Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Feature: Old Time Western Radio

Ranch Radio has received several inquiries about old time radio, mostly about music shows but also about westerns.  So we are going to have a regular feature on Saturdays that will have a program of one type or the other.  Since Gene Autry's Melody Ranch Show has both music and a story, we'll start with an episode of that program.  The Melody Ranch Show ran from 1940 to 1955.  There were over 700 episodes and we hope you enjoy this one.  These are a larger file than the Song Of The Day so they will take longer to download and you may have to click on it twice to get it to play.

Wounded Grizzly Kills Hunter in Remote Montana - 3rd Person Killed By Grizzly Since July

The two hunters were tracking a wounded grizzly bear into an area of heavy cover along the Idaho-Montana border when the animal attacked, fatally injuring one of the men before his partner could kill the bear, authorities say. Steve Stevenson, 39, and Ty Bell, 21, members of a hunting party from Winnemucca, Nev., had been going after black bears in the mountainous, heavily forested region near the Canadian border when the attack occurred around 10 a.m. PDT Friday. A bit earlier, Bell shot and wounded a young male grizzly, believing it to be a black bear, undersheriff Brent Faulkner said. "They tracked the bear into an area of heavy cover where Mr. Stevenson was attacked by the wounded grizzly bear," Faulkner said in a news release late Friday. "Mr. Bell was able to shoot the bear multiple times, eventually killing it," he said. Bell used his cell phone to call for help but Stevenson died from his injuries, Faulkner said. The incident is under investigation. It is illegal to kill a grizzly bear, which is listed as threatened in the Lower 48 states, but there was no immediate word if Bell would face any charges. This is at least the third man killed by a grizzly since July. In late August, a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park, some 400 miles south of here, mauled a Michigan hiker to death. In July, a female bear with cubs in Yellowstone attacked a couple from California, killing the man before fleeing. This attack comes as Idaho's congressional delegation has proposed amending the Endangered Species Act to clarify that it is legal to shoot a grizzly bear in self-defense or in defense of another person. The legislation was in response to the case of a northern Idaho man who shot and killed a grizzly cub in May after it and two other cubs wandered onto his property...more

Friday, September 16, 2011

Attorney General Plays Fast and Loose with Southern New Mexico Water and Facts

By Gary Esslinger, EBID Treasurer-Manager

Gary King is in the very enviable position of a blustery riverboat gambler at a big poker game.  The only thing is, he’s irresponsibly gambling with someone else’s chips—the water that southern New Mexico farm families rely on for their way of life and business.
King has filed suit against the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) attacking the “Operating Agreement” negotiated among the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1, and the BOR.  This is unfortunate because one of the key ingredients in this valid and well thought out compromise is the fact that it protects New Mexico farmers and their right to pump underground water during times of severe drought, just as we are currently experiencing. That is called conjunctive management.  If not for the Operating Agreement, you can be assured that your ability to pump and grow crops for food, feed, and fiber, and potentially fuel would be tied up in litigation and many farmers would be out of business.  In the case of litigation over water such as this, the U.S. Supreme Court will end up with the case and there’s no telling what that body may do. Alleviating the unnecessary risk involved with such litigation is the very reason farmers in this valley took control of their own destiny and constructed the Operating Agreement.
So, if this lawsuit is not in the best interests of southern New Mexico and its productive farm families, why is King pursing this irresponsible course?  Could it be that there is reckless gambling going on in the Casino Hydrologico?  That would be a good question to ask him as he tries to sell this lawsuit via press release and too little too late “public” meetings. The cost to southern New Mexican farmers if and when King loses his wild game of poker is lost groundwater access and lost business, neither of which anyone can afford to lose.
Our Rio Grande Project and Compact have worked well recently and for 100 years without the interference of a politician who only has his sites on a higher office, instead of having any real basis for interfering with and dictating our way of life. The implications of King’s philosophy in filing this recent lawsuit, that southern New Mexico cannot adequately look out for our own interest, is offensive and condescending.
      The timing of King’s complaint is clearly politically motivated. It is too late to do anything about 2011 releases from Elephant Butte, but just in time to, in the words of his late father, “Open a whole box of Pandoras.” The bottom line is that the way the BOR has operated the Rio Grande Project does not reduce New Mexico’s water. In fact, on January 1, 2012, Upstate New Mexico (above Elephant Butte Dam) will have more water than if BOR had accounted as New Mexico is insisting that they should. New Mexico is suing to have less water for its upstate constituents. This is just politicized hydrology.
It has long been said colloquially that “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.”  Our farm families and the thousands of businesses and consumers that benefit from agriculture in these green valleys will fight for their water and associated rights, and are perfectly capable of protecting themselves.  But they want a fair fight where one of our own state officials is not using our water to irrigate his personal political career.      

Debate over trapping on NM public lands rages on

The debate over whether New Mexico should prohibit the trapping of bobcats, raccoons and other furbearing animals on public lands is far from over. Conservation groups scheduled a forum Wednesday evening to talk about trapping and a recent decision by the state Game Commission to lift a trapping ban in southwestern New Mexico, where the federal government has reintroduced the endangered Mexican gray wolf. The groups have labeled trapping as cruel and barbaric. They want state and federal officials to consider their appeals for ending the practice on public lands. "The Game Commission ignored 12,000 people who asked that traps be banned on public lands. Since we were ignored, we're providing a forum for people to be heard," said Wendy Keefover of the Santa Fe-based WildEarth Guardians. "We hope to really create a stir about trapping in New Mexico because what's going on is completely under regulated, and it affects so many people, and it has ecosystem affects," she said. Trappers are digging in their heels and taking issue with how the practice is being portrayed. "These are scare tactics that hit on people's emotions," Tom McDowell, a member of the New Mexico Trappers Association, said, referring to the groups' claims of the potential danger of getting tangled up in a trap in the woods...more

