Saturday, March 05, 2016

How to write Ammon Bundy, others.

This website provides the following info:

Jon Ritzheimer, SWIS ID# 795601
Ryan Bundy, SWIS ID# 795070
Ammon Bundy, SWIS ID# 795069
Brian Cavalier, SWIS ID# 795072
Ryan Payne, SWIS ID# 795073
Peter Thomas Santilli, SWIS ID# 795071
Jason Patrick, SWIS ID# 795104
Sean Anderson III, SWIS ID# 795442
Corey Lequieu Oma, SWIS ID# 795604
David Fry, SWIS ID# 795444
Darryl Thorn, SWIS ID# 795438 (they have him as Daryl, one r)
Dylan Anderson, SWIS ID# 795098 
Kenneth Medenbach, SWIS# 794840Blaine Cooper SWIS ID# 795818
Jason Charles Blomgren SWIS ID# 795822Wesley Kjar SWIS ID# 795823 

You can write these political prisoners at
Name inmate was booked under, SWIS#
11540 NE Iverness Drive
Portland, OR 97220  

Main phone: 503-988-3689

Interactive Map: Dozens of rallies in memory of LaVoy Finicum planned Saturday nationwide

Dozens of rallies are scheduled Saturday in Oregon and around the country in memory of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, an armed occupier of an Oregon wildlife refuge who was killed by state police in January. Hundreds have indicated on Facebook they will attend the rallies at state Capitols, federal buildings and courthouses in at least 35 states.  One of the goals for the rallies is to collect signatures for a petition urging state and federal authorities to investigate how Finicum died, said Cherilyn Eagar, a spokeswoman for the Finicum family. Many dispute the FBI's account of the confrontation and insist Finicum's death was preventable. Organizers also hope to spread awareness about and protest the arrests of 25 refuge occupiers, Eagar said. They're all facing federal charges of conspiracy to obstruct a federal officer with intimidation or threats, a charge with a maximum six-year term...more

See the map here.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Ammon Bundy says jail 'most difficult thing I've ever done'

    Ammon Bundy, leader of the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, has gone from counting the days of the occupation to counting the days behind bars.
    Thursday marked his 37th day in a single cell at Portland's downtown jail on federal conspiracy charges.
    "It's the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life,'' said Bundy, his hair cut short and wearing the standard blue jail smock over a pink T-shirt in a visiting room of the Multnomah County Detention Center. "But I don't regret what we did because I knew it was right.''
    ...Bundy said he misses his wife and six children in Idaho -- three daughters and three sons ages 1 to 13 -- and struggles to maintain contact with them through letters and phone calls.
    To pass the time, he takes inspiration from the jailhouse words of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. about the importance of civil disobedience, reads passages from Scripture, keeps a journal and tries to respond to the more than 220 people who have sent him letters since his arrest. He also runs in place and does jumping jacks in his 7-by-12-foot cell to keep in shape.
    During an hourlong interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive, the 40-year-old spoke about the surprise of his arrest, his father's influence on his beliefs, the police shooting of occupation spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and his future.
    He said he had gone to Burns to rally behind two local ranchers who were returning to prison for burning federal land and even his wife didn't know he was planning to end up at the wildlife refuge.
    "I began to look at what we can do to make a stand, to make a point, demonstrate that this is not OK, much like many others have done in our history,'' he said. "We needed to make a lot of noise to get people to understand what is happening.''
    He's satisfied that the occupation drew national attention to his cause.
    He doesn't feel responsible for Finicum's death or his 24 co-defendants who also face federal indictment, he said.
    "Everyone made their own decision,'' Bundy said. "We're all adults.''

    Bundy said he knew his arrest was a real possibility, but he was surprised when the FBI and state police moved in while they were traveling to John Day to meet with residents there.
    "We were headed with weapons of laptops, projectors and PA systems and they attacked us – literally ambushed us with a standing army,'' Bundy said. "Yeah, we were surprised because we were going peacefully to a community meeting. We were legally moving about the country peacefully the way that people should be able to do.''
    ...He hung his head and talked softly when he described how hard it is being away from his wife and children.
    "We are in here locked away and our families are trying to survive, and they're struggling out there especially when we were the primary breadwinners,'' he said. "My babies are at home. My beautiful wife is at home. Everything is at risk right now for us, as far as our income, our house. But we have to ask ourselves – was it worth it? I believe it was.''

A sure sign of warmism in decline: Yale closing down its ‘Climate and Energy Institute’

Peak warmism has already hit, and the global warming movement is now on its long glide path through loss of government funding, budget and hiring cuts, less media attention, on the way to unfashionability, embarrassment, and eventually obscurity, a historical footnote like phrenology (which was once the rage in elite academic circles).  In retrospect, the December 2015 Paris Climate Accord, which was still able to draw heads of state but which could accomplish nothing substantive other than promise money, may well be seen as the definitive moment at which the movement began its official decline.

Now elite institutions, which always have their antennae attuned to the ebb and flow of the concerns of the world’s power elite, are acting out the consequences of decline.  If you are a university president responsible for raising mega-donations by convincing the holders of wealth that they can achieve prestige and maybe a little immortality by funding your Good Works, then you have to be aware of their changing concerns.

Only a few years ago, global warming seemed like a sure winner to Yale’s then-president Richard C. Levin, when he announced in 2009 the establishment of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute and secured Rajendra K. Pachauri as its first head.  Pachuari was the head of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the major force pushing global warming as a central battle to be fought to save humanity, and he was to serve both the U.N. and Yale at the same time, locking them together as leaders of the fight to rescue us all from doom. 
That was then; this is now.  The Yale Daily News announced three days ago:
After a University decision to cut all its funding, Yale’s Climate & Energy Institute will close by the end of June. The loss of the institute, which for the last eight years has conducted research related to issues of climate change, leaves a hole in climate and energy studies at Yale.

Blue Ribbon Panel Recommends $1.3 Billion Investment in Conservation

A task force including business and energy leaders along with conservation groups is pushing a strategy to combat wildlife habitat loss and species decline. The blue-ribbon panel's recommendations include tapping $1.3 billion in royalties from energy production on public lands to protect non-game species. Whit Fosburgh, president and chief executive of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said the struggle to keep the greater sage-grouse off the endangered species list has shown it pays to be proactive. The panel warned that if action isn't taken, the list of federally threatened and endangered species could grow from nearly 1,600 today to thousands more in the future - which Fosburgh said would put up significant roadblocks to economic development. Fosburgh noted that hunters and anglers already help subsidize management of game species through licenses and other fees. Since state fish and wildlife agencies already are being asked to do more with less, he said another source of funding is needed to protect the wildlife that draws people to the outdoors. To implement the plan, Fosburgh said, it's going to take pressure from states, industry and everyone who supports wildlife to move Congress to release a portion of the $13 billion collected each year in oil and gas royalties. The recommendations are online at

Can't help but notice these proposals for increased spending are almost always accompanied by a threat.  In this case, "thousands more" added to the endangered species list, resulting in "significant roadblocks to economic development."  Pay me now or pay me later.  All roads lead to increased spending, but its oh so much smarter to spend now.  No thought is given to amending the ESA so it can be administered in a more efficient and effective way.    

