Friday, October 23, 2015

Federal probe - EPA mine spill was preventable

Federal experts are blaming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a major mine wastewater spill in Colorado. Investigators with the Interior Department, who were charged with independently probing the August spill, reported Thursday that the EPA rushed through the engineering work leading up to the incident and did not understand the complexity of the abandoned Gold King Mine. The Thursday report contrasts with one completed in August by the EPA, finding that the blowout of 3 million gallons of dangerous sludge was “likely inevitable.”Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation found that the EPA, Colorado officials and a contractor decided against drilling a borehole horizontally into the mine, above the pooled wastewater, to determine its volume and pressure. “This error resulted in development of a plan to open the mine in a manner that appeared to guard against blowout, but instead led directly to the failure,” the report said. Richard Olson, an engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers who reviewed the report before it was released, told investigators that he wanted to investigate more about how communications at the EPA broke down about the mine cleanup, and how that contributed to the incident. But Interior argued that its report should only cover the technical aspects of the spill, so it did not probe communications...more

Judge denies new trial for convicted San Juan County commissioner

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman will not get a new trial after his conviction for an illegal ATV protest ride in a closed southern Utah canyon. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer denied Lyman's and co-defendant Monte Wells' request in a written decision Thursday. In a separate order, Nuffer also rejected the commissioner's motion for an acquittal. Meantime, Lyman informed the Utah Association of Counties on Thursday that he will not accept its award for County Commissioner of the Year. Lyman and Wells argued that prosecutors failed to disclose a 1979 map showing the road in Recapture Canyon is a public right of way known as an RS2477 road. They say that means they can't be legally faulted for leading and riding with a group of protestors who were angry about the Bureau of Land Management closing the canyon. Prosecutors say the map is irrelevant because the legal status of the canyon was not an issue for the jury. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby, who has since removed himself from the case, did not allow defense lawyers to argue about the road closure during the trial because he had already found it legal. Nuffer agreed...more

Sandoval, Laxalt clash over sage grouse lawsuit

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt joined a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging new land use regulations to protect sage grouse, drawing a terse response from Gov. Brian Sandoval who said the state's top attorney was acting in his own "personal capacity" and does not represent the state in the matter. Laxalt was quick to respond to the slap, calling the governor's statement "troubling" and "wrong." "The state of Nevada has joined this lawsuit," Laxalt said, adding "the attorney general is the only constitutional officer authorized by Nevada to intervene or to appear in litigation about public lands in the name of the state." "The attorney general's office has done so," he said. The AG's office said it had lengthy meetings with governor staff members before the suit was filed. Filing of the suit and the ensuing exchange between the constitutional offices underscored a simmering rift between Sandoval and Laxalt, both Republicans, who have clashed before over suing the federal government. Just weeks after taking office in January, Laxalt joined with 25 other states to challenge President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. Sandoval disagreed with the action, saying the matter would be best handled legislatively in Congress. Laxalt on Thursday filed an amended complaint in federal court in Reno to a suit first filed by Elko and Eureka counties and two mining companies over regulations that will restrict activities on millions of acres of public lands in Nevada that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. Seven other counties — White Pine, Lander, Lincoln, Humboldt, Washoe, Churchill and Pershing — also have since joined the suit...more

I understand the Governor supports Interior's decision, but the enviros are filing suit and doesn't the Governor want the state's interests heard in court?

St. George makes case over BLM plans for conservation areas

In the six years since the Bureau of Land Management started drafting management plans for the Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Areas, St. George City Manager Gary Esplin said he never had any communication with agency. So on Thursday, as he and members of the St. George City Council finally had a chance to voice concerns with a BLM representative, he couldn’t help but voice frustration at the lack of involvement local governments have had in the process. “We haven’t been asked about the Northern Corridor, or any of the utility needs, anything,” Esplin said Thursday as he and other city officials visited with Brian Tritle, the recently-installed field manager of the BLM’s St. George Field Office. Tritle inherited a firestorm when he was hired two months ago, shortly after the agency released its Draft Resource Management Plans for the two conservation areas. He spent much of Thursday’s meeting absorbing the myriad issues council members have with the proposals, which a majority of local officials have argued will limit access and harm quality of life. Sticking points have included whether a “northern corridor” roadway could be built across the Red Cliffs area, whether grazing and OHV use should be further restricted, and whether the land should be made available for a potential reintroduction of the endangered California Condor. Councilwoman Bette Arial, who sat in on some of the meetings — as an employee for the BLM — in the 1990s when many of the negotiations that led to the existing plans for the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, called the new draft plans an end-around all of the common ground that had been reached over those years...more

Wolf fight headed to Roswell

The New Mexico State Game Commission will hold a public hearing in Roswell next month to consider an appeal by media mogul Ted Turner to import and possess Mexican gray wolves at his sprawling ranch in south-central New Mexico. The Game Commission is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Nov. 19 at Pearson Auditorium on the campus of New Mexico Military Institute. On the agenda, among other items, is an appeal by the Turner Endangered Species Fund, which requested a permit renewal to hold wolves in captivity at the Ladder Ranch. The Ladder Ranch, private property owned by Turner, applied for permits to import and possess Mexican gray wolves at the 156,439-acre ranch property in south central New Mexico, where Turner is raising endangered Mexican wolves and bison. The Game Commission earlier this year voted unanimously to deny the Ladder Ranch wolf applications. Cattle ranchers praised the Game Commission’s decision, while environmental and wildlife groups oppose the decision. Game commissioners have said they couldn’t approve the permit because of the failure of the federal government to update a decades-old recovery plan for the wolves. Officials with the Turner Endangered Species Fund said denying their permit applications will not lead to a new recovery plan. Turner, former owner of CNN, has bought 1.7 million acres in New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota since 1987, becoming the largest private landowner in the United States. In New Mexico, the billionaire owns almost 1.1 million acres, or 1.5 percent of the nation’s fifth-largest state. The sprawling Ladder Ranch, in the foothills of the Black Range east of the Gila Mountains and south of Truth or Consequences, is caught in the middle of a dispute between the state and federal wildlife officials over management of the Mexican gray wolf...more

Hyatt's nominated for land stewardship honor

Leedrue Hyatt and family are being nominated for the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts 2015 Outstanding Land Stewardship Award due to his strong conviction with conservation of natural resources. The Hyatt family has been ranching since 1898. They are on their fourth generation working the ranch. Leedrue's great-grandfather settled in the Deming area in 1898. Leedrue and Sandy had three children, Brady, the oldest who works for Columbus Electric but also helps at the ranch, Garrett, who lives in Minnesota but tries to stay active with the ranch, and Ryan who was killed in a ranching accident. They have three grandchildren, all girls. A common trait in ranching is that the third generation usually leaves or loses the ranch. It’s a tribute to the Hyatt’s’ ancestors that the ranch is working on its fifth generation. For years the Hyatt family has worked endless hours to improve the rangeland for both livestock and wildlife. They have participated in several USDA programs such as EQIP, FRIF, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts and CSP, but they did improvements before the programs existed...more