Deal legalizes tree-cutting event

Otero County Commissioners and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce will be allowed to legally conduct their emergency tree cutting ceremony Saturday in the Lincoln National Forest. It puts to rest any fears that commissioners or Pearce may be arrested for illegal logging on federal lands. Commissioners have been negotiating with federal attorneys in Albuquerque about cutting down trees on the Lincoln National Forest since Monday morning. Commissioners and the U.S. Forest Service, through the U.S. Attorney's office, have signed an agreement that allows logging on one parcel of land in the forest. The agreement also allows the tree cutting to be done on a parcel of land in Sleepy Grass, located within the forest, at noon Saturday. The event will begin at Zenith Park in Cloudcroft. Commissioners are working on making arrangements for participants and observers to travel by bus to Sleepy Grass for the ceremonial tree cutting because of safety conditions. County Commission chairman Ronnie Rardin said he is pleased that commissioners and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque reached an agreement. "Working with the U.S. Attorney's Office has been a privilege and a pleasure," Rardin said. "I am pleasantly surprised. They're really professional at what they do. Michael Hoses, Elizabeth Martinez and U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales handled it with professionalism. This agreement is good for both sides -- the county and the Forest Service. In the end, the Forest Service and the county will work together for one goal."...more

The Albuquerque Journal also reported:

As recently as Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque threatened to seek an injunction in federal court to halt the tree-thinning event that Otero County officials have billed as the start of a campaign to restore the Lincoln National Forest to healthy and safe conditions. Ronny Rardin, chairman of the Otero County Commission, said he was pleased that the county and Forest Service are working together, rather than fighting. “This is a milestone in American history – the Forest Service and the county trying to work together, finally, to get our forest back in control to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people up there,” Rardin said during the commission meeting in Boles Acres south of Alamogordo...Otero County officials have contended that, under a state law passed in 2001 in the aftermath of the Cerro Grande Fire that devastated Los Alamos, they did not need Forest Service approval to thin the forest and reduce extreme fire hazards around Cloudcroft...“The work that will take place on Sept. 17 is consistent with the mutually shared goal of reducing the risk of wildfire affecting local communities,” Justin DeJong, a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, said in a prepared statement late Wednesday. County attorney Dan Bryant said county and federal officials have agreed to continue talking about the county’s broader plans to thin 69,000 acres of forest around Cloudcroft...

Enviros aren't happy

The Center For Biological Diversity released a statement titled Congressman Steve Pearce Sharpens Call for Renegade Logging:

...“Congressman Pearce’s imagination knows no bounds when it comes to asserting local authority over federal public lands and environmental laws,” said Taylor McKinnon, public-lands campaigns director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s both preposterous and ethically bankrupt for a U.S. congressman to encourage and participate in vigilantism against America’s public lands.” Incidents of vigilantes destroying public lands and endangered species habitat are on the rise in New Mexico following similar calls by Pearce for counties to seize control of federal public land. Field visits by Center for Biological Diversity staff and a letter to Catron County from the Forest Service confirm that Catron County officials in August trespassed across private land to bulldoze 13.5 miles of the San Francisco River on the Gila National Forest. The river is designated critical habitat for the endangered loach minnow; the bulldozed section includes an inventoried roadless area downstream from Reserve. In a press release dated Aug. 3, 2011, seven days before the bulldozing incident, Pearce highlighted the fact that sheriffs in counties that patrol the Gila will not enforce roadless rules or the Forest Service’s “travel management plan,” which manages off-road vehicle use. The only federal response from the Obama administration has been a multiagency tour of the area and a letter from the Forest Service to the county...
And in Sagebrush rebellion flares up in New Mexico the Summit Voice has this:

A New Mexico congressman is inciting residents of his district and state to violate federal laws by ignoring Forest Service regulations on motorized travel and encouraging local communities to cut trees on federal land without required permits and environmental studies. Additionally, Sierra County Sheriff Joe Baca, Jr., publicly (on a Facebook page) threatened to arrest federal employees if they try to close national forest roads pursuant to Forest Service regulations (see the Facebook thread at the end of the story). U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) is leading yet another version of a sagebrush rebellion against the federal government, resulting what is being described by environmental groups as vigilante destruction of public lands...

At the end of this piece they show posts from Mike Skidmore and Sheriff Joe Baca from the Keep Our Forests Open Facebook page.

They really didn't like this post from Sheriff Baca:

Sorry I could not make it last night. Just know that I will not let them close any roads and if they so choose to do so I will arrest them for unlawfully closing a county road. They have no jurisdiction in Sierra County without me and I will not give them any. You have my support 100% and we will keeps the forest open!

The Alamogordo Daily News has this:

Bryan Bird, Wild Places program director for WildEarth Guardians, said the U.S. Forest Service is bending over backwards to accommodate county officials and Pearce for the event. "It still doesn't make it right," Bird said. "There are processes in place to normally access our national forests for commercial and other activities. I feel the county should have gone through the process like anyone else. The other factor is I don't know what all the fuss is about in the first place." He said he believes the Forest Service has continuing programs of timber and thinning projects to control fuel. "I don't know what the county and Pearce have themselves upset about," Bird said. "The (Lincoln) forest's website has all kinds of information about this situation to sort of calm people's tempers. This is political theater. It's not based on any reality in the real world. If these people would look at the facts, they would realize the Lincoln National Forest is treating its hazardous fuels. They're also conducting timber sales."

The Otero County Commission and their plan is "preposterous", "ethically bankrupt", "not based on any reality" and they are guilty of "vigilantism" and "vigilante destruction of public lands".

Yes, I'd say the enviros are a might upset.