Sedona Is the New Mountain Bike Mecca

Sedona, we discovered, is possibly one of the finest riding destinations in the country. It definitely provided the best bike test in the 11-year history of the event. Of course the mountain bike trails are ridiculously fun and extremely varied. If you thought that Moab has a corner on red-rock desert riding, think again. Trails here range from Chutes and Ladders-style twists and turns on dusty singletrack through loose piñon pine and junipers, to nonstop rollercoaster ups and downs with blocky sandstone step-ups and step-downs, with big basins and swells of slick rock to play in at every turn. There’s loose and chunky stuff, nicely constructed flow trails, high-consequence technical challenges, and even cruisey riding in the ponderosas if you’re willing to pedal for it. “One of the best things about Sedona is the variety,” says Matt Mcfee, whose company Hermosa Tours guides visiting riders. “There’s trail for everyone, and you can’t call any of it, even the easy stuff, boring.” Another big bonus is the proximity to riding. “Here, you don’t have to drive at all. The trails are all close enough to ride to, and the network can connect to everything else in town,” says Mike Raney, co-owner of Over The Edge Sports Sedona. There’s 239 miles of bike-friendly trails, most of which is well signed and mapped and strung over town like a giant spider web. During the time we spent testing in Sedona, we drove to ride only twice. But really what sets Sedona apart is its attitude. The city wants cyclists to come ride. In Sedona, the Forest Service has actually collaborated with the mountain bike community to retrofit old trails to better suit cyclists needs (think: banked turns, no switchbacks, rock armor instead of steps). They also worked with riders and the city to build 60 miles of new trails to accommodate the increase in riders. “Trails are a natural way to protect the land,” says Jennifer Burns, who worked as the recreation staff officer for Sedona’s district of the Coconino National Forest from 2009 until her retirement earlier this year. “The policy here has been to reach out and build back relationships with mountain bikers. It’s the surest way we have to fulfill our charge to protect the land.”...more

Clean Power Plan stay spurs enviros into action

by Elizabeth Shogren

It’s hard to overstate the high that environmentalists were feeling as this year began. President Obama had finally rejected the Keystone XL pipeline that they had fought against for years. New Environmental Protection Agency rules for reining in greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants had helped Obama lead the world to a new international climate change agreement in Paris in December. As icing on the cake, the Interior Department in January surprised environmentalists and announced a moratorium on leasing federal coal. “We had come off of the best six months ever,” says Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president for government affairs of the League of Conservation Voters.

Then last month, the Supreme Court delivered the movement an unexpected defeat by staying the Clean Power Plan. The blow showed environmentalists just how fragile their victories are, but it also re-energized their efforts to influence the coming elections. “When you contrast the incredible progress we’ve had and the stay, it does underscore that the stakes couldn’t be higher,” Sittenfeld adds.

The group’s rank-and-file supporters apparently understand those stakes. Online donations to the League of Conservation Voters started pouring in the evening the stay was announced. Within 24 hours, the organization had received $100,000 – making it one of the largest days for online contributions in the group’s history, Sittenfeld says.

Inside the Arizona prison where inmates train horses for U.S. Border Patrol

In a wide field hedged in by high fences topped with razor wire, Johnny Stankovic, dressed entirely in orange, stands almost motionless in the climbing morning heat. From his hand, a synthetic rope sags to the sun-bleached grass and then up again to the head of a young roan colt. The colt dips its head to tear at the sod but keeps a wary eye on Stankovic. “He’s not used to people yet,” Stankovic says evenly. “He’s a new one. Gotta take it slow. They’ve only run from people before coming here.” Stankovic is one of 40 to 45 inmates chosen to work in the Wild Horse Inmate Program at the Arizona State Penitentiary in Florence, Arizona. Randy Helm, a former undercover narcotics agent and experienced rancher, runs the program within the prison walls. He helped to found the program in 2013, which couples new skills training with a for-profit venture. Helm says the monetary profits are minuscule -- barely enough to keep the program afloat, in fact, but the sociological results are tremendous. While the program does not profess a “rehabilitative” aspect, prisoners involved in the program show a substantially lower recidivism rate, Helm says. Prisoners who are interested in the program can apply, just like all the other jobs in prison; they are chosen for various reasons including good behavior, prior animal experience, and general interest in the work. “It really does change their people skills,” Helm says about the inmates in the program. “With a wild horse, you can’t take a shortcut because there’s no place to go. Life is that way: You have to go through this process, one step at a time.”
The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Reserve in southern Arizona is a treacherous, wild terrain filled with patches of tall whip-like Ocotillo cactus and bristling bunches of cotton-spired Jumping Chollas. The reserve’s southern edge flattens against the Mexican border and makes it a favored entry point for migrants and smugglers. The horses are already slick with sweat and we’re only halfway through the patrol. We are looking for "bodies" -- agent slang for blips picked up from the multitude of electronic motion and heat sensors that dot the area. The technology can spot people crossing the border, but retrieving them is where the horse patrol comes in. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been buying horses from the inmate program since its inception. The animals are well-suited for the slow tracking of smugglers; the “chase” creeps along in the rugged terrain. There are no high-speed chases out here on the rocks. Horses can also move further distances much faster and more quietly than other forms of vehicular movement or humans on foot can. Plus, horses are naturally intelligent. While an agent may think he can tear through a wash on an ATV and then end up misjudging the depth and getting stuck, a horse knows its limitations and can gauge which path is best.
The connection between agents and horses is undeniable, as is the connection between the inmates and horses. Trust is the underlying current. The horses must reach a point where they trust humans, and the inmates are being entrusted with that job. This also requires putting trust in themselves to accomplish something very unique, perhaps for the first time in their lives.

El Chapo entered US twice while on the run after prison break

The drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán bankrolled the election of senior Mexico politicians and twice secretly entered the United States to visit relatives, according to his eldest daughter. Rosa Isela Guzmán Ortiz said that shortly after an interview with Hollywood star Sean Penn last year, her father dodged a massive manhunt with the complicity of corrupt Mexican officials and evaded US border controls to sneak into California – despite being one of the world’s most wanted fugitives. She also accused senior Mexican politicians of accepting donations from El Chapo when they ran for office, and said that in return officials turned a blind eye to his escapes from prison. “My dad is not a criminal. The government is guilty,” she told the Guardian. The explosive allegations made by Guzmán Ortiz could not be independently verified and are likely to be vigorously contested by Mexican and US authorities. Guzmán Ortiz, 39, made the claims in a series of interviews which she said were given in consultation with her father...more

New Mexico Tech to be featured on last episode of popular TV show

SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – On Saturday, fans of a popular TV show will bid farewell to an explosive series. If you watch closely, you’ll see a New Mexico link. One local university is so good at blowing things up, they’ve been featured several times and will be in the final episode. “We have a blast,” said Dr. Van Romero with a chuckle. For nearly a decade, Vice President of Research at New Mexico Tech, Dr. Van Romero, alongside other explosive researchers, have helped two special effects experts and their team debunk common misconceptions, like whether a snowplow can split a car in half. The show is called “Mythbusters.” “It’s always been a big hit around here,” Romero said. “We’d like this to go on forever.” Unfortunately for fans, the show has reached the end of its run, but not before one last shoot in New Mexico. “We knew it would happen eventually and we had always been thinking about what we could do. We were a little bit surprised. About a year ago, they contacted us and said, ‘Okay, we’re ready to do our final show.'” explained Romero. Dr. Romero first appeared on the show as an expert in 2007, but gladly welcomed cast and crew to New Mexico Tech when Mythbusters wanted to up the ante on their explosions. In fact, the finale promises the series’ biggest explosion, yet, and Romero and his team deserve a lot of credit. Romero tells us they begin work on these project more than six months before they ever shoot them. Mythbusters gets in touch with what ideas they have, but it’s up to the brainpower at New Mexico Tech to develop the engineering solutions. Once both teams agree on a plan, the hard part’s over, right? Not even close...more

Google's hush-hush 100kW transmitter in New Mexico desert: What's going on at SkyBender test site?

An application filed with the FCC reveals Google's request to install a nearly 100kW radio transmitter at Spaceport America, the New Mexico-based hangar where it's running SkyBender, its secretive project using drones to test millimeter-wave radio. The highly-redacted document doesn't reveal much about what Google is doing beyond conducting field tests in the 2.5GHz band, 5.8GHz band and 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz bands. It also confirms that Google is testing millimeter-wave technology at Spaceport. Google is paying about $1,000 a day to test its technology from 15,000 square feet of hangar space at Spaceport that was originally designated to Virgin Galactic's stalled spaceflight program. Also, SkyBender is being run by Google Access, the group responsible for its Gigabit Fiber service in the US. Project SkyBender is employing third-party drones as well as drones made by Google Titan, which have wingspans of up to 50 meters, or 164ft.  Whatever Google is building, the company does not want rivals figuring out its plan....more

