is being elevated within the federal land agencies in protocol adjustments and operating procedures.  The best source to evaluate the concern the agencies are placing on the escalating danger is in the new interagency safety training handbook, Borderlands Field Work.  This safety guide was written for federal employees by federal employees whose duties require them to be exposed to the real border story.
     Inside the front cover, an “Incident Contact Information” record can be kept.  It should be noted that of 11 generalized categories 10 were reserved for emergency related responders.  Those responder references ranged from reporting border crossers to notification requirements for each incident. 
     Next, there was an exposé on the generalized characteristics of the border.  The sentence that gets your attention is “the land is characterized by a harsh desert environment and illegal activities associated with the border.”  It went on to say that, in addition to the physical characteristics of the border, federal employees must be prepared to “face dangers including armed confrontations with drug smugglers . . .”
    Locals could view the preparatory suggestions for a new federal agent with more than a bit of disdain.  “Prepare yourself mentally and physically” gets your attention.  Likewise, the required individual preparation by employees for “Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Risk Assessment (RA)” would have been well worth scrutiny, but no examples were given.
     The mention of the fact that a day in the life of a federal employee might be “physically strenuous” and will take an “emotional toll” perhaps prompted a bit of stronger cynical response, but when it was learned that the feds can seek counseling as to how to improve their general physical and mental health in such matters at a special website created just for them,, local citizens are left a bit dazed.
     The field guide was a continuing plethora of insightful advice especially the portions devoted to dealing with stress, but the little buzz word, “Yikes” kept confounding the reading.  It was learned that “Yikes” was nothing more than a synonym for “Hazards” that the featured federal employees “Heebie and Jeebie” might encounter.  Heebie and Jeebie were reminded that “Yikes” can always be reduced by “your preparation, knowledge and skill, physical and mental fitness, your compassion for others, and the environment . . . all depicted in the Circle of Stones”.  Huh?
     Onward the information rolled with stops at charts and skill set development checklists that would take half day intervals to complete.  It was demonstrated the employees can even learn how to employ techniques to scare mountain lions off the trails if they are encountered.  Bottom line for the big cats and other border encounters such as “try to remember how long it has been since you last knew where your were” was for federal employees to “hike, walk, or work in groups and make noise” . . . !
     The public safety aspects of the border finally came to life on page 77 and, then, 83 when the issues of S.1024 are elevated into perspective.  The introductive narrative included “the potential for (federal) employees to encounter drug smugglers in the borderlands is heightened because drug smugglers transport large quantities of drugs across Federal, State, and Tribal lands.  The smugglers intentionally use remote locations for transportation routes . . .” For the record, that is exactly what Senators Bingaman and Udall have assured us will not happen with their wilderness legislation.
    The “Yikes” continue with topics of “Avoiding Illegal Immigrants”, “Encountering scouts”, “Dealing with trash”, “Abandoned vehicles”, “Hazardous materials”, “Evasive drivers and High Speed pursuits”, “Decoys” and on and on.  They were also explicitly given authority to break certain state laws.  For example, when camping, they were told they could camp within 200’ of any water source even though New Mexico law prohibits any camping within 300 yards of any man made water supplies. 
     As a standard default, the federal employees were instructed to consult additional websites for help, reduced stress, and assistance in matters of emergency, but always . . . “watch your step”, “deal with criticism objectively”, and “trust that problems will work themselves out”!
     The citizen left standing
     The book ends on page 110.  In all those pages, there is not a single word or reference to the existence of private citizens who must address their duties, responsibilities and investments on the same lands.  Not a rancher, not a hunter, not an off road enthusiast, and not a resident who resides in a remote dwelling is mentioned. In terms of any federal reference of care or concern for stakeholders or private citizens, the citizen reader is left with no other choice but to assume he or she is strictly on his or her own while the feds install a safety net for their employees.
     Why does environmentalism trump other values?
     That is exactly the continuing frustration that unprotected citizens feel when the subject of Mr. Bingaman’s “Organ Peak – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act” is brought up.  The record in Arizona clearly demonstrates that every time designated wilderness legislation on or near the border is enacted human and drug smuggling increases.  There is not a single example that offers a contrary result.
     This whole affair is a growing awareness of the preferential treatment of environmental and ecological values.  Why else would the senators disregard all opposition? 
     S.1024 prompts the need to take this discussion in a new direction.  The question Americans must start asking is why are environmental and ecological values managed preferentially over the other values set forth in the organic legislation of these federal lands?
     FLPMA dictated that scientific, historic, scenic, air and atmospheric, environmental, ecological, water resource, and archeological values were equal and protected under the law.  Each of the values was important, but environmental and ecological values have been elevated in intent and policy.
    Americans can come to their own conclusions why six of the promised eight values have been minimized, but there are ramifications.  The Arizona Border is not just a dangerous place . . . “a third country”.  The Arizona Border has the foundational characteristics to put the entire public safety of the United States at even higher levels of risk.      
     It is time for a fundamental change in the entire discussion.  It is time to elevate all eight values to equal status.
     It is also time for land agencies to address the problem.  A review of the border lands’ safety manual is just one of the many places to start. Modify it, and . . . characterize the adult world that exists and for which it was intended. 
     There are legitimate reasons why eight values were promised.  Each of those values has a core group of American stakeholders at risk or exposed to processes that have experienced value discrimination.  Six of the eight have been forgotten.  When that is rectified . . . and the cartel war addressed . . . the border will be a safer place.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.  “Pick any of the silent values set forth in FLPMA and consider an aspect of the border that reflects its silence.  It is an amazing process.”
     First, the discussion must start with recent agency protocol changes for employees who must travel into those areas.  Among the many changes instituted by government agencies include, but are not limited to the following:
  1. NMDA’s Weights and Measures employees must be accompanied by an armed escort entering all lands bounded by I10 to the east and north from Dona Ana County to the Arizona line.
  2. All NRCS employees can no longer enter into what is being described as the danger zone along the border without a GPS transmitter and a fellow employee.
  3. BLM employees are disallowed south of HW 92 in the San Pedro NCA without armed escort.
  4. Federal inspectors will no longer enter Mexico to inspect cattle.  Private contractors must bring the sealed loads across the border for such inspections.
  5. At Organ Pipe, federal employees are alerted to danger on the basis of color coded levels of danger.  If red alerts are present, federal employees must have armed escorts.