Net farm income takes big drop

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, this year’s 36 percent fall in net farm income is the biggest drop since the bad year of 1983. Just two years ago, net farm income set a record, $123.7 billion. This year, USDA sees it collapsing to $58.3 billion, down from 2014’s still-good $91 billion.
A $32.7 billion, 12-month belly flop like that requires almost every ag sector to fall face-first off a cliff and, boy, will they.  This year’s cash sales compared to last, forecasts USDA, show: — corn down an estimated $7.1 billion;–soybeans down $3.4 billion and wheat off by $1.6 billion; — total U.S. dairy receipts down by 29 percent, hog receipts off 27 percent and — total livestock sales down a whopping $19.4 billion. By contrast, government payments show a big increase: USDA pegs 2015 farm program costs at $11.4 billion, 16 percent more than 2014 and the most since 2010.  This bleak picture, issued Aug. 25, stands until USDA issues an update next February...more

Prehistoric Trackways celebration set

The Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District will host a celebration Saturday highlighting the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument northwest of Las Cruces. The public is invited to join local dignitaries and BLM staff at 9 a.m. Saturday at the entrance to the monument. It commemorates the 15th anniversary of National Conservation Lands, according to a BLM news release. In addition, the BLM will recognize the donation of a public easement and dedicate the new monument portal sign. An easement through private land, donated by the Burke family of Las Cruces, has enhanced access to the monument. Saturday’s celebration will honor Francis Burke, posthumously, and his family for their generous contribution that ensures public access to one of the BLM’s outstanding landscapes, according to the release...more

Strong El Nino rearing its head in NM

The latest snow forecast from the climate prediction center has National Weather Service Meteorologist Deirdre Kann smiling. "I'm an optimist by nature and a skier, so of course you want people to get excited about the fact that winter sports in general - it should be a good situation for them," said Kann. The most updated computer models predict a strong El Nino will continue throughout the winter...more

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Elaborate drug tunnel uncovered in San Diego, 16 captured

OTAY MESA, Calif. - Mexican authorities said Thursday they seized about 10 tons of marijuana in an elaborate tunnel with a rail car system that extended into San Diego and was designed to smuggle drugs into the U.S. from Tijuana. The discovery on Wednesday marks one of the longest and more sophisticated clandestine tunnels found on the U.S.-Mexico border. The passage was 9 feet deep and about 2,600 feet long — about three-quarters of that distance in Tijuana and the rest in San Diego. It was lit, ventilated and built with metal beams to prevent collapse. Meanwhile, federal authorities had a building blocked off with crime tape at 2587 Otay Center Dr. in Otay Mesa. On Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers along with Homeland Security officials were on scene, but would not confirm if the tunnel ended at that building. Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for ICE, declined to comment. It was also unclear which drug trafficking organization began the engineering feat. The region is largely controlled by Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, whose leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escaped from a maximum-security prison in Mexico in July through an elaborate tunnel. Mexican police said in a press release about the drug tunnel that 16 people were detained on suspicion of drug trafficking and had told authorities that they had ties to a criminal group that operates in the state of Jalisco — an apparent reference to the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which controls that part of western Mexico...more

U.S. border inspector fatally shoots knife-wielding Mexican man at California crossing

A U.S. border inspector fatally shot a knife-wielding Mexican man at a California crossing on Wednesday, and an agency official quickly defended his actions. The Customs and Border Protection officer fired his gun four times around midnight, striking the man in his chest and possibly in his neck at the port of entry in downtown Calexico, about 120 miles east of San Diego and across the border from Mexicali, Mexico, said Pete Flores, the agency's San Diego field office director. The 35-year-old Mexican, who was not permitted to enter the United States, was on a bicycle in a vehicle inspection lane for "trusted travelers" and appeared as if he wasn't going to stop, Flores said. The man wielded a knife that was about eight inches long after the inspector grabbed his other arm and forced the man to drop his bike. The man raised his knife and moved toward the inspector, who was backing away when the shots rang, said Flores, who didn't know the precise distance between the two men. The man was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The officer, who worked in Calexico since joining Customs and Border Protection in February 2008, was unharmed. Neither name was released...more

Surge of illegal children, families accelerates

The surge of children and families crossing the southwest border illegally accelerated again in September, leaving fiscal year 2015 the second-worst on record, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Border Patrol. Agents caught 4,476 children traveling without parents on the border last month and 5,273 parents and children traveling as families — both of those nearly twice the level of September 2014, suggesting that smugglers have once again stepped up their efforts to entice Central Americans to make the crossing. Instead, the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 with mixed news of a drop in children and families from 2014, but a year-end trend that suggested the problem is far from solved. Border Patrol officials in Washington blamed violence and poor economic conditions in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras for pushing illegal immigrants to flee their homes and head north, but agents on the ground said the problem is lax U.S. enforcement, which entices migrants to make the dangerous journey, assured that they will be allowed in the U.S. rather than turned away at the border. “We’re talking about the rule of law in other countries; we’re not enforcing the rule of law in this country,” Chris Cabrera, an official with the National Border Patrol Council, the labor union for line agents, testified to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. Central American families and children caught at the border are given papers setting court dates but are then released into the U.S. The government calls those documents “notices to appear,” but the illegal immigrants regularly refer to them as “permisos,” or free passes, because they give tentative permission to be in the country while they await their court appearances. “In Border Patrol circles, that paperwork is now known as the ‘notice to disappear’ — 80 percent, 90 percent of those folks will not show up for that hearing,” Mr. Cabrera testified. Illegal immigrants have even begun posting photos of their permisos on social media, telling friends and family how easy it is to gain access to the U.S., investigators told Congress...more

Local and National Media Ignore RPG Attack Just Miles from Texas Border

Local and National media outlets have all but ignored an RPG attack on a Mexican police headquarters building located just south of the Texas border town of Eagle Pass. This seems to follow a pattern of news outlets ignoring the cartel war occurring just south of the major Texas cities of McAllen and Brownsville. On Friday evening, a SUV loaded with gunmen suspected to be members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, attacked a police building that is headquarters of a specialized police SWAT (GATES in Spanish) team in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila. Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz reported the cartel gunmen fired a Russian RPG-7 at the state police building. The RPG did not explode but members of the Mexican military were dispatched to retrieve it and deactivate the device...more

Four migrants flee Tucson shelter, yet another concern for immigration system

Four Honduran teenage boys are missing after they ran away from a federally funded shelter in Tucson this month, sparking concern among both conservative and liberal critics of the system for housing immigrant youths. Both sides say the program needs more oversight and transparency. Shelter officials immediately notified police, who have yet to find the teens, according to Tucson police spokesman Christopher Goins. “From what they told us about these juveniles, they were no danger to themselves or others,” Goins said, so they were not listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Web page. As of this month, 5,900 unaccompanied immigrant youths were held at shelters nationwide, which are less restrictive than detention centers. The shelter system drew national attention last year after more than 68,500 mostly Central American children arrived without parents at the Texas border. There are more than 100 other facilities in a dozen states with 8,000 beds, most along the Southwest border...more

