Saturday, July 12, 2014

TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union

Illegal aliens are being allowed to fly on commercial airliners without valid identification, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). “The aliens who are getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms,” NBPC’s Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas. “This is not the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] or another federal agency renting or leasing an aircraft, these are the same planes that the American public uses for domestic travel,” said Garza. “This just adds insult to injury. Not only are we releasing unknown illegal aliens onto American streets, but we are allowing them to travel commercially using paperwork that could easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer. The Notice to Appear form has no photo, anyone can make one and manipulate one. They do not have any security features, no watermark, nothing. They are simply printed on standard copy paper based on the information the illegal alien says is the truth.” Spokesman Garza continued, “We do not know who these people are, we often have to solely rely on who they say they are, where they say they came from, and the history they say they have. We know nothing about most of them, ICE releases them into the American public, and now they are boarding aircraft at will with a simple paper document that anyone can easily alter or reproduce themselves.”...more

Ranchers given notice of fencing to protect mouse

The U.S. Forest Service wants to block livestock and campers from stretches of the Rio Cebolla in the Santa Fe National Forest to protect an endangered mouse found in moist, forested areas of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. The plan, outlined in a letter received by ranchers Thursday, marks the latest salvo in an ongoing dispute that has residents and local officials from across the West accusing the federal government of trampling on their water and property rights. The fight over the mouse first erupted in southern New Mexico's Otero County with the fencing of a small spring-fed stream. County commissioners responded by ordering the sheriff to do whatever was necessary to remove or open the gates. Now, that fight has moved north to the Jemez Mountains, where Mike Lucero and more than two dozen other families who raise cattle stand to lose their livelihoods. He said the Forest Service is set on building fences around water supplies and there's not much the families can do. "It's very frustrating because we don't know where we stand, and we're going to have to spend money in litigation just to fight for our rights," Lucero said. "And you know, we're fighting our own tax dollars. They're using my tax money to put me out of business. That's ridiculous, and it's sad." The Forest Service said previously that it had not made any decisions regarding the fencing, but the letter issued this week detailed plans to put off-limits 120 acres along the lower Rio Cebolla. Four enclosures of different sizes would be built to keep livestock out, while elk and other wildlife would still be able to access the riverbanks. Additionally, a closure order to keep recreationists from camping in the area would be prepared as soon as possible, officials said...more

Dispute over western mouse spurs legal action

Environmentalists on Friday accused the federal government of not doing enough to protect a rare western mouse that's already at the center of a dispute over access to national forest land and water rights. Native to New Mexico and parts of Arizona and Colorado, the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse was recently added to the list of endangered species as a result of a multi-species settlement with the Santa Fe-based environmental group WildEarth Guardians. The group has notified the U.S. Forest Service it will be suing for greater protections of the mouse's streamside habitat, saying grazing authorized by the agency is a threat to the mouse's existence. Bryan Bird, a biologist with the group, said the mouse's populations have declined by at least 76 percent in the past 15 years and the remaining mice are often found in areas actively protected from grazing. "The Forest Service has been building special habitat enclosures that allow access for small wildlife and recreationists for many years, but not enough," Bird said. "They will likely have to fence out cattle from many more miles of streams to end the trampling of vegetation and stream banks." WildEarth Guardians is asking the Forest Service to begin formal discussions under the Endangered Species Act to address the effects of grazing on the mouse in the Santa Fe and Lincoln national forests and the Apache-Sitgreaves forest, which straddles the Arizona-New Mexico state line. The Forest Service already has fencing up on the Lincoln forest, where local officials have asked the county sheriff to do whatever is necessary to remove the fencing or open the gate. On the Santa Fe forest, the agency wants to fence about 120 acres and issue a closure order to keep out livestock and campers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed setting aside nearly 200 miles along streams and wetlands in a dozen counties in the three states as critical habitat for the mouse. A final decision is expected this fall...more

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Crisis on the Border

by Peggy Noonan
The Wall Street Journal

What is happening at the southern border is a true and actual crisis. News accounts justly use words like chaos, collapse and breakdown. They feature images of children—toddlers, 4- and 5-year-olds—being shuffled to warehouse holding centers, sleeping crowded at night on what look like pallets, covered only in Mylar blankets. "I never thought we'd have refugee camps in America," said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, "but that's what it's appearing."

All this gives normal people a feeling of besiegement and foreboding. Is a nation without borders a nation? Washington's leaders seem to recognize what's happening as a political problem, not a real problem. That is, they betray no honest alarm. They just sort of stand in clusters and say things. 

There seem only two groups that view the situation with appropriate alarm. 

One is the children themselves, dragged through deserts to be deposited here. To them, everything is a swirl of lights, color and clamor, and shouting and clanking. A reporter touring a detainment center in Texas noted a blank, lost look among some of the younger children. Every mother knows what that suggests. Children who cry and wail anticipate comfort: That's why they're crying, to alert those who care for them that something is wrong. But little children who are blank, withdrawn, who don't show or at some point know what they're feeling—those children are in trouble. 

The other group feeling a proper alarm is normal Americans, who are seeing all this on TV and who judge they are witnessing a level of lawlessness that has terrible implications for the country. 

...The latest border surge has been going on for at least two years. Children and others are coming because they believe that under the president's leadership, if they get here they'll get a pass to stay. (They're probably right.) This was predictable. Two years ago Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote the president that the number of unaccompanied children was spiking sharply. He warned that unless the government moves, other minors would attempt the journey and find themselves in "extremely dangerous situations." The generally agreed-upon number of those who've come so far this year is 50,000. Now government estimates are rising to at least 90,000 by year's end.

...Meanwhile some in the conservative press call the president incapable, unable to handle the situation. But he is not so stupid he doesn't know this is a crisis. He knows his poll numbers are going to go even lower next month because of it. He scrambled Wednesday to hold a news conference to control a little of the damage, but said nothing new. 

There is every sign he let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform. It would be "comprehensive," meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.
The little children in great danger, holding hands, staring blankly ahead, are pawns in a larger game. That game is run by adults. How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?

