Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #038

Ranch Radio's program today is the Nov. 17, 1946 broadcast of The All-Star Western Theater with special guest star Jimmy Wakely.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Congress Set to Put Obama “On Notice” - UN Gun Control Treaty

Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) needs your help. As GOA reported before the holiday break, the United Nations has begun discussions over finalizing language in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) -- talks that are expected to last all month. Senator Moran has prepared a letter, which GOA has in its possession, demanding that the Obama Administration oppose any treaty that would sacrifice Americans’ gun rights -- even if it means “breaking consensus” at the July conference. “We are concerned that the Arms Trade Treaty poses dangers to rights protected under the Second Amendment,” Senator Moran says in his letter. Despite the risks to our liberties, there is much double-speak taking place at the UN. The talks in New York are reminiscent of the process that Americans saw with the passage of ObamaCare. Remember Nancy Pelosi’s famous quip: “You have to pass the [health care] bill so you can see what is in it”? In similar fashion, the gun control details in the ATT will “not be publicly available” until the treaty has been agreed to by all the member nations. It makes you wonder if Pelosi is being paid as a consultant at these meetings. Make no mistake about it; UN officials are using secrecy to their advantage, claiming the treaty will not infringe upon the rights of individual gun owners. They claim the treaty only deals with international transfers of firearms. But Moran counters that the treaty will expand federal gun controls and lead to the registration of firearms...more

Song Of The Day #872

Ranch Radio is sticking with "PC" songs this week with Gene Davis & Chuck Mills and their rendition of I Pulled A Boo Boo.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

After Posting $70 Million Loss, French Company Lands $25 Million from DOE

The Department of Energy recently awarded $25 million to a French company that posted net losses of about $70 million last year, and whose solar division is particularly troubled financially. As part of its Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home (SUNPATH) project, DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) division announced three awards in June to promote high-volume solar energy production. The largest of the three awards, totaling $25 million, went to Soitec Solar, a French company, to build a solar production facility in San Diego, CA. While Soitec is not in dire financial straits like some other DOE-backed companies, it posted hefty losses during its last financial year, which ended March 31. A number of its major financial indicators were worse than the prior financial year. The company’s solar division was also deeply in the red. It posted operating losses of $56.2 million in the financial year that ended in March, up from an operating loss of $31.2 million the year before. Its gross profits were -244% of its sales for that year, meaning it lost about $2.44 for every dollar in sales it took in...more

Remember, DOE wouldn't have this money to spend unless Congress appropriated it to them.

Jaguars May Soon Get Critical Habitat in the U.S.

Jaguars, the third-largest cats after lions and tigers and the biggest in the Western Hemisphere, used to live here. In the 1700s and 1800s people spotted them in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas. Sometimes the cats roamed as far east as North Carolina and as far north as Colorado.

As humans have encroached on their territory, the endangered cats' range has shifted south. Today it stretches from northern Argentina into Mexico's Sonoran Desert. But they cross into the American Southwest frequently enough for some conservationists to argue that they deserve critical habitat protection. Now, after years of legal wrangling, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has agreed. “We do plan on proposing to designate some critical habitat,” says Steve Spangle, field supervisor for FWS in Phoenix. “But we don't know yet where or how much.” The agency plans to announce its decision in July.

The question of whether or not jaguars deserve critical habitat reflects a broader debate in conservation circles. How does one prioritize spending among the many species that are slowly disappearing from the planet? Many experts believe the best way to help the species is to increase resources south of the border, where jaguars live and breed. But Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that sued FWS to designate critical habitat, says the goal should be to help jaguars repopulate parts of the U.S. where they have gone extinct, especially since dozens were killed under a federal predator-extermination program that continued into the 1960s. It is important to look at a species' historical range and not just at “a snapshot in time,” Robinson contends.

Whatever critical habitat the government grants most likely will be small. In April an outline prepared by an advisory group to FWS focused on an area that includes the southeastern corner of Arizona and a tiny slice of New Mexico's southwestern corner, neglecting New Mexico's Gila National Forest and Arizona's Mogollon Rim, which Robinson says are prime jaguar habitat.

The subject “can be debated for a couple of more generations while the species goes extinct,” says Howard Quigley, a co-leader of the advisory group convened by FWS and executive director of the jaguar program at the wild cat conservation group Panthera. “But we need an area in which to focus now and get recovery actions under way.” At least it's a start.

Scientific American

Agency rules kept Reno chopper from fighting fire

Authorities in Reno say jurisdictional restrictions blocked calling a Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit helicopter to fight a wildfire ignited this week by the crash of a stolen car in the Caughlin Ranch area. Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley told the Reno Gazette-Journal for a Wednesday report the sheriff's RAVEN helicopter isn't sanctioned by the federal government for firefighting on U.S. Forest Service land. Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez says the decision hurt efforts to contain the Pinehaven Fire. But it's the law. The fire covered a square mile before about 90 firefighters contained it by Wednesday. The helicopter is authorized for use over federal Bureau of Land Management land. But officials say getting Forest Service approval has taken longer. AP

Editorial: Environmentalists under fire

    As fire rages out of control on the edge of Colorado Springs, threatening lives and property, it is time we listen to those who have warned us about the negative effect environmentalists and President Barack Obama have had on the federal government’s ability to fight fires.
    Much of what’s burning is the Pike National Forest, which is federal property. Yet it took almost three days to get federal fire fighting aircraft off the ground to begin dumping meaningful loads of slurry to slow the fire’s growth. Because the Forest Service has a shortage of planes, Air Force C-130s finally joined the effort Monday afternoon to battle a fire that began Saturday morning.
    Part of the problem is red tape and vague policy regarding use of military aircraft to put out fires, even when they burn federal property. Part of it involves intentional interference with aerial fire suppression. Part of the problem is the Obama administration.
    Environmentalists have fought the use of slurry for years, which might or might not explain why Obama seems to lack enthusiasm for a robust tanker fleet. Environmentalists sued to stop the use of fire retardant after it killed 50 steelhead trout in the Santa Ynez River near Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2009. An earlier lawsuit involved the accidental dumping of between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of fire retardant into Oregon’s Fall River in 2002, a mistake that killed all fish in the river. That mishap involved a slurry formula that is no longer used.
As a result of the most recent lawsuit, the Forest Service adopted rules that prevent dropping slurry within 300 feet of streams and lakes except when human lives are at risk. Forest officials say the rules won’t harm firefighting efforts.
    We hope that is true. Even if it is, we know a shortage of planes to drop retardants most certainly hinders firefighting throughout the country. That’s common sense.
    Former Gazette editorial page editor Sean Paige confronts “the Green threat to our economy, property and freedoms” on his website Just days before the Waldo Canyon fire began, Paige explained how the Obama administration is doing an election-year scramble to get the U.S. Forest Service the air support it needs to battle what promises to be an explosive wildfire season.
    “Less than a year ago, the same administration seemed to be doing its best to leave the Forest Service ill-equipped to deal with the mounting wildfire threat, by summarily cancelling a contract with a company that furnished roughly one third of the wildfire-fighting tankers in the agency’s already-depleted fleet. That action might loom large as calls mount for an investigation into why the agency’s air assets seem inadequate to meet the threat.”
    Washington-based Human Events magazine reported in September 2011 that nearly half of the federal government’s air tankers sat idle at a California airport, as wildfires ripped through national forests throughout California, Texas, New Mexico and other states.
    It turns out the Obama administration ended a longstanding contract, leaving the Forest Service with only 11 tankers to battle 50 wildfires that were burning nationwide. A decade ago, the Forest Service had 40 firefighting tankers.
    The Obama administration canceled the government’s contract with Aero Union — a company with 60 employees that had been under contract with the Forest Service for 50 years. Though it canceled that contract, the administration had no plan for an immediate replacement. Aero Union CEO Britt Gourley told Human Events the administration provided no details on why the contract was ended.
    “They didn’t want to talk about it,” Gourley said of Obama administration officials.
    A Forest Service official said the contract was canceled over safety concerns, but the company had recently passed its annual inspection.
    We can try connecting dots and presume the Obama administration is more enthused with environmental activism than effective fire suppression. That would be speculation, as it is impossible to know any person’s true motive. We know for sure that our country’s fleet of firefighting aircraft has diminished during Obama’s reign. Meanwhile, fires are igniting all over Colorado, far exceeding government’s ability to quickly contain them.