Migrants from terrorist nations caught crossing U.S. border

Dozens of illegal migrants from terrorist nations entered the United States through Mexico late last year and are being held in a Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing center where they recently began a hunger strike. The 54 detainees are nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and they are seeking asylum in the U.S. The migrants, who crossed into the U.S. in December, started a hunger strike last Wednesday to protest their detention at an ICE facility in El Paso, Judicial Watch reported. Eleven of the detainees were released over the weekend, CBS 4 in El Paso reported. Meanwhile, a U.S. border agent informed WND that four more migrants from a terrorist nation crossed over the Mexican border into Southern California just in the last few days.
“I can confirm we got those four from Pakistan, and they went up to the Adelanto Detention Center in Victorville, California. I imagine they’re still there,” the agent told WND. “I’m sure they’re going to claim asylum. “Our four crossed over from the Calexico and El Central areas in southeast California. But we’ve heard that El Paso is getting hit as well.”...more

‘For the Record’: Cartel Violence and Corruption Spilling Across the Border From Mexico - video

There are growing signs that the Mexican drug cartels’ power and influence is escalating in the United States.  From the gruesome murders to the arrests of well over 100 U.S. law enforcement agents for taking bribes, it’s clear the drug war south of the border has moved to American soil.

Here's the video

Jeb Bush would move Interior Department headquarters to somewhere in the West

Jeb Bush said Wednesday that he would rein in regulation at the Interior Department as president and try to move its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to the West, home to 90 percent of federally owned land. "There is a tradition of having a secretary from the West," the former Florida governor said at a discussion organized by his presidential campaign. "But the folks that actually do the work ... all live in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and I think they ought to be living out amongst us." The proposal was part of Bush's land and resource management plan, which is aimed at building consensus between federal, state and local governments. Bush didn't say in his speech where he would locate the headquarters, although an outline suggested his proposed agency would do a better job of keeping in touch with the people it serves if it was based in a place like Denver, Salt Lake City or Reno. Bush says federal land management under President Barack Obama has been characterized by restrictive regulations, more land use constraints and more land acquisition by the government. "This relentless overregulation has undermined the trust between western communities and the federal government," he said. Bush said his plan would steer money currently used to make new federal land acquisitions, designate new national monuments and wilderness toward a $11.5 billion backlog in maintenance and improvements at national parks across the country. He said he would adopt a "states-first wildlife policy — a policy that allows states to implement their own plans for restoring and protecting the species."...more

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Some interruptions.

The search for a new rodeo coach at NMSU and other matters are keeping me away from the blog.  Things should get back to normal starting next Tuesday.

Stay tuned, though, as I'll do the best I can.

Helicopter crash marks troublesome cattle roundup near Searchlight

The wild remnants of one of southern Clark County's last cattle herds are now being cleared from the mountains between Henderson and Searchlight, but the work so far has not gone smoothly. A crew of cowboys from Utah is gathering stray and feral cows from the McCullough Mountains under a contract with the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Flint Wright, animal industry administrator for the department, said the operation started Friday and has no scheduled completion date. As of Monday, just 17 cows had been collected. "They're essentially wild cattle, and it's going to take some time," Wright said. The roundup hit a major snag Sunday, when a helicopter being used to find and chase cows crashed just off state Route 164 west of Searchlight. On Tuesday, the wrecked helicopter and its pilot could still be found at a motel in the town 60 miles south of Las Vegas. Richard Dick of Hutchinson, Kan., said he was hovering about 12 feet off the ground, trying to move a pair of stubborn bulls, when a gust of wind pushed his helicopter into a Joshua tree. The 1962-vintage Bell model 47G ended up on its side in pieces, but he walked away with bumps and bruises. The pilot said it was his first domestic accident in 17,000 hours of flying, though he crashed three times in Vietnam. When he climbed out the wreckage Sunday, Dick said, the bulls were just staring at him. The cattle now being rounded up have roamed the range untended since 2006, when rancher Cal Baird relinquished his federal grazing permit and sold his water rights to the county to preserve habitat for the desert tortoise and other federally protected species. According to the Bureau of Land Management, Baird moved most of his livestock from the 111,000-acre federal grazing allotment to Arizona, but a few stragglers were left behind...more

BLM tracks down online impersonator

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has tracked down an agency employee who impersonated a retired BLM heavy equipment operator online, but will not identify the person. Greg Allum, an Eastern Oregon resident once employed by BLM, recently informed Capital Press that his name was used to post comments on an article about the arson convictions of two Oregon ranchers. Allum denied making the comments about Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father and son who were recently sentenced to five years in prison for setting fires on BLM property near Diamond, Ore. The comments referred to the Hammonds as “clowns” and defended the actions of BLM in pursuing criminal charges against them. After checking the Internet Protocol address used to make the comments, Capital Press found that they were posted from a computer that belongs to the BLM. The agency has identified the BLM employee who made the comments but cannot divulge any information about the person’s name, location, position or possible disciplinary actions, said Michael Campbell, a public information officer for BLM...more

Federal policies vex Utah water commission

Federal policies that either aim to instill more oversight of water or deny access altogether have some Utah leaders frothing over what they say is a repeated pattern of overreach that threatens local economies and livelihoods. A prime tempest of controversy discussed Tuesday by the State Water Development Commission is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States rule, which prompted multiple lawsuits by a dozen-plus states and the American Farm Bureau Federation. Utah joined with 17 other states asking federal courts to issue a stay and a constitutional review. Another lawsuit was launched by the American Farm Bureau Federation in Texas courts. Randy Parker, executive director of the Utah Farm Bureau, briefed the commission on an Oct. 9 ruling in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that issued a nationwide stay of the rule, noting there was a likelihood the EPA exceeded its authority. Critics that include Utah and Colorado also put enough pressure on the U.S. Forest Service to withdraw — at least for now — consideration of a new groundwater rule that would require the issuance of any permit to consider nearby groundwater resources in the area. Opponents said that such a rule potentially interfered with states' "sovereign" domain over groundwater resources within its borders, leading to the congressional legislation to ward off the directive. Ron Thompson, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, said possible revisions to a land-use plan by the Bureau of Land Management in Washington County have severe ramifications should one particular approach be adopted. The changes are part of management strategies for two new national conservation areas created with the Washington County Lands Bill of 2009. But Thompson said the BLM — under one option — is ignoring key considerations that went into the passage of the bill, including water supplies being left unhindered and right of way corridors left intact...more

New Mexico releases monitoring plan after Gold King Mine spill

Extensive soil and water sampling would be done along the Animas River in northwestern New Mexico and residents would be recruited to assess the level of heavy metals in their urine under a plan aimed at getting a better handle on the long-term effects of a mine spill that contaminated rivers in three Western states. New Mexico is developing a plan that will guide long-term monitoring activities in the wake of the Gold King Mine spill, which occurred near Silverton. A draft was released Tuesday, kicking off a 30-day comment period. Officials are urging tribes, local leaders, concerned residents and researchers to weigh in. State agencies working with scientists at some of New Mexico’s colleges and universities will be focusing on water quality, sediment and effects on agriculture, livestock and wildlife. Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn described it as an “important endeavor to protect New Mexicans and our unique environment.”...more