Report: Extremists emboldened after Nevada ranch standoff

Far right wing extremists have been emboldened by the standoff earlier this year between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government, according to a study released Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The report, entitled "War in the West" examines the conflict between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and militiamen who supported Bundy, who owed more than $1 million in grazing fees and fines to the government, despite insisting that he had "preemptive rights" to let his cattle graze on the federally owned land. The incident came as a result of a U.S. District Court ruling that he had to pay the fees just as any other rancher would. Federal agents rounded up around 400 cattle on the public land, leading to an armed standoff that lasted weeks until authorities released the cattle and withdrew. That action was seen as a victory among anti-government circles, particularly the "Patriot" movement, the study says. Since that time, other standoffs have taken place in other parts of the West including Idaho, Texas, New Mexico and Utah, where a gunman pointed a weapon at a BLM agent while holding a sign that said "You need to die," according to the report. Mark Potok, an SPLC senior fellow and co-author of the study warns that this incident and other that have taken place since are a foreshadowing of things to come if the federal government doesn't gain an understanding of what he says is the volatile nature of right wing extremist movements."The Bundy ranch standoff may be a preview of things to come if the federal government doesn't come to terms with the true nature of this volatile extremist movement," wrote Potok on the SPLC's website.  Ryan Lenz, also a co-author of the study said that the Bundy incident was not spontaneous, but rather intentional and was the largest manifestation of anti-government activity since President Obama was elected. "What happened in Nevada was not an organic plot, it was a really well thought out plan," he told CBS News in a phone interview. "It was a coordinated effort to bring the threat of violence to the federal government. "The point we're making is that the government needs to take this seriously, that bloodshed will happen."...more

You would expect anything from the SPLC to have a left-wing bias, and this report certainly puts their politics front and center.  How about accuracy?  Go to page 16 and you will find this about NM:

In New Mexico’s Otero County, a brewing confrontation between state and federal officials ended after BLM officials opened gates cutting off water for grazing cattle to protect the jumping mouse. Again, there were conspiracy theories demonizing BLM efforts to protect the environment.  

They got NM and Otero County right...and that's it.  It was ranchers, their supporters and local officials, not "state" officials, who raised the issue.  It was the Forest Service, not the BLM, who built the fence that cut the cattle off from water.  If the Forest Service gates were opened by "BLM officials", I'm relatively sure we would have heard about it - the two agencies aren't even in the same federal department.  I wonder where they got those "conspiracy theories demonizing BLM" and I really wonder why Congress and the feds keep funding the SPLC to put out "reports" like this one. 

New hot spot in Yellowstone melts asphalt road, closes popular geysers,

The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone National Park has created a hot spot that melted an asphalt road and closed access to popular geysers and other attractions at the height of tourist season, officials said Thursday. As they examined possible fixes, park officials warned visitors not to hike into the affected area, where the danger of stepping through solid-looking soil into boiling-hot water was high. Naturally changing thermal features often damage Yellowstone's roads and boardwalks. Steaming potholes in asphalt roads and parking lots — marked off by traffic cones — are fairly common curiosities. However, the damage to Firehole Lake Drive is unusually severe and could take several days to fix. The 3.3-mile loop six miles north of Old Faithful takes visitors past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake. Unusually warm weather for Yellowstone — with high temperatures in the mid-80s — has contributed to turning the road into a hot, sticky mess...more

Agency accused of violating law on remains, relics

An independent federal agency is calling for an investigation into allegations that U.S. officials ignored a law requiring them to catalog, preserve and ultimately return human remains and relics to American Indian tribes. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has directed the Interior Department to investigate whether U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials have violated the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act while managing collections of remains and artifacts amassed during the construction and management of dams and waterways throughout California and parts of Nevada and Oregon. A whistleblower complained that the bureau in Sacramento erased records within an Interior Department database and altered spreadsheets in an effort to hide mismanagement of collections under the agency's control, resulting in hundreds of remains and artifacts being lost, boxed up for storage or loaned to museums and universities without the ability to track them. The federal government's handling of Native American remains and artifacts has been criticized for years. Following a critical report by the Government Accountability Office in 2010, the Interior Department asked for more money and at least eight years to bolster compliance with the law...more

Police rescue 165 kidnapped migrants in Mexican border state

Mexican state police rescued 165 migrants who had been kidnapped while traveling to the United States in the crime-ridden border state of Tamaulipas, authorities said on Thursday. The migrants, mostly from Cuba, Honduras, and El Salvador, said they were beaten and in some cases sexually abused, the Tamaulipas state government said in a statement. Some of the migrants, who had been held captive for up to three weeks, reported watching kidnappers kill a couple and their child, the state government added. State police detained three men for the alleged crimes. Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico, is a battleground between the Gulf Cartel gang and its ultra-violent rivals the Zetas, who are involved in migrant smuggling, though it was not clear whether the three men who were detained were associated with either group. Migrants caught by the Zetas who refuse to smuggle drugs or work for the gang can pay for it with their lives. The Zetas were blamed for the killing of hundreds of migrants found in mass graves in Tamaulipas in 2010 and 2011. Reuters

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Point of No Return? The Forest Service, Marijuana & Water

Marijuana grows in two watersheds
As the golden state turns brown, there's a debate raging, pitting fishermen against ranchers, farmers against environmental groups and Sacramento bureaucrats against rural landowners throughout the state. With a state snowpack that's just a fraction of normal levels, the magnitude of our current drought is finally hitting home. Meanwhile, in Humboldt County, known for its towering redwoods, gushing rivers and lush pastures, a perfect storm is hitting shore. It's July 2 and about 18 officials are sitting in a meeting with North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman in the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Conference Room. The officials — cops, biologists, politicians and U.S. Forest Service employees — are talking about the proliferation of marijuana grows throughout Humboldt County and beyond, and many are expressing frustration about how little they can do in the face of the epidemic. In many ways, the conversation mirrors one held about a year ago with most of the same stakeholders. Law enforcement officials bemoan the lack of resources they say leaves them battling a proverbial firestorm with a garden hose. Sheriff Mike Downey points out that in 2013, his office identified more than 4,000 large-scale outdoor marijuana grows in the county but only had the resources to eradicate 92 of them. Wildlife biologist Mourad Gabriel says he and partners are left to pull together grant monies to try to clean up the busted grows, explaining how they used seven grants last year to clean up just five sites. Meanwhile, Gabriel says, mortality rates in threatened Pacific fisher populations are increasing as the weasel-like animals are being poisoned by rodenticides left behind by growers. "These trends are not dissipating," he says. "They're accelerating." But, this year, there's a different tone and an old concern made freshly urgent. The group is meeting as the State Water Resources Control Board is sending notices to 17 water rights holders — including ranchers, cities and community services districts — along the Eel River, and seven more along the Van Duzen, notifying them their water rights are being suspended. Meanwhile, unpermitted water diversions to irrigate pot gardens are unchecked throughout the county...more

Legalize marijuana, privatize the water and let it flow to its highest and best use as determined by the free market.  The only thing "suspended" would be the bureaucrats.