All is quiet at Conundrum w/Cow Carcasses

It appears that conditions at the favorite backcountry spot, Conundrum Hot Springs, are back to normal after 12 cow carcasses were found in the area this past spring. Forest Service rangers on Monday returned from a four-day patrol in the Conundrum Hot Springs area to check the condition of the carcasses, water quality and trail conditions. Water quality tests on the hot springs pool and tributary stream revealed E. Coli and fecal coliform counts that exceed drinking water but not recreational water quality standards for both sources, according to Andrew Larson, lead wilderness ranger for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District in the White River National Forest. The results are consistent with the majority of previous tests, he noted, and water contamination in the springs is normal given the amount of people who camp in the area and fail to pack out their waste. The springs and campsites, located at an elevation of 11,200 feet in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area above the Castle Creek Valley, are a concern for Forest Service officials not only because of the cows but also because of the overuse of the area, which can see up to 120 people camping there on any given summer night...more

Insurance Companies Sue Colorado Over Prescribed Burn

Five insurance companies sued Colorado on behalf of 22 homeowners whose houses were damaged or destroyed by a prescribed burn that got out of control. American Family Mutual Insurance and four other insurers sued the state and the Colorado State Forest Service, an agency of Colorado State University, in Jefferson County Court. The wildfire at issue, the Lower North Fork Fire, was set by state employees in late March southwest of Denver, 3 months before the most destructive wildfires in Colorado history destroyed more than 600 homes and killed six people. Prescribed burns are set to reduce fuel before fire seasons become dangerous. When set during a wildfire, in the path of a fire, they are known as backfires. In May, after the North Fork Fire, the Colorado Legislature reached a deal stripping itself of immunity for prescribed burns that got out of control, and removing a $600,000 cap on state liability for all claims arising from a single incident, the Denver Post reportedat the time. The North Fork Fire burned more than 20 homes and 4,000 acres by May 3. The five insurers-American Family Mutual, Safeco, Allstate, IDS Property Casualty Insurance and Federated Mutual-claim it was the state's fault: "A three-person crew was monitoring Unit 4a when embers from the prescribed burn lit by the defendant were carried across the prescribed fire control lines creating spot fires. These spot fires could not be contained by the three-person crew and quickly spread, resulting in the Lower North Fork Fire," according to the complaint. The insurers say the fire was no fault of their policyholders, who have been or will be paid...more

Farmers unite to limit EPA water regulations

One little word can mean so much. In relation to the Clean Water Act, that word is “navigable,” and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers are trying to get rid of it. If they succeed, EPA will have the authority to regulate nearly every drop of water, and some dry land, too. With this additional authority for EPA comes a likely deluge of regulations and permitting requirements for farmers, ranchers and other landowners. This is why the American Farm Bureau Federation has launched the “Stop the Flood of Regulation” campaign. EPA and the Corps are poised to finalize what’s known as a “guidance” document that would greatly expand EPA’s limited authority to write rules governing the protection of navigable waters. “Right now, EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act is basically restricted to larger bodies of water and waterways that feed into those larger bodies,” explained Don Parrish, AFBF water quality specialist. “If the guidance document goes into effect, EPA officials would have the power to regulate even a roadside ditch that fills with water only after a good soaking, like Tropical Depression Debby.” Farmers, ranchers and landowners are up in arms about the guidance document for numerous reasons. The guidance document flies in the face of Supreme Court rulings that affirmed important limitations on the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. By forcing this change through a guidance document, rather than through the appropriate rule-making regulatory process, farmers and ranchers have no formal way to tell EPA how its actions will affect how they farm and ranch, or if they will be able to do it at all, once the guidance document is in place. As part of Farm Bureau’s “Stop the Flood of Regulation” campaign, farmers and ranchers are urging their senators and representatives to pass the Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act (S. 2245 and H.R. 4965), which would prevent EPA from using the guidance document...more

The Declaration of...

First aid -- the cowboy way

A month and a half ago, Tad Dent was doctoring colts for this very reason. But one of the mares wasn't happy about the cowboy working on her baby. She let him know with a powerful kick to the 63-year-old's shin. This happened some 15 miles down a dirt road on the CO Bar Ranch in northern Arizona's backcountry. His leg "didn't feel right," but this wasn't the first time Dent had been kicked by a horse. He finished his work, fed the animals and rode his horse home. Gail Dent, Tad's wife, was there when he limped in. "The boot came off and blood came pouring out," she said. "There was a bad tissue tear and arterial bleeding." Gail, a retired nurse, applied a tourniquet, cleaned the wound, stabilized the bone and rushed Tad to Flagstaff Medical Center. But not every cowboy finds a nurse nearby. Some of Arizona's ranch families live more than an hour away from a paved road and even farther from a hospital. Striving to equip rural residents with the confidence and skills to deal with emergency situations, Dr. Allison Clough, a Kayenta emergency physician, has developed a course called Cowboy First Aid. She hopes it will go viral, reaching remote areas where doctors are in short supply and medical services are a distance away. Cowboy First Aid is essentially Emergency Medical Technician training. "These folks don't want to sit in a classroom, so we developed a very hands-on program," Clough said...more

EPA land flyovers rile ranchers

Midwest ranchers have never been enamored with environmental regulators, but they really began to complain after learning that federal inspectors were flying over their land to look for problems. The Environmental Protection Agency flies over power plants and other facilities nationwide to identify potential air, water and land pollution. It began using aerial surveillance in the Midwest in 2010 to check farms for violations of federal clean water regulations. Ranchers who object said they're not trying to hide anything. It's the quiet approach the EPA took with the program designed to spot illegal disposal of animal waste that they find upsetting. Most were not even aware of the flyovers until regional EPA officials mentioned them at a meeting three months ago. "For me, it just creeps into the 'Big Brother is watching you' area, to where the government just feels like it's getting more and more intrusive," said Buck Wehrbein, who manages a cattle feeding operation in Mead, Neb. EPA officials explained during a meeting with ranchers in West Point, Neb., that they lease small planes that fly EPA staffers over cattle operations. Staffers take photographs as they seek evidence of illegal animal waste running off into rivers and streams. Ranchers complained to their members of Congress, who responded angrily and then grew even more annoyed by what they considered the EPA's sluggish response to their inquiries for information about the flights. Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican, introduced an amendment to a multifaceted farm bill to stop the flights, but it fell four votes short of the 60 needed. Although most backers of the amendment were Republicans, 10 Democrats supported the proposal. "EPA has been deliberately ambiguous when it comes to the size and scope of this program," Johanns said in a statement. "EPA must be honest about this program or cease it entirely, and I will continue pressing for this information on behalf of all concerned farmers and ranchers."...more

