Saturday, February 06, 2016

Finicum's Family Remembers Him As A Man Driven By Family And Faith

More than a thousand mourners poured into Kanab, Utah, a tiny town on the border with Arizona, to celebrate the life of a rancher who died in a traffic stop in Oregon. Finicum lay dressed in white in an open wooden coffin built by his family. An American flag was placed across his chest. Spurs, boots and photos of Finicum taken at the refuge were on display in the Kaibab Stake center, the large Mormon church where the funeral was held. Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” and other books about U.S. history and the Constitution were placed on a table, along with a note that read: “Dad’s light reading.” Many of the mourners wore jeans and boots, and held their cowboy hats in their hands as they paid their respects. The funeral drew people from Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon and Kentucky. Patriot group members were also in attendance from the Oath Keepers and the “3%” movement. Finicum’s brother Jody Finicum let out a “holy smokes,” as he looked out across the crowd. He described LaVoy as a deeply competitive person with an irreverent side, who grew up playing golf and leading potato gun fights in the sagebrush. He said LaVoy once rode his horse into the family’s living room just to see if it would fit through the door. “What I most appreciated was his example in the things that really mattered: God, family and country,” Jody Finicum said. Each of Finicum’s 11 children also spoke. They remembered him as a loving father who taught his daughters to ride horses and brand cattle alongside his sons. He studied scripture every night and encouraged his children to be active in the Mormon church. After the funeral, Finicum’s oldest daughter, Thara Tenney, questioned the FBI’s account of his death. “We are calling for a private, independent investigation to find out exactly what happened to our dad in an ambush on a lonely desolate stretch of highway in the dead of winter in eastern Oregon,” she said. The FBI released a video of the traffic stop and has said Finicum twice reached for a gun in his pocket. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is leading an investigation into the incident. Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was among those who attended the funeral. “I’m here to honor a great man,” he said, sitting horseback behind the Finicum family. “He was basically crucified.”...more

Friday, February 05, 2016

Pickups and American flags: Supporters mourn Oregon occupier

Sympathizers of the Oregon armed standoff rolled into this desert town Friday, some in pickup trucks flying American flags, to mourn an Arizona rancher and occupation spokesman who was killed last week in a confrontation with authorities.

Hundreds of people from across the country packed a Mormon church for the funeral of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. Of the trucks filling the parking lot, one had a flier with a picture of Finicum and the words, "Murdered by the FBI," while another was scrawled with one of the rancher's favorite sayings: "By dang, I'm mad."

Finicum's death has become a symbol for those decrying federal oversight, on public lands in the West and elsewhere, and has led to protests of what they call an unnecessary use of force by the FBI and Oregon State Police. But authorities say the 54-year-old was reaching for a gun during a confrontation on a remote road.

The FBI released video of the Jan. 26 shooting during a traffic stop that showed Finicum's hand reaching into his jacket, but supporters dispute he was going for a weapon.

"He's a hero to me, honest. His heart is for everybody," said former occupier Ben Matthews of Port Huron, Michigan, who came to Kanab to pay his respects.

Finicum's daughter Thara Tenney and brother Guy Finicum stood outside the church before the funeral. She said she wasn't sure what lies ahead.

"I know he was where he needed to be," Tenney said. "He was doing what he needed to do. Knowing he was a God-fearing man, and his heart was where it needed to be, I feel peace."

Guy Finicum, recalled the rancher as full of life.

"Bravest person I ever knew," he said.

 ...The day's events in this town just north of the Arizona border were billed as "LaVoy Finicum's Stand for Freedom." After the funeral, organizers have planned a memorial horse ride to a local middle school for a benefit concert.

Sheriff's officials and the Utah Highway Patrol were on hand to ensure the events were peaceful. Given the anti-government sentiment expected among the crowd, local law enforcement agencies pleaded with the FBI and other federal agents to stay away.

Family and friends wore red, white and blue ribbons featuring Finicum's picture and pieces of blue tarp pinned to their shirts. Finicum had been called "the tarp man" after spending a night under a tarp at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge when he feared an imminent raid by officials.

The day's events in this town just north of the Arizona border were billed as "LaVoy Finicum's Stand for Freedom." After the funeral, organizers have planned a memorial horse ride to a local middle school for a benefit concert.

Sheriff's officials and the Utah Highway Patrol were on hand to ensure the events were peaceful. Given the anti-government sentiment expected among the crowd, local law enforcement agencies pleaded with the FBI and other federal agents to stay away.

Family and friends wore red, white and blue ribbons featuring Finicum's picture and pieces of blue tarp pinned to their shirts. Finicum had been called "the tarp man" after spending a night under a tarp at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge when he feared an imminent raid by officials.

...The standoff began Jan. 2, with the group demanding the government change federal land policies and free two ranchers imprisoned for setting fires. The government says the group brandished firearms to keep officials from carrying out their duties, threatened violence and intimidated locals.

Defense attorneys have said their clients engaged in civil disobedience and are being punished for political speech. They say the only use of force during the standoff was by police who shot Finicum.

#Agfacts for Super Bowl 50

By Laura Mushrush, Assistant Editor, Drovers CattleNetwork

...1. One cow hide makes 20 pigskins, aka footballs. The term pigskin comes from the 1800’s when animal bladders, most typically pig, were inflated to be used as a ball since they had a round shape. 120 game balls are used during the Super Bowl, including 12 kicker balls, meaning six cow hides will be tossed around the stadium on Sunday.
2. 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed on Sunday by Super Bowl fans – enough to circle the Grand Canyon 120 times. The first chicken wings were fried up at Anchor Bar, Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964 and have been a tradition ever since the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967.
3. 325.5 million gallons of beer will be drank on Super Bowl Sunday.  One bushel of barley produces approximately 565 12-ounce beers. A little bar stool math tells us that 6,145,132.74 bu of barley are used to make the brews for the game, and that barley farmers are the real MVP.
4. 139 million pounds of avocados (about 278 million avocados) are expected to be eaten during the game – most likely to be smashed up into that sweet, sweet guac. To get a visual, this is enough avocados to fill a football field end zone to end zone in a pile 53 feet high. This is a 15 percent surge from 2015, says Hass Avocado Board, and has even lead to Avocados from Mexico to buy a 30-second commercial spot on game day.
5. 10 million pounds of ribs are sold during Super Bowl week, say our friends at the National Pork Board. Since Farm Journal Media has an office location in the Kansas City metro area, we recommend cooking those baby backs up with a Kansas City-style barbecue sauce. Put extra napkins on your shopping list because things might get messy.
6. 12.5 million pounds of bacon (#merica) are also consumed, adds the National Pork Board. The editors at PorkNetwork recommend “Bacon Explosion: The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes.” This bacon wrapped sausage roll will make you a believer in a higher power.
7. 11.2 million pounds of potato chips will be snacked on. It takes four pounds of raw potatoes to make one pound of chips, meaning potato farmers will be feeding the country 44.8 million pounds of spuds in one day.
8. 14 billion hamburgers are expected to be served up during the game this year. Estimating each patty is a quarter of a pound, 3.5 billion pounds of ground beef are going to be put on buns this Sunday.
9. 4 million pizzas are expected to be delivered by Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa Johns. Estimating that each pizza has 8 ounces of cheese, that is 2 million pounds of cheese or 200,000 pounds of whole milk. But since cheese is a gift from the heavens, we won’t judge if you load up your pizza pie with 32-ounces of dairy goodness. Go big or go home.
10. 3.8 million pounds of popcorn will be served on Sunday. Not a fan of plain popcorn? Turn it up with this kettle corn recipe.  While we’re on snacks, fans will also consume 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips and 3 million pounds of nuts.