Notice the Forest Service can't control the uses of water on federal land while at the same time they are following a directive to control water on "adjacent" land.

Wolf battle renews as big money flows

While wolves were busy killing a record number of sheep and cattle in Idaho last year, lawmakers and environmentalists were busy amassing money to renew their longstanding battles over the predator. On July 1, the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board was established to kill wolves that attack livestock and eat elk through $400,000 in tax money, livestock levies and sportsmen’s fees. In response, Defenders of Wildlife, a national organization, began a high-dollar media campaign in Idaho calling for Gov. Butch Otter to end his “War on Wolves.” The conservationists purchased online ads in Boise and Hailey-based newspapers and radio spots across the state. Clicking on some of them leads to an online petition, others have a “donate now” button. That proves what Steve Alder, executive director of Idaho for Wildlife, said he has long suspected — conservationists are using Idaho’s wolf population to line their pockets. As one of the state’s leading wolf control contingents, Alder’s group has frequently locked horns with environmentalists, including a winter wolf derby and a spat over a dead colt in Hailey. “That’s all it’s about is the money,” Alder said. “They don’t care about wildlife — just money.”  Not so, says Defenders’ Suzanne Stone — her group has opened its pocketbook to help fund non-lethal wolf deterrents. From 2010 through mid-2014, Defenders spent $230,000 on non-lethal wolf management, not including staff time...more

EPA chief reaches out to farmers on muddled rule proposal

The Obama administration's attempt to assuage farmers' and ranchers' fears about a major Clean Water Act proposal has drawn flak from all corners, forcing the U.S. EPA administrator herself to concede yesterday that there are "legitimate concerns" with the effort. At issue is the interpretive rule for agriculture that the Obama administration released in March in tandem with a major proposal to increase the number of streams and wetlands that receive automatic Clean Water Act protection following years of regulatory uncertainty. Administrator Gina McCarthy said on a call with reporters yesterday that the interpretive rule was intended to clarify which farming practices fall under the 1972 water law's exemptions for normal farming practices "so that there's no need for us to have ongoing dialogue about what's normal and what isn't." But a list of 56 specific conservation practices included in the interpretive rule has sparked much confusion and anger on all sides. The list identifies conservation practices that would be exempt if executed to the standards set by the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). On the list are practices that currently don't require permits as well as those that do. The list has farmers and others wondering whether Clean Water Act exemptions for normal farming practices are being narrowed. Does it mean, they ask, that EPA permits will be required for some projects -- building fences, for example -- if they aren't done to the NRCS standard? Some groups contend that the requirement that projects meet NRCS standards would place the USDA agency in a new, regulatory role. That, they say, would fundamentally change the agency's relationship with farmers and ranchers...more

EDITORIAL: Sage-grouse politics

The fate of a chicken-size bird carries huge economic and political stakes across the West. The sage grouse, long a threat to the thriving energy sector, is also a threat to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The ground-dwelling bird, which has habitat across Nevada and 10 other states, could be listed as a threatened or endangered species as soon as next year. Such a designation would place burdensome restrictions on the use of tens of millions of acres by ranchers, farmers, and oil and natural gas producers. Environmental organizations that want a halt to ranching and fossil fuel development are too happy to use the sage grouse as the means to achieve their desired end — and political allies in the Interior Department are nearly ready to oblige.

As reported by Nicholas Riccardi of The Associated Press, this expensive game has become a campaign issue this year in U.S. Senate races in Montana and Colorado — contests that could decide whether Democrats retain control of the upper chamber and Sen. Reid keeps his title. Republican challengers understand that a sage grouse listing would cost thousands — maybe tens of thousands — of jobs. Democratic incumbents fear crossing the party’s environmentalist base.

This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s possible to have economic growth and species protection — but not with a federal listing. And a federal listing is no guarantee the sage grouse will be saved — for proof, see the government-sponsored killing of the Devil’s Hole pupfish in Nevada.

Sen. Reid would be well-advised to help keep the sage grouse off the protected species list — for the bird’s sake and his own.

PETA: There's No Such Thing as Humane Wool - Undercover Video

Hidden-camera video shot during an undercover investigation of sheep shearing in Australia and the U.S. has revealed what the animal rights organization PETA says is evidence of widespread animal abuse, including kicking, stomping, and gaping wounds to skin, ears and penises inflicted by clippers. “PETA's in-depth investigations show that—no matter how much anyone might wish it to be so -- there is no such thing as ‘humane’ wool,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, a top official at PETA, who added that her group is asking consumers not to wear clothes made of the fabric. “The industry is infested with violence and PETA documented cruelty in nearly every shearing shed that we entered.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also said that it believed specific U.S. companies had probably purchased wool produced by the ranches visited by investigators in Australia and the U.S, but NBC News was not able to establish that any of the named companies had bought wool sourced directly from those ranches...more

Here is the PETA video:

Beef checkoff referendum results

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) announced Texas beef producers have voted to establish a state-level Beef Checkoff program, which was approved by a wide margin of 66.79 percent of voters. Overall, 33.21 percent of voters opposed the measure. TDA conducted this referendum upon petition by cattle industry organizations under the authorities designated by the Texas Legislature. "Texas is the largest cattle producing state in the nation, and our beef is among the highest-quality in the world," said Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. "As Texas ranchers continue to grow and raise the bar to meet consumers' tastes and preferences, it is my hope these funds will be used in a manner to enhance our producers' profitability and sustainability of food production. The Lone Star State is a national leader in agriculture, and I'd like to keep it that way." Passage of the referendum establishes a producer-funded program without the use of tax dollars. The Beef Checkoff program will research ways to continue improving Texas beef quality, as well as educate prospective consumers of Texas beef around the world. Texas beef producers will pay a refundable assessment of no more than $1 per head of cattle they sell. Collection of the assessment will begin on Oct. 1...more