Officials worry gangs, cartels growing in rural NM

ALAMOGORDO, N.M.—Authorities are urging leaders in rural New Mexico to work to prevent Mexican drug cartels and notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs from continuing to spread into their communities. The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Otero and Lincoln counties are drug-trafficking hot spots where gangs are actively recruiting young people. The 12th Judicial District has recently filed more than 100 drug cases stemming from an Otero County Sheriff's sting operation, prosecutor Diana Martwick said. "We have big-time gangs coming in here," Martwick said recently. "They've been involved in all our violent crimes lately. When you see the Zetas up in Ruidoso at the racetrack, they're really here, and they're real. I am not saying this is like Albuquerque or even Roswell. I want to get a handle on it before we become the next Roswell." Authorities report that gangs and cartels are growing in Roswell and the New Mexico Four Corners region because of the general isolation, unpatrolled American Indian reservation roads and small law enforcement departments. Local police agencies have asked for an increased presence from Homeland Security officials. The FBI recently raided the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Casino in connection with what authorities say was a money laundering scheme involving the deadly paramilitary gang known as the Zetas. Seven people were arrested in a multistate sweep by federal agencies. The raids targeted a network that authorities said laundered millions of dollars for the Zetas by purchasing race horses. The Zetas, made up of former Mexican and Guatemalan soldiers, are accused of smuggling thousands of tons of drugs into the U.S. and dismembering rivals...more

Song Of The Day #871

Ranch Radio is only spinning PC songs this week. "Politically Correct"?  No, "Pure Country", and in some cases some real rarities.  Today we bring you Mama Doll by Lawton Williams.

Celebrating the 4th

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

When Americans Understood the Declaration of Independence

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

    The Fourth of July was not always a national celebration of the militarization of American society and of the federal government’s never-ending quest for world domination (disguised as "defending our interests abroad"). Americans did not always attend church services on the Sunday before the Fourth of July to "honor" their "military heroes" and pray that they may kill many more human beings in other countries that have done them no harm. Americans once actually read and understood the Declaration of Independence for what it was: a declaration of secession from the British empire and a roadmap for opposing a highly centralized, militaristic empire of the sort the U.S. government has become.
     The Declaration of Independence was the ultimate secessionist or states’ rights document. "Governments are instituted among men," Thomas Jefferson wrote, for the sole purpose of securing God-given, "unalienable" rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed" and nowhere else. And "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . ."
    The way in which "the People" were to express their consent (or lack thereof) was through state and local political organizations. Hence, in the final paragraph of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote that: "We . . . the Representatives of the united States of America . . . are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do."

    It is important to note that the word "united" is not capitalized but "States" is, and that the individual states are described as "Free and Independent." Thus, the free, independent, and sovereign states were united in the cause of secession from the British empire. The phrase "united States" did not mean, and does not mean in any of the founding documents, the "United States government," as is commonly believed today. It is always in the plural to signify that the free and independent states are united in their common cause of protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence, each American state was sovereign in the same sense that Great Britain, France, and Spain were sovereign states. It was through "representatives of the united States" that the consent of the people was to be expressed (or not).
     It was Abraham Lincoln, who Murray Rothbard once described as a masterful "liar, conniver, and manipulator," whose rhetoric began to fog the understanding of Americans of their Declaration of Independence. Lincoln’s twisted language in The Gettysburg Address that focused solely on the words "all men are created equal" in the Declaration, were designed to reinterpret the preeminent secessionist document as an anti-secessionist document. It was an attempt to fool Northern voters into believing in the absurd notion that he was a Jeffersonian.
    Not that Lincoln ever believed that all men were – or should be considered to be – equal in any sense. As he stated in the September 18, 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas: "I will say than that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that here is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race" (emphasis added).
     In his first inaugural address Lincoln strongly supported the Fugitive Slave Act and the proposed "Corwin Amendment" to the Constitution, which had already passed the House and Senate, which would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. Thus, it was his position that slavery should be explicitly enshrined in the Constitution, made "express and irrevocable" to use his exact words, which is hardly the position one who believes that "all men are created equal" would take. It was empty political rhetoric at its worst.

    At the time, nearly everyone else in the Northern states understood the actual meaning of the Declaration of Independence, as opposed to Lincoln’s attempt at the rhetorical bastardization of the document. This point is documented in a two-volume work entitled Northern Editorials on Secession, edited by Howard Cecil Perkins. It is a collection of 495 Northern newspaper editorials from September 1860 through June 1861 on the issue of secession. The majority of Northern newspaper editorials, writes Perkins, favored peaceful secession because Northern editorialists generally believed in the Jeffersonian dictum that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Southern states no longer consented to being governed by Washington, D.C., they reasoned, therefore, they should be allowed to go in peace, however misguided their reasons for secession might have been. "During the weeks following the election [of Lincoln], Perkins writes, "[Northern] editors . . . assumed that secession as a constitutional right was not in question . . . . On the contrary, the southern claim to a right of peaceable withdrawal was countenanced out of reverence for the natural law principle of government by consent of the governed."
     Perkins highlights what he calls "a classic statement" of this position, written by New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley on November 9, 1860: "We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets." At the time, the New York Tribune was the most influential newspaper in America. There are dozens of other statements to that effect from newspapers all over the Northern states. On December 17, 1860, the New York Tribune further editorialized that if "Mr. Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed" is accepted, and "if it justified the secession from the British Empire of Three Millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861."

    This view of the Declaration of Independence, the pro-Lincoln Indianapolis Daily Journal wrote on December 22, 1860, "shows us the course to be pursued towards South Carolina. It is to let her go freely and entirely . . . without resistance." On January 11, 1861, the Kenosha, Wisconsin Democrat added that "the very freedom claimed by every individual citizen, precludes the idea of compulsory association, as individuals, as communities, or as States . . . . The right of secession adheres to the people of every sovereign state." "The founders of our government," moreover, "were constant secessionists . . . not only in theory, but in practice," the Wisconsin paper reminded its readers.
     "[I]f disunion must come, let it come without war," wrote the Albany, New York Atlas and Argus on January 12, 1861. For war would mean "the ruin of business, the destruction of property, oppressive debt, grinding taxation and sacrifice of millions of lives . . ." On the same day the New York Journal of Commerce advocated the peaceful secession of the Southern states by asking, "Shall we, by such a policy [as war] change our government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of the people are slaves? Such is the logical deduction from the policy of the advocates of force."
On February 19, 1861 the Detroit Free Press expressed the hope that "By recognizing the independence of the Southern Confederacy, we should, to a considerable degree, disarm its people of the hostility they naturally feel towards the people of the North." If so, then the two sections could trade with one another, establishing ties that could eventually lead to a reuniting of the union.
    On March 11, 1861 the Trenton, New Jersey Daily True American editorialized that failing to acquiesce in the peaceful secession of the Southern states would be to "embark in the mad and Quixotic attempt of conquering and holding the seceded States in subjugation." Furthermore, the pro-war argument that "the laws must be enforced at all hazards" [i.e., Lincoln’s argument], "are not new arguments; they are such as prevailed with Lord North and the other minions of George III and their futile efforts to crush out American Independence." A union maintained by force "would be worse than a mockery," the New Jersey newspaper wrote.