Tiny living enthusiasts are flocking to sheep wagons - video

If you're looking for an authentic taste of Basque culture outside of Basque Country — a picturesque, fiercely proud region in the foothills of the Pyrenees that fans out from the Bay of Biscay in the northernmost reaches of Spain and southwestern France — you’ll find it in Boise, Idaho. That’s right, Boise. Since the late-19th century, the area in and around southern Idaho’s Treasure Valley has been home to a lively Basque diaspora — a vibrant and close-knit community that’s, well, no small potatoes. Today, an estimated 16,000 residents of Basque descent live in the Boise area. My own family even has ties to the Boise Basque: my aunt by marriage is of Basque extraction and, in turn, my first cousins grew up with a maternal grandmother fluent in Euskara. Outside of the Basque Block, traditions are preserved in other ways including in the remarkable handiwork of Kim and Kathy Vader of Idaho Sheep Camp. The Vaders — Kim, a craftsman, is descended from a long line of Basque sheep ranchers — are in the business of building bespoke sheep wagons — that is, cozy little mobile shelters inhabited by early Basque immigrants who worked the land as shepherds and farmers. Even modern-day sheep ranchers, including relatives of Kim and Kathy, continue to use these rustic proto-Winnebagos in lieu of sleek, newfangled travel trailers. “There was a time there they decided to go to travel trailers, but after a year they decided travel trailers didn’t work so they went back to the old sheep wagons,” explains Kim. “I think the construction of them [the travel trailers] just didn’t hold up. Too many foo-foos and too many things to come apart and they just didn’t hold up.” Globetrotting documentarian and downsized living enthusiast Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies recently profiled Kim and Kathy Vader in a new video that provides a glimpse into the rich history of sheep wagons — the “Airstream of pioneers” as faircompanies calls them — and how the cozy, canvas-covered dwellings-on-wheels are now being embraced by tiny home enthusiasts and those seeking a “more original” vacation home or guest house...more

Here's a video about the Vader's and the sheep wagons: 

Gulf Cartel Silences Mexican Border Media: No Mention of Orejon's Capture or Violence in Print

MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — The control that organized crime has over media outlets was once again displayed in full force this weekend in this border city as the print news outlets made no mention about the capture of one of the top leaders within the Gulf cartel nor about the raging gun battles that took place the next day. As Breitbart Texas published on Friday, Mexican authorities arrested the leader of the Ciclones group from the Gulf cartel, one of the top leaders within the criminal organization, named Angel Eduardo “El Orejon or Ciclon 7”  Rodriguez Prado. After the arrest, authorities set up a massive deployment of federal assets with air support that lasted for more than 10 hours. However, the new leadership of the Gulf Cartel (CDG) which rules over this border area, ordered print news outlets to omit any information about the Orejon. The front pages of the local and some national news outlets that are printed in Matamoros, left out any information about Friday’s arrest or about the large scale gun battles on Saturday. The front pages of those outlets showed other stories.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How a liberal vegan environmentalist made the switch from climate proponent to climate skeptic

by David Siegel

What is your position on the climate-change debate? What would it take to change your mind?
If the answer is It would take a ton of evidence to change my mind, because my understanding is that the science is settled, and we need to get going on this important issue, that’s what I thought, too. 

This is my story.

More than thirty years ago, I became vegan because I believed it was healthier (it’s not), and I’ve stayed vegan because I believe it’s better for the environment (it is). I haven’t owned a car in ten years. I love animals; I’ll gladly fly halfway around the world to take photos of them in their natural habitats. I’m a Democrat: I think governments play a key role in preserving our environment for the future in the most cost-effective way possible.Over the years, I built a set of assumptions: that Al Gore was right about global warming, that he was the David going up against the industrial Goliath. In 1993, I even wrote a book about it.

Recently, a friend challenged those assumptions. At first, I was annoyed, because I thought the science really was settled. As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.

2 Natural variation in weather and climate is tremendous. Most of what people call “global warming” is natural.
3 There is tremendous uncertainty as to how the climate really works. Climate models are not yet skillful; predictions are unresolved.
4 New research shows that fluctuations in energy from the sun correlate very strongly with changes in earth’s temperature, at both long and short time scales.
5 CO2 has very little to do with it. All the decarbonization we can do isn’t going to change the climate much.
6 There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide is coming out of your nose right now; it is not a poisonous gas. CO2 concentrations in previous eras have been many times higher than they are today.
7 Sea level will probably continue to rise, naturally and slowly. Researchers have found no link between CO2 and sea level.
9 No one has shown any damage to reef or marine systems. Additional man-made CO2 will not likely harm oceans, reef systems, or marine life. Fish are mostly threatened by people who eat them.
10 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others are pursuing a political agenda and a PR campaign, not scientific inquiry. There’s a tremendous amount of trickery going on under the surface*.

Could this possibly be right? Is it heresy, or critical thinking — or both? If I’ve upset or confused you, let me guide you through my journey

You’ll find it at:

Kerry: Climate change made the Syrian civil war far worse

Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Saturday that climate change didn't cause the Syrian conflict, but he said it did play a large role in making the situation worse. In a speech at the Milan Expo in Italy, Kerry said that climate change and the resulting food shortages play a large role in national security and urged the international community to come together to find a solution. "Make no mistake: The implications here extend well beyond hunger," Kerry said, according to an Associated Press report. "This isn't only about global food security; it's about global security — period." Violence in Syria under the regime of President Bashar Assad has resulted in the mass migration of millions of immigrants into Europe, straining resources there. Kerry said that the already-bad situation under the regime was worsened by climate change and the resulting drought and food shortage...more

Wolf kills not always obvious in livestock carcasses

This young cow was run to exhaustion and injured internally by wolves.
This summer Phil Davis lost several cattle to wolves, but they were not the typical victims of depredation. Instead of having obvious bite marks on them, he found extensive bruising under the skin. “If the animal is intact, most ranchers assume it died of something else (bloat, larkspur or disease) and don’t bother to skin it to discover bruising under the skin,” said Davis, who ranches near Cascade, Idaho. “Often the cattle killed in our area in late summer are left intact.” The bruising is from adult wolves that are teaching their pups how to kill. They chase cattle, running them to exhaustion, nipping at them and creating internal bruising. “These animals generally die, and people don’t know the reason. Ranchers don’t investigate whether it was a wolf kill,” Davis said. “I would have been able to collect compensation for more of my losses if I’d known what to look for.” A neighbor had 10 cows and 5 calves killed, and buried them, Davis said. He then dug up the last one to get it confirmed as a wolf kill. He wished he’d have known what to look for before he buried them, Davis said. In Idaho, compensation is paid for livestock killed by wolves, but it must be confirmed by USDA Wildlife Services. “If we can confirm it, then it qualifies for compensation,” said Todd Grimm, Idaho state director of USDA Wildlife Services in Boise. Some kills are obvious, with the animals ripped open and partly eaten, but others are more difficult to tell, especially if there are no outward marks of violence. Unless the animal is skinned to reveal bruising and bite marks under the skin, the rancher assumes the animal died of some other cause, he said. “With cattle, as many as one-third of the deaths from wolves that we’ve confirmed have died in this manner. They are not outwardly obvious. We see more of this problem in summer (when packs have pups) than winter,” Grimm said...Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said wolves do kill animals this way, but added that it’s not really related to the age of pups or time of year. “This is how wolves kill — with multiple bite trauma — chasing and biting and harassing the animal until it is exhausted, becomes weak or goes into shock, and is more easily killed,” he said. “If you are going to identify what happened when you find a dead animal, to know whether it was a wolf kill, skinning the carcass is very important. In Oregon, any time there is a carcass found, even if it has been mostly eaten, we try to skin what’s left,” Morgan said. “Wolves have relatively blunt teeth. They don’t always break the skin. You might not notice anything since cattle (or sheep) have long hair,” he said...more