Cowboy coach

The horse’s hooves fall softly on the loose arena sand. The occasional creak of the saddle carries on the breeze as the equine and rider move in tandem, working a cow back and forth against the back wall of the cedar plank-lined pen. The horse, a quarter horse stallion named Hollywood, begins to turn and box the cow on his own as years of training and conditioning take over. This is something that thrills his owner and rider. “Did you see him? He got in there and just turned her,” said Troy Rogers from astride Hollywood. “Good boy.” For more than two decades, Rogers has been working to get where he is today — on six quiet acres in Los Trujillos, south of Belen. He shares it with his wife, Diane DeBlanc, who is an equine veterinarian, a friendly pack of dogs, several horses and a few dozen head of cattle. But Rogers isn’t what would be called a “gentleman rancher.” He has worked diligently to become one of the best competitors in the stock horse world and one of the most highly sought instructors in the southwest. He is a versatility ranch/stock horse and working cow horse competitor, clinician and coach. Rogers has had success and won championship awards in numerous performance horse events, including working cow horse, reining, versatility ranch/stock horse, team penning and ranch sorting. Rogers has put his skills to the test and taken numerous home awards in the last few years, including being named the Region 5 – Open Division All-Around Champion and an American Quarter Horse Association Working Cow Horse and All-Around National Champion in 2010. Rogers is also an AQHA judge for versatility ranch horse and with the American Stock Horse Association. To get to that level, Rogers is up early every day, training and teaching, traveling the region hosting clinics and events. His students have enjoyed success over the years in youth, novice and non-pro classes most everywhere they go. His success wasn’t easy and it didn’t come fast. Working full time for Purina Mills as an equine nutritionist, Rogers traveled the region selling high-quality feed and helping breeders and owners set up their own feeding programs. After 25 years, Rogers retired from Purina this year and can now dedicate himself to his labor of love and passion — his company, 4R Performance Livestock, which was built during vacations and free time while he worked. He draws students from southern and eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado and Arizona. Rogers teaches them and their horses how to be competitive, high-end, versatile cow horses...more

Cartoons & humor

Fourth of July speeches and parades tend to turn kids into conservatives says a Harvard study out Tuesday. The teacher's union is horrified. Apparently, it just takes one patriotic speech and a fireworks show to undo two hundred and seventy days of public school education.
-- Argus Hamilton

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are

Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post. Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else. Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents...The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address...Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless....The material spans President Obama’s first term, from 2009 to 2012, a period of exponential growth for the NSA’s domestic collection. Taken together, the files offer an unprecedented vantage point on the changes wrought by Section 702 of the FISA amendments, which enabled the NSA to make freer use of methods that for 30 years had required probable cause and a warrant from a judge. One program, code-named PRISM, extracts content stored in user accounts at Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and five other leading Internet companies. Another, known inside the NSA as Upstream, intercepts data on the move as it crosses the U.S. junctions of global voice and data networks...more

Congressman Calls For "Wolf Safety Zone" Around Yellowstone National Park

A congressman from Oregon is calling on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell work with Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho officials to develop a "wolf safety zone" around Yellowstone National Park, saying without one the health of the park's wolf populations will suffer. Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Oregon, also took time Tuesday to take the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to task for working to undermine wolf recovery efforts in the Lower 48, arguing that the agency has used shoddy science to defend the delisting of gray wolves. In his letter to Secretary Jewell, the Democrat blamed hunting of wolves just beyond Yellowstone's borders for a decline in the overall wolf population in the park, telling Secretary Jewell that "(F)or over three years, the population of gray wolves in Yellowstone has steadily decreased as a result of hunting-related deaths. According to wildlife biologists, Yellowstone's wolf population dropped 25 percent between 2011 and 2012. The National Park Service reports that as of March 1, 2013, 12 Yellowstone National Park wolves were legally harvested just outside the park borders."  In his letter, Rep. DeFazio asked Secretary Jewell to "undertake a concerted and coordinated effort to work with the states to establish a uniform wolf saety zone or buffer around Yellowstone National Park...more

What a dandy precedent that would set.  We could expect Wolf Safety Zones around many National Parks & Monuments in the West, including the two new ones in NM.

Western governors tell feds to leave water business alone

Western governors, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture expressing concerns about a proposed directive that could affect states’ authority over their water resources. The letter, sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last week and signed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sandoval, says: “Our initial review of the proposed directive leads us to believe that this measure could have significant implications for our states and our groundwater resources.” The letter says that Western states are “the exclusive authority for allocating, protecting and developing groundwater resources within their boundaries, an authority recognized by Congress and reasserted by the Supreme Court.” In a separate letter signed by 40 members of Congress, including Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, both R-Nev., the lawmakers claim that the Proposed Directive on Groundwater Resource Management would initiate U.S. Forest Service authority over state-managed groundwater resources. The directive would claim that surface water and groundwater are “hydraulically interconnected” and allow the agency to object to state-regulated projects on “adjacent” land that might harm groundwater, the lawmakers said in their June letter to Vilsack...more

Fighting Wildfire With Satellites, Lasers, and Drones

Fire lookout technology has changed a lot since Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. The book was taken almost entirely from a diary Kerouac kept when he was fire lookout for 63 days on Desolation Peak in Washington. Now, satellite images, fuel analysis, and, soon, the use of drones, are among the high-tech methods for protecting wilderness and civilization from wildfires. Some of the more important real-time fire data comes from MODIS, a sensor on two NASA satellites that view the entire earth’s surface every one to two days. The sensors show heat sources (that’s how a fire was first spotted in Noatak, Alaska by a fire manager looking at the data in the early 2000s). It was the first time a fire had been detected by satellite before humans noticed it, says Sean Triplett, the group leader for geo-spatial and information management at the U.S. Forest Service. After a fire, the U.S. Geological Survey’s LANDSAT satellite can be used to determine the severity of the burn by comparing a pre-fire photo of an area to a post-fire one. The differences in brightness allow scientists to determine the normalized burn ratio, as well as to reflect the changes on the ground. While airplanes are used to get aerial views now, they may soon be supplemented with drones, Triplett said. Once the FAA approves their use, unmanned aerial vehicles may give scientists, firefighters, and those interested in preserving national resources more information on areas that have high fire potential—so, for instance, parts of southern California during Santa Ana winds...more

Feds Doubt Global Warming’s Impact on Wolverines

A top federal wildlife official said there’s too much uncertainty about climate change to prove it threatens the snow-loving wolverine — overruling agency scientists who warned of impending habitat loss for the “mountain devil.” There’s no doubt the high-elevation range of wolverines is getting warmer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh said. But any assumption about how that will change snowfall patterns is “speculation,” she said. Walsh told her staff to prepare to withdraw a proposal to protect the animals under the Endangered Species Act. Wildlife advocates said the move was a bow to pressure from Western states that don’t want wolverines protected. Walsh said her stance “has not been influenced in any way by a state representative.” More broadly, it points to the potential limitations in the use of long-range climate forecasts to predict what will happen to individual plant and animal species as global temperatures rise...more