NM wildlife officials OK endangered wolves at Turner Ranch

The southwest New Mexico ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner will temporarily shelter five Mexican gray wolves on their way to Mexico. The New Mexico Game and Fish Commission gave unanimous approval Friday, more than a month after the panel denied Ladder Ranch's appeal for a permit to host Mexican wolves as part of a federal species recovery program, the Albuquerque Journal reported. "I don't have a problem with the Ladder Ranch," Commissioner Ralph Ramos said after Friday's meeting. "I think they are doing a good job. I'm concerned about Fish and Wildlife. They need to get that recovery plan completed." The Ladder Ranch had held its permit to participate in the recovery program since 1988. Federal wildlife officials will transport the animals from Wolf Haven International in Washington state to Mexico. The Ladder Ranch stop is intended to relieve travel stress and work around breeding season. Turner Endangered Species Fund Mike Phillips attended Friday's meeting via telephone from Bozeman, Montana. He said one plan moves the wolves to Ladder Ranch next week and moves the animals to Mexico before pups are born. The other plan moves the wolves to Ladder Ranch in early April, and then to Mexico in July after the female wolf gives birth...more

NM right to farm bill signed into law

Gov. Susana Martinez visited Southwest Cheese in Clovis Thursday afternoon to sign two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 72 and House Bill 270. A crowd from both agricultural and medical industries gathered around to witness the signing of these two bills. Senate Bill 72, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, took an existing piece of legislation, the Right to Farm Act, and updated it to better protect New Mexico farmers and ranchers. Walter Bradley, director of government and business relations at Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., said the bill amends the law to protect farm operations from nuisance claims. A claim may not be brought by a person if there is a purchase, lease, or rental of property near an existing operation unless the farm substantially changes its nature and landscape of operation, Bradley said. “Basically, if you’re new to the neighborhood and you move in near an existing operation, ranch, or farm, that business is allowed to grow without fear of a nuisance lawsuit being brought against it,” said Katie Goetz, public information officer of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Regarding Senate Bill 72, Martinez said there are nearly 25,000 farms and ranches across the state and are diverse in their sizes and end products. “The bill I’m signing today further protects this industry,” she said. “I understand the value of this industry. Supporting the agricultural industry has never been more important than it is today,” She said there’s been an increase in New Mexico of young farmers and ranchers of about 50 percent since 2007. “I think that’s an exciting thing—a trend that we want to see continue.” Martinez said. “With this bill, we assure our farmers and ranchers that they can continue their operations without having to worry about getting dragged into court, simply because a new neighbor thinks they’re too loud or they’re a nuisance.”...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1568

Idle Rumors, a duet by Red Foley & Evelyn Knight is our selection today.  This pretty tune was recorded for the Decca label in Nashville on Nov. 28, 1950.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Feds removing protections from Yellowstone grizzlies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today began removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears, marking a conservation milestone that’s been four decades in the making. The federal agency listed the Yellowstone grizzly as threatened on July 28, 1975 when there were perhaps as few as 136 grizzlies left in the ecosystem. Removing federal protection and turning management over to the states comes as the population stands at an official estimate of 717. “The recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear represents a historic success for partnership-driven wildlife conservation under the Endangered Species Act,” Dan Ashe, director of the USFWS, said in a statement. “Our proposal today underscores and celebrates more than 30 years of collaboration with our trusted federal, state and tribal partners to address the unique habitat challenges of grizzlies. The final post-delisting management plans by these partners will ensure healthy grizzly populations persist across the Yellowstone ecosystem long into the future.” Federal and state plans seek to maintain a stable population of about 674 bears — the average number between 2002 and 2014. They would be counted in a 19,279-square mile Demographic Monitoring Area with Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks at the core. Gov. Matt Mead responded immediately. “We have been working for several years with the Secretary of Interior and the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service one-on-one, along with our staffs to get to this decision,” he said in a statement. “The proposed rule is to delist grizzly bears. Grizzly bears are recovered and have been for more than a decade. It is a great success story.” Hunting likely to follow In addition, removal of ESA protection would allow some “discretionary mortality,” including hunting, that would be regulated by the three neighboring states. The federal government through the USFWS concerns itself with the population-level view of the species and overall annual mortality. It will leave it to states to decide which bears might be hunted where and when outside the two national parks. Federal officials said they’ve put national park leaders in touch with state game agencies to work out how park boundary bears that are popular tourist attractions might be protected once they leave Park Service sanctuaries...more

States fire head of crucial prairie chicken program

Even as a federal district judge yesterday rejected the Fish and Wildlife Service's request to reinstate federal protections for the lesser prairie chicken, state wildlife regulators fired the man in charge of the plan the judge had instead favored to recover the imperiled bird. Until yesterday, Cal Baca was the lesser prairie chicken program manager at the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), a coalition of regulators from 23 states and Canadian provinces that created a rangewide plan meant to prevent the need to protect the bird under the Endangered Species Act. Baca's main responsibility at WAFWA was implementing the rangewide plan that Junell concluded could recover the species without the need for federal protections. His termination on the day that the courts made it unlikely the prairie chicken will receive federal protections anytime soon suggested to some observers that the states are no longer interested in following their plan to recover the species. "It's not a good omen," said one so-called mitigation banker, who has closely followed the prairie chicken issue. He spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid negative attention to his company, which preserves habitat for protected species and sells conservation credits to developers that harm listed animals. The exact reason for Baca's dismissal remains unclear. In a brief phone interview, he told Greenwire, "I don't think I'm at liberty to discuss that right now." An email sent out to WAFWA staff around noon yesterday said only that "effective immediately, Cal Baca is no longer an employee of WAFWA and, therefore, no longer holds the position of the [lesser prairie chicken] Program Manager. ... While the LPC Program Manager position is vacant, Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA's Grassland Initiative Coordinator, will be the main point of contact regarding the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Rangewide Plan." The decision to fire Baca was made by the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative Council, a body that includes state wildlife regulators in the bird's five-state range and one at-large member. Alexa Sandoval, the director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and chairwoman of the council, declined to discuss the reasoning behind the decision but emphasized that it was unrelated to the district court ruling...more

Indictment Accuses Bundy, Followers of Conspiracy in Nevada

A federal indictment accuses renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and at least five other men from several states of conspiracy, obstruction, assault, threatening federal officers and other charges in a 2014 armed standoff over grazing cattle on U.S. land near Bundy's ranch. Bundy and seven other people's names appeared unredacted in an indictment obtained Thursday following the arrest of alleged co-conspirator Gerald "Jerry" DeLemus in New Hampshire. They are Cliven Bundy's sons Ammon Bundy of Arizona and Ryan Bundy of Utah, and supporters Ryan Payne of Montana, Peter Santilli Jr. of California, and Brian Cavalier and Blaine Cooper, both of Arizona. Each was already in custody after being identified by federal authorities as having taken part in the Nevada standoff and the occupation this year of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. Federal authorities on Thursday arrested DeLemus, 61, of Rochester, New Hampshire, on allegations that he "organized and led armed patrols and security checkpoints" for several weeks after a tense armed confrontation in April 2014 near Cliven Bundy's melon farm and cattle ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. "DeLemus used guns and threats of violence to intimidate and interfere with federal law enforcement officers," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Zuckerman wrote. Redactions in the indictment filed Wednesday in Las Vegas appear to black out names and allegations against 11 more people. The nine-count indictment is similar to one filed Feb. 11, a day after Cliven Bundy, 74, was arrested after flying from Las Vegas to Portland, Oregon, to visit Ammon and Ryan Bundy in jail. The Bundy sons were arrested Jan. 26 and accused of organizing an occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ammon Bundy and 15 other defendants pleaded not guilty last week in Portland to federal conspiracy charges related to the occupation. A total of 25 people are charged in connection with the takeover, which began Jan. 2 and lasted until Feb. 11. The occupiers wanted the U.S. government to relinquish public lands to locals and free two Oregon ranchers who they say were wrongly imprisoned for setting fires. DeLemus also traveled to Oregon to talk with the group at the refuge. But returned home before arrests were made and hasn't been charged with a crime. The new indictment alleges a conspiracy to recruit, organize, train and provide support to armed men and other followers of rancher Cliven Bundy during an aborted round-up of his cattle in a dispute over more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and penalties. The charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States; threatening a federal law enforcement officer; obstruction of justice; attempting to impede or injure a federal law enforcement officer; and several firearms charges. It calls Cliven Bundy the leader and beneficiary of the conspiracy, and Ammon and Ryan Bundy leaders and organizers of about 200 gunmen and followers who forced federal agents and contract cowboys to release about 400 cows that had been rounded up from federal land near the Bundy ranch. DeLemus was due to appear federal court in Concord, New Hampshire. Calls to DeLemus' court-appointed attorney and his wife, Republican state Rep. Susan DeLemus, were not immediately returned. At the time of his arrest, DeLemus was running for Strafford County sheriff.   ABC News