From an article by Heather Smith Thomas for the Capital Press

Editorial: State plays hardball with feds over wolf recovery

No new recovery plan. No more wolves. That’s the completely reasonable position of the New Mexico Game Commission.

The commission recently upheld the state Game and Fish Department’s denial of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s request to release more wolves this year as part of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program.

The federal agency, which like many federal agencies views its powers as virtually limitless, wants to place up to 10 Mexican wolf pups into dens in the Gila National Forest to be raised by surrogate parents and to release two adult wolves and their pups into the Gila.

It’s the first time New Mexico has rejected the agency’s annual operational permit request, according to Fish and Wildlife. It follows an earlier commission rejection of a permit renewal for Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch wolf-holding facility in Sierra County.

Sherry Barrett, Mexican wolf coordinator for Fish and Wildlife, said the agency will review its options and may release the wolves anyway.

The agency’s position, predictably, is that it does not need state approval to pursue the wolf recovery program, which now has about 110 wolves in New Mexico and Arizona, although it prefers to have state buy-in.

Under Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration, the state and the feds have been at odds over the program.

...The federal government appears to be making up the program as it goes. New Mexico is right: A plan first, more wolves second.

Tombstone gunfighter and bystander wounded during Old West re-enactment

Two people were hit with bullets Sunday during a gunfight re-enactment in the Old West town of Tombstone that was supposed to involve blanks. The shooting occurred Sunday afternoon as two actors in the Tombstone Vigilante group engaged in a standoff as they re-enacted an episode from the town made famous by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the O.K. Corral. The Tombstone Marshal's Office said one of the actor's guns fired live rounds, hitting a fellow member of the group. Ken Curtis fell to the ground and was flown to a hospital in Tucson, where he underwent surgery to remove the bullet. Other rounds struck businesses and a bystander whose condition was not immediately known. The marshal says authorities inspected the weapon and found one live round in the cylinder along with five casings that indicated the six-shooter was filled with live rounds prior to the skit. At least two of the live rounds struck nearby businesses, with one bullet hitting a female bystander. Tombstone authorities called it an unprecedented event in the town. The Marshal's Office says Mayor Dusty Escapule advised the Tombstone Vigilante group to put future gunfight skits on hold as the investigation plays out. "Tombstone takes pride in the safety and security of its townspeople and tourists alike and the citizens of Tombstone can be assured that stringent safety protocol will be enforced prior to allowing any further gunfight skits," the Marshal's Office said in a statement. The Tombstone Vigilantes were formed in 1946 and are dedicated to preserving and passing along Tombstone's rich history to the many tourists who come to the town near the U.S.-Mexico border about three hours from Phoenix. The group also performs mock hangings where unsuspecting victims are tried and convicted by the Tombstone Vigilantes...more

El Chapo leaves behind ghost towns

Bullet holes on roofs, charred cars and deserted villages were left in the wake of a military operation to catch fugitive drug baron Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman in northwest Mexico. Remote hamlets around the municipality of Tamazula, Durango state, are like ghost towns as hundreds of terrified residents fled to the nearest city, Cosala in neighbouring Sinaloa state, following the intense marine manhunt more than a week ago. But one place still has the attention of the marines. In El Limon, troops blocked access to a mysterious ranch, with spikes on the road to prevent cars from approaching. According to displaced villagers, it was here that marines started to shoot at homes from helicopters in an operation that extended to other parts of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range -- the bastion of Guzman's Sinaloa drug cartel...Ines Ayon Mendoza, 24, said she was making tortillas on the morning of October 6 when a burst of bullets hit her home in Comedero Colorado, near El Limon. She ran to get her two-year-old daughter when two apparent marine helicopters struck her village even "harder." Her husband, Gonzalo Elias Pena, told prosecutors that their house had dozens of bullet holes and that her car had burned...Marta Marbella, who lives in El Verano village, showed pictures she took with her cellphone of bullet marks that were left on her house on October 6. The images show a dozen holes on the roof and more on the walls, door and outdoor bathroom, where Marbella said she had hidden with her baby. Her husband was working in the fields. "I could see the helicopter stop and shoot directly at the house. I was scared, screamed and cried, although I knew it was useless," the 32-year-old housewife said. Francisca Quintero Sanchez, 40, rushed to hide under a bed with her three children when the "rain of bullets" came down for around one hour. "It was a time of terror, fear that they would kill us," the farmer said. "Their uniforms said 'Marina' (Navy). Some think we're stupid because we are ranchers, but we know how to read and write."...more

How the west saved the sage grouse


A small, chicken-like bird sparked some of the greatest conservation collaboration Montana has ever seen.
The controversy over the greater sage grouse, whose population declined steadily for the past 50 years, came to a conclusion on Sept. 22, when federal officials announced the bird would not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they decided against listing the sage grouse as an endangered species since regional conservation efforts are promising.

In an attempt to keep the sage grouse off the endangered species list, conservation groups, private landowners, government agencies and corporations worked together, despite their differing interests.

Together they created Montana’s sage grouse conservation plan, enacted through two executive orders from the governor and over $11 million in funding from the state legislature. The goal was to convince FWS that the listing was unnecessary.

...“They’re skittish, and they hide,” Janet Ellis, Senior Director for the Audubon Society, said. “What these birds need is solid sagebrush as far as the eye can see.”
...Ellis said the state can manage the sage grouse better than the federal government.

“If you don’t get cooperation from landowners, you’re not gonna protect sage grouse, and I think the state has a lot better chance at working with all the partners than if it got a federal listing,” Ellis said.

...If the sage grouse were to receive an endangered species listing, the federal government would take over conservation efforts, and institute special protections. Ellis said federal agencies lack both the staff and funding for an effective conservation effort. Instead, she said a state run program will be more effective in bringing people together across the large swath of sage grouse territory in Montana.
“I think it’s the best outcome now,” Ellis said. “I won’t guarantee it will stay that way.”

Gila diversion agreement heads to D.C.