Sheriff seeks safety at tree event

With a number of events happening Saturday, Otero County Sheriff Benny House and County Commission Chairman Ronnie Rardin caution people attending the emergency tree-cutting ceremony in Cloudcroft to think about safety first. The first part of the emergency tree-cutting ceremony will begin at noon at Zenith Park in Cloudcroft. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, local officials and other guest speakers will address citizens attending the event. Commissioners have made arrangements for participants and observers to travel by bus to Sleepy Grass for the ceremonial tree cutting because of safety conditions. An observation area will be cordoned off for observers to watch. Zia Transportation will provide three buses to shuttle people to the site. One van will be provided by the Sacramento Senior Center to help transport people to the site. Rardin said the county has John Brazil's logging company providing equipment and supervision on the tree-cutting site. Cloudcroft is also hosting its annual Lumberjack Day, as well as the Mountain Top Invitational, an all-day high school volleyball tournament, at the Cloudcroft schools. Ruidoso will host its annual Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally on Saturday, as well. House said he wants the public to be aware of the increased traffic in the area on Saturday...more

Compromise on forest use will benefit everyone

I have lived and worked as a builder, land developer and real estate broker in the Sacramento Mountains for about 30 years. I have had the opportunity to view the conditions of the forest in this area daily. When we first moved here in 1982, there were multiple family-run logging enterprises on the mountain and a large mill in Alamogordo. There was harmony between recreational use and the logging industry. The Forest Service was viewed in a more positive light as an asset in protecting a public treasure -- the Lincoln National Forest. The public was being served, ranchers grazed their cattle and loggers were consistently working, harvesting valuable timber and reducing the threat of fire. Recreational users enjoyed a road system paid for at the loggers' expense. There was room for all these diverse uses of the public treasure. The current situation in the Lincoln has made large scale, profitable logging very difficult to achieve. It has resulted in small single-use logging areas, interrupted for weeks and months for endangered species. The logging operators are nervous, small and have uncertain futures. The areas thinned are inconsequential in preserving the safety of the forest. The reduced size of available areas and increased stop work conditions have squeezed sawmills out of Otero County. This is a complex issue, but the facts support our forest is very thick and overgrown. A catastrophic fire is imminent...more

Song Of The Day #673

Ranch Radio has a pretty tune by Cowboy Copas this morning: Lock Me In Your Heart.

The tune is available on his 26 track CD Copasetic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is Obama watching The Westerner? Join the snitch brigade

Just like the White House did on Obamacare, Obama's re-election campaign has launched an interactive website called "Attack Watch". This editorial describes it:

The look and feel of the site conveys a sense of foreboding. It’s Web design by Orwell. A black background, stark red headers and white text surround the site’s own attacks. Grainy black-and-white photos depict those on the White House hit list, which includes the likes of Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck. The design is so unconsciously theatrical and amateurish it is hard to believe it is not a parody.

See for yourself here.

For Twitter types the hashtag is #attackwatch.  Most of the tweets are ridiculing the site, and then there is this video from MisfitPolitics:

GOP wants to give Congress veto power on White House-designated national monuments

Citing state sovereignty and economic hardship, Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they wanted to give Congress the authority to veto presidents' national monument designations, a power used by nearly every executive since Theodore Roosevelt. The Antiquities Act of 1906 has led to the designations of 136 national monuments, a list that includes the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest in Arizona and the Statue of Liberty in New York. But the act has long has been a flash point in Western states, where some residents and officials resent the federal government's level of involvement in land management. "I don't oppose public lands," Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said Tuesday at a House of Representatives Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. "I simply oppose efforts by an out-of-touch administration to forcibly lock up public lands without congressional oversight." Bills by Labrador, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., would "prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments" in those states, "except by express authorization of Congress." Rep. Wally Herger, a Republican whose Northern California district contains a "significant amount" of federal land, made the economic argument for his bill, which would require congressional approval of a national monument in any state. "In the face of severe economic challenges, we need to reform crippling government policies and regulations so that local communities can utilize their natural resources and prosper," he said...more

And what was their position during the Bush administration?

Mexico set to free gray wolves in NE Sonora

The government of Mexico plans to release five endangered Mexican gray wolves this month in northeastern Sonora, the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced. If released in the same mountain range that Mexican officials have pointed to before, the wolves would be easily within a wolf's walking distance of Arizona. In 2010, Mexican officials said they planned to release wolves in the Sierra San Luis, a mountain range that runs from the Chihuahua-Sonora-New Mexico border southeast to a point about 80 miles south of Douglas. The Mexican government did not go forward with a release last year. Any wolves that cross the border into the United States would be considered fully protected endangered species, said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Tom Buckley. That means nobody may interfere with the wolves unless they are directly threatening people. All five wolves will wear tracking collars when released, Arizona Game and Fish said, citing an informal report on the project. The Mexican government plans to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service if the tracking data shows that a wolf has crossed the border, Buckley said. The release could bring new Mexican gray wolves into contact with the wolves that are being managed in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, something that environmentalists are hoping for. Rancher Laura Schneberger, president of the Gila Livestock Growers Association in New Mexico, said the wolves in Mexico threaten the livelihood of American ranchers. That's because, if wolves cross the border into the U.S., the wolves can't be controlled even if they kill cattle...more

An article in the Albq. Journal further clarifies the status of the wolf if it crosses the border:

If they cross the border, the Fish and Wildlife Service said they will have the full protection of the federal Endangered Species Act as long as they are outside the boundaries of the wolf recovery area that spans southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. If the wolves are found within the recovery area, they will be considered as part of the experimental population — a classification that gives wildlife officials greater flexibility in managing the animals.

Now we'll have mules and wolves coming in from Mexico.  Maybe we need to outfit the Border Patrol with some good traps.

Grizzly bear killed near Red Lodge after attacks on cattle

A 10-year-old male grizzly bear with a history of killing livestock was euthanized this weekend after it was captured for killing cattle southeast of Red Lodge. The 400-pound bear was caught in a culvert trap Friday by federal Wildlife Services agents on the Sunlight Ranch near the upper forks of the Bearcreek Basin. "It was never seen," said Shawn Stewart, a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist based in Red Lodge. "We finally saw tracks and hair on a fence so we knew that we were dealing with a grizzly bear." Wyoming officials captured the bear in 2007 north of Cody after it killed cows in that area. They put a microchip and lip tattoo in the animal for future identification and released it west of Dubois, Wyo., about 90 miles southwest of Cody. The bear apparently traveled north through the Yellowstone area and into Montana this year, Stewart said. After reports of livestock depredation near Red Lodge, federal agents spent about 10 days trying to capture the bear. Stewart said it had killed at least three cows and two calves. Other cattle deaths at the ranch couldn't be confirmed as bear kills. Because the bear was a two-time offender, biologists decided to euthanize the animal...more

Former CFO of 'green' group pleads guilty to skimming federal funds

The former chief financial officer of a Knoxville nonprofit group that promotes energy from renewable sources has pleaded guilty to skimming federal funds. Cameron J. Potter worked for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Dale told U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips on Tuesday that Potter concocted a scheme in 2006 to skim $400,000 in Department of Energy grant money by creating phony invoices - a plot that he carried out for three years. In a plea agreement, Potter pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering, according to The Knoxville News-Sentinel...more