Western fires burning through $3 billion annually

The West’s wildfire season holds the high risk of again being long, expensive, and dangerous, with an acceleration of alarming trends that include more and bigger fires, and increased dangers and costs associated with the need to defend private homes. Unfortunately, what we have tried so far is not adequate to prepare for these developments. Already, wildland firefighting costs the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management an average of $3 billion per year; triple the amount from a decade ago. At least a third of the bill goes to defend private homes. In the last 10 years, the acres burned per fire doubled and the average fire burns twice as long. Since 2010, and the number of structures destroyed tripled and firefighter fatalities rose fourfold. These trends will worsen because of climate change and continued home building on fire-prone lands. The fire season is on average two months longer since the 1970s...more

Some interesting stats, but the rest is the same old bunk about global warming, the wildland-urban interface, taxing local government and the feds "helping" with local land use planning.  Should have known, its written by the head of Headwaters Economics, the enviros favorite economists-for-hire firm.

Wildlife to Benefit From Closing Costly, Outdated Federal Sheep Station in Idaho

Conservation groups sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack today urging him not only to follow through on his proposal to close the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, west of Yellowstone, but to permanently end sheep grazing on more than 50,000 additional acres of public lands that provide important habitat corridors between the national park and Idaho for lynx, wolves and grizzly bears.  “This is great news for Yellowstone’s beleaguered wildlife” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Closing this anachronistic and wasteful USDA facility will provide safer habitat for wolves, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and other sensitive animals that are part of the fabric of our national identity.”  As part of the plan, the organizations asked that the sheep station’s 48,000 acres be transferred to the nearby Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and that an additional 56,000 acres grazed by the station on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands be permanently closed to livestock. “We fully stand by Secretary Vilsack’s decision to shutter the sheep station,” said Bryan Bird, wild places program director for WildEarth Guardians. “It is a relic of federal government subsidies for the livestock industry, and the majority of Americans value western public lands for wildlife and recreation, not as a feedlot for a fading industry.”...more

Baxter Black Was Right - Study: Plants Don’t Like Being Eaten

Most people don't give a second thought when tucking into a plate of salad. But perhaps we should be a bit more considerate when chomping on lettuce, as scientists have found that plants actually respond defensively to the sounds of themselves being eaten. In the study, caterpillars were placed on Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard. Using a laser and a tiny piece of reflective material on the leaf of the plant, Cocroft was able to measure the movement of the leaf in response to the chewing caterpillar. Cocroft and Appel then played back recordings of caterpillar feeding vibrations to one set of plants, but played back only silence to the other set of plants. When caterpillars later fed on both sets of plants, the researchers found that the plants previously exposed to feeding vibrations produced more mustard oils, a chemical that is unappealing to many caterpillars. ‘What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defenses,’ Cocroft said. 'This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.' The study, 'Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insect herbivore chewing,' was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and was published in Oecologia...more  HT: Moonbattery

Can you hear them screaming?

Baxter Black educated us on this topic over 25 years ago.  Here's his classic presentation on the Johnny Carson Show

Border Patrol Tells Agent: ‘You Must Cease and Desist’ from Speaking with Media

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has served one of its agents with a letter saying “you must immediately cease and desist” from issuing statements and press releases to the media with information that is “Law Enforcement sensitive,” according to the document, obtained by National Review Online.  Kathleen Scudder, assistant chief patrol agent of the San Diego Sector, sent the letter to agent Ron Zermeno, health and safety director of National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, notifying him of an investigation into his conduct and to “remind” him that no agent should make statements or issue press releases “without proper authorization.”   Zermeno confirmed the validity of the letter to NRO. He says he thinks the order is retaliation for his actions as a whistleblower, which have involved exposing the public-health risks associated with the illegal immigrants transported to the San Diego Sector. “As a union officer, I feel it’s my job to expose when management is putting people at risk,” he says.  Scudder writes in the cease-and-desist letter that she’s formed no opinion about the allegations against the agent thus far, but Zermeno says he expects to have his employment terminated. “I’m willing to lose my job over this because I know I’m doing the right thing,” Zermeno says. “I’ve been in this agency for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it. It’s similar to the VA.”...more

At least 16 unaccompanied illegal minors (under18) are members of the brutal street gang Mara Salvatrucha—or MS-13.

An internal Border Patrol executive summary obtained by Townhall confirms that at least 16 unaccompanied illegal minors (those under the age of 18, according to U.S. government policy), are members of the brutal El Salvadorian street gang Mara Salvatrucha—or MS-13. Gang members left graffiti on the walls of the Nogales Border Patrol processing center, which suggested they had ties to the organization. "Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) and Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs), assigned to The Nogales Placement Center (NPC), discovered that 16 unaccompanied alien children (13 El Salvadoran males, two Guatelmalan males and one Honduran male) currently being held at the NPC are members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). The MS-13 gang members admitted to their gang associations following a discovery of graffiti at the NPC. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) were notified," the summary states. "Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) were notified." The FBI describes MS-13 activity as "perpetuating violence—from assaults to homicides, using firearms, machetes, or blunt objects—to intimidate rival gangs, law enforcement, and the general public. They often target middle and high school students for recruitment. And they form tenuous alliances...and sometimes vicious rivalries...with other criminal groups, depending on their needs at the time." It was reported earlier that these MS-13 gang members, some of whom have admitted to murder and torture in their home countries, are being held for placement inside the United States...more

Arizona Sheriff: Feds Releasing Criminals Already Deported 10-15 Times

On Tuesday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel, Pinal County, AZ Sheriff Paul Babeu reported that the federal government has released criminal illegal aliens into his community and that his officers have arrested individuals who have already been deported 10 or 15 times. He said “[the federal government] has released dangerous violent criminals right in my county and they refuse to give me the names of these criminals..."...more

Obama Scrambling To Find 180 Military Barracks To House Illegals

The Department of Defense is cataloguing its bases and barracks to find temporary housing for hundreds of thousands of poor Central Americans who are now believed to be migrating toward the Texas border.
The DoD-wide search for migrant housing was corroborated by a Texas radio station, WOAI, which reported that Pentagon officials have “asked military bases around the country to find 180 barracks, holding centers, and other facilities to house the flood which is not expected to stop coming any time soon.”...more