The Interstate Stream Commission approved the Central Arizona Project’s New Mexico Unit Agreement for a Gila River diversion at their meeting Friday, tucked away in the Ruidoso Downs racetrack Hall of Fame. The vote finalized the process here in New Mexico and sent the agreement on to the U.S. secretary of Interior for final federal approval next month. The ISC’s approval came after months of negotiation between the agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior — through the federal Bureau of Reclamation — and the local CAP Entity responsible for design, construction, operation and maintenance of the controversial diversion. These talks focused almost solely on a list of supplemental terms added to the agreement by direction of Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. The CAP Entity voted to approve the agreement at a special meeting in Silver City on Sept. 29, and Jewell must sign off on the agreement before a statutory deadline of Nov. 23. “Don’t know what’s left to say, but we’ve done our part and now it’s up to them,” said ISC Chair Jim Dunlap...more

How the nation’s first forest ranger came to Fort Collins

by Barbara Fleming 

His new job — one never done before — was “to protect public forests from fires or any other means of injury.” So for a time, William Kreutzer was the original lone ranger. The first forest ranger to be appointed in the United States, he faced a monumental task.

No one could have taken the job more seriously. From the moment he was sworn in on Aug. 8, 1898, in Denver he was completely devoted to his work, and he did the job despite both expected and unimagined obstacles — weather, warring and resistant ranchers, fire and more. For his new job, he earned $50 a month, out of which he had to provide his own clothes, food, supplies and horses.

At the dawn of the new century, America was waking up to the need for managing our rich natural resources before everything was spoiled or gone. Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks had started the conservation movement, which gradually grew thanks to the voices of John Muir and others. The vast forests of the West, a wealth of resources and awesome beauty, would only serve the people if we took care of them. Charged with the challenge of containing forest fires, the not-quite-21-year-old cowboy from Sedalia, Colorado set out armed with a pail, an axe, a shovel, a rake, a file and a map. His first assignment was Plum Creek Timber Reserve near Colorado Springs — 300,000 acres.

Initially under the aegis of the Land Reserves Office in the Department of the Interior, Kreutzer found himself faced with the cultural lawlessness of the Wild West, where laws were commonly disregarded, cattle and sheep ranchers felt they had untrammeled rights to grazing land, and lumber had for decades been harvested without regard to regeneration. What people wanted, they took. Kreutzer had the daunting task of enforcing unpopular regulations.

Forest management changed in 1905 when President Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent conservationist, took forest reserves out of the Land Reserves (under whose auspices, according to some sources, laws had been casually enforced at best) and put them in the Department of Agriculture. Gradually, management evolved, as Kreutzer recalled years later, from “open season on forest rangers” to cooperation and wise use of resources.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Donald Trump Loves Land Grabs


Donald Trump, who in the 1990s tried to force an elderly widow out of her Atlantic City home as part of a plan to expand his casino, now says he is glad she resisted, because it helped him avoid a bad investment. By successfully fighting condemnation of her home, Trump told Breitbart News last week, Vera Coking "saved me a fortune."

That experience has not dimmed the Republican presidential contender's enthusiasm for using eminent domain to advance the goals of wealthy developers like him, which he called "a wonderful thing" in an interview with Fox News. Trump, who is frequently described as a "populist" candidate, thinks it's the prerogative of the rich and powerful to push around the little people who get in their way, provided they have a plan, no matter how ill-conceived, that promises "economic development."

The Fifth Amendment allows the government to take property "for public use" as long as it provides "just compensation." But Trump, currently the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, reads "public use," which traditionally referred to facilities like roads and bridges, to mean "public benefit," which opens the door to pretty much any business project.

"If you were going to rip down a house and build another house, no way," the billionaire reality TV star told Breitbart News. "But if you're going to build a factory that's going to have 5,000 jobs, that's entirely different."

Carly Fiorina Slams Donald Trump for His Crony Capitalism and Eminent Domain Abuse

Last week Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina appeared on The Federalist Radio Hour for a discussion about politics and the 2016 White House race. In response to a question posed by fellow guest Betsy Woodruff of the Daily Beast, Fiorina had the following to say about Donald Trump's recent glowing endorsement of Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court's controversial 2005 ruling on eminent domain:
I think Donald Trump, among others, has engaged in crony capitalism in its most raw and abusive form. When commercial interests get together with government to take away private property for their own commercial interests, that's a big problem. And I think I join so many conservatives in saying that eminent domain has been abused. And it has been abused by the collusion between governments eager for revenue and businesses eager for competitive advantage. So I find the Kelo case—if ever there was a case for judicial engagement instead of judicial restraint, it's this set of issues.
Fiorina is exactly right. In 1994 Trump got together with government officials in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a shameful attempt to seize the home of an elderly widow in order make room for a limousine parking lot for the Trump Plaza hotel and casino. It was a textbook example of eminent domain abuse and "crony capitalism in its most raw and abusive form."

'He's wrong': Rubio hits Trump over eminent domain

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio bashed GOP front-runner Donald Trump a day after the real estate mogul called the use of eminent domain "wonderful."

After a campaign stop at a tech company in New Hampshire, Rubio told The Weekly Standard that Trump is "wrong" on the issue, adding that private property is "one of the most important rights" given to Americans.

"He's wrong," Rubio said. "In Florida, when I was a state legislator, we passed what has become model legislation for other states around the country — that I actually passed — both a law and a constitutional amendment that keeps developers like Donald Trump from using eminent domain to take private property away from an owner and give it to another private owner, which is what the Kelo decision said should be legal unless states barred it.

"So he's wrong about that," Rubio said. "One of the most important rights Americans have is private property."

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Survival when it wasn’t a game

by Julie Carter

The family stories are still out there, floating around the holiday dinner table or written in diaries or letters.

They depict a way of life most of us couldn’t survive today and can only wonder how they did.

The names change from tale to tale, but the hardships endured do not. I sat often at a faded oil-cloth covered table and listened to my grandmother tell of the early days of her marriage to my grandfather. I find so many similarities in her stories with those I’ve heard since. One could be used for an outline for another.

This is one of those “other” stories.

They married young and honeymooned in a tent. It was the middle of the 1930s when a dime was a fortune and work was what you made it.

He cut several thousand cedar posts with an axe to sell to make a living. She peeled the posts with a draw knife and cooked their meals over a campfire. They delivered them to town with a team of horses pulling a wagon.

He walked miles daily to run his trap line and she walked with him. He skinned out anything he caught so they’d only have to carry the hides. She helped him trim and stretch the hides so they would dry and be ready to sell.

They lived in a tiny board house and water was dipped from a cistern with a bucket.

The children began arriving one after the other and she washed diapers and clothes on a rub board. An old, used gas-powered washing machine came later seemingly like a gift from heaven.

When the kids got big enough to help with the outside work, she was able to spend her time keeping food prepared for winter. Some of that involved canning anything and everything that could be canned, including meat.

They milked extra cows and sold cream. They raised chickens and pigs and sold fresh eggs and meat.

This particular story includes the humorous memory of a pig grabbing a baby sister and running off. Mama chased it down and saved the sister, an act that was debated in the family forever after as questionably the right thing to do.

When the kid count hit six, she was still dipping water from the cistern and washing with that gas-powered washer, hanging clothes on a clothes line to dry. When 1950 brought electricity to the ranch, she had time to have a couple more kids with the elder ones in her brood able to help with much of the heavy work.