Clone on the Range

ViaGen came up with an ambitious plan to become the foremost provider of cloned livestock for food. The company claims it clones the hardiest breeding stock in the industry. It says cloning can meet the world’s growing demand for beef. ViaGen has established offices in Mexico and Canada, and has signed licensing agreements in Argentina to clone horses and cattle. The company is also expanding into Colombia, Brazil and China. CEO Blake Russell contends that cloned animals could help prevent global food shortages. “You can produce more feed-efficient animals and faster-growing animals and spread those genes rapidly through a population,” he says. “Cloning is a tool to feed the world.” Introducing milk and meat from cloned animals into the food supply is a touchy subject. The very thought of eating cloned animals makes some consumers squeamish. But you may have already eaten cloned animal products without knowing it. The United States is both pioneer and guinea pig in cloned food production. In 2008, the U.S. became the first country to decree that cloned cattle, pigs, goats, and their offspring are safe to eat. Americans have been consuming meat and milk from the offspring of cloned animals for at least a decade...more

Cattle raisers meet with officials in D.C., urge passage of trade agreements

Members of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) met with officials at the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) office to urge the administration to immediately send the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress for ratification. “The Texas beef industry has undergone an unprecedented year of bad weather including record-setting droughts and devastating wildfires,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president. “One sure way to help the industry recover is to pass these trade agreements. Doing so will allow American products to finally gain ground in markets where our competitors have been capitalizing. These agreements will also create thousands of jobs that Americans desperately need without costing taxpayers a single dime.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for every $1 billion worth of agricultural goods exported, approximately 8,000 jobs are created. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the 3 pending agreements would generate nearly $2.5 billion in additional exports and about 20,000 jobs. TSCRA also supports the re-authorization of the trade promotion authority, a fast-track approach that gives USTR more flexibility to negotiate trade deals...more

Song Of The Day #672

Ranch Radio has a request from a Tucson listener who asked for "anything by Wade Ray". We're happy to oblige and here he is with That Love Makin' Melody.

Bodies hanging from bridge in northern Mexico are warning to social media users

Warning posted next to hanging bodies
Social media users who denounce drug cartel activities along the Mexican border received a brutal warning this week: Two mangled bodies hanging like cuts of meat from a pedestrian bridge. A woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her intestines protruding from three deep cuts on her abdomen. Attackers left her topless, dangling by her feet and hands from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her was hanging by his hands, his right shoulder severed so deeply the bone was visible. Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their early 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities on a social network. "This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet," one sign said. "You better (expletive) pay attention. I'm about to get you." The gruesome scene sent a chilling message at a time when online posts have become some of the loudest voices reporting violence in Mexico. In some parts of the country, threats from cartels have silenced traditional media. Sometimes even local authorities fear speaking out...more

Agents find weapons, rocket launcher near Rio Grande

U.S. Border Patrol agents found a rocket launcher, assault rifles and explosives near the Rio Grande river in Texas, the agency said on Wednesday, a discovery that suggests a link to Mexico's drug wars. Agents found the weapons on Tuesday in a black bag along a quiet stretch of the Rio Grande near Fronton, a small community about 210 miles/337 km south of San Antonio. No arrests have been made. Officials theorized that the guns were waiting to be smuggled across the border into Mexico. Inside the bag were six assault rifles, a grenade launcher, a rocket launcher, 20 ammunition magazines for various-sized weapons and three packages of what appeared to be C-4 plastic explosives, a Border Patrol news release said. Mexican drug gangs frequently rely on grenades and assault rifles in an escalating battle between rival drug smugglers and against law enforcement...more

Border Security After 9/11: Ten Years of Waste, Immigrant Crackdowns and New Drug Wars

Prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the term "border security" was rarely used. Today, however, it is both a fundamental goal of US domestic security and the defining paradigm for border operations. Despite the federal government's routine declarations of its commitment to securing the border, neither Congress nor the executive branch has ever clearly defined the term "border security." Border security constitutes the single largest line item in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget. Nonetheless, DHS has failed to develop a border security strategy that complements US domestic and national security objectives. DHS has not even attempted to delineate benchmarks that would measure the security of the border or specify exactly how the massive border security buildup has increased homeland security. Since 2003, Homeland Security and the Justice Department have opened spigots of funding for an array of border security operations. These include commitments for 18-foot steel fencing, high-tech surveillance, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), increased prosecutions of illegal border crossers and new deployments of the Border Patrol and National Guard. Ten years after the federal government undertook a new commitment to domestic and border security, the nation deserves to know what the tens of millions of dollars spent on securing the southwestern border have accomplished....more

More Mexico youths die from violence than car wrecks, report says

As Mexico's drug war grinds on, violent homicide has overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of death of young people in the country, reports the Mexico City daily El Universal (link in Spanish). Government statistics reviewed by the newspaper show that in 2008 and 2009, the second and third complete years of Mexico's drug war, violent deaths of people between 15 and 29 shot up about 150%. The figures rose almost equally across various narrower age brackets within that group. Half of those homicides occurred in five states that include some of those worst hit by the current violence: Chihuahua, Baja California, Guerrero, Sinaloa and the state of Mexico, on the border with Mexico City. Violence is now the leading cause of death among Mexicans between the ages of 15 and 29, overtaking car accidents, the report said. The federal government's database on deaths tied to organized crime shows 1,638 young people were killed in suspected drug-related attacks in 2008, a number that rose to 2,511 in 2009 and 3,741 in 2010 (graphic link in Spanish)...more