Obama Wants You To Fund Lawyers For New Illegals

President Barack Obama is asking Congress to provide free lawyers to the illegal immigrants surging across the U.S. border from Central America. The request for $18 million of free legal services, which White House officials describe as an emergency, is included in White House request to Congress for $3.7 billion. Most of those funds are needed to process, care for and feed the growing flow of immigrants, which is already at 100,000 since last October, says the administration...more

Taxpayers Expected to Pay for Illegal-Immigrant Children’s Education

axpayers may foot the bill for the education of the illegal-immigrant children flooding across the border when school resumes this fall. “American taxpayers are being forced to pay the huge cost of providing schooling to every illegal immigrant under 18 (and many 18+) who is dropped inside the U.S.,” a GOP aide with knowledge of the situation e-mails National Review Online. “This is just a tiny slice of the bill taxpayers are being asked to absorb that we’re supposedly forbidden from discussing in polite company.”  In a “Dear Colleague letter” sent to all public-school districts on May 8, 2014, by the Departments of Justice and Education, federal officials reminded the schools of their obligation to provide equal educational opportunities under the law...more

Photos Show Drugs Pouring Over Southern Arizona Border as Agent Resources are Overwhelmed

Border Patrol agents working in Arizona, California and Texas continue to be overwhelmed as thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America flood into the United States illegally. As a result, thousands of Border Patrol agents have been pulled off of patrolling the border and into processing facilities where they are making meals, changing bed sheets and babysitting. "We have all of these juveniles so they're pulling agents out of the field to come in and babysit them basically," a source said last month. "They're cancelling some of our specialty details for our crews who go out and work the mountains, calling them back in and telling them they have to work the processing center because there are so many people in there."...more

Report: Increase in Underage Pregnant Women Crossing Border

As President Barack Obama considers unilaterally expanding his temporary amnesty program to the parents of illegal immigrants, federal officials have noticed an increase in pregnant unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 who are unlawfully crossing the U.S-Mexico border. A leaked June 4, 2014, internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that Breitbart Texas obtained found that there has been an increase in the number of "minors coming into the U.S. who are pregnant." Children born in the United States are given U.S. citizenship, and Obama has indicated that he is considering giving temporary amnesty and work permits to the parents of U.S. citizens and parents of illegal immigrant children...more

More Illegal Immigrants from China Crossing Border

The influx of Central American illegal immigrants appears to have attracted the attention of Chinese nationals seeking to gain access to the United States. Border Patrol union officials in the Rio Grande Valley Sector tell National Review Online that they’ve noticed a recent uptick in the number of Chinese border crossers. While the Obama administration has sought to attribute the spike in Central Americans coming to the U.S. to poverty and regional violence, no such explanation exists for the arrival of Chinese immigrants. “[Traffic of Chinese-born persons] seemed to have dried up for awhile, but then maybe within the last month or so it seemed to have increased,” says Albert Spratte, the sergeant-at-arms of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley. “You see them in threes or fours, and it’s always, ‘Oh, the one-child policy, the one-child policy, don’t want to go back.’ They’re always trying to claim some credible fear.” Spratte says a few Chinese nationals crossed the river into Texas via jet skis near Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas, last week. Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, says about five or six Chinese were processed at the McAllen Border Patrol Station in just one day last week. “We’re seeing more and more exotic OTMs [Other Than Mexicans] that are coming in,” Cabrera says. “They’ve gotten word of this and they’re taking advantage of it as well.” Farther north, in Brooks County, Border Patrol officials have placed “rescue beacons” that provide instructions for distressed trespassers in three languages: English, Spanish, and Chinese...more

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Environmentalists Drew Obama's Emissions Blueprint

In November 2010, three combatants gathered in a sleek office here to build a carbon emissions policy that they hoped to sell to the Obama administration. One was a lawyer who had been wielding the Clean Air Act since his days at the University of California, Berkeley. Another had turned to practicing environmental law and writing federal regulations to curb pollution after spending a summer on a pristine island off Nova Scotia. The third, a climate scientist who is a fixture on Capitol Hill, became an environmentalist because of postcollege backpacking trips in the Rockies.  Over the next two years the lawyers, David Doniger and David Hawkins, and the scientist, Daniel Lashof, worked with a team of experts to write a 110-page proposal, widely viewed as innovative and audacious, that was aimed at slashing planet-warming carbon pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. On June 2, President Obama proposed a new Environmental Protection Agency rule to curb power plant emissions that used as its blueprint the work of the three men and their team. It was a remarkable victory for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the longtime home of Mr. Doniger and Mr. Hawkins and, until recently, of Mr. Lashof. The organization has a reach that extends from the big donors of Wall Street to the elite of Hollywood (Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford are on its board) to the far corners of the Environmental Protection Agency, where Mr. Doniger and Mr. Hawkins once worked...Representatives of the coal industry agreed. “N.R.D.C. is crafting regulatory policy for the E.P.A. that is designed to advance their agenda at the cost of American businesses and people who will pay the price through much higher electricity rates,” wrote Laura Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a lobbying group. Scott Segal, who lobbies for the coal industry with the firm Bracewell & Giuliani, said in an email that the council’s experts “have unprecedented access to this E.P.A. and are able to project influence down to the details of regulatory proposals and creative legal theories.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was so certain of the council’s sway that it used the group’s proposal as the basis for its economic analysis of what it expected in the E.P.A. rule, before the rule’s actual release...Its annual budget of about $120 million is far higher than that of most environmental groups, in part because of board members like Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Redford, who are the attractions at lavish fund-raising galas for studio heads and Silicon Valley magnates. In a typical event in 2011, guests at the Malibu home of Ron Meyer, now the vice chairman of NBCUniversal, sipped Champagne and watched surfers paddle out to form a peace sign in the Pacific Ocean. The event raised $2.6 million. The council’s fund-raising office in New York has also found big donors in the business world, including at Google and Goldman Sachs. “With N.R.D.C., I would like to think I’m getting the best bang for the buck,” said Alan F. Horn, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios and a member of the group’s board. “These people are steeped in expertise.”...more

Wilderness - End may be near for Point Reyes oyster farm

It looks like the last oyster may finally be shucked at the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. by the end of December, judging by what both sides in the long legal fight over the future of the farm said in federal court Monday. Then again, maybe not. Lawyers for the oyster company said that as part of settlement talks with the federal government, which has sought for two years to shut down the operation in Point Reyes National Seashore, they may agree to tear out canning and retail operations by the end of July and remove all the oysters from the water by the end of the year. However, while those talks go on, the Drakes Bay attorneys are still scraping for ways to adjust their lawsuit seeking to keep the farm open. That defiant tone was not the one Bazel used at Monday's hearing in Oakland before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. The hearing was held to update Rogers on discussions between both sides in the wake of last week's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a federal court ruling against the farm in its fight to stay open. Bazel and lawyers for the U.S. Interior Department told Rogers they plan to come to a settlement in the suit by Aug. 1 regarding the oyster farm's removal. The Lunnys have been fighting the federal government's shutdown order since November 2012, when then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refused to renew the oyster farm's lease. Salazar said the farm didn't fit the government's long-term plans to keep that part of Point Reyes a wilderness area. In September, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the farm's argument that the Interior Department had relied on faulty scientific evidence and overreached its powers when it refused to extend the lease...more

Oysters...cattle...people, they are all subservient to Wilderness.  


"Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it."
-- George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'

Environmentalists, industry squawk over prairie chickens

A battle is brewing in the western USA over federal protections for four species of chickenlike birds with declining populations, setting up one of the most contentious fights over threatened species since environmentalists and business interests sparred over the northern spotted owl in the 1990s. The fight intensified last month after three environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to try to force the agency to more aggressively protect the lesser prairie chicken -- a bird the service placed on the threatened species list this year. The FWS estimated in 2013 that the lesser prairie chicken population stood at about 17,600, half what it was a year earlier and less than a third of its population in the late 1990s. Environmentalists contend in their lawsuit that the FWS should put the lesser prairie chicken -- a member of the grouse family known for its colorful plumage and burbling mating calls -- on the higher endangered list. The less restrictive "threatened" designation allows oil, gas, wind power, agriculture and other industries to kill up to 1,300 prairie chickens a year in the five states where the prairie chicken roosts: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. "In listing the species as threatened, the government carved out all sorts of exemptions. … It's almost impossible to conceive how someone could violate the rule other than by deliberately going out and shooting a chicken," said Jay Lininger, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that sued the FWS. Before the lawsuit, state, local and federal lawmakers decried the threatened species designation as overreach by the federal government that will hamper the energy and agriculture industries. Kansas and Oklahoma sued over the prairie chicken designation, and four New Mexico counties joined a lawsuit by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association in Texas. Under the Obama administration, the FWS has listed 263 species as endangered or threatened, an average of 47.8 per year, according to data compiled by the Defenders of Wildlife. In comparison, the George W. Bush administration listed 70 species, or 8.8 per year, over two terms, and the Clinton administration listed 535 species, or 66.9 per year, over two terms...more

Interior officials push for conservation funding

Leaders in the Interior Department are touring the country this week to build support for fixes to a fund that pays for conservation efforts. The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses money from offshore oil and gas drilling leases to pay for parks, wildlife refuges, recreation and other conservation efforts, both within the federal government and in partnership with states and municipalities. But ever since it was authorized at $900 million 50 years ago, the drilling fees have never reached the $900 million mark. “In other words, the American public — ranchers, sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts, and city-dwellers alike — have all been shorted,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters Monday. The Obama administration is pushing a proposal, outlined in the president’s 2015 budget request, that would use a combination of new appropriated money and changes in the fund’s authorization to eventually bring it back to $900 million. In addition, the fund’s authorization runs out next year, so Interior officials are pushing for its reauthorization. “Without action from Congress, it will disappear in a year,” Jewell said. “It is urgent that Congress act now to reauthorize the fund.” The conservation fund has paid for acquiring land, building trails, protecting historic battlefields and maintaining facilities, among other uses. Interior leaders will speak at events this week in areas that rely on the conservation funding around the country...more

Could a Cow Virus Cause Colon Cancer?

The remote possibility that I might develop mad cow disease as a result has never stopped me from diving into a nice juicy hamburger (preferably with a generous helping of ketchup and relish). But that was before I heard Harald zur Hausen hypothesize that a cow virus might be responsible for most cases of colon cancer. And why should anyone pay attention to what Harald Zur Hausen thinks? Well, he won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for proving that most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a few strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Nor is HPV the only viral cause of cancer. Chronic infection with certain hepatitis viruses, for example, is a major cause of liver cancer. Zur Hausen’s intriguing line of evidence consists mostly of provocative questions that take on the received wisdom—questions that he is more than willing to follow with further investigation of the sort that will eventually prove his hypothesis right or wrong. For example, the received wisdom is that the connection between red meat and an increased risk of colon cancer has something to do with the number of heterocyclic amines that form during the cooking of red meat. And yet, zur Hausen reported, “fried, grilled or smoked fish or chicken actually have the same or higher concentration of heterocyclic amines as red meat.” In other words, why would heterocyclic amines be a problem for one kind of cooked meat, but not another? Then zur Hausen relayed the curious fact that the country of Mongolia has very low colon cancer rates, but it also has highest meat consumption per capita of any country in the world. Perhaps the fact that Mongols eat mostly yak, mutton goat, canned meat and horsemeat has something to do with the apparent mystery. Colon cancer incidence is relatively low in India (where vegetarianism is quite prominent), some Arabic countries (where goat is more common) and Bolivia as well, zur Hausen said. The Bolivian situation is a bit complicated by the fact that so many of the beef cattle there appear to be mixes from different species...more

West's oldest continuous powwow

Home is where the tepee rises for dozens of families this week at the 116th annual Arlee Celebration. That’s no big surprise, since the West’s oldest continuous powwow draws those who tend to pay close attention to their tribal traditions. For many in this part of Indian Country, the tepee is an integral part of that. What you might not suspect if you drop by the powwow in the next few days is that the sight of so many canvas-and-lodgepole structures is not all that common at these events. Arlee draws its share in part because the committee provides poles, rough-hewn though they might be. They’re leaning on racks on either side of the powwow grounds, replenished every year by volunteer groups, Kicking Horse Job Corps or the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes’ forestry department. The most common-sized tepee requires 17 poles of 24 feet in length. As the annual powwow shifts into competition mode Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the times for families and friends to sit and visit will become fewer, said Willie Stevens, the vice chairman of the powwow, as he finished his late lunch in Home Gun’s lodge. More than the prize money and food, the powwow’s importance lies in what it offers youths, Stevens said. “It’s a time for our young kids, to teach them our traditions and cultural ways,” he said. “They find out who their relatives are that way. They come together and they know who their family is and it’s really important for them to get together.”...more

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Calls for Congressional Hearings on Health of Immigrants