As a couple, they worked every side job there was to be had from driving school bus routes to selling fire wood and rattlesnakes. It wasn’t an option, it was survival.

Their marriage lasted more than 50 years until he went home to glory. At the time, they never gave it thought, but they were part of a generation that saw more changes in the world than any other since. They started out on the edge of a pioneering era that in time gave way to modern ways with the basics of life we take for granted – running water, electricity, phone communications and so much more.

When you flip the light switch on tonight, be thankful. It’s really a bigger deal than we give it credit to be.

Julie, loving lights, running water and Wi-Fi, can be reached for comment a

Environmental Tribalism

Burned at the Stake
Environmental Tribalism
Dogma held inviolate
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The smell of cattle is surpassed only by the smell of horses in my cardinal array of favored livestock odors.
Every time I witness massed numbers of cattle, I am reminded of the natural gift they truly are. Their wondrous conversion of sunlight derived protein does not exist in a vacuum. It is real, and it can’t be concealed or hidden from view. Chaos and disturbance are part of the process, but that isn’t unique to cattle. Any massive source of food and fiber is similar. Anyone who believes alternatives can be derived in more controlled or less disruptive space is misinformed. It is impossible. The less appealing part of the process comes along with the good whether it is undesirable or not.
In a world where the closest thing to nature is a family dog or a subscription to a periodical, the societal perspective runs the constant risk of incorrectly assigning guilt. Their differing views are also fundamentally disruptive. People who claim to be experts but are simply mired in the dogma of perception or political leanings are, in fact, the greater problem.
I’ll opt for the honesty of the beasts … you can have the political obfuscates.
Burned at the stake         
The impatience toward nonbelievers of climate change is getting serious.
            Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University, five of his George Mason colleagues and 14 other high brow global warming asphaltites (GWA) have sent a letter to your president suggesting climate deniers should be prosecuted by the use of the RICO law and regulatory muscle. RICO, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, was passed by Congress expressly for use against individuals and groups (the mob and nefarious organizations) that knowingly deceive the American people for the purpose of illicit gain.
            The letter is interesting in that the GWAs first discuss the limited tools the president has “in the face of recalcitrant Congress”. They actually have a point and it makes perfect sense in the matter of Congress knowingly deceiving the American people, but Congress is exempt from being sued. RICO, though, would certainly be a viable consideration in prosecuting them. Their deception to the American public has long been an art form. It’s an historical art form.  The initial wording, therefore, is simple patronization of the Office of the President on the basis of kindred soul mates and like minded elitism. The GWAs must protect their reserved turf and grow their public trough space.
The real target for RICO action is aimed at the denier class. Those are the folks who have resisted the whole notion of global warming on the basis of recognizing bullshit when and where they smell it. The GWAs want those opposed to their contrived models to be pummeled into submission where they rightly belong. It is all there in their letter. They want blood.
So did the Court of Oyer and Terminer. That was the crew of earlier year GWAs who agreed to hear and prosecute the witches of Salem in 1692. The charges brought against the witches and goblins of Salem were no less heated and fed with hatred and malice than that being proffered by the Shukla crew. The science used to define the witchcraft culprits was founded upon logic and knowledge of the learned of the day. One indicator of a witch was discovered in the “touch” test. It was there a witch could be identified. If the suspect could calm a victim experiencing a fit by simply touching him or her, she ran the risk of being deemed a witch.
Similarly, a witch could be identified if she exhibited “witches’ tits”. No, the reference wasn’t mammary suggestive nor does it have anything to do with bucking rolls. Witches tits were moles or bodily blemishes that were insensitive to human touch. In the case of the Salem trials, the suspected witches were stripped in public and given the once over by the interested local medico. To add ridicule to the bizarre, the court spectatorship was part of the feeding frenzy.
Serious business it was indeed.
At least 20 people, mostly women, were executed over the nearly two year trial period. Viewing the debacle in hindsight, a question must be asked. Was a single one of those women a witch (notwithstanding the fact that a Mr. Glover used that exact description of his wife, Goody Glover, when asked by the prosecutor to describe her character)? Furthermore, was there a single subsequent shred of any evidence that supported the accusations?
No, it was a sham. It was the first day of the trials, the last day of the trials, and every second of the 323 years since that grand travesty of human endeavor. What is consistent, however, is the presence of ruling elitism that supports, upholds, and perpetuates prevailing dogma without accepting any evidence contrary to its actual existence.
Dogma held inviolate
If you don’t think the Shukla crew would stop short of blood left to their own devices, you are living in the comfortable vacuum of singular pets and conservation periodicals. Your ancestors believed in bleeding a debilitated patient as a last resort and they agreed to tobacco smoke therapy whereby the smoke was pumped anally into discomforted patients.
More specifically, you are prone to mass hysteria, tempted by cause celebre’, participate in false accusations if socially appropriate, and condone lapses in due process if the cause happens to conform to your demands or those of your clan.
Actually, those are not just my words. Freeman Dyson, the famous progressive physicist who can say things without ruinous professional consequences, is now proclaiming them. He is convinced that scientists attached inexorably to a prevailing belief will find no evidence to the contrary regardless of facts. Such evidence will be revealed, but the majority of the vested believers will remain blind.
Those so called experts become immoveable around their vested beliefs. Dyson suggests the phenomenon itself is the mystery, but it is likely much more simplistic. Few GWAs want correction coming at them through their own enclaves.
Dr. Dyson finds his way back into my good graces when he proclaims the condition is nothing more than scientific tribalism. Regardless of the professional misdeeds, the literature heat shields, and the contrived group therapy bliss, the tribe is staunch and must protect its own. All dangers to the tribal body must be avoided, tribal territory must be maintained, and all deniers must be eliminated.
Environmental Tribalism
So, we have a great scientist admitting scientific tribalism.
We have a crew of GWAs calling for the heads of any deniers to their holy grail, climate change, and we have a government that largely marches to the demands of the collective outcome. That is a bad place to be and much akin to the guiltless witch who was stripped naked to be condemned and burned alive in 1692. She found she was her only advocate, she was alone, and she perished.
We run the same risk.
 Scientific tribalism is only one component to the greater issue. We find ourselves in a hierarchy of performers that include the leadership, the midlevel council of deacons, and the lay attendants. The cause is the earth represented as the center of worship. Any denier is the evil one.
This isn’t simply scientific tribalism. This is environmental tribalism complete with all imaginable false trappings and funded by the denier tax payers who watch their lives being reduced to their own self advocacy. The tools being used against them are calculated measures of mass hysteria, warnings of isolationism, false accusations, and gross lapses in due process.
From the Dyson conclusion, we can also expect the tribe to believe completely in the prevailing dogma about the environment and … will find absolutely no convincing evidence to the contrary.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “As Lincoln came to believe, the Union was the Constitution. Within environmental tribalism, any reference to the Constitution is simply a metaphor for their modern day world union.”

Dr. Freeman Dyson has has taught physics for nearly 40 years at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  See Liberal Physicist Says Obama Is Wrong On Global Warming.