Tour shows migrant life on the Arizona-Mexico border

On a recent sunny Arizona morning, Judy Macintyre, a 72-year-old tourist from Minnesota, is ready to board a bus. But this is not just any tour. To Macintyre, it's an opportunity to take an in-depth look at a controversial issue she wanted to explore for a long time. The tour titled "Border Crisis: Fact and Fiction" is intended to allow tourists to see immigration at one of the hottest spots on the border. And that's exactly what the adventurous Minnesotan wants to do. Experiencing the realities of the U.S.-Mexico border up close is as simple as buying an $89 ticket. The Tucson, Arizona, office of Gray Line Tours is offering the trip twice a month. The tour operator bills the trip as "a fact-finding mission" that allows tourists to draw their own conclusions. "Don't let the politicians and news broadcasters become your only source of information," the tour description says on the Gray Line Tours' website. Tourists are taken to the border fence. They take a look at a pedestrian bridge connecting the two countries. They see Customs and Border Protection agents in action at a crossing point, although they can't get too close for security reasons. And then they go to the areas where more than a hundred immigrants die each year. Since last October, more than 130 migrants have died while trying to cross the Arizona desert, according to the U.S. Border Patrol...more

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mexican authorities to release Mexican wolves in Sonora

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been informed that Mexican authorities plan to release five Mexican wolves this month at an undisclosed ranch location in northeastern Sonora, Mexico. While the department does not know the specific date or other details at this time, it has received indications that the wolves being released will be fitted with satellite tracking collars. Game and Fish is currently considering what, if any, impacts this release might have on Arizona’s Mexican wolf conservation and stakeholders. The department will continue to monitor activities related to the planned release and inform constituents as information becomes available. Arizona Game and Fish has been actively involved in the multi-partner effort reintroducing Mexican wolves to portions of their historical range in the east-central portion of the state for many years. In 1998, 11 captive-reared Mexican wolves were released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA) in eastern Arizona. The current population was assessed to be around 50 animals during 2011 monitoring. The Mexican wolf is considered endangered in the United States.

Press Release.

This will raise some interesting issues under the ESA if these wolves cross into the U.S.

American bison are being reintroduced in Mexico to improve grasslands

Above, a bison and its calf graze on the grasslands of the El Uno Ecological Reserve in Janos, Mexico, about 140 miles from Ciudad Juarez. Environmental authorities in the United States and Mexico are working with the Nature Conservancy to reintroduce the American bison, which was on the verge of extinction in the 19th century, in the grasslands of northern Chihuahua state. The conservancy sees the bison as an essential part of the reserve’s ecosystem, supporting populations of other species. The animal’s heavy tread breaks the soil, allowing seeds to grow and promoting water filtration. By grazing, they keep the grass at a height perfect for other species, including the prairie dog, to thrive. Reuters

Congressional Investigator: More Solar Bankruptcies to Come

A top congressional investigator said on Tuesday that he believes more companies that benefitted from the stimulus bill’s renewable energy loan guarantee program will go bankrupt before all allotted funds are spent. The program, which guaranteed a $535 million loan to Solyndra before the company declared bankruptcy last week, still has $8-10 billion in authorized funding that has yet to be spent. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said he had called on the administration to hold off on awarding more loan guarantees from the program. “The question is: how many Solyndras are out there?” Stearns said. “I’m convinced based upon what I’ve seen on this kind of industry and solar panel, that there’s more that are going to go bankrupt, and I think the president’s unwise to continue this idea of funding through taxpayer money industries that are not viable.” Stearns would not reveal which companies he thought are at risk, saying he would save that information for his panel’s Wednesday hearing on the Solyndra bankruptcy...more

Solyndra Execs to Skip Congressional Hearing

Two top Solyndra executives won't be among those testifying Wednesday at a congressional hearing on the solar company's demise. Solyndra President and CEO Brian Harrison and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer W.G. Stover Jr. had been invited to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, along with officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget. In a statement Tuesday, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) said lawyers for the two Solyndra exectutives have informed the committee they would be willing to testify the week of Sept. 19...more

FBI raids homes of Solyndra’s execs

Federal agents visited the homes of the CEO and two other top executives of solar panel-maker Solyndra Inc. to examine computer files and records, ABC News reported on Friday. The Sept. 8 raids were conducted on the same day that the FBI and officers from the Energy Department Inspector General seized boxes of records from the company's headquarters in Fremont, Calif...more

FBI Raids Bankrupt Solyndra Headquarters

An FBI raid on Solyndra Inc., a solar-panel maker that failed after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department, may signal the escalation of a probe into the Obama administration’s clean- energy program. Agents for Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman, who has called the department’s clean-energy loan program lacking in “transparency and accountability,” joined in the search yesterday at the Fremont, California, headquarters of Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6. Republicans critical of the program stepped up their attacks following the raid, and two House Democrats questioned the integrity of the company, indicating a potential political crisis for the president. A foundation headed by an Obama campaign contributor was a principal investor in Solyndra...more

Supreme Court should overturn case on river rent, US solicitor general says

The U.S. Justice Department, siding with PPL Montana in the company’s legal battle over whether it must pay rent to Montana on its hydroelectric dams, says the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn a $41 million state court ruling that went against the company. In legal arguments filed with the nation’s high court last week, the U.S. solicitor general said the Montana Supreme Court erred in 2010 when it declared that the rivers at PPL Montana’s dams are “navigable” and therefore the riverbeds are owned by the state. The Montana courts didn’t properly analyze the sections of river in question, and should be required to re-examine whether those specific sections are navigable, possibly at a trial, said U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. If a river section is found to be navigable when Montana became a state in 1889, then the state owns the riverbed. Verrilli also suggested that if the proper analysis occurred, the courts might find that sections of rivers underneath 10 Montana dams owned by PPL are not navigable, and therefore the state doesn’t own the riverbed and can’t charge for its use. “When a discrete and substantial segment is not navigable at statehood, the state does not take title to that segment, whether or not the segment could be portaged,” he wrote...more

Drilling spills rise in Colorado, but fines rare

Colorado's wave of gas and oil drilling is resulting in spills at the rate of seven every five days — releasing more than 2 million gallons this year of diesel, oil, drilling wastewater and chemicals that contaminated land and water. At least some environmental damage from the oil-and-gas boom is inevitable, industry leaders and state regulators say, with a record-high 45,793 wells and companies drilling about eight more a day. But a Denver Post analysis finds state regulators rarely penalize companies responsible for spills. This year, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has imposed fines for five spills that happened three or more years ago. The total penalties: $531,350. State rules obligate regulators to take a collaborative approach, negotiating remedies when possible rather than cracking down. In fact, the COGCC recently declared four companies responsible for the largest number of spills to be "Outstanding Operators" and lauded them for environmental excellence. Oil and gas companies have reported 343 new spills this year, bringing the total since August 2009 to more than 1,000 spills, state data show...more