Utah sues federal government over sage grouse plan

Utah has decided to sue the federal government over its new set of rules intended to protect the greater sage grouse — following similar lawsuits lodged by Idaho and nine Nevada counties, ranchers and two mining companies. Utah state officials argue that the guidelines announced in September impose unnecessary restrictions for activities on and near sage grouse habitat. A state plan unveiled in 2013 is sufficient for the conservation of the hen-sized bird, the Utah Attorney General contends in the lawsuit filed Thursday. State officials and members of Utah's all-Republican congressional delegation called the lawsuit an important stance against federal overreach. "This one-size-fits-all decision does not reflect the tremendous diversity in greater sage-grouse habitats across the West," Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement. "Utah is better positioned to manage our sage-grouse population than the federal government." Herbert, a Republican, said in a statement that the new regulations are more restrictive in many ways than an Endangered Species Act designation. He said the state is better positioned to know how to manage sage grouse, as evidenced by the restoration of 500,000 acres of the bird's habitat and small increase in the animal's population. He is backed by the state's top politicians. Sen. Mike Lee said there's no need for the federal government to control public lands in Utah. Rep. Rob Bishop said the plan is an example of the Obama administration imposing its "misguided will on the West." Longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch also took the opportunity to blast the President: "The Obama administration has decided to fudge the facts and flout the law in pursuit of its radical anti-development agenda," Hatch said in a statement. "I applaud Gov. Herbert for his efforts to hold the administration accountable and protect our lands and jobs from this latest federal overreach."...more

Ammon Bundy’s Eugene lawyers release jailhouse statement after Bundy is indicted

The Eugene attorneys representing Ammon Bundy said at a news conference Thursday that they have advised their client that he has the right to remain silent. “But he continues to want to voice his political speech from jail,” said Lissa Casey, a member of the Mike Arnold law firm. At that, Casey played a prerecorded statement that Bundy made on Thursday morning from the Multnomah County Jail in Portland, where he is incarcerated. In the statement, Bundy said he is in solitary confinement and just learned that he has been indicted. “I ask the question: What are people to do?” Bundy says on the recording. “This is what you get when government officials ignore the people. We exhausted all prudent measures to get government officials to investigate the abuses to the Hammond family. Tens of thousands of people understood injustices were taking place by government officials, and their petitions were ignored.” Ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond are the father and son whose recent return to jail on arson convictions spurred Bundy and others to take over facilities at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns on Jan. 2. Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy, and several others were arrested north of Burns on Jan. 26 during an FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop that resulted in the shooting death of occupier Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. An unapologetic Bundy asserted in his recorded statement that government actions are what result in such counter-actions as the occupiers’ takeover of the Malheur refuge. “Taking over the refuge was not only right, it was the duty of the people to do,” Bundy says in the statement. “When government officials are acting in contrary to the people, they must not get away with it. “The takeover of the Malheur refuge was a needed action to show government officials that the people will not be complacent when they prosecute and bully good families like the Hammonds. Government officials chose to end our educational efforts with attacks of force, and it appears they intend to do it again. Go home Oregon State Police, you have already killed enough. Go home FBI, it is time to end this.” Also at Thursday’s press conference, held at the Arnold law firm’s offices in the Hult Plaza, Casey asserted that Bundy was wrongfully denied the opportunity to question government witnesses Wednesday before the indictment against him was issued. The indictment was issued Wednesday but wasn’t unsealed until Thursday. “It’s a big problem that an accused political protester, who already mistrusts the government, is prevented access to the courts where federal prosecutors are speaking about his case,” Casey said. “The irony here is that the government already attempted to restrict him and his liberty by preventing his release ... “Political protesters need access to the courts,” Casey said. In a criminal complaint, defendants have a right to a preliminary hearing in which they can question the arresting officer under oath about probable cause for the charges. After an indictment, however, they are no longer entitled to such a proceeding. Thus, the preliminary hearing for the defendants in the case was canceled on Wednesday in a routine move after the federal grand jury’s indictment was issued...more

Congressman Has Plan To Force Bundy Militants, Not Taxpayers, To Foot Bill For Occupation

The occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Preserve continues to drag on, at an ever-rising cost to the local community. Now, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced legislation to make sure the rural Oregon community doesn’t end up footing the bill. If enacted, H.R.4431 would require the federal government to reimburse state and local law enforcement agencies for security costs above their standard budget incurred during the threat to the Malheur preserve — which is federal, not state or local, land. Then Congressman Blumenauer wants the government to send the bill to the Bundys. Although Blumenauer’s bill would have the federal government immediately reimburse the state and local agencies, section 2 of Blumenauer’s bill would allow the attorney general to sue the occupiers for the cost after the federal government reimburses the local agencies. “It is not just enough to enforce the law. We should recover damages from lawbreakers who tear up the landscape, degrade wildlife habitat, and destroy property,” Blumenauer said in his address to Congress. And, if the Government were to give up the land for some reason, Blumenauer points out that it shouldn’t go to people like the Bundys. Instead, Native Americans ought to be “first in line.”...more 

Let's make sure Blumenthal's concept also applies to Occupy Wall Street and the whole Occupy Movement.  Urban occupiers should foot the bill also.  The law should also have a self-enforcing provision such as the Equal Access To Justice Act to make sure the provision is enforced.

FBI’s hands-off strategy follows lessons learned

Federal officials have allowed the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge to drag on for more than a month as part of a strategy learned from past standoffs in Texas and Idaho that ended in bloodshed and spurred more government mistrust, experts say. Critics say the wait-it-out strategy sends a mixed message and can embolden others to lead takeovers. The decision to monitor from a distance the Oregon occupiers opposing federal land policy has not changed since Jan. 2, but U.S. officials are stepping up the pressure outside the refuge and in the courtroom. Authorities arrested leader Ammon Bundy and others on a remote road when they left Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for a community meeting. The confrontation on Jan. 26 also led to the shooting death of an occupier, who the FBI says was reaching for a gun. With four holdouts refusing to leave, the government went further, surrounding the refuge and getting them added to an indictment charging 16 people with conspiracy to interfere with federal workers. But the overall strategy is de-escalation, experts say. “The federal response to sieges has changed dramatically since the early 1990s — authorities have been very careful to avoid turning the federal law enforcement response to such standoffs into a catalytic symbol for extremists to capitalize upon,” said Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor at California State University at San Bernardino. Others say any other armed group would be rooted out. “This very small group feels empowered to seize, vandalize and destroy public property,” said Eric Herzik, chair of the University of Nevada, Reno’s political science department. Authorities have set up checkpoints around the refuge but have not forced out the occupiers. “Their approach is — time is on their side,” said Carl Jensen, a former FBI supervisory special agent who is director of the Intelligence and Security Studies program at the Citadel military college. “The first priority is to end it peacefully and not light a match to set it off.” That goal came about the hard way, following bloody standoffs in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas. They forced the FBI to re-organize and end its “militaristic” response and employ behavioral experts instead, said Levin, the California professor. The strategy was tested in 1996 when the “Patriot” Freemen group held an anti-government standoff on a Montana ranch. After arresting the group leader while he was away from the compound, the FBI negotiated with the occupiers, who gave up after 81 days. “The Freemen standoff was a template for what happened in Oregon,” Levin said. “Strategically, this will be a model on how to respond to sieges. They claimed victory over Bunkerville, (Nevada,) but they won’t do that over Oregon.”...more

How the Bundy Gang Won

One consequence of the Bundy Gang take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in central Oregon has been the abundant media attention to their assertions of government “overreach” and “aggressive enforcement“ of environmental regulations that according to Bundy and Gang has driven ranchers, miners, and loggers from the land. Unfortunately, the media have been slow to counter such assertions.