And just this week, France's most famous weatherman was put on "forced holiday" by the gov't controlled TV network for releasing a book "accusing the world’s leading climatologists and political leaders of using dodgy data to convince the public about climate change."  See 'Climate sceptic' French weatherman taken off air

Then recall this from an editorial we posted last week, "The strategy of the progressive left is no longer to win public debates, but to forcibly silence their opponents."

Baxter Black - Another good man gone

I had just finished bein’ on an extension program in the Herington, Kansas sale barn. I was standin’ in the auction ring afterwards tryin’ to answer a few questions and shake hands with the local stockman. My veterinary lecture, as usual, had been more humorous than informative.

One older gentleman waited ‘til the last question had been asked then he approached me and offered his hand. I didn’t catch his name. He was wearin’ thick glasses. He reached into his shirt pocket and handed me a Polaroid snapshot of a cowdog settin’ in the back of an ol’ Chevy pickup. “Go git in the pickup!” he said, an obvious reference to one of my stories. He laughed and wandered off.

A while later I wrote of meetin’ him and of the snapshot. I was tryin’ to explain why I enjoy makin’ up poems and columns about people in our way of life. That ol’ man, I said, was the reason I did it.
One day I got a letter from a lady who had read my story and she said that ol’ man was her dad. He and I struck up a friendship. We wrote occasional letters. He’d send me photos of his horse and grandkids. We’d visit on the phone. He’d talk about the old days. He’d cowboy’d all his life and still helped on local gathers or checked pastures sometimes. He was in his 80’s.

His health started slippin’, so I went to see him. We had a good visit. Before I left, he gave me a photo of Bill Pickett doggin’ a steer. He took it off his kitchen wall. He claimed he’d seen Bill do his stuff. His wife gave me a wooden hot pad. She picked it right off the kitchen table and gave it to me.

His wife died. He sorta lost interest in things. We talked on the phone infrequently. He went into a nursing home. The last time I called him, he was in and out of reality. He was ready, he said. He missed his wife terribly. He became incoherent.

‘Very Little Protection’ for Property Owners in Decade Since Kelo Ruling

by Bill Straub

A public interest lawyer whose firm represented homeowners in a controversial case regarding eminent domain 10 years ago told lawmakers that the U.S. Supreme Court has left private property owners with “very little protection” if a city wants to take their residences for developmental purposes.

Dan Alban, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, a firm that represents people whose rights, the outfit determines, are being violated by the government, appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution to say what he characterized as the “infamous” Kelo v. City of New London case can be used to “transfer perfectly fine private property to a private developer based simply on the mere promise of increased tax revenue.”

The court, Alban said, determined that it is “acceptable to use the power of eminent domain when there is a mere possibility that something else could make more money than the homes or small businesses that currently occupy the land.”

In her dissent in Kelo, Alban noted, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote, “The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping center, or any farm with a factory.”

“Eminent domain sounds like an abstract issue but it affects real people,” Alban told the panel. “Real people lose the homes they love and watch as they are replaced with luxury condominiums. Real people lose the businesses they count on to put food on the table and watch as they are replaced with shopping malls. And all this happens because local governments prefer the taxes generated by condos and malls to modest homes and small businesses.”

Federal law currently allows expending federal funds to support condemnations for the benefit of private developers. By doing so, Alban said, the government “encourages this abuse.”

“Using eminent domain so that another richer, better-connected person may live or work on the land you used to own tells Americans that their hopes, dreams and hard work do not matter as much as money and political influence,” Alban said. “The use of eminent domain for private development has no place in a country built on traditions of independence, hard work and the protection of property rights.”

Candidates need to address key issues of West

By John L. Smith
...When it comes to the obvious need to make great changes in how we address the issue of forest management and wild-land fire fighting, there's almost no public appreciation for the importance of this very Western issue.

Presidential candidates appear to know the importance of water law and drought in the West, but you will rarely hear one speak to the issues with a sense of passion and in any real detail.
But that's the way it is in the West. Our votes are essential, but I don't think our real needs are understood.

The public lands debate is another topic that promises to elicit a polite and unremarkable response from most candidates. The stewardship of vast expanses of land by the federal government is an important Western issue not just in Nevada, where 85 percent of the real estate is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies. The uneven enforcement of the law was a flash point of controversy long before Logandale rancher Cliven Bundy entered the public eye.

...The latest crop of presidential candidates don't need to enter an interview wearing a Stetson, but it would be refreshing if even a few offered a substantial vision for issues unique to our side of the Mississippi.

They might even win a few votes in the process.

Whoever wins the White House next, let's hope the next president wants what's best for the West — and is willing to expend energy on issues important to us.

NY Governor paid state workers to fill seats at climate change event

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn’t taking any chances that there might be empty seats at a speech he delivered last week on climate change — so state workers were summoned on the taxpayer dime to fill the audience, The Post has learned. The workers said they left their jobs in the middle of the day Thursday and were paid their full salaries to hear Cuomo at Columbia University announce the state was joining a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “I’d rather be at the park,” said one of the workers, who is employed by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and who has no connection to climate issues. He explained that he went because his boss “asked me to make some time available in my schedule.”...more

$3,248,723,000,000 - Federal Taxes Set Record in FY 2015; $21,833 Per Worker; Feds Still Run $438.9B Deficit

The federal government took in a record of approximately $3,248,723,000,000 in taxes in fiscal 2015 (which ended on Sept. 30), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today. That equaled approximately $21,833 for every person in the country who had either a full-time or part-time job in September. It is also up about $212,927,100,000 in constant 2015 dollars from the $3,035,795,900,000 in revenue (in 2015 dollars) that the Treasury raked in during fiscal 2014.  Even as the Treasury was hauling in a record $3,248,723,000,000 in tax revenues in fiscal 2015, the federal government was spending $3,687,622,000,000. So, the federal government ran a deficit of $438,899,000,000 for the fiscal year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total seasonally adjusted employment in the United States in September (including both full and part-time workers) was 148,800,000. That means that the federal tax haul for fiscal 2015 equaled about $21,832.82 for every person in the United States with a job. In 2012, President Barack Obama struck a deal with Republicans in Congress to enact legislation that increased taxes. That included increasing the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, increasing the top tax rate on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent, and phasing out personal exemptions and deductions starting at an annual income level of $250,000. An additional 3.8 percent tax on dividends, interest, capital gains and royalties--that was embedded in the Obamacare law--also took effect in 2013...more

New Pistol "The Congressman"

Texas mascot, Bevo XIV, dies at 13

Texas mascot, Bevo XIV, died at the age of 13 on Friday morning, the school announced.
Bevo XIV, whose given name was Sunrise Studly, was retired as mascot on Tuesday after being diagnosed with Bovine Leukemia Virus. He passed away in his sleep on Friday morning.
The beloved steer became the Longhorns’ mascot in 2004 at the age of two, and was part of back-to-back Rose Bowl wins, including Texas’s 2005 BCS National Championship. At the start of his tenure, Texas won five-straight bowls and ultimately amassed 107 victories during his time with the university, including last week’s upset of then-No. 10 OklahomaSI