The recent surge in illegal border crossings, especially by unaccompanied children, could cause a serious public health crisis in the U.S., according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. There is a high risk of bringing deadly diseases, both familiar like measles and unfamiliar like dengue ("bonebreak") fever, to a vulnerable population. The proper public health response is to confine the risk and alert authorities and the public. The U.S. government response is apparently to disperse potentially infected people far and wide, and reportedly to threaten to arrest or fire law enforcement or medical personnel who speak out.  The influx was evidently anticipated. An opportunity to provide escort services for 65,000 unaccompanied children was advertised in in January. Charter flights operate between the border town of Brownsville, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, on an almost daily basis—some taking an unusual route through Mexican air space. Private contractors have reportedly been buying up real estate and speeding through the permitting process to open shelters.  "This does not look like a spontaneous flight of refugees from an unpublicized war in Central America," stated AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. "Nor does it look as though deep-pocketed investors have suddenly become great humanitarians."  Whatever the political or economic interests involved, physicians need to be concerned about all the human beings involved: the illegal migrants themselves, those caring for them, and those living in the communities to which they are being sent. AAPS has sent an open letter to Congress calling for hearings on the public health issues. Congress needs to provide protection for whistleblowers. AAPS suggests interviewing officials from Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), commanders of military facilities used to house illegal migrants, state and local public health officials, private contractors, and personnel in direct contact with the migrants, including current and former Border Patrol agents and medical personnel.  Press Release

2 cases of active tuberculosis found in Central American immigrants brought to El Paso for processing

Two Central American immigrants brought to El Paso for processing have active tuberculosis, the National Border Patrol Council Local 1929 told ABC-7 Monday. "We're concerned for our agents and they're absolutely concerned about taking something back to their families or contracting something from these people that we have to process," Stu Harris from NBPC Local 1929 said. "It's an unfortunate circumstance that we're in. It's going to continue to happen until something can be done in south Texas to secure the border."...more

Tuberculosis found at camps

Are the thousands of illegal immigrant kids housed in detention facilities happy and well fed -- or are they living in disease-infested compounds shrouded in secrecy? Well, it depends on who you ask. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seems to think the children coming across the southern border are remarkably healthy. It's a sentiment shared by BCFS -- the Texas-based agency formerly known as Baptist Child & Family Services contracted to run camps at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. More than 7,000 children have been processed through the two camps, according to a BCFS official. They allege that only 119 children have been treated for lice, 22 for scabies, and one for the H1N1 Flu.  Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner David Lakey, M.D. says state health officials have seen only three cases of tuberculosis, the Associated Press reports.  However, at least a half dozen anonymous sources, including nurses and health care providers who worked at Lackland, allege that the government is covering up what they believe to be a very serious health threat. Several of my sources tell me that tuberculosis has become a dangerous issue at both the border and the camps. Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at New York University's Langone Medical Center and a Fox News A Team medical contributor, said tuberculosis appears to be spreading through several counties in southern Texas. He told me that some counties are reporting twice the usual average number of cases. "Some of the tuberculosis that comes from Central America is drug resistant," he told me. "It's not easier to spread but it is harder to treat. I'm concerned about that." And while, TB is not that easy to spread, he warned that all those children living in close quarters could be a ticking time bomb. "It is a disease that needs to be carefully monitored and screened for -- something that is not possible under the current circumstances," Siegel said...more

Border Patrol union claims scabies ‘outbreak’ threatens agents, public

A Border Patrol union claims that illegal immigrant minors are coming into the U.S. with "active scabies and other illnesses," claiming one of its agents already has contracted the mite-borne skin infection and warning it could spread into surrounding communities if precautions are not taken.  The union's warning comes amid claims of tuberculosis at one camp in San Antonio and Texas Gov. Rick Perry's testimony last week of a confirmed case of H1N1, or swine flu. The medical issues pertain to illegal immigrant minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and being detained in Texas and other states. The most detailed information so far has come out of the San Diego Local 1613 chapter of the National Border Patrol Council.  "Border Patrol management is aware of the scabies outbreak but continue to ignore recommendations," Ronald Zermeno, health and safety director for the San Diego chapter, wrote to a top California Border Patrol official in a July 4 letter.  The chapter revealed Friday that one of its agents had contracted scabies, "sometime during routine processing of the first group of 140 illegal immigrants from Texas."  In his letter, Zermeno warned about the possibility of these cases spreading and raised alarm about the alleged lack of precautions being taken during the screening process. He attached pictures showing “contaminated bedding” in paper bags kept outside the Chula Vista station.  Internally, the chapter is urging agents to bring a second set of clothes to work, and to place clothing in a plastic bag to transport it to a washing machine after work. Further, they’re urging agents to use gloves to handle all bedding and clothing...more

Doctor Speaks Out Against Feds Silencing Medical Staff on Border

Early in July it was revealed that doctors and nurses were allegedly threatened with arrest if they disclosed any information about the diseases discovered in federal housing facilities for illegal immigrants. Many on the left have claimed that by speaking out about their work at the facilities, medical personnel would be violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which "protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information." But Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet--an experienced physician and nationally recognized speaker--told Breitbart Texas that under the law nurses and doctors are free to speak out. "It is not a violation of HIPAA for a doctor or nurse to speak out about a public health concern and not mention a patient's name," Vliet said. "Medical personnel should be free to be interviewed and speak about the kinds of diseases they are seeing and the frequency of them. This would serve the public good and safety--again, it is not a violation of HIPAA."...more

Monday, July 07, 2014

U.K. climate minister sees U.S. and China boosting chances for global pact

The Obama administration's proposed curbs on power plant emissions have helped open the door to an international climate change deal, the United Kingdom's energy secretary said yesterday. In an interview with ClimateWire, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey called the contentious new carbon dioxide regulations under U.S. EPA "fantastic." And while there has been little evidence yet that China or other major emitters are following suit with their own fresh targets, Davey said he is optimistic. "I am absolutely convinced the Chinese have taken a decision that they must pursue a clean energy future," Davey said. Movement in the United States to ratchet back greenhouse gas emissions, he added, "gives the political space for a deal to be done." Nations have pledged to develop a new climate change agreement to be signed in Paris in 2015. Under it, all countries -- including big developing countries like China, India and Brazil -- will be expected to contribute to emissions cuts after 2020. But working out the details of what could be the world's first truly global climate agreement has been slow-going and contentious. A midyear negotiating session in Bonn, Germany, last month moved the ball forward by inches with an agreement to circulate "elements" of a draft deal. Leaders have called for a draft text to be completed at a December summit in Lima, Peru...more