The reality on the ground is much different from the delusional version put forth by Ammon Bundy and militant associates. Most federal and state agencies are lax in their enforcement of environmental regulations. Though many local people in Harney County, where the Malheur Refuge is located, decry the use of armed intimidation and threats, a sizeable minority or perhaps even majority agrees with the Bundy gang assertions that local people should control management of these public lands.

The irony of such claims is that local people already have a disproportional control and influence on national public lands. They can attend meetings, go on field trips, communicate their views through local media and use their connections with local and higher level politicians to promote their economic and other interests.

If they disapprove of federal management activities, local people often exercise social manipulation against federal administrators. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service (FS) managers and staff that live in rural areas. Federal employees, like people everywhere, want to be accepted in their local communities. Any manager or staff who initiates management action that upsets the local people or local business interests like ranchers, miners, or loggers, will quickly find themselves socially isolated, their kids mocked or verbally abused in local schools, and at times employees and/or their families are even subject to physical violence or death threats.

I fear that in the aftermath of the Malheur event, no matter how it is resolved, we will see federal administers even more “cowed” by local hostility to national interests. What BLM or FS manager will be willing to restrict or otherwise control activities that damage public resources if he/she knows that local communities like Burns, Oregon, as well as county, state and sometimes even Congressional members are opposed to the laws or regulations these agencies are supposed to uphold?

Several years ago a friend of mine, who is high up in the BLM, attended a meeting of BLM state directors and district managers convened by Department of Interior lawyers. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the managers that Department of Interior legal teams were losing law suits over and over because they, the people on the ground, were continuously violating the law. The lawyers were young and naïve. They thought, according to my friend, that they were telling these managers something they did not know. The BLM field staff sat stoically, with arms crossed, and listened.

Finally one of them quipped, “Yes, I know I am violating the laws. I do it all the time. You know why? Because if I followed the law I’d have every county commissioner, state legislator, the governor and the state Congressional delegation on my ass–and you know what? You’re not paying me enough to take that kind of abuse.”

Then another BLM manager followed up and said, “I don’t follow the law either. I count on being sued by the environmentalists, so that I can tell the delegation or the loggers or the ranchers that I had no choice in the matter. The court is telling me I must do this.” He went on to acknowledge that unless he was sued and had that political cover, he would not enforce the law.

According to my friend, there were a lot of other people in the room nodding their heads in agreement.

With the recent empowerment of militant groups around the West, particularly militants with guns and other weapons, what rational field manager, especially one living in a small rural community is going to challenge the local “custom and culture?” As one of the field managers said, “You’re not paying me enough.” And indeed, we are not.

Most of the article discusses the intimidation of federal employees.  No mention is made of the west-wide impact on ranchers of the Hammonds being labeled and convicted as terrorists by the feds. 

Malheur Occupation Indictment Released - Read It Here

Here is the indictment:

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1556

Today's selection is Clyde Moody's 1952 recording of I Love You Dear Forever.  The tune is on his British Archives of Country Music CD titled Six White Horses

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Feds vs. Ranchers

At a recent congressional hearing called in St. George where local ranchers aired concerns with the federal Bureau of Land Management, Utah Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, noted that tensions between pro-land development factions and the federal land agency tasked with managing public lands had grown so tense that he feared there would be "bloodshed." Four days later, his prediction came true with the Jan. 26 shooting death of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, one of the militant occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., who was shot by an Oregon state trooper at a highway barricade. The St. George meeting took place on Jan. 22. Reps. Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Jason Chaffetz —Republican representatives for Utah's 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts, respectively—were present at what was an oversight hearing for the Subcommittee on Federal Lands, called to ensure that local concerns were being addressed in the wake of the BLM's recent release of a proposed management plan for national conservation areas (NCAs). St. George Mayor Jon Pike complained that in the six years the BLM spent developing the proposed management plan, not once was he, his predecessor or the city council of St. George ever consulted. Whitlock didn't deny that the BLM hadn't directly worked with the St. George city government but noted the agency had taken in more than 1,000 comments in the past few years and was considering "each one." Two hours after the hearing Reps. Bishop, Stewart and Chaffetz convened a congressional "listening session," where the three heard comments from constituents about federal land agencies. Fourteen speakers were pre-selected by the congressmen's offices, with the majority adamant in their dislike of federal land agencies, particularly the BLM and Forest Service. Randy Parker of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation claimed, "We are seeing the systematic dismantling of ranchers' ability to graze their livestock. The BLM and the Forest Service are attacking livestock grazing and water rights," he said. Parker also claimed that the number of ranching families in the area has been reduced by more than 60 percent since the 1950s, and that he believes that is "entirely the fault of federal agencies' policies and grazing fees." Piute County Commissioner Darin Bushman echoed other speakers, claiming that there is a vast "collusion scheme between federal agencies and special interest [environmental] groups."...more

Ranchers Worried About Grand Canyon Monument Proposals

Parks said the Native Americans and environmentalists behind the monument proposals are misinterpreting the 1906 Antiquities Act.  “The original intent is to set aside a piece of land that will protect the artifacts but with the minimum amount of land around it to actually keep it within a protected status,” Parks said. Parks said 1.7 million acres is asking too much, when Arizona already has the most monuments of any other state. A monument designation does not mean grazing is automatically prohibited. But some monuments have shut out ranching. But Parks said the militia group in Oregon who took over a national refuge to protest federal overreach isn’t helping their cause. “Standing outside the government building with a sign, that’s fine,” Parks said. “But they should not have broken a law.” We’ve arrived at Diana Kessler’s home, where her family has been ranching for over a century. They have permits to graze their cattle on state and Forest Service land.  Kessler has fought with the Forest Service over management practices for years. “People are so frustrated and not being heard that they’re going to any lengths,” Kessler said. “And you wonder why young people aren’t going into agriculture or this kind of business. Why would you? Why would you want to fight that much and lose?” There are two monument proposals. Both would set aside 1.7 million acres of land north and south of the park. The Center for Biological Diversity has pushed President Obama to proclaim a national monument that would protect the watershed from new uranium mining claims. The center’s public lands campaigner Katie Davis said mining isn’t the only concern. “A number of issues that we’ve seen with grazing include erosion, which can lead to water pollution; disruption of natural fire processes; as well as displacement of native wildlife,” Davis said. The second monument proposal comes from Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva. He said a monument does not initially affect existing and historic uses of the land. “But it does set a template down about an overall preservation and restoration for the canyon,” Grijalva said...more

Ranchers ask for more Air Force flight information

A South Dakota livestock organization is petitioning U.S. Air Force officials to provide more information to ranchers who monitor their herds and land by air in a newly expanded training zone. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association's request to officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base this week addresses the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex, which roughly quadrupled the training airspace to nearly 35,000 square miles in the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming — the largest over the continental U.S. Stockgrowers President Bill Kluck said Air Force officials committed to making flight information available to ranchers who fly small aircraft to survey their herds and hunt coyotes, but said they have not effectively followed through. Kluck said a website set up to inform pilots about training missions is not updated regularly and that it's difficult to call the base directly for information. "All of that has to be kept very current, or somebody's going to get hurt because of it," he said. "They have to know if they're up there or not." Officials at Ellsworth didn't respond to questions from The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Air Force has said any given location across the training area could experience up to nine low-altitude overflights annually. Supersonic flights would be limited to 10 days a year during large-scale exercises, which could cause up to as many as 88 civilian flights a day to be delayed, though the Air Force said that number would likely be smaller. Kluk said there haven't been any incidents so far, but that some pilots have told him they voluntarily grounded themselves after realizing missions were taking place nearby...more