    On March 21, 1861 the New York Times pointed out that even "the Abolitionists everywhere have been in favor of a dissolution of the Union from the beginning" as a way of politically isolating the Southern states and pressuring them to end slavery. (It should be noted that New York did not emancipate its last slaves until 1853). "Let us separate in peace," the Times editorialized, for "force, as a means of restoring the Union . . . is out of the question." Even the Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal, from Lincoln’s home town, wrote on April 3, 1861 that "the sooner we cut loose from the disaffected States, the better it may be for all parties and for the nation." "Public opinion in the North seems to be gradually settling down in favor of the recognition of the New Confederacy by the Federal Government," the Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant editorialized on April 12, 1861.
    Once Lincoln manipulated South Carolinians into firing on Fort Sumter as a pretext for invading his own country (the very definition of treason according to Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution), newspapers that were associated with and controlled by the Republican Party invented the fiction that there is a supposed difference between a right of secession based on Jefferson’s words in the Declaration and a "right of revolution." The former was illegitimate, they said, whereas the latter was not. This was not something that Jefferson or any other founders believed. It was an invention of the Republican Party propaganda apparatus, and is repeated to this day by pseudo-historians such as Harry Jaffa and his fellow "Straussian" neocons.
Another Republican Party fiction is the bizarre claim that Lincoln was a Jeffersonian for having mouthed the words "all men are created equal" in the Gettysburg Address. This fiction is the cornerstone of the Jaffa/Straussian false "history" of the "Civil War." (Jaffa has never written anything about the war per se, or even many of Lincoln’s actions and behavior. His books have to do mostly with the rhetoric of Lincoln’s speeches).
    This second fiction has long been a cornerstone of the culture of lies and propaganda that supports American military imperialism. It is the language of permanent revolution, as the late Mel Bradford wrote in numerous articles and books, not too different from the ideology of the twentieth-century communist propagandist Leon Troksky who was also known for his theory of "permanent revolution." (It should not be surprising that many of the founders of "neoconservatism" who were students of Leo Strauss or his students, proudly boasted that they were Troskyites in their youth. The late Irving Kristol would be the best example).

By the late nineteenth century Lincoln’s bastardization of Jefferson’s language in the Declaration of Independence was employed to "justify" aggressive military imperialism in the name of spreading "equality" around the globe. "All men" means all men, not just American men, the "progressives" argued. Therefore, in the name of the sainted "Father Abraham" [Lincoln], Americans were told that it was their "divine" duty to invade, conquer, and occupy such places as the Philippines in order to bring American-style freedom to those lands. Today the Philippines, tomorrow Europe. For example, one of the most vociferous proponents of the Spanish-American war was Indiana Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, who advocated the war in a speech before the U.S. Senate in which he declared that: "It was America’s destiny to set the world its example of right and honor, for we cannot fly from our world duties. We cannot retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner. It is ours to save that soil, for liberty and civilization" (Quoted in Gregg Jones, Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream, p. 95).
    More than 200,000 Filipinos were murdered by American soldiers in order to "save" their "soil" for liberty. As for the real Jeffersonians who opposed the Spanish-American war, Beveridge mocked them by saying, "the opposition tells us we ought not to rule a people without their consent." But Filipinos were not capable of self-government, he said. They needed their American occupiers to "rescue" them from "savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion." This "march of the flag" is "America’s divine destiny," he bloviated. This last passage sounds more like the effects of the American invasion and occupation of the Philippines than the cause.
    If Americans ever began celebrating the real meaning of the Declaration of Independence, then they would embrace the Jeffersonian rights of secession and nullification as a means of fighting back against governmental tyranny. They would also withdraw their support for the U.S. government’s aggressive wars of imperialism in the Middle East and elsewhere, along with its hundreds of military bases on every continent on the planet. They might even begin an opposition to being plundered by the incredibly corrupt military/industrial/congressional complex and its main funding sources, the Fed and the income tax.
July 4, 2012
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His next book is entitled Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

Originally posted at

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Settlement Requires Feds to Revisit Plan for Coal-friendly Energy Corridors Across West

A coalition of conservation organizations and a western Colorado county reached a landmark settlement agreement today with federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Department of Energy, requiring the agencies to revise a Bush-era plan creating energy corridors in the West. The agreement, filed in federal court in San Francisco, requires the agencies to revise a "West-wide Energy Corridors" plan to facilitate renewable energy, avoid environmentally sensitive areas and prevent webs of pipelines and power lines across the West. The corridors were planned by the Bush administration, using streamlined environmental reviews under the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The plan, which was announced in 2008, connects coal and other fossil-fuel power plants to the West's electric grid while often overlooking areas with solar, wind and geothermal potential. Its web of corridors threatened wildlife habitat, wilderness areas and national parks. The agreement, which now awaits court approval, creates a process for the agencies to periodically review corridors and assess whether to revise, delete or add corridors on a region-by-region basis. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, which have siting authority over transmission and pipeline rights-of-way for transmission lines and pipelines on public lands, must also reevaluate corridors located in sensitive areas or corridors that would not carry renewable release

Canadian ranchers welcome favourable ruling in trade dispute with U.S.

Alberta’s agriculture industry is applauding the World Trade Organization’s decision to side with Canada in a long-running dispute about an American meat labelling program. “It reaffirms the view we’ve always had, which is that country-of-origin labelling is discriminatory and it violates global trade law,” said Bryan Walton, CEO of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association. “A lot of damage has been done. Going forward, we want to ensure the damage is corrected.” Friday’s decision comes after last November’s appeal of a WTO ruling. At that time, the international trade referee found that U.S. rules forcing mandatory labelling of Canadian agricultural products — including beef and pork — were a violation of trade agreements. Bryan Danard of Calgary Stockyards Ltd. said he doesn’t think Canadian cattle prices have been seriously affected by the legislation. There was a perception that U.S. grocery shoppers would stop buying Canadian beef, but that hasn’t happened, he said. “When it originally came in, the market dropped a little bit in Canada. But since then, the consumer’s become pretty much numb to it,” Danard said. “Our cattle are not trading at a discount to U.S. cattle (but) at par.”...more

Little Bear fire victim: This is not a natural disaster

This year's forest fires, including the biggest in recorded New Mexico history, have a lot of people who have lost homes and other property steaming mad at the U.S. Forest Service. On Monday, the man who agency manages public lands and helps determine forest policies, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, talked with Eyewitness News 4 about their concerns. Though the U.S. Forest Service is under the Department of Agriculture, not the Department of Interior, Salazar directly addressed the concerns raised about forest and fire policy. Hundreds of victims of the Little Bear fire in southeast New Mexico crowded into a fire-ravaged park in Ruidoso Saturday with a bitter message for the Forest Service. "This is not a natural disaster," said one man. "It's a disaster that was allowed to happen." He spoke for many in the crowd who believe that the Forest Service's own management policies, especially when it comes to lightning-caused fires like the Little Bear, make the fires worse and make people and property a lower priority than trees. Salazar said that is not so...more

Song Of The Day #870

Ranch Radio is in the mood for some "pure country", and we've got it with Cousin Jodie 'n' Odie telling us about that Television Set.