Baucus praises bill to end to horse slaughter ban

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus says Congress is moving closer to allowing U.S. horses to be slaughtered primarily for their meat with a move that allows inspections of the facilities. The Democratic senator has been backing an idea to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to again start inspecting horse slaughter plants. The ban on inspections dates back to 2006 and effectively resulted in a ban on domestic horse slaughter and the processing of horse meat, which is considered a delicacy in some overseas markets. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed an agricultural spending bill that would allow inspection of slaughtered horses, which is needed to ship meat and animal byproducts across state borders. Baucus said he is making sure that language stays intact as the appropriation process continues. A Government Accountability Office study found that the horse slaughter ban has resulted in a shift of the market to Canada and Mexico, Baucus noted. It also has resulted in lower horse prices and strained local animal welfare agencies that are now dealing with more cases of horse abandonment...more

Song Of The Day #671

Ranch Radio's tune this morning is the recording We're Gonna Go Fishin' (Next Saturday Night) by Pee Wee King and His Golden West Cowboys. The song was recorded in Hollywood, Ca. on August 7, 1950. The twin fiddles are played by Shorty Boyd and Redd Stewart.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Citizens argue Ruidoso mayor's ban on guns - video

Dozens of citizens in Ruidoso are arming themselves for a debate against a recent executive order put in place by their mayor. He recently banned guns on village property, which some people say is illegal. The order issued by Mayor Ray Alborn is outlined in signs on Village buildings, banning firearms from the buildings, except for on-duty law enforcement. "Whether it's a good law or not is irrelevant; it's unconstitutional," said Glynis Racine, a member of the Lincoln County Tea Party. That's what many citizens are arguing, partly because of the order's interpretation and where exactly it bans guns. "It's a little ambiguous because of the wording," said Ruidoso resident Harvey T. White. "The Mayor's proclamation says Village buildings, the ordinance however, says all Village property." But Mayor Alborn said the ban is for village buildings only. Village officials said this ordinance was the result of an incident that happened back in July, when a citizen at Village Hall had his gun removed by the Police Chief. Mayor Alborn said he took action as a protective measure. "We all sit right across the front, we are sitting ducks for anything that could happen in there, we have no method of protection at all," Alborn said. Still, citizens are prepared to voice their rights. "I don't have a problem with what he's, a little bit of what he's trying to accomplish here, but I want it to be within the scope and structure of our constitution," White said. "I would like to see the Mayor say he would pull back on this and take it to the council for a vote," said Lincoln County Tea Party member Sally Moore...more

Here's the KRQE-TV news report followed by the order:

Wyoming roundup brings scrutiny to new BLM wild horse policy emphasizing fertility control

The mares received the equine equivalent of the pill and the stallions remained intact. The dust has settled from a government roundup of nearly 700 wild horses in southwest Wyoming in which the U.S. Bureau of Land Management injected six dozen mares with a fertility control drug before returning them to the open range. The roundup south of Eden, a tiny town amid a sagebrush sea that stretches to the Wind River Range, marked the start of a new federal policy that puts more emphasis on fertility control and less on horse removal to manage the wild horse population throughout the West. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management policy calls for scaling back its removal of wild horses from Western ranges from 10,000 to 7,600 a year. An initial plan to spay all mares and geld all stallions before releasing them to the wild would have spelled doom for the herd, according to wild horse advocates who fought the Wyoming roundup. Ranchers counter that the number of wild horses in the West, estimated at 38,500, is more than 40 percent above the BLM’s target of 26,600. They worry that fertility control won’t do enough to limit rangeland damage. “There’s only so much grass produced and I have to control my cow numbers,” said Gary Zakotnik, a rancher in the Eden area and member of the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “I don’t know of any ranchers, or very few ranchers, that are opposed to horses. But they’re like anything. Their population has to be controlled.”...more

OMSA: Offshore Drilling Creates American Jobs - video

Check out the message and the artist.

Northwest ranchers uneasy living among wolves

Denny Johnson
Denny Johnson has raised cattle for 32 years on his remote northeast Oregon ranch at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains, struggling each winter through bitter cold, biting winds and deep snow. Lately, he's found summer nearly as difficult, thanks to gray wolves that have migrated from the Northern Rockies to the Pacific Northwest, killing livestock. Among Johnson's losses: an 1,800-pound bull, valued at up to $5,000, that ultimately died from infection. Johnson said wolves were responsible for that death and four others he's reported since last fall, but the state hasn't always agreed. Ranchers contend the state is too quick to rule out wolves in livestock deaths, increasing the likelihood of steep financial losses on the farm. "We're not raising cattle for the government zoo," he said. "Most of the people I know in the county who are for the wolves have no skin in the game. But it's changing our life. It's more stress on our family." Experts believe more than two dozen wolves now live in Washington and Oregon, all east of the Cascade Mountains. Northeast Oregon ranchers have reported more than 50 attacks in the past year and a half, but state wildlife officials listed only about half of those incidents as probable or confirmed wolf attacks, said Rod Childers, chairman of a wolf committee organized by the Oregon Cattlemen's Association...more

Federal judge OKs deal on over 800 imperiled species

A federal judge on Friday approved a pair of sweeping settlements that require the government to consider endangered protections for more than 800 animal and plant species. The order by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan means the government must act on imperiled species ranging from the northern wolverine and Pacific walrus to dozens of snails, mollusks, butterflies and plants. Some decisions could come by the end of the year and others by 2018. The agreement between the Obama administration and environmental groups resolves more than a dozen lawsuits that challenged the government's handling of roughly 250 so-called "candidate species." Those are animals and plants that scientists say are in dire need of protection but that the government has lacked resources to address. The agreements also cover more than 600 species for which groups had filed legal petitions seeking protections. The government agreed to address those petitions, although there is no guarantee of new protections...more