Federal grand jury returns indictments against Bundys and co-defendants

A federal grand jury Wednesday issued indictments against Ammon Bundy, his brother and at least nine other co-defendants arrested last week in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside of Burns. A scheduled preliminary hearing was canceled as a result. Yet the defense lawyers in the case showed up, demanded immediate copies of the indictments and questioned why their clients weren't allowed to be in court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoff Barrow said the indictments were returned earlier in the day and he would move to unseal them in less than 24 hours. Oregon federal public defender Lisa Hay — who represents Ryan Payne, one of the occupation leaders — objected to keeping the indictments secret and the court's unilateral decision not to bring the defendants to the courtroom. Hay said she headed to the courthouse expecting to see her client. She said she believes the federal government told the U.S. Marshals Service a day earlier not to transport the defendants from jail to court before prosecutors had an indictment in hand. "It makes a mockery of the grand jury process to alert marshals ahead of time,'' Hay argued. Mike Arnold, attorney for key occupation figure Ammon Bundy, asked that his client be present for all court hearings. Amy Baggio, an attorney for accused co-conspirator Joseph O'Shaughnessy, cited Rule 6 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, arguing that it doesn't allow the government to keep the indictment under seal for 24 hours and urged immediate disclosure. U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart told the defense lawyers that they'd get the indictments in due time. "When an indictment is returned, a defendant no longer has a right to the preliminary hearing,'' the judge said. "No need for your client to appear.'' The indictments hadn't been released by late afternoon Wednesday, but they're likely to add charges. Those could include trespassing on federal property, destruction of federal property, unlawful access to federal computers and possession of firearms on a federal facility, according to legal observers...more

FBI cover-up? Dead Oregon rancher’s family call his shooting unjustified for a second time

The family of a rancher who was shot by law enforcement during the Oregon standoff is calling the shooting death unjustified for a second time, accusing the FBI and Oregon State Police of a cover-up.

“At this point, based on additional information we have now received, it is our position that not only was the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum completely unjustified, but that the FBI and Oregon State Police may also be engaging in a cover-up, and seeking to manipulate and mislead the media and the American public about what really happened,” read a statement from Finicum’s family, obtained by the Oregonian.

The family said new information from eye witness accounts supplemented their previous accusation that the FBI and OSP could not show any justification for Finicum’s death. One of the passengers riding in the white Jeep driven by Finicum, Shawna Cox, allegedly gave a different account of what happened that day after she was released from custody.

According to Shawna Cox, they were being fired upon right from the outset at the second stop, before LaVoy exited the vehicle. Bullets had already come through the front windshield….there was no question that LaVoy was trying to draw gunfire away from the others in the vehicle,” read the statement.

Cox told the family that it was clear LaVoy had his hands in the air and meant to keep them there, not to pull out a firearm.

[The] best explanation for LaVoy’s arguably furtive hand movements, and why he lowered his hands and reached for his side at one point is because he had already been shot, and he was reaching toward the area where he had been hit as an involuntary physical reflex…before being shot again and collapsing,” read the statement.

 ...“After re-reviewing the extended video with better technology, we want to reiterate that we are not accepting at face value the FBI’s statement that LaVoy was actually armed,” the statement said.

Finicum’s family are demanding all applicable audio recordings and sound tracks from the FBI, a full-length unedited video of the operation and complete and close-up images of LaVoy’s truck “following the siege.”

Voices of the Wilderness artist residency applications due March 1

Alaska-based artist residency program Voices of the Wilderness, now in its sixth season, is currently accepting applications for more than 10 residencies across the state. Applications are due March 1. Residencies are open to art professionals in all media – visual (photographers, sculptors, painters), audio (musicians, singers, composers), film, and writers. Residency dates vary, but typically they are hosted June through September, lasting 7-9 days. Organized by former Juneau resident Barbara Lydon, it is modeled after traditional residencies in the national parks, but includes a twist. In addition to focusing on their art, artists are actively engaged with a wilderness ranger during their residency, taking part in stewardship projects such as research, monitoring, and education. As a volunteer, each artist will assist with some basic ranger duties, which may include boarding a tour boat to provide education, participating in research projects, such as seal counts or climate change studies, walking a beach to remove litter, or other generally light duties. However, an emphasis for the artist will be experiencing the wilderness and exploring how to communicate its inspirational qualities through their artwork. Each artist will be provided the same safety training as other volunteers. The program is sponsored collaboratively by the US Forest Service, National Park Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service. The hosting federal agency will provide transportation to and from the field, camping and field gear, and in most cases, food as well. Travel to and from Alaska is the artist’s responsibility...more

Bring them in, house them, feed them, indoctrinate them and send them out to praise Wilderness in their artwork.  No matter how you cut it, this is paying people to write, paint, sing about a single, government-supported topic.  Those things that have real value and are truly desired by the public, don't require a subsidy to produce.  Wilderness must be in trouble.  Otherwise, why would the feds be trying to artificially increase the demand for their product?

U.S. Forest Service releases findings on the effects of drought for forests and rangelands

The U.S. Forest Service Feb. 1 released a new report, Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis, that provides a national assessment of peer-reviewed scientific research on the impacts of drought on U.S. forests and rangelands. This report will help the Forest Service better manage forests and grasslands impacted by climate change. “Our forests and rangelands are national treasures, and because they are threatened, we are threatened,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This report confirms what we are seeing, that every region of the country is impacted by the direct and indirect effects of drought conditions and volatile weather patterns. Sixty million Americans rely on drinking water that originates on our 193 million acres of national forest and grasslands. They support 200,000 jobs and contribute over $13 billion to local economies every year,” said Vilsack. The report establishes a comprehensive baseline of available data that land managers can use to test how well their efforts to improve drought resilience and adaptation practices are working nationwide. The assessment, a broad review of existing drought research, provides input to the reauthorized National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), established by Congress in 2006, and the National Climate Assessment (NCA), produced every four years to project major trends and evaluate the effects of global climate change on forests, agriculture, rangelands, land and water resources, human health and welfare, and biological diversity. Together these serve as key, science-based, resources for anyone working to maintain or improve public and private lands in the face of a changing environment. The implications of the findings of this report are likely to have far-reaching effects on the environment for the foreseeable future. As climate change drives temperatures increases and precipitation patterns change, drought–and associated disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfires-will only get worse across many areas of the United States...more

You have to wonder if the Forest Service, in the last several years, has released a study or report, of any kind or topic, that doesn't contain the phrase "climate change." 

Pine beetle outbreak ends in Colorado

Experts delivered good news about Colorado’s beloved aspen trees, which turn mountainsides bright yellow and orange every autumn: They’re generally faring well after suffering worrisome die-offs from drought in previous years. The U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service conduct an aerial survey of the state’s trees every year, and the 2015 survey was released recently. It showed the mountain pine beetle has returned to pre-epidemic levels after attacking more than 5,300 square miles of forest since 1996, leaving large swaths of forest a dull reddish-brown. The epidemic subsided because few vulnerable trees were left for the beetles to infect, the survey found. The beetle primarily attacks tall, slender lodgepole pines, but it also got into larger ponderosa pines. A related insect, the spruce beetle, attacked another 285 square miles of spruce trees last year for a total of 2,500 square miles since 1996. That was a smaller increase than the year before, but Cain said it’s too early to tell whether the epidemic has peaked...more

US Forest Service hiring hundreds of seasonal employees in Rocky Mountain region

Now hiring! Must love the outdoors. The U.S. Forest Service is recruiting for hundreds of temporary jobs around the southwest and across the country. "We are interested in any motivated potential employees that want to come work for the forest service," said Anthony Madrid, of the San Juan National Forest. And they have plenty of seasonal jobs to fill. The US Forest Service is gearing up for the busy season -- 450 jobs in the Rocky Mountain Region alone. "Some hard work and some learning as well," said Madrid. In the San Juan National Forest, they are looking to fill 30 positions - everything from park ranger, to driver and even recreation. But the jobs are only open through Feb. 8, so apply soon if you are interested. The pay on those jobs is between $12 and $17 an hour. For more information on applying, click here...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1555

Delmore Brothers - Blues You Never Lose was recorded in Cincinnati in 1950.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Still working without a net, internet that is.