Wyoming’s Gov Is Angry Lawmakers Are Trying To Funnel His Coal Revenues To Other States

Wyoming Republican Gov. Matt Mead is not happy with a new bill that goes along with President Barack Obama’s plan to use coal mining revenues from western states to fund “economic development” projects in states where federal regulations have put thousands of coal miners out of work. “The legislation is detrimental to Wyoming’s coal industry and the national economy. RECLAIM would shift $1 billion from states where mining and reclamation occurs to non-reclamation economic development activities in states where federal energy policies decimated viable industries,” Mead wrote in a letter to Wyoming’s congressional delegation obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Mead is referring to the Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More, or RECLAIM, Act which shifts $1 billion from abandoned mine reclamation funding in states like Wyoming to economic projects in Appalachian states like Kentucky...more

Bill to restrict conservation easements drawing attention

A state bill that could drastically limit how landowners can arrange for their lands to be handled in the future is drawing scorn from conservation groups and some landowners. If passed, the bill would require county commissions to set regulations for conservation easements, which protect private lands from future development, such as oil drilling, housing developments, and wind farms. Currently, landowners who sign up for easements set conditions approved by groups like the Nature Conservancy of Kansas or the Kansas Ranchland Trust. Such conditions for preservation remain attached to the land for perpetuity. Landowners are usually compensated with hefty tax breaks. Should the bill pass, it could be up to county commissioners how long a conservation easement could last, or if they would even be legal in that county. Proponents of the bill have said they think conservation easements put too much limitation on what future landowners can do with a property...more

An interesting concept.  Counties now control land use designations, so why should we allow state law, often backed by hefty federal subsidies, to overturn those local ordinances and plans?

USDA Removes Labeling Requirements from Beef and Pork

The federal government has wiped off the books the controversial law that required grocery stores to label cuts of pork and beef with their country of origin. The rules around Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) require retailers to note where the animal that produced cuts of meat was born, raised and slaughtered. The World Trade Organization, however, said last year that the labels were an unfair trade barrier for meat producers in other countries. Congress repealed mandatory labeling on beef and pork late last year, after the U.S. lost a World Trade Organization dispute with Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now made repeal official via a notice in the Federal Register, although labels are still necessary for poultry, fish and a list of other foods. Over 90 percent of the beef, pork and poultry consumed in the U.S. is produced by American farms. But some ranchers wanted protection from foreign competition and viewed the labels as the meat version of a "Made in the U.S.A." sticker...more

New Mexico Hispanic ranchers travel to Washington

A delegation of Hispanic ranchers from New Mexico is in Washington, D.C., to meet with congressional leaders about alleged discrimination and civil rights violations. The ranchers talked with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday, a day before the caucus was scheduled to meet with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The caucus had asked for a meeting with Vilsack in October, saying members had reports from constituents indicating significant civil rights violations and discrimination by the agency. The caucus also pointed to a 2013 review that found noncompliance with civil rights requirements and regulations by U.S. Forest Service offices in New Mexico and Colorado. The USDA contends civil rights have been a priority under the Obama administration and that errors have been corrected over the last several years. AP

Feds to introduce more wolves this summer (between Interstate 40 and the U.S./Mexico border)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided an update on the controversial Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program to attendees at the sixth annual Natural History of the Gila Symposium — an update that told a story of poor genetic diversity and a small drop in numbers. The agency’s representative also revealed plans for more wolf reintroductions into the Gila National Forest in coming months. According to changes made to the recovery plan in 2014, the FWS plans to reintroduce several more captive-raised specimens into the wild this year. The changes to the plan expand the possible reintroduction areas to anywhere between Interstate 40 and the U.S./Mexico border in Arizona and New Mexico. That, of course, includes the Gila National Forest here in Grant County. No specific dates have been set for the reintroductions this summer because some of the wolves set for release are pups that haven’t been born yet. This fostering approach to reintroduction has only been attempted once with Mexican gray wolves and was not a huge success. Laudon expressed optimism for the plan, however, saying it is based on a program from the Appalachian Mountain region involving red wolves that worked well...more

Laudon also spoke to the prickly relationship between the wolves and the ranching community. He said that most of the problems between wolves and cows or sheep could be avoided with the alteration of the unique and long-practiced ranching methods in the region. He said the type of year-round grazing done on the public lands here is “done almost nowhere else,” and causes more interaction between livestock and predators.

 No big deal.  Just a change from year around to seasonal grazing.  It will cut their grazing and the value of their permits by 50 percent or more.  No big deal.  Current operations will no longer be viable.  Ranching families will be destroyed.  No big deal.

The new enviro formula:

Year around grazing to---seasonal grazing to---no grazing

Interior Department Not Working On Owyhee Wilderness Designation

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Tuesday that she is not aware of any coordination between her office and the White House about a conservation proposal for the Owyhee. Last year, Portland-based Keen Footwear launched a campaign to convince President Obama to designate 2.5 million acres in southeast Oregon as an Owyhee Canyonlands national monument. The Oregon Natural Desert Association has been talking about a wilderness designation for years, but that can only happen through Congress. Obama has already created or expanded 19 national monuments. The prospect of a Democratic president designating a monument in the Owyhee has galvanized some local residents in opposition, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, opposes the idea. Walden asked Jewell directly if the Interior Department is involved in such an effort. Jewell said, at the moment, she’s not coordinating with the White House for an Owyhee monument...more

Interior, drillers win high-stakes lizard lawsuit

The Obama administration and the oil industry scored a big win in court today as federal judges decided a case surrounding lizards that dwell in prime drilling territory. A unanimous panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against conservation groups, who challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service's 2012 move to withdraw its prior decision to list the dunes sagebrush lizard -- whose habitat is in New Mexico and Texas -- as endangered. The D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court decision that also sided with the Obama administration. The legal battle over the lizard has been closely watched by the energy industry. State officials and oil interests have feared that an endangered species listing for the tiny species would hamper drilling in the Permian Basin -- historically the nation's largest oil patch (EnergyWire, Jan. 10, 2014). Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity contended that FWS's withdrawal of the lizard listing was illegal because voluntary conservation agreements in Texas and New Mexico are "not regulatory mechanisms and are too speculative to ensure the conservation of the species."...more

Ranch Radio #1567

Here's Billy Williams and his 1946 recording of Two Silhouettes On The Prairie.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Federal land? Some Westerners say there's no such thing

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

 The recent armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge stoked long-simmering frustrations over what some Westerners perceive as an inequity.

In the 11 Western states, the federal government controls about half the land, plus more in Alaska. Yet it only controls about 4 percent of the rest of the nation's acres.

"Our system does not work if you have a back-of-the-bus class of states," said Ken Ivory, a Republican state representative from Utah who has spearheaded national campaigns to transfer federal lands to Western states. "To have federal bureaucrats from thousands of miles away who are accountable to no one is not working."

The Malheur occupation, while widely condemned for its tactics, underscored a quieter -- and mostly legal -- push among conservative Western politicians, sheriffs and academics to assert local control over federal lands and their bounty of minerals, trees and grass.

The movement, which targets roughly 640 million acres owned by all Americans, is using a range of tools including education, legislation, litigation and civil disobedience to push the government's divestiture of land.

It seems to have hit a crescendo with Cliven Bundy's armed uprising against the Bureau of Land Management in April 2014 and his sons' seizure of Malheur in January.

And it's found some traction in legal forums, as well -- in county commissions, statehouses and Congress.

Lawmakers in various states last year flooded their chambers with three dozen "land seizure" bills, with six passing full legislatures, according to the Center for Western Priorities. Utah is pondering litigation to seize federal lands the size of Pennsylvania. The Republican National Committee in 2014 adopted a resolution calling for the "imminent" transfer of Western federal lands to willing states.

The activists share many criticisms of federal lands: They can't be taxed. Environmental laws hinder their development. Overstocked forests burn. Locked gates thwart motorized passage.

But the groups involved vary in size, ideology and tactics, and they don't seem to have a unified front.