Extortion Funds Enviro Left Through Taxpayer Settlements

Jim Chilton is a fifth generation rancher—a cowboy. His ranch includes a grazing permit for 21,500 acres of Federal Forest Service lands south of Tucson, AZ. In 2002, when the USFS renewed his permit for another ten years, CBD went on the attack. The group published a news release and photographs online, alleging that Chilton was mismanaging his allotment. This was not Chilton’s first altercation with CBD. He’d been a victim of previous unfounded attacks and allegations and was not surprised when they refused to take down the libelous and defamatory post and photos. As a “cowboy,” Chilton says, “You stand up and fight for truth, justice, integrity, and honor.” In June of 2003, Chilton filed suit against the CBD. With numerous rulings back and forth, a decision was reached in January 2005 that awarded $600,000 in favor of Chilton in a defamation lawsuit—allowing him to recoup a portion of monies spent in the battle. CBD had distorted the facts and claimed photos were from the Chilton ranch—when in fact they were not. Referencing the CBD, the jury foreman said: “They acted irresponsibly, and they should have tried to work it out instead of wasting everybody’s time.” In May 2005, CBD asked the judge to throw out the verdict. Finally, on December 6, 2006, an Arizona District Court of Appeals upheld the decision in favor of Chilton—validating the rulings of the lower court. Addressing the experience, Chilton says, “They lie and distort. They are not on the side of truth. The jury agreed because they voted 10 to 0 that the CBD had defamed me intentionally and with malice.”...more

GuitarGate: Three House Committee Chairs criticize Memphis and Nashville raids on Gibson Guitar

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn joined the chairmen of three House committees in a letter Friday to Obama administration officials criticizing the raid on Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville and calling their actions "unwise in the extreme." The Tennessee Republican's letter went to the director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and refers to "troubling reports regarding your agencies' investigation of the Gibson Guitar Corp." Blackburn and House Speaker John Boehner invited Gibson's CEO Henry Jusziewicz to be their guest in the Speaker's Box at the joint session of Congress Thursday night to call attention to the case. Boehner's office put out a statement about his guest that read in part: "Armed federal agents have twice raided Gibson Guitar's facilities. Why? Unelected Washington bureaucrats won't say." In their letter, Blackburn and the chairmen say the deputy director general for foreign trade for India "has stated that India would allow the exports." She said Juskiewicz has said he has been importing the same woods for 17 years "without issue." "We are deeply troubled by the suggestion that if Gibson had the skilled work done in India, using the same wood, instead of here in America, then the importation would have been legal and the Department of Justice would not have carried out this heavy-handed enforcement action," the letter writers wrote...more

Joe Stell recipient of 2011 BLM Stewardship Award

Carlsbad rancher and former state legislator Joe Stell has been awarded the Bureau of Land Management's Stewardship Award for 2011. Stell was presented the national award in Park City, Utah, by Ed Roberson, BLM assistant director during a meeting of the rancher-based Public Lands Council. Stell received the award for his continued improvement of rangeland conditions on his BLM grazing allotment. The long-time rancher and former Carlsbad educator has run a commercial cow-calf operation since 1964 and practices a deferred-rotation grazing system on his BLM allotment. "In southern New Mexico, the BLM's hopes for restoring this landscape rested on a partnership of stakeholders and the critical involvement of ranchers," said Roberson. "That effort would require someone of influence and credibility in the ranching community, someone who would step forward, take a risk, and lead the way. That rancher was Joe." Roberson added, "Working with the BLM and other ranchers, Joe tried a new approach to the area to control brush using prescribed fire that helped restore grasslands. And if he hadn't done that, we wouldn't be where we are today with our efforts in the Carlsbad area, which involve the restoration of 150,000 to 200,000 acres a year compared to what used to be only a few thousand acres a year."...more

Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame to induct five new members

Five legendary Kansas cowboys will be honored for their contributions to the Western life as they are inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Dodge City. The Hall of Fame will honor these five men at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Boot Hill Museum. The Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Committee is happy to announce the 2011 inductees: • Harold Riley Grinstead, Syracuse, working cowboy • Joseph McCoy, Abilene, cowboy historian • Charlie Norton, Leoti, cowboy entertainer/artist • Gail Leon McComb, Stockton, rodeo cowboy • George Herrmann, Ford, cattleman/rancher. Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees are selected by committee in five different categories: Working Cowboy, Cowboy Historian, Cowboy Entertainer/Artist, Rodeo Cowboy and Cattleman/Rancher. Each inductee has contributed significantly to the Western heritage lifestyle and preservation of the cowboy culture in Kansas. They personify cowboy ideals of integrity, honesty and self-sufficiency. They have statewide historic significance and are natives or current residents of Kansas. The ninth annual Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will be held Saturday at the Boot Hill Museum complex in Dodge City...more

Albany man has flair for wood wagons, boxes

The first box that James Garvin built wasn't your typical box. It was a wheelbarrow. "This was the early 1930s, and all we had were wood stoves for heating and cooking," recalled Garvin, 89. "My dad put me in charge of hauling wood from the wood pile to the house, so I built a wheelbarrow out of a plow wheel." Garvin has been making boxes for more than 40 years, starting with domino and card boxes. Some boxes are tiny; others are trunk size. All are made from recycled wood, and a few sport decorative metal designs or pictures. When Garvin broke his leg playing basketball at 14, his family didn't have the money to pay for an operation. His doctor said the only other way it was going to heal properly was if he stayed on crutches for the next three years. "I walked on two of them for a while, then I decided I could make better time on one," he recalled. "I went all over that Fort Griffin country on one crutch, hunting and fishing." Still, it was a handicap for a time, at least when it came to playing sports. A visiting friend brought him a newspaper one day with a contest advertisement inside, asking for who could build the best miniature covered wagon. With nothing better to do, Garvin said he crawled under his dad's farm wagon and proceeded to make the model. He cut the wheel spokes out using a coping saw and made the rest using material from an apple box. A cowboy learned what he was doing and offered to buy it from Garvin, who refused to sell it. But he told the cowboy he would build the man another for $3. When the cowboy returned, he gave the wagon to local rancher Watt Matthews. "Watt took it out to the Lambshead Ranch and put it up over the door. That was 1936 — through the years a lot of people saw that, and I started getting orders for those wagons," Garvin said...more