Owyhee Canyonlands wilderness proposal unresolved

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge may have been broken, but a divisive wilderness proposal remains unresolved in Southeast Oregon. The underlying issues are familiar: anger over federal land management and government “over-reach” and frustration over loss of economic opportunity in the rural West. The Bend-based environmental group Oregon Natural Desert Association, backed by the Keen Footwear company of Portland, has proposed a 2.5-million acre Owyhee Canyonlands wilderness and conservation area. Ranchers and other Malheur County residents are dead set against it. “Not only no, but hell no,” prominent rancher Bob Skinner said. The Obama administration, which could establish the canyonlands area by presidential proclamation, has given no sign what it will do. Many people speculate the administration did not want to throw gas on the fire while the wildlife refuge occupation was going on. “We don’t know where it is in the process, there’s nobody who knows that,” Skinner said. The proposed area is bigger than the Yellowstone, Yosemite or Grand Canyon national parks, critics point out, and would cover 40 percent of Malheur County. Residents believe the designation would be accompanied by restrictions and regulations that would prohibit or severely complicate grazing, mining, hunting and recreation. While proponents say traditional uses of the land will be allowed, a local group called Citizens in Opposition to the Owyhee Canyonlands Monument does not believe them. Skinner, a fifth-generation rancher who leads the opposition group, said one faction believes ranchers and other landowners should “settle” with those pushing for establishment of the canyonlands. But Skinner said agreements with “radical environmental groups” always turn out bad. While they say traditional land uses such as cattle grazing could continue, such assurances soon fall apart, Skinner said...more

Deal boosts effort to remove 4 Klamath River dams

An agreement by California, Oregon and the federal government on Tuesday boosted efforts to remove four dams in the Pacific Northwest despite opposition in Congress. Officials from those two states and the federal government committed in the deal to pressing ahead on plans to remove the four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River, which runs through Oregon to California. Local tribes and other opponents of the dams say the structures block fish from spawning grounds and damage habitat while generating comparatively little hydroelectricity. The agreement to remove the dams had been part of a yearslong effort to end disputes among tribes, wildlife advocates, and farmers and ranchers over use of the river and its water. The resolution had been put in peril when congressional Republicans opposed to the dam removal had declined to formally authorize the project. The agreements on managing the Klamath River Basin were the result of “years of hard work and collaboration,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement Tuesday. “We can’t let that local vision go unfulfilled.” Tuesday’s agreement means the two states, the federal government and more than 40 other parties involved in the negotiation will stick to plans to decommission and remove the dams, using existing funding, despite the lack of congressional support, officials said. AP

Study: Well control rule will result in loss of jobs, tax money

Hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenues could be lost if a federal regulation revamping offshore equipment standards and well designs goes into effect, according to an economic study released Monday. By 2030, exploration would drop by 55 percent, production by 35 percent, and 105,000 to 190,000 jobs mostly in Louisiana and Texas would be lost, according to the study by economic think tank Wood Mackenzie. Assuming $80 per barrel of oil, the study estimates $70 billion in lost tax revenues. “Because the prospect inventory on currently held leases will likely be condensed and fewer leases will be acquired in upcoming bid rounds, it is anticipated the production gap will continue to widen and could be irreversible post-2030, further limiting jobs, GDP and taxes,” the study’s executive summary states...more

Oregon rancher encounters FBI checkpoints, "It felt like a foreign country,”

Rancher Kurt Spencer had an up close and personal encounter with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation situation on Thursday. Spencer, whose beef cattle business is headquartered in the Umpqua area, also owns and works four ranches in Harney and Grant counties. While traveling north in his red pickup between his ranch near Frenchglen at the base of the Steens Mountains and his ranch near Izee in the Ochoco Mountains, Spencer and his wife Veronica traveled through two roadblocks. The checkpoints had been set up by law enforcement officers following the Tuesday shooting of one refuge occupier and the arrest of several others. The rancher, whose Frenchglen ranch is just a half-hour drive south of the refuge headquarters and whose property borders with refuge land, said the stop at the first checkpoint was “scary.” “They were very professional and kind, but when you have guns kind of pointing at you, it is scary,” Spencer said in describing the scene to The News-Review on Friday. “They (officers) were very, very cautious. They asked us to get out and keep our hands free. They were FBI, but they looked like Army personnel. There were snipers around. “It felt like a checkpoint in a foreign country,” he continued. “There was no room for error. They asked for ID and ran our license plate. They asked me if I had a gun and I told them I did and where it was in the rig. I told them to help themselves as far as looking, but they actually barely looked around. I guess they were comfortable with who we were after checking our IDs and plate.” The couple were then allowed to drive on and at the checkpoint north of the refuge, their travel was barely interrupted. They assumed the first checkpoint had called ahead and given them the OK for the northern stop...more

Harney County officials reject call to resign and to detain, kick out FBI

Harney County officials on Tuesday rejected a resignation call from the Pacific Patriots Network and also said they have no authority to detain FBI officials or agents involving in the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum or to kick out the FBI, as also demanded by the group.
Here's the full text of the Harney County news release:
The Harney County Court is aware of a “Letter of Intent” issued by the Pacific Patriots Network (PPN). That letter demands a response, but it is unclear from whom the response is requested and to whom the response should be provided.
The County Court issues the following statement.
The PPN grieves “Immediate detention by investigating agency of the FBI special agent in charge along with all agents and LEO involved in the shooting death of Lavoy Finicum. A first hand eyewitness account in conjunction with the FBI released video presents reasonable probably cause for arrest while the investigation take place.”
SB 111 was passed by the 2007 Oregon Legislature. It has been codified as Oregon Revised Statues 181A.775 to 181A.815. These statutes require that any use of deadly physical force by a police officer which causes the death of a person be investigated.
The Deschutes County Major Incident Team is investigating the circumstances of the incident. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency on this investigation assisted by detectives from the Bend Police Department, Redmond Police Department and Oregon State Police.
Due to the importance and complexity of such investigations, we anticipate the investigation will continue for several days to weeks. Harney County District Attorney Tim Colahan has transferred review of the investigation to Malheur County District Attorney stating that, "In the interest of transparency and to prevent any perceived conflict of interest, it is appropriate to have a district attorney with no prior involvement review the investigation. I have requested Malheur County District Attorney, Dan Norris, review the investigation and make a decision regarding the appropriate use of deadly physical force."
PPN’s second grievance “Immediate removal of all militarized FBI personnel and equipment from Harney County. All State and County Law Enforcement officers are not included and requested to stay and assist in the process to keep the peace. We are requesting that the remaining occupants at the National Wildlife Refuge be dealt with by local and State law enforcement with the assistance of federal negotiators.”
Neither the Harney County Court nor the Harney County Sheriff has the authority to remove the FBI from activity on federal lands within Harney County, particularly in light of the continuing occupation of a federal facility. The recommendation of use of a federal negotiator is being followed.
PPN’s third grievance is “Immediate resignation of Judge Steve Grasty, Sheriff David Ward, County commissioner Pete Runnels, and County commissioner Dan Nichols.”
All four individuals decline this request.
Earlier story:
While Ammon Bundy, a leader of the monthlong takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, has urged from jail that the last four occupiers leave, his father, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, is claiming "possession" of the refuge "on behalf of Harney County and U.S. citizens."
In a notarized notice sent Monday by certified mail to Harney County Sheriff David Ward (with the governor and president copied in), Cliven Bundy, whose 2014 standoff with the federal government over grazing fees drew national attention, claims he is speaking on behalf of "the People of Harney County and also We the People of the citizens of the United States."
Bundy said they "give notice that we will retain possession of the Harney County Resource Center (Malhaur National Wildlife Refuge)," a misspelling of Malheur.
"Remove all federal and state policing agents out of Harney County," Bundy advised -- but he also had a request of the sheriff.
"Place a Harney County sheriff guard post at the entrance road of the Harney County Resource Center stopping all from entering or exiting, for a time," he added.
Las Vegas TV station KLAS tried to talk to Cliven Bundy by phone on Monday night but was told he's only taking calls from militia members. The woman who answered also didn't know if he would be going to Oregon to take part in the occupation...more