Border citizens to hold meeting in Animas, N.M., on March 10

Concerned citizens of New Mexico and Arizona border counties, along with the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association and the Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association, are “calling Washington home” to a public meeting on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Animas Community Center in Animas, N.M., located at 1 Panther Blvd. The increase of illegal immigrants and drug/human smugglers from Mexico has created a common fear among border residents for their safety and the safety of their loved ones. A recent attack on a local citizen has spurred one local business owner to now use the “buddy system” for any work to be done within 30 miles of the border, meaning that a job that used to require only one employee will now require two. Pleas for help and protection from Washington are falling on deaf ears and the citizens are fed up. Presentations will be made by a diverse group of knowledgeable experts that have been involved with this ongoing issue for years. It is the hope of the planning committee that this meeting will bring the safety and security concerns from those residing south of Interstate 10 to the general public’s attention, as well as to those in Washington that really can make a difference...more

State historian gives lowdown on outlaws

“People think the Old West ended in 1895. Not in Arizona,” official State Historian Marshall Trimble told a full house Friday night at the Pinal County Historical Society Museum. Trimble was speaking about his new book, “Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen,” at a benefit for the museum. One of the state’s great outlaw characters from the late 1800s was Rufus Nephew, also known as “Climax Jim” from the brand of tobacco he constantly chewed. “I couldn’t help but like” Nephew, and the lawmen of his day liked him too,” Trimble said. Nephew once accepted a check as payment for some cattle he had stolen, then was arrested after he altered the check. At his trial, as the prosecutor and defense attorney were arguing, Nephew picked up the key piece of evidence — the check — and added it to the wad of chaw in his mouth. Nephew later spat it out in the judge’s own spittoon. “There was ‘Exhibit A,’” Trimble said. Another time, Nephew had been arrested with some stolen cattle and smelled terrible after many days on the run. As he was about to wash up outside the jail, he saw a very fine horse tied to a hitching post. His priority then became to steal the horse, and he rode naked through Springerville and Eagar, Trimble said...more

Ranchers recall legacy of black cattlemen in Florida

One of John Brown’s earliest memories is of sitting atop his Uncle Lawrence’s horses, pretending he was a cowboy. It was one of his favorite pastimes growing up in Kissimmee, and it became a love that has carried on throughout his life. Brown’s "Uncle Lawrence" was Lawrence Silas, an iconic figure in Osceola County and regarded as one of the greatest cowboys in Florida’s cattle ranching history. Documents show Silas built a cattle empire in Jim Crow-era Kissimmee, cultivating a ranch that spanned thousands of acres and included hundreds of varied livestock. The tradition of black ranch hands tending herds on the Florida frontier dates to the 17th century. The exhibit shares the little-known story of how those ranchers helped develop the state’s cattle industry, two legacies that Florida Agricultural Museum curator Mary Herron says are intertwined. Herron spent nearly two years researching the information included in the exhibit and built a permanent ode to Florida’s black cowboys, which opened at the Palm Coast exhibition hall in 2009. The touring version was based off that exhibit. It chronicles herding traditions from their African roots through Europe to today’s ranch lands in the Sunshine State. “The cattle industry is really a quintessential part of Florida culture and economic life because it spans the entire range of Florida’s history following European contact,” Herron said...more

Refuge workers had 'a sense' about visitors before takeover

Weeks before anti-government militants took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, its manager and other workers kept close watch on the arrival in Harney County of protesters tied to the Bundy family. "There was a change in the type of people you saw in the community," said Chad Karges, who oversees the bird sanctuary for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The refuge employs its own law enforcement officer and Karges kept in touch with other police officials. He said Fish & Wildlife Service workers in December took steps "to prepare for the unknown." He said he maintained normal operations until Christmas, but afterward directed four maintenance workers who live on the refuge to move out. He also told employees to work always in teams. He said refuge employees noticed people parking at the refuge headquarters and coming into the office, describing them as "not quite normal ... it was just a sense you had." Authorities shared a photo of one militant with employees as a precaution...more

Oregon standoff: Workers find 'mess' left behind by occupiers

Restoring life to normal at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters will require accounting for the most mundane of government property – paperwork. Federal workers last week began inspecting the grounds to find out what the armed protesters had done in 41 days of controlling the compound. They discovered no major damage to buildings so far. They still need to assess ditches and roads carved out by some of the militants. Members of the Burns Paiute Tribe are taking the lead to judge if artifacts or sacred grounds suffered. But it's clear the occupiers helped themselves to file cabinets and desks, rifling through and scattering government files. "Everything got moved," said Chad Karges, refuge manager for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Karges on Tuesday described the scene at the compound in his first detailed accounting since the takeover began Jan. 2. For protection, law enforcement officials spirited Karges out of town shortly after the takeover began. Only a week ago officials judged it safe for him to return home. He's now presiding over what he expects could be a lengthy process to restore the refuge to full public access and operation...more

This Chart On US Forest Growth, Good News Or Bad News For Enviros?

Environmentalists rhetoric on forest conservation might level off, because the amount of forested area in the U.S. has rapidly increased. The amount of forested area in the U.S. has grown substantially since 1990 according to World Bank data aggregated and posted by Saturday. The growth of forested area isn’t limited to post 1990 however, America has more trees today than it did in 1900.

"Forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. By 1997, forest growth exceeded harvest by 42 percent and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920,” states an assessment from the Food and Agriculture Organization published in 2000.

The increase in American trees and forested area is due to a tree plantations which plant more trees than they harvest and the population movement from rural areas to cities and suburbs.
Research published in Nature estimates that there are 3.04 trillion trees, or approximately 422 trees for every person on Earth.

Here’s Where The 2016 Candidates Stand On Global Warming

As Super Tuesday nears, polling data shows global warming is now the most polarizing and divisive issue in American politics. Global warming is even more divisive than abortion or gun control. Here are the positions of every presidential candidate on global warming...more

A newly released letter from Osama Bin Laden called for Americans to fight climate change

Osama bin Laden wrote a letter calling on the American people to help President Barack Obama fight "catastrophic" climate change and "save humanity", in the latest evidence of his worries about environmental issues, newly released documents show The letter was among materials that were seized in the May 2, 2011, U.S. raid on bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan that killed the al Qaeda chief and which were released on Tuesday by the Obama administration. The undated, unsigned letter "to the American people," which U.S. intelligence officials attributed to bin Laden, appeared to have been written shortly after Obama began his first term in 2009, based on the letter's references to events...more

Five young people murdered in Mexico were mistaken for a rival drug cartel

Five young Mexicans killed last month by gang members with ties to local police were murdered after being mistaken for a rival cartel, a top security official said Tuesday, another possible case of corrupt law enforcement in league with organized crime. The individuals were killed in a particularly violent zone of Veracruz state known as Tierra Blanca, their remains dumped into a local river, deputy interior minister Roberto Campa said in an interview with broadcaster Televisa. "(The five young people) were burnt and then afterwards their remains were pulverized, certainly at a sugar mill, and they were then dumped into a small river," said Campa. He said the confession from a state police officer provided confirmation of the killings...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1566

The Delmore Brothers are back with She Left Me Standing On The Mountain.  The tune was recorded in Hollywood in January of 1946 and is available on their Rounder CD The Sand Mountain Blues.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Utah offers Idaho lawmakers ways to control federal land

Utah lawmakers met with Idaho legislators Monday, offering Idaho legal arguments they say could be used to gain control of about 30 million acres of federal land within the state that is mostly administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. "The current structure is failing," Republican Rep. Keven Stratton or Orem, Utah, chair of a commission for the stewardship of public lands, told Idaho lawmakers. "We have to ask ourselves: Are we going to be ruled by fear or are we going to trust ourselves?" The Utah contingent, which included an attorney, made its presentation before the House Resources and Conservation Committee and the Senate Resources and Environment Committee. George Wentz, an attorney with the New Orleans-based Davillier Law Group, gave a legal argument that states are supposed to be equal. But he said states with large federal holdings are at a disadvantage to states in the East and as a result aren't being treated equally. He said that offers a legal lever for states such as Idaho and Utah to get control of federal land. However, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has said the state's constitution gave up claims to the land when Idaho joined the union. Other states entered the union in similar fashion. Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls, said he sensed that most of his fellow lawmakers favored state control of federal public land, but he sensed the opposite among Idaho residents. He said more information was needed to inform Idaho residents about how state control would work. Much of that fear, he said, centered on a potential loss of access to public land that is used by hunters, anglers and a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts in Idaho...more

A Republican opposes private property: 

Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said that if Idaho did move forward with trying to get control of federal public land, he'd want to make sure it stayed public. "If we were to take control of the federal land within our borders, it would be my idea to amend the Constitution that it could never be sold off," he said.