Bridle Bit Bull is big and that's no bull

Traveling between Haskell and Throckmorton on U.S. 380, one thought enters your mind: That bull is huge. He stands on the north side of the road with his head cocked a certain way, testing the air for a cow. But it's unlikely he'll find one, it's 22 feet to the tip of his horn and this bull is made out of solid steel. Joe Barrington made the longhorn for a local rancher. The sculpture sits on a crest about 12 miles west of here and can be seen for miles before you get to it. He calls it Bridle Bit Bull, named for the brand he put on in. As he walked around the sculpture of the bull picking up litter, Barrington wondered where the real livestock was. "I keep thinking I'll come out here and catch the cows standing in the shade of the bull," he said. There's plenty of evidence of their visits surrounding the bull, however. Cow pies ring the sculpture, but that doesn't count as evidence for any opinion they might have reached while chewing their cud and contemplating the oversized steel cousin before them. A friend of his father's, someone he hardly knew, called him one night to tell him about it. "He said, 'I just wanted to tell you I was driving along from Haskell to Throckmorton and there was that bull. I just pulled over and cried,'" Barrington recalled. It made such an impact, the man got his wife and brought her out to see it, too. "I just thought that was pretty neat that he called," said Barrington with a chuckle.

Song Of The Day #670

This morning Ranch Radio presents Jean Shepard and her 1958 recording of You're Telling Me Sweet Lies Again.

ATF investigation expands to White House staffers

Today, the Congressional investigation into ATF's Fast and Furious scandal officially expanded to include White House staffers. In a letter to President Obama's National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked for records involving three current and former White House staffers. The staffers are: Kevin O'Reilly, former Director of North American Affairs, National Security Council; Dan Restrepo, Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council; and Greg Gatjanis, Director for Terrorist Finance and Counternarcotics, Counterterrorism Policy, National Security Council. The information requests were made after revelations that ATF's Special Agent in Charge of Phoenix during Fast and Furious, William Newell, "provided regular updates to Kevin O'Reilly" at the White House..."as early as the summer of 2010." The emails indicate O'Reilly asked to share information about Fast and Furious with Restrepo and Gatjanis. In addition to the new documents request, the Congressional Republicans also requested to interview O'Reilly by the end of this month...more

‘Fast and Furious’ scandal has Obama administration in full cover-up mode

The more we learn about the “Fast and Furious” scandal — in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) illegally facilitated the transfer of thousands of guns to violent drug cartels in Mexico — the more apparent it is that we are witnessing a large-scale cover-up of epic proportions. In fact, it’s getting difficult to keep up with all of the shuffling of key agency personnel who were involved in the deadly scandal. Thanks to the tenacious investigations being led by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), it is now apparent that the lead prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona, Emory Hurley, initially sought to cover up the fact that at least two illegal “Fast and Furious” guns were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The Justice Department recently transferred Hurley out of its criminal division to its civil division. The Obama administration’s continued stonewalling and seemingly orchestrated cover-up of the “Fast and Furious” scandal is only adding to the overall tragedy of this situation...more

Gun store owner had misgivings about ATF sting

Los Angeles Times  In the fall of 2009, ATF agents installed a secret phone line and hidden cameras in a ceiling panel and wall at Andre Howard's Lone Wolf gun store. They gave him one basic instruction: Sell guns to every illegal purchaser who walks through the door. For 15 months, Howard did as he was told. To customers with phony IDs or wads of cash he normally would have turned away, he sold pistols, rifles and semiautomatics. He was assured by the ATF that they would follow the guns, and that the surveillance would lead the agents to the violent Mexican drug cartels on the Southwest border. When Howard heard nothing about any arrests, he questioned the agents. Keep selling, they told him. So hundreds of thousands of dollars more in weapons, including .50-caliber sniper rifles, walked out of the front door of his store in a Glendale, Ariz., strip mall. He was making a lot of money. But he also feared somebody was going to get hurt. "Every passing week, I worried about something like that," he said. "I felt horrible and sick." Late in the night on Dec. 14, in a canyon west of Rio Rico, Ariz., Border Patrol agents came across Mexican bandits preying on illegal immigrants. According to a Border Patrol "Shooting Incident" report, the agents fired two rounds of bean bags from a shotgun. The Mexicans returned fire. One agent fired from his sidearm, another with his M-4 rifle. One of the alleged bandits, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, a 33-year-old Mexican from Sinaloa, was wounded in the abdomen and legs. Agent Brian Terry — 40, single, a former Marine — also went down. "I'm hit!" he cried. A fellow agent cradled his friend. "I can't feel my legs," Terry said. "I think I'm paralyzed." A bullet had pierced his aorta. Tall and nearly 240 pounds, Terry was too heavy to carry. They radioed for a helicopter. But Terry was bleeding badly, and he died in his colleague's arms...more

Court Pleadings Point to CIA Role in Alleged “Cartel” Immunity Deal

The fingerprints of the CIA have surfaced in a controversial federal criminal case pending in Chicago against Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, an alleged kingpin in the Sinaloa “drug cartel.” US government prosecutors filed pleadings in the case late last week seeking to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), a measure designed to assure national security information does not surface in public court proceedings. “The government hereby requests that the Court conduct a pretrial conference … pursuant to CIPA … at which time, the government will be prepared to report to the Court and defendant [Zambada Niebla] regarding the approximate size of the universe of classified material that may possibly be implicated in the discovery and trial of this case,” states a motion filed on Friday, Sept. 9, by US prosecutors in the Zambada Niebla case. CIPA, enacted some 30 years ago, is designed to keep a lid on the public disclosure in criminal cases of classified materials, such as those associated with CIA operations. “That is a very reasonable conclusion [that the CIA is likely involved in this case in some way],” says a former federal agent familiar with national security procedures. “Seeking CIPA protection, yup, there is hot stuff to hide.” Zambada Niebla, extradited to the US in February 2010 and now facing narco-trafficking charges in federal court in Chicago, claims in pleadings in his case that the US government entered into a pact with the leadership of the Mexican Sinaloa narco-trafficking organization that supposedly provide its chief narcos with immunity in exchange for them providing US authorities with information that could be used to target other narco-trafficking organizations...more