Standoff leader Ammon Bundy strikes defiant tone from behind bars

The jailed leader of an armed group that took over an Oregon wildlife preserve struck a defiant tone Tuesday while again urging four holdouts to leave, saying local residents should control the federally owned property and U.S. officials do not belong there. Ammon Bundy said the FBI and Oregon State Police surrounding Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are leading an “armed occupation,” words typically reserved for the ranchers and others that launched the standoff on Jan. 2. He said the refuge “belongs to the people,” according to a statement read by his attorney. “I am requesting that the remaining protesters go home now so their lives are not taken,” Bundy’s statement said. Meanwhile, the handful of remaining occupiers offered no signs they are ready to leave. They gave an interview Monday on an online talk show on a YouTube channel called Revolution Radio. “We’re still here,” said David Fry, adding that the four hope sympathizers will come out to back them up. “We need the American people to get the courage to stand up.”...more

Bundy withdraws release appeal in Malheur takeover

The lawyers for Malheur Wildlife Refuge militia leader Ammon Bundy withdrew his appeal to be released from federal custody, but the appeal of 2 others accused was heard — and one was released. Bundy’s lawyers, Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey, said they will revisit the appeal at another time. In a statement read by his attorneys after he withdrew his appeal, Bundy said: 
 “Because of the restrictions of solitary confinement for 23 hours per day, I have not been able to speak to my father. I am requesting that the four remaining protesters go home now so their lives are not taken. This will allow the FBI and OSP to also go home and end their armed occupation of Burns in Harney County. Then Harney County sheriff should cordon off the refuge as the citizens work on returning these lands back to Harney County and the state of Oregon as prescribed in the Constitution. It is simple, the land belongs to the people.”
The appeal for two other jailed militia members, Peter Santilli and Joseph O’Shaughnessy, went forward in front of U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman.
Joseph O’Shaughnessy
In his case, Judge Stacie Beckerman ruled last Friday O’Shaugnessy could be released with conditions, but federal prosecutors appealed. According to court documents filed Tuesday, O’Shaughnessy’s attorney, Amy Baggio, wrote that U.S. Pretial Services submitted a report on Friday that recommends he be released. O’Shaughnessy’s lawyer argued on Tuesday he did not agree with the occupation of the refuge and went there to de-escalate things; didn’t stay at the occupation; didn’t actively participate in it; and encouraged communication with law enforcement to reach a peaceful conclusion.  His lawyer also presented statements from Ammon and Ryan Bundy that confirmed O’Shaughnessy opposed the takeover. Judge Mosman affirmed Judge Beckerman’s earlier ruling to release the 43-year-old O’Shaugnessy. For now, he ruled, the government hasn’t met its burden showing O’Shaughnessy is a danger to the public...more

Storm Over Rangelands: Boise Land Seizure Conference and the Spectacle of Lawlessness at Malheur

Ammon Bundy had planned to appear at Utah Freedom’s “Storm Over Rangelands” Conference in Boise on Saturday. Storm Over Rangelands is the title of Sagebrush Rebel Wayne Hage’s 1990s book.

I was present at the surreal ceremony honoring Adrian Sewell, a rancher from New Mexico who “renounced” his grazing permit at Malheur, three days before the Bundy arrest. Lavoy Finicum stated at the ceremony that ranchers would be protected if they had trouble with the Feds – implying militia intimidation.

...The large conference room in the Grove, easily seating 500 people or more, held a scant 60 people.

Boise Storm Afternoon Session speakers were:

Rancher Tim Rice from Burns, Oregon, a founding member of the militia/posse comitatus “Committee of Safety” group from Burns, Oregon; rancher Cliff Gardner from Ruby Valley, Nevada; rancher Dr. Angus McIntosh (adjunct at Texas A&M). This was followed by a panel discussion, with panelists Rice, Gardner, McIntosh and MacFarlane. Jon Pratt had written questions from the audience they responded to.

...Interestingly, the first charges brought against Ammon Bundy and his inner circle of Militants are under a under Civil War era law.

“The Confederacy began seizing federal buildings as states seceded, Blair said. States and armed groups took over federal courthouses, naval yards, forts, customs houses and post offices” … “Bundy and that crowd are sort of latter-day secessionists,” he said, because they’ve demanded federal land be handed over to local control.


The futility of the Oregon armed standoff

By Ron Ewart

 As advocates for the American rural landowner, (NARLO) we have great empathy for what landowners are having to endure at the hands of a heavy-handed government, the environmentalists that have infiltrated every nick and cranny of government and the Indians that are finding creative ways to seek revenge against the White Man with sympathetic courts, high-paid lawyers and ancient Indian treaties. The fact that the anger is rising in the landowners of the American West is as predictable as the Sun rising in the East.

 There have been many confrontations between landowners and the government, environmentalists and the Indians and those confrontations are only going to grow. That rising anger has led to the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade in Northern Nevada near Elko, the Klamath Bucket Brigade in Southern Oregon, the infamous Wayne Hage lawsuit against the government and the Bundy standoff against heavily armed BLM agents in Southeastern Nevada and now the standoff at the Malheur Nature Preserve in Southeastern Oregon. 
On the Indian front, besides Indian Casinos, little has been said or is known about the Boldt decision that gave the Indians 50% of the Salmon harvest every year, or the giant monetary award to the Puyallup Indians in Washington State ($162,000,000) over a land claim, or the Coeur d’Alene Indians trying to claim for the tribe all of Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, or the Flathead Indians taking control of all land, water and electricity rights in Western Montana, with the help of the federal and Montana State governments.

Then there is the dictatorial control and abuse by the Bureau of Land Management and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Agency in the management of federal lands that have spilled over into private land holdings with a vengeance.

All of these events directly affect the rural landowners of the Western United States and has lit a match to what could become a raging land war in the West.

The Western landowners have found themselves in the unrelenting grip of a giant bully known as the U. S. Federal Government. They have tried in numerous legal ways to fight that government, but with courts leaning in favor of the government and the radical environmental movement, the rural landowner has found little redress going the legal route. The hard truth is, you can’t fight the power of the federal government alone, which way too many landowners try.

A blaring case in point is the Wayne Hage family ranchers in Southeastern Nevada...