Never fear, Rep. Andrus (wonder if he's related to former Interior Secretary Andrus), any potential legislative grant of federal lands to the state will contain a reverter clause, meaning if the land is not used for a public purpose, it will revert to the feds.

The state could do the same with it's lands, granting them to the private sector subject to an easement for public access.

In fact, there are many models out there and many chances for innovation, if the R's could just overcome their "fear" of non-government ownership and management.


Obama's federal land grab continues

By Will Coggin

With the stroke of a pen, President Obama recently roped off nearly 1.8 million acres of Southern California desert. Urged on by environmentalist groups, the move is just the latest taken by the president in his attempt to lock away federal lands from productive use.

His authority comes from an obscure provision in the 1906 Antiquities Act that allows the president to classify large swaths of land as national monuments by fiat. With the monument designation, the federal government can restrict all sorts of activities including ranching, off-roading and energy production — regardless of the wishes of local communities. Perhaps even more egregiously, the president disregarded a legislative branch that has repeatedly opposed the monument designation.

Obama’s move marks his 22nd use of the authority, covering more area than any other president. The 1.8 million acres is his second largest designation, and it may be just the first of a barrage of "monument" declarations in Obama's final year.

Following the monument designation announcement, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said “everybody is coming to me with their wish list,” referring to environmental extremists hoping to have their pet projects endorsed by the president.

The action supports Obama’s “keep it in the ground” stance on fossil fuels, which has led to a decrease of production on federal lands. So, while the country is in the midst of an energy revolution, the growth has come almost exclusively on state and private land. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, between 2009 and 2013, oil production increased by 61 percent on state and private lands, but actually dropped 6 percent on federal lands. Natural gas production rose by a third on state and private land during that same time period but plummeted on federal lands by 28 percent.

Federal lands could provide a tremendous economic boon. A study by Dr. Timothy Considine, a professor of energy economics at the University of Wyoming, found opening federal lands could lead to $26.5 billion in annual gross regional product, more than $5 billion in tax revenue and more than 200,000 jobs in the Rocky Mountain region. But a small contingent of radical environmental groups blindly opposed to fossil fuels has convinced the president to lock up these resources.
And in an effort to drown out local opposition, left-wing activists have gone to extreme lengths to cloak their appearance.
Environmental and left-wing foundations have dumped millions of dollars into so-called “sportsmen,” “hunting,” and “angling” groups, using them to create a false grass-roots image behind the use — or abuse — of presidential powers.

A group called the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and a handful of other supposed hunter-advocate organizations recently released a report extolling the virtues of the Antiquities Act as a conservation tool and praised Obama for his use of the powers.
TRCP gets most of its money from environmentalists and big labor, according to tax records. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, another pro-land grab group, gets most of its money from a handful of other environmental groups.

In 2010, leaked documents from the Obama administration identified more than a dozen sites covering 13 million acres as potential targets for monument designation. As President Obama’s second term comes to an end, we can only expect to see more government land grabs. And there’s not much local communities can do to stop it unless Congress rolls back overreaching presidential powers.

Will Coggin is the research director for the Environmental Policy Alliance.

Published at the Deseret News.

Arizona's Only Jaguar Prowls a Difficult, But Hopeful, Path

On video, the United States' only jaguar is a graceful presence. He pads through the forest of Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains, sunlight dappling his spotted coat. The phrase "charismatic megafauna" never seemed so apt. After the release of this jaguar video by two conservation organizations in early February, El Jefe the jaguar became a national name (he's been well-known around Tucson for more than three years). But this glimpse of the great cat is only the tip of an enormous iceberg of history for jaguars in the United States. Once driven out of the United States by hunting and ranching, jaguars are now in the eye of a more sympathetic public. But there is debate over the protections they need from threats like copper mines and border walls, and bad blood between the groups responsible for conserving these cats.  El Jefe's presence in the Santa Rita mountains near Tucson has been known for years. For a time, scientists with a University of Arizona program were tracking the big cat using camera traps and a scat-sniffing dog. Funding for that project has since dried up, and Conservation CATalyst is the only group keeping an eye on El Jefe at the moment, Neils told Live Science...more

Here's the Video:

Oregon’s Wolf Population Jumps to Triple Digits

Oregon wildlife officials announced on Monday that the state wolf population has grown by 36 percent last year. Conservative estimates now place wolf numbers at around 110, although experts suspect the real count is actually much higher. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) confirmed at least 11 breeding pairs with 33 pups surviving through to the end of last year. Wolves are a hot button issue in Oregon, much like in other states where the species has a significant population. Last year officials voted to remove wolves from the state’s list of endangered species, provoking protest from animal rights activists and a lawsuit to reinstate protections for the animal. Ranchers on the other hand, are concerned that eastern Oregon’s growing wolf numbers could prove to be a threat to their livelihood. There were nine confirmed cases of wolf depredation on livestock last year as well as two probable cases, totaling 14 animals killed, including one working dog. In contrast, the same number of depredation cases in 2014 left 32 animals dead, the highest in Oregon’s recent history. However, the number of wolves participating in attacks on livestock is worrying. The ODFW reported that at least 29 percent, or nearly a third, of wolf packs in Oregon have been involved in depredation of livestock. The majority of the cases occurred on private land during summer months, and the ODFW distributed $174,428 to address wolf-livestock conflict. Ranchers and their supporters are currently fighting to put a cap on how many wolves the ODFW should allow in the state...more

DOE, FERC leaders used personal emails for business

The revelation last March that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email server while leading the State Department sparked trouble for her campaign and the Obama administration. Clinton's email server has since been found to contain emails that should have been marked as classified or top secret, providing political fodder for her Republican opponents. Other administration officials -- from Defense Secretary Ash Carter to Lois Lerner, the embattled former IRS director of tax-exempt organizations -- have also been caught using private email for work purposes. Yet a Greenwire survey of two dozen environment and energy agency leaders found that the problem is even more widespread than previously reported. A fifth of those officials -- including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz -- have used private email accounts for work communication, according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and agency responses to reporters' queries. The survey also showed Moniz and other top administration officials have not one but two government email accounts, which agency representatives say are necessary to limit communication with the public and reduce the risk of cyberattacks...more

Former UN Climate Official Charged With Stalking, Harassment

The U.N. climate panel's former chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, was charged Tuesday with stalking and sexually harassing a woman who worked at the New Delhi environmental think tank he's headed for more than three decades. Police filed the case in a Delhi court after investigating a complaint by one of Pachauri's colleagues at The Energy Research Institute, Press Trust of India said. Pachauri has denied the allegations, but resigned last year from both the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and from TERI after the researcher's allegations were published in Indian newspapers. The allegations caused a public uproar in a country where women face a stigma against discussing issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace...more

How do you charge someone for "harassing" the whole damn world?