U.S. immigration agent injured in Mexico border shooting

A U.S. immigration agent was shot and wounded during a surveillance operation on a desolate stretch of highway near the Texas-Mexico border on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said. Authorities have not released many details surrounding the circumstances that led to the shooting of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent about 30 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, near McAllen, Texas. ICE agents and other law enforcement officers were conducting a surveillance operation when at least one unidentified person opened fire early on Tuesday, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said. No arrests have been made, nor have authorities disclosed if there are any suspects or a motive in the case. The wounded special agent was rushed to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery. His condition and identity have not been disclosed, ICE spokeswoman Nina Pruneda said...more

Report: America’s sheriff Andy Griffith dead at 86

Actor Andy Griffith, who won the hearts of 1960s TV viewers with his role as gentle Sheriff Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show,” then returned as a 1980s country lawyer in “Matlock,” died Tuesday at 86, according to WITN-TV. The news was reported to the North Carolina television station by Bill Friday, former president of the University of North Carolina and a Griffith friend. Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie had confirmed to WITN earlier that am ambulance was sent to Griffith's home. Griffith began his entertainment career with comic monologues and moved into movies, debuting in 1957’s “A Face in the Crowd” with Patricia Neal. But it was as the widower sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” that he really made his mark. The show, which also starred a young Ron Howard as Griffith’s son Opie, and comedian Don Knotts as bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, ran from 1960-1968. Its setting, in the fictional small-town of Mayberry, became almost as famous as any one episode...more

EPA grants stay in NM emissions case

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday gave New Mexico officials, the state's largest electricity provider and others more time to sort out a solution for curbing haze-causing pollution at a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a 90-day stay so parties can evaluate alternatives for the San Juan Generating Station. The 1,800-megawatt plant is New Mexico's single largest source of electricity, and it also provides power to customers in California, Arizona and Utah. "This is an important opportunity to come to an agreement," Jackson said in a letter sent to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. "I agree with you that this would be in both the environmental and economic best interests of New Mexico." At issue is an EPA mandate that calls for Public Service Company of New Mexico to equip the coal-fired plant with selective catalytic reduction technology to cut pollutants that cause regional haze and visibility issues in national parks and wilderness areas. The EPA rule, issued last August, gave PNM and the plant's other owners five years to come into compliance. The utility and the Martinez administration have challenged the order in federal court. They favor a state plan for trimming haze that would have been less costly. PNM this spring received four bids to install the SCR technology. They ranged from about $750 million—more than double the EPA's estimate—to about $805 million. The utility warned that costs associated with the pollution upgrades would result in higher rates for customers...more

It's amazing how flexible they can an election year.  

Also note the tie to Wilderness.  Thank the NM Congressional Delegations for their bills designating Wilderness, leading to higher electrical bills. 

Bankrupt Colo. solar firm sticks taxpayers for $68 million, doomed by poor quality

Despite glowing press clippings in which the CEO of Colorado-based Abound Solar claimed seven months ago that his company was the “anti-Solyndra,” the green-energy firm has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. It is terminating all 125 workers at its Loveland, Colo. headquarters, and is blaming China for its failure. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Abound Solar a $400 million loan guarantee in December 2010, funds that the then-three-year-old startup said it would use to compete with solar panel industry leader First Solar. The company had tapped into about $70 million of those funds by August 2011 when the DOE unplugged it from the taxpayers’ cash stream, around the same time the more famous Solyndra went bankrupt. That company ate through $535 million in loans guaranteed by the federal government before it failed. While cheap imports from China have crippled much of the U.S. solar panel market, Abound’s problems appear to have been rooted in the quality of its own products, the competitiveness of its business model and its inability to retain top talent...more

Monday, July 02, 2012

Wilderness groups sue U.S. Forest Service over plan to use helicopter

Two wilderness groups have sued the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to allow an irrigation company to use a helicopter to fly in materials needed to repair a dam in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Wilderness Watch and Friends of the Clearwater filed suit in U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy’s court in Missoula last week. The groups say the agency’s decision to allow the irrigation company up to two helicopter flights to the Fred Burr Dam site violates the Wilderness Act and other environmental laws. The irrigation company wants to replace a deteriorating catwalk and log boom on the nearly century-old dam. The company had planned to do the work later this year. The catwalk provides access to the head gate valve and the log boom serves to protect the spillway from becoming plugged...more

Let's see, Tombstone can't repair the city's waterlines, this dam can't be repaired in Montana, and a Lincoln County, NM Commissioner who had just experienced a fire that started in a wilderness says:

“If you had asked me 10 years ago what I thought of the White Mountain Wilderness I would have told you I was in favor of it. The White Mountain Wilderness terrain is beautiful and unique, which should absolutely be protected. However, after years of drought, massive bug tree kill, and blown down trees, this area has become excessively under managed and highly prone to fire damage. Even though the Forest Service has proposed thinning and restoration projects in these forests, lawsuits and appeals by the Wild Earth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity and others have totally hampered the ability of the Forest Service to manage it. The restrictions on roads and motorized vehicles, chainsaws, and grazing by livestock have also hurt the ability to manage this area. In my opinion, forests in the Southwest, especially those near an urban interface, should never be designated as wilderness areas. As long as the wilderness designation stands, we will not be able to control the area appropriately. This leaves us incredibly vulnerable to disastrous fire damage. We need to consider removing the wilderness designation from the White Mountain Wilderness.”---Mark Doth, Lincoln County Commissioner

But that's OK, go ahead and surround Las Cruces with Wilderness, National Monuments or whatever restrictive designation you can think of. I'm sure everything will be just hunky dory for our residents.

Are You Wondering If This Is An Election Year?

If you are in doubt, cast your eyes on the next 8 posts.

Obama’s green team comes out swinging as election proceeds

President Obama's top energy and environmental officials are casting their work as a core piece of White House efforts to boost the economy while using rough-and-tumble language to parry Republican attacks. Four speeches over four days by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson signal a political all-hands-on-deck approach to defending the White House’s economic record ahead of the 2012 elections. “The fact is we can’t create an economy that is built to last by putting our nation into a race to the bottom, a race for the weakest health protections and the most loopholes in our environmental laws,” Jackson said Friday in criticizing GOP proposals to kill or delay several regulations. The tactic signals the extent to which the White House response to criticism over high gasoline prices, green-energy spending and environmental rules is extending well beyond a recent series of speeches by the president. It also arrives amid signs of continued economic sluggishness that’s likely to worry the White House heading into the fall campaign...more

Salazar blames Congress for layoffs

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday blamed Congress for layoffs in the wind energy sector. Salazar lashed out at lawmakers for not extending a tax credit to producers of wind energy. The credit is set to expire at the end of the year, but Salazar said companies are already laying off workers for fear that the incentive won’t exist. Salazar said inaction by Congress “has already led to layoffs” and that more layoffs will come if Congress fails to act soon. “That is not the kind of agenda we ought to be working on here in the United States,” he said. A recent study by energy consulting firm Navigant found that not extending the tax credit, which subsidizes wind power production at 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, would cost the U.S. 37,000 jobs. “We can’t afford to lose 30,000 jobs,” Salazar said...more

Senator: Arctic drilling a political win for Obama

The Obama administration’s expected approval of Royal Dutch Shell's plan to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast this summer is a political plus for President Obama, according to Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), an advocate of the project. “I think what he is showing is — and [Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar and the whole team and what we have been doing with them — is [saying] ‘look, let’s manage it right, let’s manage it carefully, and at the end of the day let’s also constantly review what we are doing,’ ” Begich said in the Capitol Friday. Interior is on the cusp of providing Shell its drilling permits for the long-planned, long-delayed project to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas...more

Gore slams Exxon CEO's climate stance

Al Gore is bashing Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the executive’s recent comments that appeared to downplay the dangers of global warming. Tillerson said last week that people will adapt to climate change, and also said that there will be an “engineering solution,” according to press accounts. That drew the former vice president's scorn. “Of course, we need to continue developing and deploying new technologies, but we cannot merely engineer our way out of this crisis. We need policy change on a global scale and Exxon has been at the forefront of those blocking change,” Gore wrote on his blog...more

More of Gulf of Mexico to Open for Drilling

The Obama administration has announced plans to to expand drilling activities in the Gulf of Mexico, even as lingering effects of the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are still felt along parts of the Texas coastline. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new program opens up the vast majority of known offshore oil and gas resources for development. But he acknowledged that many resource-rich areas overlap with environmentally fragile ecosystems. "We are going to go ahead and proceed," Salazar said, noting that he was confident that companies will implement rigorous safety standards. Under the plan, all areas in the Gulf with the highest-known resource potential will be available for oil and gas development. The proposed program will schedule 15 potential lease sales between 2012 and 2017, including 12 in the Gulf of Mexico...more

A Fracking Rule Reprieve ‎

The oil and gas industry is celebrating last week's news that the Interior Department is suspending its proposing rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. The better way to view this is as the calm before next year's federal regulatory surge. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the new draft fracking rules in May, elbowing in on turf long occupied by the 50 states. The regulations, covering everything from disclosure of drilling chemicals to well integrity, are redundant. Drillers on federal lands are already subject to state regulations, and there have been no notable scandals or examples of botched oversight. The Environmental Protection Agency has tried to dig up pollution stories, only to have the evidence turn out to be phony or otherwise explainable. The Western Energy Alliance industry lobby estimates that the Salazar rules will add at least $1.2 billion to the cost of new wells in 13 states. These costs will be borne primarily by small businesses and energy-producing Indian tribes, which are furious. In response, Mr. Salazar has agreed to extend the comment period on the rules for 60 days. The Obama Administration says the delay is proof of its reasonableness, a point it is trying to stress in this election season. Note well, however, that Mr. Salazar isn't offering to kill the rules. Meanwhile, other federal agencies ranging from the EPA to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking for ways to justify imposing their own rules on fracking in the name of water quality, worker safety and more...more

Federal Wildland Fire-Fighting Agencies Further Strengthen Preparedness, Prevention in Advance of July 4th Holiday

To further address the severity of current wildland fire activity across the western states, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have directed federal land managers to take additional measures to help reduce the risks of new wildfires, ensure the highest possible level of coordination among federal land management agencies, and continue to prioritize safety for firefighters and communities. Building on existing federal and state policies designed to decrease the likelihood of accidental fires, the joint memorandum directs federal land managers to prohibit the personal use of fireworks on lands managed by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming until July 8, 2012. These local managers will also enforce additional fire restrictions or public land closures as appropriate for the 4th of July holiday and heighten law enforcement and fire prevention patrols in critical areas to ensure that all applicable restrictions are enforced...more

We've got an MOU, more law dogs and more restrictions on the public, so everything should be just dandy.

The West should have their own 4th of July...A Declaration of Independence.

Interior Green Lights First Commercial Solar Energy Project on Indian Trust Lands

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has approved the first ever utility-scale solar energy project on tribal trust lands. The 350-megawatt photovoltaic facility will be built on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians’ trust lands in Clark County, Nevada, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The tribe and project developer, K Road Moapa Solar LLC, have signed a 50-year lease for the 2,000 acres located 30 miles north of Las Vegas. The site covers three percent of the tribe’s 71,954-acres held in trust by the U.S. Government. The solar project is expected to economically benefit the tribe, in addition to help it power more than 100,000 homes. The tribe will receive lease income and, at a later date, be presented the opportunity for ownership, the press release states...more

Searchers to comb waters around island where Amelia Earhart may have died

Researchers are on their way to a remote Pacific island, where they hope to find clues detailing Amelia Earhart's mysterious disappearance 75 years ago. The research team will submerge robots around the island of Nikumaroro, where Earhart hunters recently found a freckle ointment jar, believed to have belonged to Earhart. The team will focus on the waters around the tiny island, and will be equipped with sonar and high-definition video cameras, in search of clues. The expedition will cost more than $2 million. The original, widely-accepted theory was that the pioneering flier's plane ran out of fuel over the Pacific Ocean, where she and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared. The two were three-quarters of the way toward successfully circumnavigating the globe around the equator, and were en route to Howland Island when the plane went down in the ocean, according to longstanding theories. Researchers are now challenging that theory, saying that Earhart crashed on Nikumaroro, where the two survived for days before dying of injuries, hunger or thirst...more

C-130 firefighting air tankers grounded after fatal South Dakota crash

The U.S. Air Force is grounding all firefighting-equipped C-130 planes after a fatal crash of one while it was involved in efforts to subdue a blaze in southwestern South Dakota, a military spokesman said Monday. Air Force spokesman Todd Spitler announced that C-130s with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or MAFFS, won't fly until further notice. The South Dakota crash follows another crash of a firefighing air tanker, along the Nevada-Utah border, several weeks earlier. The Air Force describes MAFFS as "a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100-feet wide." Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a spokesman with the North Carolina National Guard -- which operated the plane that went down -- said "about three dozen" aircraft are affected by the Air Force order. The cause of the crash is under investigation, said the National Guard spokesman, who added that he didn't know when the firefighting-equipped C-130s fleet would be able to fly again...more

Thieves vandalise Billy the Kid's grave

The tombstone of Billy the Kid, the legendary Old West outlaw, has been vandalised in New Mexico. The 2000-pound gravestone was tipped over and damaged earlier this month after thieves broke into the old Fort Sumner Museum, local news reported. It happened at around 3.40am on Saturday June 16 and the criminals remain on the run, with police offering a $1,000 for information leading to their arrests. Several other graves in the cemetery were vandalised by the thieves, who also stole three antique rifles and a shotgun from the museum, De Baca County authorities told KOB-TV...more

How to spoof and 'jack a UAV

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have successfully demonstrated how the GPS signals of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can be commandeered by hackers. 

Interestingly enough, Professor Todd Humphreys and his students were recently asked by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to attempt the demonstration in White Sands, New Mexico. How to spoof and 'jack a UAV

Using a small, yet sophisticated UAV along with hardware and software developed by Humphreys and his students, the research team repeatedly managed to overtake navigational signals sent to the GPS-guided vehicle. Known as "spoofing," the technique creates false civil GPS signals that trick the vehicle's GPS receiver into thinking nothing is amiss - even as it steers an unauthorized navigational course set by a hacker. Because spoofing fools GPS receivers' on both their location and time, some fear that most GPS-reliant devices, infrastructure and markets are vulnerable to attacks. That fear was underscored when a US military drone disappeared over Iran late last year and showed up a week later, intact, and in the care of Iranians who claimed to have brought the vehicle down with spoofing. "I think this demonstration should certainly raise some eyebrows and serve as a wake-up call of sorts as to how safe our critical infrastructure is from spoofing attacks," said Milton R. Clary, a senior Department of Defense (DoD) Aviation Policy Analyst at Overlook Systems Technologies.
 Humphreys said his research team wanted to demonstrate the potential risks associated with spoofing early on in the Federal Aviation Administration's task to write the mandated rules that will allow government and commercial drones in US airspace by 2015...more

Pearce & Moore: Two Views On Transportation Bill

Contact: Jason Heffley
Tel. 202-225-2365

House Passes Compromise Highway Bill
Includes Pearce Language to Help Residents Affected by Wildfires

Washington, DC (June 29, 2012)—Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after a bipartisan House majority approved a two-year Transportation Reauthorization bill:

“Today’s vote represents measurable progress towards creating jobs. The American people have asked for compromise in Washington and today both conservatives and liberals came together to pass a meaningful jobs bill. While I believe conservatives were on the shorter end of the compromise, I supported the bill which includes several important reforms and provisions for New Mexico.”

The Surface Transportation Extension Act did include HR 6017, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Congressman Steve Pearce, which waives the 30-day waiting period for new flood insurance policies for residents in areas affected by wildfires on federal lands.

“I’m very glad to see that the language of HR 6017 will be included in the final version of the Surface Transportation Extension Act. Removing the 30-day waiting period for those who live in areas recently devastated by wildfires gives them a sense of security that their homes and livelihoods will be protected when the inevitable monsoon floods come later this summer. The people of New Mexico and the West in general know this situation all too well. This measure will ensure that they have a shot at protecting themselves from future disasters.”

“The work we did with Senator Bingaman’s staff in such a short period of time sets an example of what we can do for New Mexico when Members of Congress put aside their party difference, and decide to work in their constituents’ interests. I look forward to finding other bipartisan solutions to the issues facing our country.”

The Surface Transportation Extension Act also includes reforms giving the states some stability in planning for transportation projects, with a 2 year reauthorization; greater streamlining of environmental reviews for proposed transportation projects, primarily relating to the NEPA process; dropping $1.4 billion for Land & Water Conservation Fund; extending PILT and SRS funding for one year; and extending the current 3.4% interest rate for federally subsidized, undergraduate student loans.

Unfortunately, the compromise did not include Keystone language, coal-ash reform or the longer term 5-year extension the House was seeking. It did not contain the expanded oil & gas measures included in original House passed version. Finally, it doesn’t address the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and some of the offsets they use come directly from fund transfers.


The Road to Fiscal Hell


Congress is expected to approve as early as today a $120 billion highway bill that compromises nearly every budget principle Republicans say they believe in. It's a bipartisan budget heist with billions of dollars of budget gimmicks that are likely to infuriate Tea Party activists and other fiscal conservative voters.

In order to avoid confrontation with the Senate and to get the highway pork rolling by July 1, House Republicans caved to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on nearly every demand. Republican reformers in the House had originally sought to give more power and flexibility to the states on road projects, repeal onerous environmental rules that inflate the cost of federal construction projects, and curtail funding for wasteful urban transit projects. They also wanted the Keystone XL pipeline built and a shortfall in road funding to be covered by royalties from increased oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Virtually none of these provisions survived.

Without the drilling money the bill elevates fiscal accounting hocus pocus to new heights. For example, it pays for 27 months of road funding with 10 years of budget savings and revenue measures. Isn't that exactly the trick ObamaCare used for financing and that Republicans denounced? As Marc Scribner, transportation expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes, "this just makes the funding problem even worse two years from now when a new highway bill has to be passed. It's just a bunch of phony pay fors."

Highway bills are supposed to be financed with gas tax money, but because Congress wanted to spend so much more than is collected and didn't want to cut spending or raise the gas tax, Mr. Scribner calculates that the bill is a $20 billion raid on the general fund (which is $1.2 trillion in deficit) to pay for the spending programs. This makes the deficit worse. The bill "saves" some $3 billion by raiding various non-transportation trust funds with unspent dollars. It spends about $8 billion on obsolete transit projects (less than three percent of trips are taken on mass transit), thanks to an unholy alliance between big city Democrats and suburban Republicans.

Worst of all is the $9 billion pension gimmick. The bill "saves" $9 billion by reducing the required corporate contributions to pension funds. This will raise income-tax revenues for the government because pension contributions are tax deductible. So businesses will have fewer tax deductions under this scam and pay more tax. But the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation estimates these corporate pensions are $26 billion underfunded already. They should be contributing more, not less to the fund. And guess who is on the hook for underfunded pensions? Taxpayers.

Oh and did I fail to mention the spending bill also extends the low interest rate on student loans, again with no reforms to bloated and unaccountable universities? The evidence is clear that more subsidies through federal aid only increase tuition. This provision adds $6 billion to federal spending.

Polls are showing that many voters don't think it matters which party wins Congress or the White House in 2012. It's bipartisan spending raids like this that convince voters that there ain't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

Song Of The Day #869

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Cephas & Wiggins with Flip, Flop, & Fly. The tune is on their 12 track CD Flip, Flop & Fly.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

America the Beautiful

by Julie Carter

There’s a holiday just around the corner, one we’ve celebrated for a few hundred years. Independence Day, Fourth of July and Cowboy Christmas –all one and the same.

America’s birthday is honored across the country with as many traditions as there are firecrackers. For my entire adult life, my observance of the day has always revolved around rodeo.

I spent a couple decades driving long, lonely highways to get to the “next one” over a four-day stretch of Cowboy Christmas. I hauled horses, kids, and dogs while giving little thought to much else except getting there on time and being ready to compete.

There was plenty of fun and certainly a bonding kinship that has endured far beyond the rodeo arena. My heart’s rhythm is still that of kicking broncs and pounding hoofs. The snapping of the American flag in the wind as it’s presented with honor before the action stills my soul to a quiet place of reverence.

While our breathtakingly beautiful West is alight with catastrophic forest fires that wrench an anguish of loss for which there is no measure, I have to marvel at the irony of the location a song was written in praise of this country.

“America the Beautiful” was penned in 1893 by Katherine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College.

While teaching at Colorado College that summer, Bates and a group of fellow instructors decided to make the trip up 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. Today that peak towers majestically above merciless fires raging at the fringes of Colorado Springs.

The teachers hired a horse-drawn wagon to take them as far as it could go up the mountain and then they rode mules the remainder of the distance to the top.

Bates saw a view of the mountains that few people saw in those days and was inspired enough by her glimpse of the "spacious skies" and "purple mountains" to write a poem, which later became the first verse of the song set to music by church organist and choirmaster Samuel A. Ward.
Later she recalled the trip. “I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”
“America the Beautiful” was hastily jotted down in a notebook and the words to Bates’ only famous poem first appeared in print in The Congregationalist, a weekly journal, for Independence Day in 1895. In 1904, the poem reached a wider audience with a revised version that was printed in the “Boston Evening Transcript” and a final expanded version was written in 1913.

Wherever Americans are around the globe this Fourth of July, they will get together for a traditional celebration in a wide variety of venues. For me, it will again be in the shadows of a rodeo arena fence from where I revel in the longevity of the sport as it goes forward into the generations.

And with a heavy place in my heart, I say a prayer for those that have suffered devastating losses from the ravaging fires, knowing that this holiday will hold for them a much different memory.

“America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”

God bless America.

Julie can be reached for comment a

The Matter of Hope

Under the White Hats
The Matter of Hope
Gathering Clouds
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            A good trivia question would be to identify the Civil War general who said, “Hope … is God’s gift to the young.”
            Think about the implication. Each of us can remember how often in our youth we were buoyed by the implications of that suggestion. In the heart of every young land steward, there are markers. One of them is the freedom of dreaming about permanence and connection to the land. I will wager that every farmer or rancher alive will admit such anticipation many times in his or her past …before any bridge was built to solidify such a permanent relationship.
The Fight at our Front
At this point in the week, the email receipts have included a steady flow of pending threats. They came from federal actions as well the agency proxies in the form of NGOs who too often rule our daily planners.
The majority of the exchanges, though, were drafts and data relating to the attack on local customs and culture to alter designation of over half of our county’s remaining multiple use managed land to national monument status.
Last Tuesday, we spent the day at the Commission chambers battling our County Commission who voted unanimously in a previous meeting to endorse the proposal. We reminded them that if there had been substantive public scoping the domestic water supply of Hatch wouldn’t be within the boundaries of the proposal nor would the headquarters of the historic Corralitos ranch.
Members of the Commission seemed incredulous when we pointed out the horror we experienced when the proposal they endorsed announced that the BLM will acquire our deeded lands along with the State Trust land that would be landlocked. Commissioner Scott Krahling joisted with our group when he queried us about his suspicion that none of us would be satisfied with any federal expansion of rules governing our lives. He also chastised us that we had plenty of notification and he was dismayed that we would come before his ruling body after their unanimous vote.
The fact was one of our group just happened to read about the schedule in the newspaper at 7:00 AM of the morning of the Commission vote. Three people walked in scratching notes on pieces of paper. They were matched with more than a dozen advocates for the proposal complete with power point presentations and prepared speeches.
They were rolled in the feeding frenzy. The Commission announced to all it was time to save the land! 
Thirty eight of the 64 ranchers in the county will be impacted by the grand plan. Those 38 ranchers are responsible for nearly 70% of the cattle in the county. Not a single one of them had any forewarning that the plan was going to be introduced. Not a soul with duties, responsibilities, or investments on the lands was offered the privilege of discussing a single aspect of the proposal.   
Forgive me if all of this is continuing old news. Yes, this is simply a reworked, newest version of a process that has now gone on for over six years, but this one is different. It announced to the community that the president is finally going to act and save the land for the children. This will be an Executive Order. Congress doesn’t even have to get involved!
The Campaign
Why there must be expanded access restrictions on this land where regular Americans are already barred from 75% of the total should make any objective person scratch his head. Dona Ana County residents are already disallowed full and unencumbered entry into 4.7 million acres of land that includes Ft. Bliss, McGregor Range, White Sands Missile Range, White Sands National Monument, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge, the Jornada Range, the New Mexico State University Ranch, and the current Wilderness Study areas of the county. Adding another 600,000 acres would extend the no entry signs to 86% of the landscape. At the same time, the community is forced to live on just five percent of that shared landscape and that includes precious farmland. The government ownership of the greater landscape is overwhelming.
It is stifling, and … it is an outright threat to everybody.
Everyone must learn about the Rewilding project. The project, which continues to evolve from one name to another depending on the subtlety of the attention that it is gathering, is the plan to expand the dominion of nature across the face of the land. Supporting the plan, literature has run the gamut from suggesting civilization must be reduced to the ultimate extreme that all things civilized must go.
Argument can be made there have been six different attempts to expand the toehold in Dona Ana County. The first started with former Congressman Skeen’s proposal for 58,000 acres of protection in the iconic Organ Mountains. That never got legs.
The successive plans grew to 214,000 acres, to 325,000 acres, to 400,000 acres, and, now, to the gargantuan 600,000 acres. At each juncture, the plans have been abandoned or lost traction because of community push back. The latest Executive Order approach is an attempt to get the most expansive wish list approved without Congress.
The question must be asked. Why is it so important to get Dona Ana County?
The geographic location of the county is strategically important. It abuts the large federal holdings noted hereinabove and it forms the cornerstone for expansion of the Rewilding project into New Mexico’s Bootheel and northward.
It also happens to be within a county where dominating local progressive governing bodies automatically run to hard line support for anything environmental. If Dona Ana County can be brought into the rewilding scheme, future expansion can be designed and implemented, similarly. It is a key battleground.
The Loss
This past weekend joint meetings of New Mexico’s Farm Bureau and Cattle Growers Association took place in Ruidoso. Admittedly, those meetings may not be a friendly place to an outside world that shares no ties to that tight knit community. What those meetings represent, though, is an unbroken lineage of stewards who are fully exposed to federal land dynamics that pose real and constant threats to their way of life.
Under the domination of summer straw hats seen in the halls of that gathering, was a glimpse of the greater dilemma Dona Ana and other counties face in this epic land battle. There is a frightening scarcity of youth.
In our county, we can compute the pending tragedy. Only 17% of the current operations have a young steward coming behind the present title holder. Less than one in five have a young adult coming that can seize upon hope that comes variously when he or she is exposed to private moments of insight and imprinting.  
The hope we are losing in the defense of our investments isn’t just affecting us. It is affecting a most important feature of our way of life and that is the attraction and the recruitment of our future generation stewards.
That dearth of hope implicit in that scarcity is a real and growing problem. It is made worse by the resources being expended on the fight itself … the fight to protect ourselves from our government.
For 100 years the Federal West has endured the creation of successive layers of constraints that are now resulting in our 17% recruitment patterns. What should it be called?
Is it selective environmental holocaust, or …is it just old fashion tyranny?  Whatever it is it needs our focus and it must be soon.
I believe it is also a matter of law. The suggestion that ‘historic’ use has merit was set forth in the intent and purpose of the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA). It was there Congress recognized their mismanagement of the commons confounded local communities and elevated conflict. There was a pressing need to avert such conflict and the protection of the ranching industry was clearly important. ‘History’ implied the protection of local customs and cultures. Because of its presence on the lands prompting the Act, ranching was a more central in emphasis of those customs and culture than the general store, school districts, or transportation corridors!
Gathering Clouds
This was not a good week. Those of us reading the Westerner today feel like we’ve been in a fist fight. Our skirmishes will ebb and flow, but the greater picture is truly transformational.
Even our language is no longer true to intent and form. If ‘Hope’ was indeed a gift from God … ‘hope and change’ is a cruel act of larceny against our existence. 

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I knew when John Roberts voted against Arizona, he would vote against us all.”