Arizona's dude ranches meet Hollywood

Humans are notorious for their insatiable desire to ride off into the sunset. And there’s one vacation just over the hillside that gives greenhorns and tenderfoots alike the chance to and rope and ride for real. The guest ranches — also known as dude ranches — popped up during the Westward expansion days and have since become a refuge for vacationers from around the world looking to get a piece of the cowboy fantasy. And many dude ranches have a surprisingly long history in Hollywood, said Leah Bright, the administrative assistant for the National Dude Ranch Association. Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia is the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in Arizona and was the film set for "Red River," filmed in 1948 and "Gunsmoke," filmed in 1953. “It’s just a real-life experience of the movies,” said Bright. There are three types of dude ranches, she said. Luxury ranches are high-end resorts, cattle drive ranchers bring guests to work, and traditional dude ranches focus on horseback riding and other outside activities. The ranches are usually found along train stops in Wickenburg, Phoenix and Tucson, and anyone who signs the books at the front desk is considered a "dude." Dude ranches began as early cabins to house and feed pioneers. The longstanding guesthouses flourished throughout the early 1900s with the invention of the transcontinental railroad and automobile. “Once people from the East coast started coming out West, there was a connection made there,” Bright said. Hollywood began to idolize the cowboy lifestyle during the early and mid 20th century, not long after the O.K. Corral shooting in Tombstone. This helped dude ranches reach a wider audience, said Bright. Actors like Kurt Russell, Clint Eastwood, Sam Elliott, Kevin Costner, John Wayne, Paul Newman, and Robert Duvall played cowboy characters that helped spark a classic appreciation for Western films and culture...more

Bob Wills Saddles & Sagebrush music only 1943

Windows movie maker won't work when you remote in, but that doesn't keep me from linking to other people's work. When it comes to Bob Wills, radiobob805 is the guy to go to. Here's what he says about this video:  

This 1943 movie contains the song, "Hubbin' It." There was a book about Bob Wills with that title as well. He never issued the song on a record. Vocal is by Cotton Thompson & Bob Wills. The opener is Leon McAuliffe singing. Tommy Duncan had joined the Army. 

Personally, I don't care for that high-headed paint Wills is trying to ride.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The internet went out at our place yesterday evening and according to CenturyLink won't be back up till noon today. By using my smart phone as a "hot spot" I'm able to bring you these few stories..

Enviromentalist Billionaire Steyer expects to increase spending in 2016

Environmentalist Tom Steyer — the country's biggest individual political donor during the 2014 election cycle — says he expects to spend even more cash in 2016, focusing on his clean energy-focused super PAC that’s been aggressively organizing across the country, especially in Iowa.  “In 2014 there were some really stark choices, but there was no election as important as 2016,” said Steyer, a Democratic billionaire who spent $74.3 million on the 2014 midterms, according to a POLITICO analysis — including roughly $67 million on his NextGen Climate Action group. The former hedge fund manager, who reported contributing $13 million to the group in 2015, declined to put a number on his future spending, but he indicated that the high stakes of the presidential election — combined with the coming flood of money from the Republicans Charles and David Koch — would spur him to open his wallet even wider for the group that’s now pushing candidates to commit to a goal of 50 percent clean energy powering the country by 2030, having convinced 30,000 Iowans to commit to caucus on Monday for candidates based on their energy plans...more

Cliven Bundy defies son Ammon in call for Oregon militia to stand their ground

Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who led a standoff with the federal government in 2014, wants the protesters in Oregon to stand their ground – directly defying the message of his son, Ammon. Days after militia leader Ammon Bundy, now in jail in Portland, Oregon, called on the final four occupiers at the Malheur national wildlife refuge to surrender and go home, the elder Bundy sent a letter to government officials declaring that the armed militia would not be backing down. “This is notice that We the People of Harney County and also We the People of the citizens of the United States DO GIVE NOTICE THAT WE WILL RETAIN POSSESSION OF THE HARNEY COUNTY RESOURCE CENTER,” Cliven wrote in the letter, which he sent on Monday to the local sheriff,  Oregon governor Kate Brown, and the White House. The armed militia in Oregon renamed the federally protected refuge the “Harney County Resource Center” and for weeks since the occupation began said their goal was to return the public lands to the control of local people.But since 11 people associated with the militia were arrested – and occupation spokesman LaVoy Finicum was shot and killed by state troopers – leader Ammon Bundy has called on the holdouts to end the protest. Cliven Bundy, however, declared today that he wants the opposite to occur. “What this is saying is that Cliven Bundy is taking control of things,” Cliven said in an interview from his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, on Monday afternoon. “If we don’t retain it, then we’ve lost everything that we’ve done in the last two months. We’re not gonna give up.” He added: “This is not Ammon’s message. This is my message ... We’ve made a decision to retain it ... The feds are going to get out of there.”  The letter demands further: “Remove all federal and state policing agents out of Harney County.” Cliven said he has not talked to his son since he was arrested last Tuesday. Ammon, his brother Ryan, and a group of activists are facing federal felony charges for their roles in the occupation of government buildings, which began on 2 January to protest the imprisonment of two local ranchers. Carol Bundy, Cliven’s wife, said in an interview that it was crucial the occupation persevere. “Ammon does not want bloodshed. But he wants the message to continue,” said Carol. “We’ve made a statement. We’ve made a stand. And we’d like to hold out.”...more 

Ammon Bundy To Request Release From Another Judge

Attorneys for Ammon Bundy, the leader of an armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve, are challenging U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman’s order to keep him in custody until his trial. Attorneys Michael Arnold and Lissa Casey argue that Bundy should be released to his home state of Idaho with electronic GPS surveillance, according to a document filed Sunday. Beckerman ruled Friday, Jan. 29 that Bundy would be a danger to the community if released, citing the ongoing occupation of the wildlife refuge. Bundy’s attorneys assert that the prosecution failed to provide evidence that any combination of release conditions would ensure the safety of the community. Lisa Bundy and Ammon Bundy released videos Friday night and pleaded with the remaining occupants of the wildlife refuge to surrender. Bundy’s attorneys will ask U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman to revoke Beckerman’s order at a 10 a.m. hearing Tuesday. Bundy and 10 others are charged with felonies related to preventing federal workers from doing their jobs. Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was also implicated in court documents but was killed in an officer-involved shooting on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Fellow armed occupier, Shawna Cox, was released from the Multnomah County Detention Center over the weekend. Court documents show per the conditions of her release, she’s not allowed to be in Oregon, except to attend court proceedings, nor is she allowed to enter any federal facilities without prior authorization. She also isn’t allowed to contact her co-defendants or possess firearms.  JPR

Witness: Insider helped police arrest Bundy group

Despite the release of an FBI video of the final moments of the life of Malheur occupier Lavoy Finicum, disputes remain within the movement over the manner in which he was killed. In the latest development, witness to the shooting Shawna Cox contends LaVoy Finicum was gunned down in cold blood by police snipers in a remote traffic stop, set up with police by the man driving the Jeep holding Ammond Bundy. Cox was arrested last week on a remote stretch of U.S. 395, along with refuge occupiers Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne and 5 others. Rancher Lavoy Finicum was shot and killed by police after driving into a snowbank at a blockade. They were on their way to a publicly announced meeting in John Day, Ore. Mark McConnell, who was driving a Jeep holding Ammon Bundy, was not arrested. Cox was released from the Multnomah County jail late Friday night and was expected to leave for Utah Monday. She must wear a GPS bracelet and cannot leave home except for work, religious service, school or health care. She may not contact the other defendants. She spoke Saturday with Rick Koerber, who describes himself as a "liberty minded advocate for peace and prosperity" with a website called Cox said she believes without a doubt that McConnell set them up for the arrests by working with the police. Few people knew that the core leadership of the group would be in two specific vehicles headed to John Day for a meeting with the Grant County sheriff, she said. The police stop was along a section of the remote highway where they lost cellular service, she said - the perfect ambush. She has seen the FBI video of the incident, but claims it does not reveal the truth of what happened. "Mark set us up. How come he's out and no one else is?" she said. "He was pushing us to all get together at the same time. They [the police] knew. They knew." She questioned why McConnell was never arrested and refuted a version of events he posted on Facebook soon after he was released. In it, he said Finicum rushed the police. A few days later, he posted a video again, apologizing for reaching his own conclusion based on the accounts of others. McConnell has not commented directly on Cox's accusations, but posted this on his Facebook page Sunday: "Folks here's something simple. Google the route from the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge to John Day, Oregon. There is one way there and one way back. The meeting was at 6pm and was public knowledge. Doesn't take a rock star to figure out when we would have been coming through."...more