Ranch Radio #1565

This morning we have Hank Penny & His Radio Cowboys telling us all about those Lonesome Train Blues. The tune was recorded in Charlotte on June 29, 1941

Monday, February 29, 2016

NPS Director Jarvis stripped of ethics post after unauthorized book

National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis is being stripped of his responsibility to oversee the agency's ethics program after publishing an unauthorized book with a nonprofit group that operates stores in numerous national parks. He will also receive a written reprimand for having violated federal employee ethics standards and be required to attend monthly ethics trainings for the remainder of his tenure, Deputy Interior Secretary Michael Connor said. Connor's actions come in response to a report released late yesterday by Interior's Office of Inspector General that found Jarvis intentionally avoided seeking approval from Interior's Ethics Office before writing "Guidebook to American Values and Our National Parks." Published in June 2015 by Eastern National, the operator of 138 national park stores, the book was intended to raise awareness about NPS's 2016 centennial and bring in money for the National Park Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for NPS. Jarvis took the unusual step of asking Eastern National to grant him the copyright for the book but told the OIG he intended to donate it to the foundation. "Although the [OIG's report of investigation] does not expressly draw any conclusions about the results of the OIG investigation, the Department has reviewed the ROI [report of investigation] carefully and come to the conclusion that Director Jarvis did violate Federal employee ethics standards," Connor said in a letter Tuesday to Mary Kendall, who leads the OIG...more

Sally Jewell's treatment of King Cove tells us what our government has become

by Paul Jenkins

      If Donald Trump’s exuberant “I love the poorly educated” gush during his Nevada victory gloat -- doesn’t this guy scare the pants off anybody but me? -- did not peg your had-enough-o-meter, a video of a recent Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing might.
      It offers insight about what our federal masters think of Alaskans.
      The snippet centered on the Interior Department’s budget proposal for fiscal 2017. It contained an exchange between Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the powerful panel, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
      Murkowski asked Jewell how many emergency medical evacuations from King Cove there have been in the 26 months since Jewell nixed a 10-mile, single-lane, non-commercial, gravel road through the 300,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. It would have linked the tiny Alaska Peninsula community of King Cove to nearby Cold Bay’s all-weather runway for emergency medical evacuations.
Jewell had nary a clue but, she said, “I’m sure that it is dozens.” Murkowski said since Dec. 23, 2013, there have been 39 -- 14 by the Coast Guard --  “which is unacceptable by anyone's standards.”
      Murkowski pressed her about a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study done last year for the Department of Interior, and not released publicly, that examined alternatives already considered -- “marine vessels,” helicopters, even a new airport -- and rejected as “impractical” or “unaffordable.”
“Impractical” and “unaffordable” are key words in federal squirming about the road. As sop to environmentalists, Congress has plowed nearly $40 million into King Cove for clinic and airstrip improvements, and anted up $7 million for a hovercraft. None of it solved the problem.
      Congress in 2009 approved a land swap for the road -- 61,000 acres of Alaska and King Cove Corp. land for 206 acres of refuge -- but required an environmental impact statement. When Jewell killed the deal four years later, she promised to help the village’s 950 residents find an alternative. She has done nothing.
      “You had promised that you would work to address the situation of the people in King Cove,” Murkowski said during the hearing. “I don’t see anything in this FY 17 budget to actually implement any of the ideas that were contained in this study of these alternatives, so the question this morning is whether or not you are planning on doing anything in this year, or is this a situation where you basically just run the clock and you leave the people of King Cove hanging?”
      “I would be delighted to work with you on a marine-based solution,” said Jewell, adding that a road would be inappropriate.
      Governmentspeak, especially federal governmentspeak, often is baffling. Let me translate Jewell’s comments: Yes, I am running out the clock -- and doing a great job, don’t you think? No, I am not going to do any more for those weenies than I already have -- zip. Oh, and neener neener. 
      As the clock ticks toward that horrific moment when yet another person dies at King Cove trying to reach medical help -- village officials say 19 have over the years, in medevacs or awaiting evacuation, and nobody counts the close calls -- it is clear neither Jewell nor her chums will be swayed. King Cove, after all, is so very far away.
      It would make more sense, I suppose, if her stated reasons for blocking the road made more sense. They do not.

Gray Wolf Delisted

The U.S. House has passed an amendment that would reinstate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) 2011 delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region. The modified amendments is to the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE). According to a press statement from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), “frivolous litigation by radical environmental groups,” caused the delisting to be overturned by the Federal Court. Public Lands Council President Brenda Richards said the bipartisan amendment restores the justified decision to delist and return the wolf to the rightful state management of the species...more

Point Reyes Elk Test Positive for Disease

A potentially fatal bacterial disease has been found among a free-roaming tule elk herd at Point Reyes National Seashore, raising concerns about the close proximity of wildlife to cattle on national parkland.
Five adult elk from the herd above Drake’s Beach tested positive for Johne’s disease in February, following hundreds of negative results from samples collected since May 2014. Although it’s not known for sure how these elk contracted the disease, which can result in rapid weight loss and diarrhea years later in an animal’s life, it can be rampant in cattle operations. The Drake’s Beach elk herd shares park-owned pastureland with cattle that belong to the Seashore’s historic ranches. The discovery could complicate the National Park Service’s efforts to relocate tule elk to other areas of the park or elsewhere in the state, an option that’s been under consideration as a management tool for keeping the elk population under control and for minimizing conflict with ranchers...more

Mexican cattle imports likely to decrease

The U.S. and Mexican cattle and beef industries continue to integrate, building on a long history of trade between the two countries. Mexico has exported feeder cattle to the U.S. for more than a century and continues to do so today. After increasing in the mid-1980s, U.S. imports of Mexican cattle have averaged 1.08 million head for the last 30 years. In the most recent 10 years, the average has been slightly higher at 1.14 million head per year. Mexican cattle have added an average of 2.9 percent annually to the U.S. calf crop for the past 30 years, with the percentage slightly higher in recent years as U.S. cattle inventories have declined. In 2015, imports of Mexican cattle were 1.15 million head, up 3.5 percent year over year and just slightly higher than the ten year average. Imports dropped sharply at the end of 2015, with November down 29.7 percent and December down 36.4 percent compared to the same months one year earlier. This decrease in imports of Mexican cattle at the end of 2015 no doubt reflects lower U.S. cattle prices but also likely is a result of tight cattle supplies in Mexico. Lower U.S. cattle prices reduce the incentive to export cattle from Mexico but this is partially offset by the rapid erosion in the value of the Mexican peso at the end of 2015, which keeps U.S. cattle prices relatively higher in Mexico. Despite indications of declining cattle numbers in Mexico, record high U.S. prices combined with a weakening Peso kept U.S. imports of Mexican cattle high through 2014 and most of 2015. Domestic Mexican cattle supplies have also been boosted by increased imports of cattle from Central America...more

Gila National Forest, Reserve Ranger District receives grant

The Gila National Forest Reserve Ranger District is one of 186 federal sites selected to receive a 2015 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. In March, Reserve Ranger District archaeologists will do a classroom presentation and lead a field trip for Reserve Independent fourth graders. This grant, part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program, supports the White House youth initiative Every Kid in a Park...more

Saddle up the cowboy spirit at two-day Las Cruces festival

Thousands of cowboys, cowgirls and cowpoke-wannabees are expected to hit the trail and head for the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum for the 17th annual Cowboy Days, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 5-6. “A lot of people are playing a part in providing talented people to help make Cowboy Days a great experience for everyone,” museum spokesman Craig Massey said. Massey said the family-friendly celebration of the state's ranching and cowboy traditions is the museum's most popular event, attracting fans with a fun mix of cowboy music, food, books, storytelling, demonstrations, living history re-enactments, children's activities, pony rides, stagecoach rides, arts and crafts vendors, a plant sale in the museum's greenhouse and more. “Everybody can take on that cowboy spirit for a couple of days,” said Mike Hosea, who helped put together the musical roster for the event and performs himself as James Michael, joining featured performers Voz Vaqueros, Bruce Carlson, Washtub Jerry, Glenn Moreland, Wayne Thomason, Jim Tomlinson, and Kenny Arroyo...more

Ranch Radio #1564

From their 2010 CD Del Gaucho, Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours join the Swingin' Monday crowd with Bachelor Man.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Cowboy with a cell phone

 by Julie Carter

In the aftermath of the bitter cold and heavy snowfall at the ranch, relationship "moments" often progress from the proverbial "cussing a blue streak" to moments of hilarity that know no bounds. Locking the classic ranch couple up together for days on end is rarely the picture of marital harmony. 

In days long ago, communication was limited to whether or not one could hide well enough from the other. Cell phones changed all that. The dreaded sound of “ring ring” prefaces what is sure to be grounds for at the very least a good fight and on a good day, a possible homicide.

Frozen water lines, livestock drinkers with a foot of ice to be broken, vehicles that won't start or stay running and drifts filling every road going anywhere to do anything keep moods teetering on the brink of the dark side.

Cabin fever only intensifies the powerful desire to choke the life out of anything that moves, breathes or speaks. The flatbed pickup stuck smack in the middle of the road for two days was a testimony to the situation. Buried in snow as high as the bed of the truck, it begged the question, "Why would anyone just drive off into a drift like that?"

His wife is quite clear about the answer. "Three days in the house with me is why."

Right up there with the sound of that phone ringing is hearing gun fire in rapid succession that will cause some thoughts unbecoming to a lady.

While unloading groceries, the wife came to attention at the sound of a pistol firing down in the lot. She hurried over to see her husband on a horse trying to “coax” a bull up the lane to the corrals and ultimately into a waiting trailer. He saw her and hollered, “Run over there and throw open that trailer gate and shut it on this bull when I get him loaded.”

Finally corralled with the encouragement of the .22 loaded with bird shot, the cowboy followed him to the trailer. The gate was slammed shut but didn’t latch, which is fodder for another story on another day. It did, however, require some bodily danger to her to restrain the bull who didn’t want to be.

The wife suggested he go right to the sale barn with this contrary bull much like a similar-in-nature one they’d recently taken to town after he’d worn out his welcome.

“He’s just a yearling!” protested the cowboy, at which point the wife made a note to herself to not help gather bulls in the fall.

Being practical in all things, she knew the possibility existed that at any given time she could be called to a horse/gunfire come-apart if this method of cowboying continued. She also found it sad that without the cow dog they once had, they had been reduced to firearms to gather or move bulls.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, winter life continues. Ring ring.

“Come on, quick. Bring the feed truck and the tow strap. I’m stuck in the lot with a trailer loaded for the sale barn.”

She dutifully responded and after fish tailing out of a drift and narrowly snaking through the gate with his truck and trailer on the end of a tow strap, he said to her, "You didn't hit anything did you?"

She managed a smile while answering, “Why, no dear.” And under her breath, “only by the grace of God."  And it wasn’t the gate posts she was referring to.

Julie can be reached for comment at or simply by "Ring, ring ..."

Of Presidents and Porters

Of Presidents and Porters
The Constitutional Man
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            In an open letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the 11 Republicans senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday they plan to “to exercise (their) constitutional authority to withhold consent on the nominee to the Supreme Court submitted by this president.”
            How about that?
            Should we actually believe there will be a continued display with economy of words and no gnashing of teeth, no suggestion of compromise, and no bickering among deacons of the upper chamber? Along with his role in the destruction of the Democratic Party, perhaps we are also witnessing a hint of unraveling of the unopposed annihilation of the Constitution by this fellow in the White House. Maybe … just maybe the senatorial underachievers representing the rights of the sovereign states of the United States of America are posturing to uphold their oaths of office.
            Wouldn’t that be something?
            The Law of our Land
            Interestingly, there is evidence of massive confusion among the Senate elect prior to their first gathering and the inauguration of George Washington. The matter was how to address our first president when he was met and greeted by John Adams at the door to the Senate Chamber.
            “How should he be addressed!” was Adams’ frantic question to those gathered.
            Should it be ‘Mr. Washington’, Mr. President’, ‘Sir’, ‘May it please your Excellency’, or what? Adams admitted his own preference was ‘Mr. President’ but someone in the room noted that would only put the General on the level with the Governor of Bermuda. Someone else noted that Adams, as Vice President, was also ‘President of the Senate’ and there couldn’t be two men in the Chamber being addressed as President.
            A suggestion was made to appoint a committee, but that created not a “single problem but a battalion” of problems. The silver tongues started rising giving their learned opinion of the matter. Lee of Virginia arose to explain the ways of the Lords and the Commons. Izard of South Carolina, educated abroad and wishing to make that a point of record talked at length of his visits to the Houses of Parliament but failed to offer any definitive answer to the dilemma. Old Carroll of Carrollton grumblingly suggested it didn’t matter a tinkers damn what the English did.
            After all, wasn’t it the profound dislike of King George that the war was fought?
            On and on the debate raged. Ellsworth began to find virtue in kings. Izard was growing to also respect the antiquity of kingly government. “Excellency!” he demanded.
            “Highness,” responded Lee.
            At length the combined genius of the committee settled on ‘His Highness the President of the United States and Protector of the Rights of the Same.”
After a long and uncomfortable pause, Robert Morris mumbled that Congress was also ‘Protector of the Right of the People’. Adams sat disgusted with his chin in his hands reminding himself that even cricket clubs had presidents. The more rabid Republicans began to laugh. Speaker Muhlenberg dubbed Maclay, ‘Your Highness of the Senate’. Maclay himself grew facetious in debate and thought his title good enough and if was “gloriously greased with a great horn of oil” it would make him conspicuous enough.
            Finally, the great debate spilled out into the hallway and reached the House and James Madison quietly arose to speak. In his clear voice, he reminded the body that the Constitution had given the head of the State a title … ‘President of the United States’. After checking for authenticity, that is exactly what it set forth. George Washington, President of the United States, was introduced and it has been that title without argument since.
            What else in the Constitution is so clearly revealed if only leaders would read the document? Who among us has studied it with enough robust intensity to protect ourselves much less been taught what the Supreme Law of our Land actually sets forth?
            The greater issue is not the questions that can be asked that have never been given good answers. The greater issue is the antics and actions of leadership and citizenry alike if left to their own corrupted biases to interpret or implement a matter that is set forth in the document. If Madison hadn’t been there, we might well have been regurgitating a sixteen word title for a leader that was intended to be completely different from the royalty that had ruled the world.
            The Constitution, just like the modern interpretation of Wilderness, the Commerce Clause, or the unlawful expansion of government, has become whatever the agent of debate wants it to be.
            The pending decision
             With Justice Scalia’s death, another political calamity is upon us.
             That fellow in the White House has been at work reading from his teleprompter making it clear he intends to exercise his authority to pick the ideologue he deems appropriate for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of the conservative protector of rights. It is his Constitutional authority to do so and he should proceed. In this case, however, he doesn’t have the power of his pen to create law and single handedly coerce the outcome. There is no executive privilege to bypass this process. He has to rely on his relationship with the leadership, but there is none. He has bludgeoned them like he bludgeoned us.
            In our relationship with him, it is significant that, while he has the distinction of being the first black man to be elected to the highest office, he brought no deep respect for his good fortune. He filled the office firmly convinced of his genius as a wordsmith and the power of his being. On the former, it is worthy to note he is on the verge of delivering more speeches since Christmas than George Washington delivered in his entire tenure as president.
            On the basis of the latter, we have nothing on which to base a judgment. We see him, but we have never been party to any true relationship with him. We have no idea who writes his scripts. In the nightly news, we see him in his speech patterns attracting the attention of the mob of liberal advocates. In the evolution of his political drama, we constantly hear his words. In the tumult of chaos he became an even greater dispenser of unrelated words. His vision for any opportunity of any lasting renown or legacy remains before him. His incessant narration is simply a substitute for glory, but he has forever missed it. He had the stage, but he forgot the one thing that would have raised his character toward mediocrity.
He left us out of his equation.
Back to bovine flatulence
The Porter brothers and I stood talking about feeding some calves, but, more importantly, talking about our friendship that is now entering its 43rd year. We were young men when it all started, but, now, we have gray hair and reach for our reading glasses. Living has impacted us and scars and experience have accumulated in equal measure. Billy looks like his dad and Asa talks of the lessons that patriarch left.
In one conversation, Mr. Porter suggested to Asa that remaining silent sometimes has great benefits not the least of which is the possibility that the gathered body might actually think dignified silence indicated intelligence.
“Think about that,” he intimated to him “Just think about it!”
Some time later, young Asa was sent off to a feeder meeting and he was selected to participate with a group of industry leaders to question the science and methodology of a pharmaceutical manufacturer. The questioning was intense, and, soon, the industry rep was essentially run out of the room. Asa never said a thing and remained intimidated by the whole affair.
Later, he felt compelled to say something to the leader of the group. He caught him alone and attempted to make amends.
“I may not say much, but …but I am actually smart,” he blurted.
“Oh, yea?” the under whelmed cowman blurted squinting at him. “Who told you that?”
Horrified, Asa stumbled away at his blunder. He was crushed both at his awkwardness and the response. Don’t you wish we could engineer the same affect on the majority of Washington leadership?
While we are at it, a remedial constitutional short course should be a prerequisite for every office holder. A little humility of the immense honor and responsibility it is to actually defend the Constitution should be on the mind of every elected official. They are defenders and stewards. They are not independent and sovereign re-interpreters of the document.
We are woefully off course, and … it is time for Men of rare standards to step forward.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “One more word about the Porter brothers … nobody would have survived all these years within the business model they made work. I am as proud of their accomplishments as I am of their friendship.”