'Don't Tread On Me' Flag Appears On BLM Building Near Burns

A Dont Tread On Me flag flies at the entrance of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, near Burns, Oregon. A similar flag was spotted at the BLM building in Hines, Oregon, late Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.
Late Sunday night the Gadsden “Don’t Tread On Me” flag suddenly appeared at the Bureau of Land Management building outside of Hines, Oregon. The flag was hanging below the U.S. flag on the agency flagpole shortly before midnight. Law enforcement arrived shortly after people began to notice it. The flag wasn’t present Monday morning. The flag was designed by American general Christopher Gadsden during the American Revolution, and now is often associated with anti-federal government political movements. Since Saturday, activists with the Pacific Patriots Network  (PPN) have arrived in Burns to protest the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum, spokesman for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation who was killed in an officer-involved shooting on January 26th. Since the beginning of the occupation, PPN organizers have tried to insert themselves as intermediaries between law enforcement and the militants, delivering letters with demands and proposals for peaceful resolution...more

Monday, February 01, 2016

Waving goodbye to a piece of Americana — the lumberjack

In the snowy woods of northern New England and other forested parts of the country, the lumberjack is an endangered species. As markets for forest products change and high-tech machinery replaces chain saws, which themselves replaced the ax, a generations-old way of life is disappearing, one that historically saw fathers pass on to their sons their love and knowledge of the woods and the independence that came from working for oneself. Ken Davis feels this keenly as he reaches retirement age after a half-century career with no one to pass the torch to. Davis once employed 19 people full-time to cut the wood, haul it and then truck it, sometimes to his log yard, other times directly to the now-disappearing mills across Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and upstate New York that would turn it into lumber or process it into paper. He now employs seven, and has no sons. His daughter and son-in-law tried it for a while, but they didn’t keep at it. “I’ve got the sawdust in my veins, and they don’t make a dialysis machine to get it out, so I’m still here,” Davis said recently at his log yard in Hardwick, Vt., part of an especially rural region Vermonters call the Northeast Kingdom. None of Davis’s employees are showing interest in taking over his business. It’s the same story across the region, said Michael Snyder, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation. “It’s dangerous, it’s hard to make a living and everybody hates you,” Snyder said of logging. “Who’s signing up for that?”...more

Wisconsin Senator Johnson Offers Amendment To Return Wolves To State Control

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has offered an amendment to the upcoming Energy Policy Modernization Act that would return wolves to state control. The amendment would instruct the Department of the Interior to re-issue final rules related to the listing of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming under the endangered species act. Johnson says it's been over a year since a judge returned the wolf to the endangered list and he "strongly agrees with Wisconsin farmers, ranchers, loggers and sportsmen that future gray wolf decisions should come from the experts, not from judges." He says the responsibility for wolf population management "should be free from political intrusion and returned to state wildlife managment authorities." The amendment would also prohibit the Director of the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the Northern Long Eared Bat as an endangered species...more

Veterinary Feed Directive will impact whole livestock industry, but many aren't aware of the regulation

When the Veterinary Feed Directive goes into effect in 2017, it will impact nearly everyone in the livestock industry. But at the Colorado Farm Show this week, when Christine Gabel, territory business manager with animal health company Zoetis asked a room of farmers and ranchers if they’d heard of it, she was met with silence. Most looked to their neighbors, foreheads crinkled under the brims of cowboy and baseball hats. “It’s going to impact all of us,” Gabel said, surprised and concerned so few people knew about the regulation. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration implemented the Veterinary Feed Directive, or VFD, which will require farmers to get prescriptions on most antibiotics they would normally get over the counter for their livestock feed. Farmers worry this could have dramatic effects on their operations. Come Jan. 1, 2017, every livestock producer who uses an antibiotic considered important to human health, such as penicillin or sulfa, will have to comply. The regulation covers antimicrobial drugs administered via feed or water, but not via injection. It also will hit every retailer that sells these products and every veterinarian. The directive was created to limit the use of antibiotics only for disease treatment, control and prevention, rather than for growth or maintenance purposes, Gabel said...more

Bundy clan leader unrepentant even as Oregon refuge occupation collapses

Two of Cliven Bundy's sons sit in an Oregon jail, their protest over government land policies crushed by federal lawmen. Yet, when the rebellion's patriarch surveys the land around his Nevada ranch, he sees only signs of victory. Gone now are the federal officers who used to show up at his door asking about the $2 million he owes for grazing his cattle on U.S. property. The rangers in their white pickup trucks are rarely seen since the night last summer when two government workers were chased from the area by gunfire. "They're leaving me alone," the 69-year-old Bundy said on a late January afternoon as he took a break from rounding up stray livestock on a parcel of desert scrub an hour's drive northeast of Las Vegas. "In this part of Clark County and on Bundy ranch, we say we're the freest place on Earth." By outward appearances, Washington appears to have indeed given up on the fight with the man who started the protest movement that erupted in violence last week near Burns, Oregon. Some locals have taken to calling the area "Bundystan," a kind of rebel enclave on taxpayer-owned land. Makeshift signs erected by Bundy's supporters welcome visitors to enjoy "A free land, by the people." Whether Bundy and his ranch will remain free is unclear. Obama administration officials say they are moving forward with the case against the cattleman whose sagebrush revolt became a cause celebre for groups opposed to federal ownership of western lands. But, U.S. officials also are anxious to avoid violence, particularly in the wake of the arrests last week outside a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon that left one protester dead. "They have no jurisdiction or authority, and they have no policing power," Bundy, ever defiant, said in an interview. "They have no business here." "My sons and those who were there were there to do good. No harm was intended," he said in a video posted Thursday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "This will be a wake-up call to America." A solidly built son of Mormon cattlemen, Bundy speaks with the conviction of someone who believes the Constitution is on his side. Standing by a windswept desert highway in late afternoon, he patiently walked a visitor through his interpretation of Article 4, which delineates responsibilities for federal and state governments. He spoke in a soft drawl, wearing boots soiled with mud and manure. "The land belongs to 'We the People,' " Bundy said. "We own the rights, like the rest of the public, to go out there and fish and camp and hunt. The federal government does not have that right. They're not citizens of Clark County." Courts and legal scholars have repeatedly rejected such views. The land where Bundy's cows graze has been owned by Washington since 1848 when the territory that is now Nevada was annexed following the U.S. war with Mexico...more

Video: Ammon Bundy delivers message from jail

Ammon Bundy's lawyers have released a video in which he delivers a message over the phone to the remaining refuge occupiers: "please stand down." Bundy currently sits in the Multnomah County Jail with 10 other standoff members arrested this week. In the video posted to his lawyers' YouTube page, attorney Lissa Casey sits on a bed with Ammon's wife Lisa Bundy who has the phone on speaker.  Bundy's attorney Mike Arnold speaks first, stating how he wants the recording of the phone call to be sent to refuge occupiers, but not posted publicly. "Please remember that anything you say could be used against you," Arnold tells Bundy. "Trust no one and remember that your neck is sticking out." A moment later Ammon's voice is heard on the phone call. "To those at the refuge, please stand down. This was never meant to be an armed standoff," says Ammon Bundy. "We only came to expose abuse and educate people about their rights protected by the Constitution of the United States. Please do not make this something it was never meant to be. Go home to your families."...more

Here is the video: