Saturday, March 12, 2016

New snowstorm hits Sierra Nevada as 'March Miracle' continues

Several feet of new snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada mountains this weekend as another El Niño-influenced storm moves into Northern California. In what some are calling a "March Miracle," the Sierra have been hit by a series of powerful storms this month. That's important because the Sierra snowpack is a key source of water for California, which is in its fourth year of a drought. The storms have boosted the snowpack and replenished reservoirs. Heavy showers pummeled L.A. and Ventura counties Friday afternoon, and forecasters said there was a chance of some light rain in some areas of Southern California through the weekend. The northern part of the state experienced rain and snow Friday with another storm system expected to arrive late Saturday morning, followed by another Sunday, the National Weather Service in Sacramento said...more

Wild mountain lion kills a koala in LA zoo - Killarney Killed by Kat - Bloody remains found - 'Lonely life' blamed

A well-known mountain lion that prowls a sprawling Los Angeles park may have made a meal of a koala found mauled to death at the city’s zoo. Los Angeles Zoo officials say the koala went missing on March 3 and its bloody, partially eaten remains were found a short time later found outside the zoo. The night before the koala was found, a 7-year-old male puma known as P-22 was seen on black and white surveillance video near the zoo inside Griffith Park, the sprawling urban wilderness that he calls home. The big cat may have managed to leap a 9-foot-high fence to reach the koala enclosure and snatch Killarney, a 14-year-old female that was the oldest koala in the exhibit. However, the evidence is circumstantial, zoo director John Lewis and other officials acknowledged Thursday. The attack itself wasn’t recorded, and there are other predators, such as bobcats and coyotes, that were capable of killing the koala. The remaining 10 koalas have been removed from the outside enclosure. Zoo workers are taking extra precautions, such as locking up smaller animals in barns at night. “Unfortunately, these types of incidents happen when we have a zoo in such close proximity to one of the largest urban parks in the country,” Barbara Romero, Los Angeles deputy mayor for city services, said in a statement. P-22 wears a tracking collar and was famously photographed near the Hollywood sign for National Geographic. The 130-pound cat crossed two freeways to enter the 4,355-acre park several years ago. It’s a lonely life with little chance of finding a mate. Cougars typically need ranges of 75 to 200 square miles for hunting and breeding, while P-22’s habitat is around 8 square miles...more

And if you should happen to cross paths with a sexually satisfied male mountain lion?  Don't worry. Be happy.  Just toodle on your merry way.

It's also a relief to know that lack of habitat was responsible for many of my youthful indiscretions.

There's just one thing though:  Sometimes I'm powerful hungry after sex.

Thousands of rattlesnakes screaming?

Sweetwater Jaycees clean and skinned rattlesnakes during the rattlesnake roundup in 2015. (AP/Odessa American, Courtney Sacco)
 The little city of Sweetwater, Texas, has 11,000 residents and one very big event each year. It features a pageant, food stands and contests, but the centerpiece is a bloody hunt: Thousands of Western diamond rattlesnakes are rounded up, milked of their venom and then beheaded and skinned in front of crowds at a county coliseum.

Sweetwater’s “World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup” ends Sunday, 59 years after the Junior Chamber of Commerce, or “Jaycees,” launched it as a way to ostensibly control the region’s abundant population of rattlers, which were accused of killing cattle and biting dozens of people each year.

These days, it draws more than 25,000 visitors, among them out-of-state snake hunting teams and foreign tourists who stop by to see the Wild West in action. Last year, 3,780 pounds of snakes were netted, and they were first thrown live in a pit — it looks something like an above-ground swimming pool — where a man in what must be very sturdy boots stood among them, stirring the pile of reptiles to keep them from suffocating each other. The 2014 Miss Texas joined him for a bit.

Of course, there has to be busybody controversy:

“At these events, it’s common to see snakes swollen and bloody from being restrained or thrown by handlers, dead and dying snakes, snakes too weak or stressed to defend themselves, unsanitary conditions, cruelty and dangers to the public,” Melissa Amarello, cofounder of the Tucson-based Advocates for Snake Preservation, said in a statement. “Rattlesnakes rattle when they are terrified, not angry or preparing to attack. … The sound of rattling at these roundups is in fact a thousand snakes screaming.”

These folks aren't just having fun.  The sweet folks of Sweetwater respond:

There are other events, including a Miss Snake Charmer contest, which nets the winner a scholarship. And the snakes, the Jaycees note, aren’t sacrificed for nothing: Their skin is sold, their meat is eaten — plates of fried snake are a highlight of the event — and their venom is purchased for research.

And here I'll let you in on a secret. While I admire Miss Texas (in more ways than one), you will never, ever, catch this ol' cowboy in that pit full of "screaming" sonsabitches. Nope. There would only be one scream... 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Message from border: ‘We got problems here’

ANIMAS — Several hundred ranchers gathered at a small-town high school in the Bootheel on Thursday to rally against what they described as a broken border. Also present were members and representatives of New Mexico’s congressional delegation and officials from public security agencies, including the Border Patrol, Army, National Guard and sheriffs. More than 600 people showed up at a school auditorium in Animas, population 237. Ranchers here have been steaming over the reported kidnapping of a ranch hand in December, when drug runners allegedly hijacked the man’s vehicle, loaded it with narcotics and drove him to Arizona. He came home “roughed up,” his employer Tricia Elbrock said, but he survived the ordeal. Concerns about border security have simmered for years for those who live among the region’s sprawling ranches and rugged mountain ranges. Sometimes, fears boil over, such as after the unsolved 2010 murder of southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was found shot dead on his property, or after the recent reported kidnapping. “How many here think your border is secure?” Elbrock asked to laughs. “I say to all our representatives, come down here. Stay with us. Work with us.” Someone in the crowd shouted, “Walk the border!” “And see what it’s like,” Elbrock said. “It’s not safe. We got problems here. They don’t want it known. They don’t want people to know.” The Krentz story, too, loomed large Thursday as the meeting opened with a video of old news reports about the crime and his widow, Sue, and son Frank spoke to the crowd. “Secure the border for your family, our family,” Sue Krentz said in prepared remarks that earned a standing ovation. “We’re demanding the right to live free and safe on our own land and in our own homes.”  Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican whose southern New Mexico district runs along the Mexican border, met with  Elbrock before the meeting. He attended, as did staffers for U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and for U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte also attended. ...more

 It would appear most got the message:

Representatives of the Border Patrol, National Guard and sheriffs from New Mexico and Arizona said they had come to hear the public’s concerns.  “My takeaway is that the people along the border recognize a grave threat to themselves and their communities, and the National Guard is ready to respond to help secure the border,” Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas said.

Definitely not getting it is Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero (many will recall he lied to the public about the limitations placed on the agency in wilderness areas).

“We work very hard to secure our borders,” Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero told the Journal at the meeting. “Numbers have dropped. You don’t see the type of movement that you saw 10, 20 years ago.” 

Cordero is spouting the same old Border Patrol bull shit.  The numbers are down, so what's the problem?  This, when everybody knows its not the number, but the type of illegals crossing.  These are heavily-armed and dangerous individuals.

 “The increase in the number of people in the area that are smuggling people and drugs seems to be increasing,” said Lawrence Hurt, whose Hurt Cattle Co. ranch runs nearly 30 miles along the Mexican border. “We see a lot less of the people who are looking for a job. We have a need for the Border Patrol in our area.”

The other issue is where the Border Patrol decides to engage.  If its 30-40 miles north of the border, what happens to the families and their property who live in between?  Haven't you ceded this area to the drug traffickers?  Hurt, Erica Valdez and others say the number of trespassers and burglaries are up, and now we have the recent kidnapping of a ranch hand.  No quotes from Cordero on these issues.

 But, Hurt added to a round of applause, “We think they need to be on the border. If we stop them at the line we won’t have as many incidences as we have had in the past.”

These people are asking for your help Mr. Cordero. And you refuse to even acknowledge there is a problem, much less offer up positive action by your agency. 

Malheur County voters voice resounding ‘no’ to Owyhee monument

An overwhelming majority of voters in Malheur County rejected the idea Tuesday of a national monument in a corner of southeast Oregon known as the Owyhee Canyonlands. The vast and rugged area is known for its stunning red rock geology and canyons, extreme remoteness and wildlife habitat. It’s also an important area for cattle grazing and hunting. The idea of an Owyhee National Monument is championed by Keen Footwear. The Portland-based company led a petition campaign to convince President Obama to designate the monument, using his executive authority through the Antiquities Act. Malheur County leaders decided to put the idea to citizens with an advisory vote, and County Clerk Deborah DeLong says voter turnout was high for a special election — higher even than some primary elections. Ninety percent of voters rejected the monument proposal. In some rural precincts, 100 percent of voters voted no. “It’s amazing to me that the difference in the vote was 90 percent no and 10 percent yes,” said DeLong. “That’s a huge statement.”...more

EPA expands methane rules to all oil and gas wells

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its crackdown on methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling to all existing wells. The announcement from the White House Thursday came as part of a joint agreement with Canada on climate change, curbing methane emissions from North America and taking steps to protect the Arctic region from rising temperatures and oceans. The EPA had announced plans to cut methane emissions from new oil and gas wells last year. But if the United States was to reach the goal set out by President Obama of cutting methane emissions at least 40 percent by 2025, existing wells have to be included, said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Based on this growing body of science it’s become clear it’s come time for EPA to take additional action,” she said in a press conference. “We’ll start this work immediately and we intend to work quickly.” The announcement came ahead of Obama’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House Thursday, where the two were expected to discuss how the countries could work together in meeting the goal agreed to by the leaders of close to 200 countries in Paris last year – not allowing the world temperature to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius...more

Western governors push state-run rescues of imperiled wildlife

Western governors forged ahead Wednesday on re-thinking the Endangered Species Act to give states and local communities the lead roles in stopping extinctions — an effort aimed ultimately at Congress. The governors haven't decided yet whether they want to tweak, or overhaul, that landmark 1973 ESA law requiring federal rescues to try to save species. "It's pre-mature to make that judgment. ... That's a legitimate question," said Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is hosting the two-day forum in Denver led by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, chairman of the 19-state Western Governors' Association. This brainstorming of how best to preserve imperiled wildlife in the face of rapid population growth and development began last year. More than 150 participants from dozens of state governments and conservation groups are involved. The group plans a final April workshop in Hawaii before developing a formal policy.   The problem as westerners see it: The feds have listed some 2,308 species since 1973 for ESA protection as threatened or endangered, but only 33 have been removed from the list. Since August, 25 species were added while three were removed.
"That's a 1.4 percent success rate," Mead said. "We need, fundamentally, to do a better job of recovering species."...more

Inspiration for Teddy Bears No Longer Endangered

After decades of barely clinging on as a species, the bear that inspired teddy bears has bounced back. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced on Thursday that the Louisiana black bear—which appeared in the famous "Teddy's bear" political cartoon after Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a tied-up one in 1902—has been taken off both the threatened and endangered species list after a population increase from as few as 80 in 1959 to up to 750 today, the Christian Science Monitor reports. In what authorities say should serve as an example to other areas, the bear rebounded with the help of habitat restoration and wildlife corridors that connected different populations of the bear subspecies, which once ranged all the way from eastern Texas to eastern Mississippi...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1574

CAUTION! Some may find these lyrics offensive.  It is our goal to bring you this genre of music unvarnished, as it was sung and recorded in that era.  We complete our Stickin' With Chicken week with Sam & Kirk McGee - C-H-I-C-K-E-N Spells Chicken.  The tune was recorded in New York City on Wednesday, May 11, 1927.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Finicum's Wake


    The late rancher LaVoy Finicum sought to elude the state’s armed enforcers, but he wasn’t attempting to evade the law. His intent, as he explained clearly and repeatedly to OSP troopers before the lethal ambush at a roadblock on Oregon Highway 395, was to travel to John Day to meet with Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who could have taken him into custody, if just cause existed for that action.
    Finicum, who nurtured a winsome if misguided faith in the Constitution, entertained the hope that Palmer might be a peace officer who was willing to act in the name of the people, rather than enforcing the will of the state.
    If the objective of the FBI and the OSP on January 26 had been to arrange the peaceful arrest of Finicum and his associates, they would have reached out to Palmer. The destination of the convoy was known, as was its purpose – to convene a town hall meeting, not to commit a violent offense.
    Rather than coordinating with Palmer, the FBI and the local lickspittles in uniform deliberately ignored him, and withheld any information about the plan to interdict the convoy. This is because Sheriff Palmer is seen as a “security leak” owing to his sympathies with the ranchers and other residents of his rural county who have been driven into destitution by the federal government.
Staging a combat-grade operation – spearheaded by the FBI’s official death squad, which bears the trans-Orwellian title of “Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)” – was the riskiest way to carry out an arrest. It was, however, the most effective way to exert the supposed authority of the federal government. This is also why the HRT, at some risk to the passengers in Finicum’s vehicle and the OSP officers on the ground, tried to assassinate Finicum after he attempted to run the roadblock.
    Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris (about whom I’ll have much more to say below) points out that three shots were fired by OSP officers as Finicum approached the roadblock at an estimated speed of 70 miles per hour. Three more shots were fired into the victim’s back after he exited the truck, killing him.
    “In the early stages of the investigation we could not explain the fourth shot into the roof of the truck or its trajectory, given the placement of the Oregon State Police troopers at the time,” explained Norris in the March 8 press conference. “During the course of our investigation, we discovered evidence that FBI HRT operators fired two shots as Mr. Finicum exited the truck, and one shot hit the truck…. Neither of these two shots fired by HRT operators struck Mr. Finicum.”
    That unlawful action, which combined murderous intent with government-grade marksmanship, was compounded by the FBI’s reflexive institutional mendacity: The HRT Stormtroopers who fired the shots concealed that fact from the investigation and their comrades joined in that conspiracy of obstruction. Norris carefully, and repeatedly, emphasized that while he found the six shots fired by the OSP to be “justified,” he was leaving the matter of the shots fired by the HRT operators in the hands of the Justice Department’s Inspector General and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

How Sliced Meat May Have Driven Human Evolution

sciencehabit writes: The most tedious part of a chimpanzee's life is chewing. Our primate cousins spend six hours a day gnashing fruits and the occasional monkey carcass — all made possible by the same type of big teeth and large jaws our early ancestors had. So why are our own teeth and jaws so much smaller? A new study credits the advent of simple stone tools to slice meat and pound root vegetables, which could have dramatically reduced the time and force needed to chew, thus allowing our more immediate ancestors to evolve the physical features required for speech.

Columbus Remembers Lives Lost During 100th Anniversary Of Raid

On Wednesday, bells rang in Columbus, New Mexico as names were read to honor the lives that lost in the border village 100 years ago. On March 9th, 1916 Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa and his men raided the border community. The raid ended with the town losing several buildings, along with residents dealing with the emotional aftermath of the attack. 95 year-old Margaret Irene Parks Hill is the daughter of Susan Parks, the telephone operator who contacted the nearby city of Deming to alert the authorities to send help during the raid. Parks Hill remembers her mother talking about the raid and the 18 U.S. citizens that lost their lives. Another event remembering the raid is planned for this Saturday. The Binational Trail Remembrance Ride, where members from both sides of the border join together to honor the casualties of the raid...more

Calling Washington Home To The Border - Tonight!

6 p.m. Welcome, introduction of speakers and dignitaries and short video 
6:15 It’s all Irrelative Until it is Your Relative, Sue and Frank Krentz 
Sue was born and raised in Douglas, Ariz. She graduated from Cochise College in 1974 and married Rob and moved to the Krentz Ranch East of Douglas in 1977. She is very active in her local and state Cowbelles. Frank is the middle son of Rob and Sue. After graduating from NMSU with his Master’s in Agriculture Business he moved back to the family ranch. He stays very involved with local and state natural resource conservation districts and cattle grower associations. 
6:25 Ranching on the Border, William Hurt 
William’s family started ranching in N.M. in 1909. Today, he and his siblings manage the Hurt Cattle Co which runs along the U.S./Mexico border for approximately 30 miles. He graduated from NMSU in 1979 and has been running cattle along the border since 1983. 
6:35 Animal Health and Border Relations, Dr. Gary Thrasher 
Dr. Thrasher is a large animal veterinarian that has provided veterinary services and herd health management services to ranches in Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas since 1973. He has also managed ranches in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. For 15 years he also operated a Mexican chartered corporation that provided ranch consulting and cattle export processing to meet USDA requirements for Mexican ranchers exporting feeder cattle to the U.S. He lives in Palominas, Ariz. and operates Hereford Veterinary Service and Westlake Cattle Growers LLC, a cattle processing, weaning, and backgrounding facility in Cochise, Ariz. 
6:45 Economic Impacts on Border Businesses, Tricia Elbrock and Bunch Swift 
Trisha, along with her husband, Edward and son, Bunch own and operate a water system and septic service company that serves ranchers, farmers and home owners in Luna and Hidalgo Counties in N.M. and Cochise County, Ariz. In addition, they own a mercantile that supplies feed and material to residents in a tri-county area. They also own a cattle and sheep ranch Southwest of Animas. 
6:55 Public School Safety Concerns, Loren Cushman 
Mr. Cushman has been involved in education for 20+ years, starting out as a teacher and currently serving as Superintendent of Animas Public Schools. While at Reserve Public Schools he lobbied against the wolf reintroduction in the Gila National Forest. He also still serves as Pastor for the Double C Church in Reserve. 
7:05 Federal Government Cover Ups: What They Don’t Want You to Know, Ed Ashurst 
Ed is a 4th generation Arizona resident and member of the livestock industry. He has managed the 10X Ranch for 20 years and has made a living on cattle ranches since 1969. He has lived at present location near the U.S./Mexico border for 19 years and has written 5 books including Alligators in the Moat, an expose of our government’s deliberate failure to secure our border with Mexico.

Book Review - Alligators in the Moat: Politics and the Mexican Border

IT STARTS AT THE TOP: The U.S. Border Patrol and ICE receive most of the criticism for the United States' failed policy concerning illegal activity on our border with Mexico. The truth is the situation on our border with Mexico is exactly what most politicians are comfortable with. Meanwhile patriotic federal agents who work on the ground as well as American citizens who live in rural areas close to the border are thrown under the bus, and anyone who criticizes the policy coming out of Washington D.C. is slandered, threatened, or even worse. The Border Patrol agents are only following orders and U.S. citizens are only trying to protect themselves. This is a tale of lies, corruption, cover-up and murder.

Those are the notes on the back of  Alligators in the Moat: Politics and the Mexican Border, by Ed Ashurtz, with a Forward and Conclusion by M. Scott Patino Ph.D.

The pertinent question is, "Do the authors actually follow through on what the blurb says?"

And the answer is a resounding, "Yes".

The problem these border ranchers face is succinctly stated by Patino in his forward:

The Arizona moonlight becomes an ominous backdrop as Mexican smugglers stealthily move their drug-laden servants across the border and through the dark gullies and mountainous terrain that cuts into the starry skyline. The drab appearances and soft nighttime chatter of these narco-terrorists belie the lethal capabilities allowing them to move their contraband beyond the scope of the border patrol. These nocturnal predators use advanced communication technology, night vision capabilities, automatic weapons, and complex tactical movements that operate in long “rat lines” that include forward observers, halcones (Spanish for hawks) that drive along adjacent roads acting as scouts, moles that have penetrated local security, and support elements supplying food and aid while holed up in nearby caverns. And as recent events have proven, they are not afraid to kill anyone who stands in their way. The whole scenario resembles more the activities of Latin American revolutionaries like the FARC [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia] than what many Americans have been led to believe are the desperate steps of impoverished illegals seeking a better way of life in the United States.

What follows are twenty chapters by Ashurtz - told through his eyes and experiences - describing the economic harm, physical destruction, murder and heartbreak visited upon these families and their communities. 

His chapter The Smartest Men In America about the ranchers meeting with Senators McCain and Draper is a classic, and from my professional experience, rings all too true.

Having known Frank Krentz from the NMSU Rodeo Program and Sue Krentz from various forums and discussions on federal lands issues, his chapter All Hell Breaks Loose about the murder of Rob Krentz, hit close to home.  Without invading the family's privacy, Ashurtz lays out exactly what he thinks happened and who committed the act.                                                     

 Although to my knowledge our paths have never crossed, I do feel a certain kinship with Ashurtz. He went to work for the Gray Ranch in 1974 and had his first run in with a group of illegals.  I went to work for Senator Domenici that same year and experienced my first exposure to the "political system."  We've had similar experiences over the years, even both being team ropers, that has affected our way of viewing and analyzing events.

There is, though, one big difference.  This guy can really write.

For just $17.51 on Amazon you'll receive an education, with keen insights and observations on the issues, and experience some laughter and maybe even a few tears.  This is a quality paper back with print that even I can read.  You better get this one. And a couple more for your friends in town.

What These State Environmental Officials Say Obama’s EPA Has Forced on Them

The Environmental Protection Agency has overstepped its legal authority by imposing a regulatory agenda on the states, environmental officials at the state level testified Wednesday to a Senate committee. Randy Huffman, cabinet secretary at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, testified that the EPA’s flood of environmental regulations since President Barack Obama took office in 2009 chipped away at the Founding Fathers’ intent of “cooperative federalism” between the national and state governments. Instead of consulting state regulators when establishing new policies, Huffman said, EPA bureaucrats increasingly are imposing regulations through what is called federal guidance. “There’s two problems with this: EPA guidance further eliminates state discretion, and it allows them to avoid the accountability and transparency of rulemaking,” . When Congress passed the Clean Air Act more than 40 years ago, Huffman said, lawmakers put states in charge of establishing procedures to meet federal standards. In fact, over 95 percent of the environmental regulatory duties in the U.S. are carried out by the states, he said, citing the Environmental Council of the States. The West Virginia official said Congress placed the primary responsibility with the states because lawmakers knew that state authorities would be more knowledgeable of local environments than D.C. bureaucrats. Rather than following congressional intent, he said, EPA regulators seized authority from the states. “In the past seven years, states have been forced to digest more of these federal takeovers … than were ever served in the prior three federal administrations combined 10 times over,” Becky Keogh, director at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, testified. Keogh said the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, regulations on the coal industry designed to cut carbon emissions, is illustrative of the diminishment of state sovereignty. “The reality is that states are more pawn than partner,” she said...more

Ammon Bundy, others face new charges in Oregon standoff

The federal government on Wednesday leveled additional charges against Ammon Bundy and dozens of other armed activists who took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon, including a weapons allegation that carries the possibility of life in prison. A grand jury indicted Bundy and most of his co-defendants on a new charge of firearms possession in a federal facility after the group seized the nature preserve in January to oppose U.S. land restrictions. Others face a second firearms allegation, theft or damaging an archaeological site considered sacred to the Burns Paiute Tribe. The new charges come as the government cracks down on the Bundy family and others for leading armed standoffs in a long-running dispute over management of public lands in the Western U.S. Federal authorities have charged Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, and several others in recent months with conspiracy, assault and threats in a 2014 armed standoff over grazing rights near the patriarch's Nevada ranch. In a packed courtroom in Portland, the younger Bundy and others pleaded not guilty to the new allegations Wednesday. All 26 defendants were previously charged with conspiracy to impede officers of the United States. Ammon Bundy's attorneys told the judge that he wanted to be advised of his rights. U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown denied the request, noting that they were read at three prior court appearances. "I know I have no rights, so thank you," Bundy said. He and eight others, including his brother Ryan, were charged with carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, which has a maximum penalty of life in prison. Sean Anderson and a defendant whose name was redacted from the indictment were charged with damaging the tribal site "by means of excavation and the use of heavy equipment," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said. Three other occupiers were charged with theft of government property. Kenneth Medenbach took a Ford pickup, while Ryan Bundy and Jon Ritzheimer stole cameras valued at more than $1,000, the indictment says. Prosecutors have said the armed group prevented government workers from doing their jobs and threatened violence against authorities that tried to end the 41-day occupation. The judge scrapped an April trial date, agreeing with prosecutors to designate the case as "complex." The move ends the right to a speedy trial sought by the defendants. The judge cited the volume of evidence and number of defendants. "I think any person looking at this room would have to concede this case is complex," said Brown, peering down at three rows of tables filled with men in prison garb and their defense attorneys. Brown said she would wait until next month to schedule a date...more

Prevent bail, up the charges, extend the trial date.  All this is designed to put pressure on the defendant to reach a plea deal.  Typical fed moves, unfortunately.

Quarantine lifted at New Mexico track after virus outbreak

Racehorses can come and go at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino now that New Mexico livestock officials lifted a quarantine Wednesday that had been in place for weeks due to an equine herpes outbreak that infected dozens of horses. The New Mexico Livestock Board said the quarantine was lifted since no new cases of the fast-spreading virus were reported in the past 14 days. Board officials said they've been working closely with veterinarians at the track, monitoring the animals and taking twice-daily temperature readings as the first step in checking for infection. While the board declared containment of the virus, officials still urged people working at the track to clean and disinfect anything the horses had touched or could touch and to limit foot and vehicle traffic at the track...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1573

We're Stickin' With Chicken this week and here is Grandpa Jones with Chicken Don't Roost So High. The tune was recorded in Cincinnati on Dec. 17, 1950 for the King label.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Dramatic video from inside Finicum's vehicle

Footage released by Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Tuesday shows the moment that Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum, one of the armed protesters who took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon in January, was killed in a shooting that was deemed 'justified and necessary' by a county prosecutor. The footage, which combines film from a police helicopter and a camera held one of Finicum's passengers, was recorded on January 26 during his attempt to travel between the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and a meeting in the town of John Day...more

To see and hear what it was like to have been in the vehicle, watch this video:

Finicum's Wife: "My husband was murdered intentionally, deliberately and with malice."

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) The shooting death of the Arizona rancher killed during the Oregon occupation of a wildlife refuge was justified, according to the Malheur County District Attorney. Yet, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum's widow insists it was a set-up assassination Tuesday. "My husband was murdered intentionally, deliberately and with malice," Jeanette Finicum said. On the steps of the Washington County building, surrounded by Finicum's mother, brother and daughter, his wife explained what she thinks happened on January 26. She says it was not a typical traffic stop. "It was an ambush involving a road block on a blind curve along a lonely stretch of highway, a dead-man's blockade, a kill stop which is illegal," Jeanette said. In aerial video released by the FBI, Finicum is shownpulled over in his truck before taking off and plowing into a snow bank. He gets out with his hands up at first, then appears to reach toward his jacket pocket at least twice. The FBI says he was reaching for a loaded handgun. His wife disagrees. "He was walking with his hands in the air, a symbol of surrender. When he reached down to his left, he was reaching to the pain of having been shot," Jeanette said...more

See video report at the link provided. 

Investigation of FBI agents involved in LaVoy Finicum shooting shocks justice community

It's drummed into every police officer and federal agent during training: They must report every time they discharge their gun on duty and justify each shot. So Tuesday's announcement that a member of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team allegedly failed to disclose two gunshots fired at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum seemed inconceivable to former FBI agents and criminal justice experts. That the bullets missed their apparent target drew even more disbelief. One struck the roof of Finicum's truck and another missed Finicum and his pickup. "Here you have one of the best trained units in the FBI. They're only supposed to shoot when there's an active threat. You would hope they would be accurate in doing so,'' said Michael German, a 16-year veteran of the FBI who now serves as a national security expert and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York University's School of Law. State police troopers fatally shot Finicum moments later when he reached for a gun in his pocket, according to the FBI and investigators led by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. Finicum was one of the top spokesmen for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a bird sanctuary 30 miles southeast of Burns. Investigations are now underway to sort out what happened with the FBI shots. A special agent from the U.S. Department of Justice's Inspector General's Office, the FBI's Inspections Division and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office are examining whether the shots were justified and the reported failure to disclose them. Four other FBI Hostage Rescue Team agents are also under investigation.  An agent who doesn't report a shooting could face anything from serious discipline to demotion to a criminal charge, depending on what an investigation finds...more

Shooting death of LaVoy Finicum justified, necessary, prosecutor says

The investigation into the death of LaVoy Finicum, killed during the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January, shows that the three fatal shots fired by Oregon State Police were justified “and, in fact, necessary,” Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said Tuesday. In total, eight shots were fired, though flash-bang grenades and gas projectiles were also deployed to ensure three remaining occupants in Finicum’s truck surrendered peacefully, the investigation showed. Authorities dismissed accounts that law officers fired more than 100 rounds of bullets, suggesting that the flash-bang grenades and projectiles may have been mistaken for gunfire. The police provided reporters with video of Finicum’s truck barreling at an estimated 70 mph toward a roadblock of two trucks forming a V in the middle of the road. A third vehicle was parked behind those trucks. The video reveals a fast exchange of words between Finicum behind the wheel and a female passenger inside the truck. “Hang on!” Finicum tells the occupants inside the truck as a shot is fired, apparently by authorities. He is driving the truck. “OK, they’re shooting,” the woman says. Finicum was driving one of two vehicles authorities tracked leaving the Malheur refuge January 26. One — carrying Ammon Bundy, the protest leader whose father, Cliven, was at the center of a similar armed standoff in 2014 — pulled over to a stop, and the people inside came out peacefully. The officers believed Finicum “planned to crash through or otherwise evade the roadblock” and could injure or kill law enforcement officers at the scene, Norris said. They fired at the truck three times but hit no one inside the truck. Just before Finicum arrived at the roadblock, he veered left into a snowbank at an estimated 50 mph, narrowly missing a federal agent who was trying to get out of the way, the video showed. As Finicum exited his vehicle with a loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun in the left-hand interior pocket of his jacket, he was instructed to get on the ground three times, Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said. The video also shows Finicum exiting the truck. “Stay down,” the woman tells the two other people inside the truck. Then gunfire is heard. “Are they shooting him?” the woman asks. A transcript provided Tuesday shows the exchange between Finicum and officers after he exits his truck. “Go ahead and shoot me,” Finicum tells the officers on at least four occasions. “Get on the ground,” officers tell Finicum on at least two occasions, according to the transcript. “You’re gonna have to shoot me,” Finicum tells the officers at least twice. Despite Finicum defying those orders and reaching toward the pocket containing the gun, two nearby state police officers did not immediately open fire, and a third officer attempted to move in with a Taser, Nelson said. Finicum was out of range of the Taser, he said. When Finicum reached for his pocket a third time, two troopers opened fire, hitting him three times in the back — in the left shoulder, below the neck and on the right side of his lower back...more

Chaffetz wants to take guns away from BLM, Forest Service agents

Law enforcement agents with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are too "Rambo" to Rep. Jason Chaffetz's liking, so he wants to take away their guns and authority. Chafftez, R-Utah, said he plans to introduce a bill next week to strip those two agencies of their law enforcement authority and instead set up a system of block grants to states with a lot of federal lands within their borders to augment local law enforcement response. "Let's not kid ourselves. The blood pressure is running high, especially in southern Utah, and I don't want anyone to get killed," Chaffetz said, adding his bill has the endorsement of his Utah colleagues in the House. Chaffetz said he also wants to issue subpoenas to the "out of control" federal agencies to learn why they want to purchase submachine guns. He said he has had repeated meetings and sent letters to the BLM's national director, Neil Kornze, with no satisfactory response to his questions. "I want to know what kind of arsenal they have. I'm met with blank stares," he said. "They're wholly unresponsive. They don't feel compelled to answer our letters." Chaffetz said it makes more sense to have elected county sheriffs with public accountability in charge of law enforcement functions in their own geographic areas. "If it is really serious, you're going to call the FBI anyway." The increasing militarization of certain federal agencies has caused political angst and rural pushback in Utah and other parts of the West, especially as public lands issues have become more heated. In 2014, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, announced efforts to defund law enforcement functions of agencies that include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Education. Stewart said the armed teams of federal agencies were doing more harm than good and are unnecessary...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1572

We are Stickin' With The Chicken this week.  Here are Ernest Tubb & Red Foley performing The Chicken Song.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on January 17, 1951 for Decca.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Teddy Roosevelt Still Hurts Farmers Today, Property Rights Advocate Says

American farmers haven’t had the benefit of operating under a free market system since the early 20th century, property rights advocate Joel Salatin says. A critical turning point came when President Teddy Roosevelt established the Food Safety and Inspection Service, he says. The agency, now a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, draws its authority from the Pure Food and Drug Act signed into law by Roosevelt in 1906. Salatin, a prolific author on the subject of property rights, owns Polyface Farm in rural Swoope, Va. With an eye toward history, Salatin points the finger at Roosevelt and other progressive political figures who unleashed the power of government on entrepreneurs. “If the government never told us how to farm and to eat, we would be a healthier society,” he said. Salatin agreed that Americans have legitimate concerns about pollution and irresponsible industry actions. “Yes, we should stand up to radical environmentalists,” he said. “But we can’t just be the party of no. We need to focus on real solutions, and that means creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs.” The “libertarian environmentalist” was joined by Martha Boneta, who increasingly needs no introduction to conservative audiences. Boneta’s name is attached to two property rights bills passed by the Virginia General Assembly with broad bipartisan support. As The Daily Signal has reported extensively since 2014, Boneta is embroiled in a legal dispute with the Piedmont Environmental Council over the terms of a conservation easement on her 64-acre Liberty Farm in Paris, Va., which is part of Fauquier County.  In Boneta’s case, however, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation identified serious flaws in the easement that it says are in need of “corrective amendments.” In addition, two versions of the easement exist: one signed by Boneta and another unsigned but filed in county records. The panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, was preceded by a documentary on the Boneta case entitled “Farming in Fear.” Boneta filed a lawsuit in Fauquier County Circuit Court against the Piedmont Environmental Council and the husband-wife real estate team of Phillip and Patricia Thomas, both members of the land trust...more 

And according to this article: a case that has attracted national attention, Boneta has charged in lawsuits and elsewhere that the PEC has trespassed, conducted overly invasive inspections and even orchestrated harassment from the county government to force her off her property.

Watch this video for more info on the Boneta case:

Agency order aims to boost outdoor access for youth groups

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday issued an order aimed at improving outdoor access for organizations that take disadvantaged youth on backpacking, climbing and other trips on public lands. Her order directs the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to reduce barriers for such groups, streamline the permitting process and consider ways to ensure that they aren't required to get a commercial permit or other authorization. Some groups say they face hurdles getting permits to access federal public lands and that the process can be too cumbersome, varied and not transparent enough. They may have to pay big fees or are required to get commercial use permits. "Obtaining permits on federal lands to run these wilderness experiences have been difficult," Martin said. It's a cumbersome process particularly for small nonprofits with limited resources, he added...more

If the process is so "cumbersome" and "difficult", why not "reduce barriers" and "streamline the permitting process" for everybody?

AG Balderas, DA D'Antonio announce initiative to combat border violence

The 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office and New Mexico Attorney General’s Office announced a joint initiative Thursday that aims to reduce border-related crimes by stemming the flow of illegal money into the United States. Attorney General Hector Balderas and District Attorney Mark D’Antonio announced the “Follow the Money” initiative in Las Cruces...more

All this really means is that they've received federal grant money, and the two pols are rushing to get as much political hay out of it as possible.

There are some interesting quotes here.  AG Balderas is quoted as saying "New Mexico is a particularly vulnerable to border violence because of its proximity to Mexico", and DA D'Antonio reiterates the truism, " “Criminal activity will go through the weakest point of an area...".  

These Dem's should communicate their concerns to Senators Udall & Heinrich.  Whenever you prohibit or severely limit Border Patrol access, such as in a Wilderness area or a National Monument, you automatically create a weak point.

Immigrant Hostage Scheme Leads to Charges

A federal grand jury indicted a Mexican national on charges that he kidnapped Mexican citizens trying to illegally enter the United States and then demanded money from their relatives for their safe release. Martin Carranza-Sanchez, 45, was indicted on March 3 on 10 counts, including charges of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, wire fraud, and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. In five separate instances involving six victims between December 2010 and November 2015, Carranza-Sanchez took undocumented immigrants hostage in Mexico and threatened to harm them if their friends and family in the United States did not pay him, according to the indictment. Carranza-Sanchez "posed as an undocumented immigrant smuggler (also known as a 'coyote') in Mexico in order to attract undocumented immigrants with U.S. resident relatives or friends," the indictment says. He and his associates, who were not named in the indictment, lured the victims to various locations in Mexico, where they were held against their will "through violence and intimidation," the indictment says. The victims were forced to provide their kidnappers with the phone numbers of their friends and family members in the United States, according to prosecutors. Carranza-Sanchez then contacted the victims' family and friends in the United States by phone and demanded money for the victims' safe crossing into the United States. In more than one incident, he put a pistol to an immigrant's head and threatened to kill them if the family did not pay immediately, according to the indictment. In some cases, after receiving the payments Carranza-Sanchez ordered his hostages to cross the border into the United States, at which point they were arrested by border patrol agents, the indictment says...more

U.S. border chief: Surges across southwest border could be new trend

The yearend spike in Central American children and families illegally crossing the southwest border – a thorny problem with big implications for Georgia and other states – may be part of a “new normal,” the nation’s border chief said during a stop in Atlanta Friday. “We are watching it pretty carefully — we are concerned,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, who was visiting with police in Buckhead about human trafficking. “Perhaps we are seeing a new normal with a lot of people wanting to come across that southern border into the United States.” Fleeing punishing poverty and brutal gangs, tens of thousands of people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras started surging across the border in 2014. Their numbers fell toward the end of that year and stayed lower in early 2015 before rising sharply again. Between October of 2015 and January of this year, apprehensions on the southwest border were more than double the number from the same period the year before. Most of those who were caught are from Central America. Some are from Mexico...more

10 Shots Across the Border


Around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2012, a police officer in Nogales, Ariz., named John Zuñiga received a call reporting suspicious activity on International Street, which runs directly alongside the Mexican border. Most of Zuñiga’s calls involved shoplifters at the local Walmart or domestic-violence complaints, but he also worked as a liaison with United States Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.). Though border security is the responsibility of the Border Patrol, the Nogales police can assist when illegal activity is happening stateside — if, for instance, drug smugglers have slipped over the fence and are making their way into Arizona.

For the past several decades, the population of Nogales has hovered around 20,000. The population of its Mexican sister city, also called Nogales, has grown in recent years to around 250,000. Depending on where you’re standing, the abutting cities can start to seem like a single, sprawling Nogales; modest homes cover the surrounding foothills in every direction, and for years, locals referred to the region as a singular entity, Ambos Nogales — Both Nogales...

...A Nogales police officer named Quinardo Garcia had arrived on the scene first and witnessed two men in camouflage pants and sweatshirts, with large taped bundles strapped to their backs, climbing the fence into the United States. ‘‘Based on my training and experience,’’ Garcia later wrote in his incident report, ‘‘I identified the bundles as marijuana and immediately called out the incident to assisting graveyard units.’’

Garcia chased the men on foot, but they disappeared into an overgrown residential yard. Fearing an ambush, Garcia decided to wait for backup. Within minutes, Zuñiga arrived, as did several Border Patrol agents. As they began to scope the area, Zuñiga spotted two men scaling the fence back into Mexico. ‘‘By the time I show up, they’re empty-handed, with nothing on their backs,’’ he told me.

Police officers and Border Patrol agents refrain from climbing onto the fence themselves, for reasons of both safety and jurisdiction. ‘‘I gave them numerous commands to climb down,’’ Zuñiga wrote in his own report. One of the men was having difficulty maintaining his grip and seemed on the verge of dropping back onto Arizona soil. ‘‘I then heard several rocks start hitting the ground,’’ Zuñiga wrote, ‘‘and I looked up, and I could see the rocks flying through the air.’’

So-called rockings are not uncommon occurrences at the border. The rocks are thrown from the Mexican side to distract agents and force them to take cover while smugglers pass contraband or make their escape. ‘‘When it’s dark out and you don’t know where they’re coming from,’’ one agent told me, ‘‘it’s a really tense situation.’

 What happened next remains contested. In their reports, Garcia and Zuñiga claimed to hear gunfire but could not say where the shooting was coming from. ‘‘I saw the rocks in the air and tried to take cover,’’ Zuñiga told me. ‘‘I heard shots fired, but I wasn’t sure who was shooting. The shots could have been from anywhere: behind me, from Mexico. I didn’t witness the actual shooting myself.’’

...The subject who was hit was not one of the men who had been climbing the fence but a 16-year-old resident of Nogales, Mexico, named José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who was on the Mexican side of the border. He had been shot 10 times from behind; an autopsy later revealed that gunshot wounds to the head, lungs and arteries killed him. He was unarmed, carrying nothing but a cellphone...

Mexico: The Highway Of Death

Federal security forces have experienced a sharp increase in violent attacks in western Jalisco state by gunmen belonging to the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG). The situation in Jalisco is now similar to that in Michoacan state before the large-scale army intervention. Municipal and state police forces in the area have also been targeted. Since February 24, five police officers have been murdered by cartel gunmen. The cartel gunmen killed three municipal policemen in the town of Tlaquepaque (near the state capital, Guadalajara). On March 1 gunmen tried to assassinate the mayor of Ahualulco (west of Guadalajara). He was traveling in armored vehicle and survived the attack. Back in 2010 the CJNG was a faction within the Sinaloa cartel. Federal authorities now say it is now a separate and powerful criminal cartel...It has been awhile since anyone thought of Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) as merely a street gang. However, U.S. security officials have begun describing MS-13 as a highly-organized criminal operation that cooperates with Mexican drug cartels. For example, there is evidence that MS-13 helps Mexican cartels distribute drugs in the US. El Salvadorians living in Los Angeles, California area formed the original MS-13 street gang in the early 1980s. In the last decade a new leadership cadre emerged. The organization now has branches in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. These countries serve as transit points for smuggling South American cocaine through Mexico and into the U.S. The new leaders built on these existing operations, using money acquired from criminal activities to capitalize businesses in Central America and in the United States. The MS-13 businesses launder money for MS-13 (and perhaps other criminal organizations.) Security officials in the U.S. and Honduras believe some of these businesses have also created “legitimate” business operations, after running extortion schemes to drive out truly legal businesses...more

Biden’s One-Night Visit to Mexico City Cost $538,528 for Hotels Alone

Vice President Joe Biden’s hotel tab for his recent one-night stay in Mexico City cost taxpayers more than $500,000. Biden, who attended an annual economic summit with Mexican leaders, stayed at the luxury Intercontinental Presidente Hotel. Biden led a delegation attending the summit that included Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The trip called for 260 hotel rooms and meeting spaces, according to a State Department contract. The total hotel tab was $538,528.65. The government said the trip costs were justified due to security concerns and last-minute planning...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1571

George Jones and I are both thinkin' about chickens today.  Here's George with Have You Seen My Chicken.  The tune is on his 1975 album Memories Of Us

Monday, March 07, 2016

'Money trail' leads from Mexico border straight to Mideast

Just a few months after six Middle Eastern men who entered the U.S. illegally through Mexico were arrested in Arizona state, authorities have now uncovered a “disturbing money trail” between terror-sponsoring countries and Mexico, according to a Judicial Watch report. This includes more than a dozen wire transfers sent from the Middle East to known Mexican smugglers in at least two different regions of Mexico, Judicial Watch reported, citing information from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. “A report issued by the AG exposes the disturbing money trail between Mexico and terrorist nations in the Middle East as well as evidence of smuggling routes tying the region to America’s southern border,” Judicial Watch reported. WND reported nearly a year ago on Judicial Watch’s findings that ISIS had established a camp inside Mexico just a few miles from the Texas border. An excerpt of the AG’s new findings was published by a local media outlet this week. It states that the city of Tapachula, a known human smuggling hub near the Guatemalan border in the Mexican state of Chiapas, was the top destination of Middle Eastern money transfers. Nogales, adjacent to the Arizona border in northern Mexico, is the second destination, the investigation found. “Agents conducted a comprehensive geographic analysis of possible terrorist related transactions and/or money transfers involving human smuggling networks,” the state report says. Officials launched the probe shortly after six men – one from Afghanistan and five from Pakistan – were arrested in Patagonia, a quaint ranching town that sits 20 miles north of Nogales, on Nov. 17, 2015...more

NM ranchers outraged by lack of security at border

The story goes like this: A ranch hand working in New Mexico’s Bootheel stumbles upon men and two or three vehicles stranded in remote cattle country. They turn out to be drug runners from Mexico who take him hostage, load his vehicle with narcotics and force him to drive to Willcox, Ariz., where they leave him alive but warn him not to go to the police. The story goes like this: That alleged incident and a host of recent break-ins have ranchers across Hidalgo County and in southeastern Arizona outraged about what they say is a decline in border security. The cattle growers associations of both states are hosting a meeting this week in the tiny town of Animas to air their grievances to elected officials – including pleas for more boots on the ground – and they expect to draw a crowd. The Bootheel’s rugged terrain of ridges and arroyos, sparse roads and sprawling desert has historically presented challenges for law enforcement charged with keeping the region safe, particularly from illegal traffic coming from Mexico. It’s a corridor favored by traffickers moving dope north to the drug-hungry U.S. market. The ranch hand was working for Elbrock Water Systems on the Gray Ranch on Dec. 7 when he was allegedly hij acked by drug runners, according to Tricia Elbrock, who co-owns the Animas-based company that provides well and septic services from Tucson to El Paso. The Elbrocks, their employees and law enforcement searched for him all night before he called from Willcox before noon the next day, she said. “They kidnapped him, tied him up, threw all our tools out and fittings and loaded our company vehicle with all the drugs,” Elbrock said. “They waited till dark to leave the ranch. They needed him to help guide them through to the highway.” On the phone, Elbrock gasped back a sob as she said: “This is still pretty raw. We got him back safe. They did rough him up, but we got him back. It’s a mess. I don’t know what to tell you. We have got to have help down here.”...more

Sunland Park cancels points races for Kentucky Derby

Sunland Park Racetrack has been a stop on the road to the Kentucky Derby for horses looking to earn qualifying points for a much-coveted chance at running in the prestigious race. Not this year. Officials confirmed Monday there will be no Sunland Derby or Sunland Park Oaks as the New Mexico track recovers from an equine herpes outbreak that infected dozens of horses and placed the track along the Texas-New Mexico border on lockdown. No horses have been allowed on or off the property since Jan. 21. Track officials say they hope that will change Wednesday when New Mexico livestock officials are expected to lift the quarantine. No new cases of the fast-spreading virus have been reported in more than a week, but there’s reluctance from some horse owners to ship their animals to New Mexico for fear of another positive case derailing the track’s recovery and prompting another quarantine. Some tracks have banned the import of horses that have been in New Mexico due to virus concerns...more
Struggling with IRS instructions and forms all night, RE: The DuBois Western Heritage Foundation.
Will have posts later today...

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1570

Its Swingin' Monday and here's Carolyn Martin performing Take It Slow And Easy.  The tune is on her 2014 CD A Platter of Brownies - The Music of Milton Brown

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Accidental death policy 

 by Julie Carter

An alarm went off in Jenna's head. Not a ringing bell kind of alarm, but the one that starts out in your gut, crawls up your spine and sends involuntary shivers to your body.

It was the same alarm you might feel when you realize your mother-in-law is coming to spend a week and the main ranch well just conked out or the sewer backed up again for the third time in a month.

Jenna had just come home from her honest job in town where she made a valiant attempt to support her husband's ranching habit. On this day, his welcome home news was that their trusty insurance agent had come by and made him a deal he couldn't refuse.

The agent had talked Rusty into "trying out" a $1 million accidental death policy with Jenna the insured and Rusty the beneficiary. Not quite sure how one would "try-out" a pay-on-death accident policy, Jenna mentally listed other options including cancellation of the policy in 60 days if it wasn't used.

It was the "if not used" part that caused her the most concern. Her mind quickly went to all the times, when in the course of helping him on the ranch, her close calls with danger would warrant such a policy. There were those days of helping him sort cattle in the alley afoot while he was horseback and the subsequent stampedes of cattle she was expected to stop, cut, turn or control.

And the days she had gone alone through brushy, snake-infested canyons riding colts that "needed the miles." Or those long days in the branding pen when calves were drug to the fire and not infrequently over the top of her.

There was the tractor with the cranky clutch that she sometimes drove and the feed truck with no brakes that was hers to use in the pastures with steep hillsides. She distinctly remembered helping at the chute by giving shots and thanks to a fighting cow, gave herself the vaccination instead.

The more she considered the insurance "try out" idea, the more her anxiety level rose.

Jenna recalled the years of their marriage and working together. It was her belief that 99.4 percent of the time it had been good. She allowed that a time or two - surely no more than that - she had inadvertently and innocently gotten something slightly wrong.

At the time she thought Rusty, with his normal good humor, had just let it slide. However, just to be safe, she decided that during this policy "try out" period, she needed to watch her back.

A week or so later, when the policy discussion had faded somewhat, she began to relax again. Then one day, coming into the house through the back door, Rusty jumped out, hollered and scared her. She screamed as she fell away from him and into the closed door that led to the basement stairs. The impact caused the door to pop open and instantly her life and a $1-million check passed before her eyes.

She managed to catch herself (without his help) before she took the plunge into the depths. Quite contrite, Rusty apologized profusely and told her it was just a joke. He helped her sit down to catch her breath, re-claim her composure and hopefully, not get a gun. Many times over the years, he pulled similar practical jokes and she laughed with him.

But this time Jenna began telling her friends about Rusty's free $1-million policy on her and the subsequent "trying out" period. Collectively they began keeping an eye on Rusty and counting down the days. Several offered to hang Rusty should anything happen to her.

Rusty is typical of someone who had spent his life in cattle and ranching. His business sense simply would not let him pass up any good deal offered for free. However, this time his reasonable intelligence overruled the monetary pressure. He called the insurance agent and gave him back 45 days of the "trying out" period.

He also requested written notification of the termination to be sent by registered mail, addressed to his wife. It was to be accompanied by a dozen roses.

Julie can be reached for comment at

The Adventures of Gutshot and Shades

The Federalist gene
The Adventures of Gutshot and Shades
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            The more things change … the more things stay the same.
Alexander (Gutshot) Hamilton and Harry (Shades) Reid lived 225 years apart, but will be remembered for sharing what must be considered a federalist gene. The manifestation is a general disdain for any ability of people to make decisions for themselves. Arguably, Hamilton was the most vocal opponent of citizenry being projected as our cornerstone. Unabashedly, he campaigned to ‘array property on the side of government’ which fully intended central government control of property.
His obsession for governance by important people was not even masked. He believed the Constitution needed to elevate the importance of the upper, ‘propertied’ class. He lobbied aggressively, but was soundly defeated in the battle of ideas. He packed up his writing quills and disappeared back into his world of contracts and arbitrage while Madison and company put the initial, nominal stamp of uniqueness on the law of our land that was unprecedented in history.
Since his battle with either a man or mean machine that left him hidden behind shades, the modern version of Gutshot Hamilton, Shades Reid, has adequately filled his predecessor’s role. We can remember his condescending reference toward American citizenry entering their capital building in wide eyed wonder but smelling of sweat. The need to dampen the stench with ventilation and air conditioning was the point of his comments which accompanied a major renovation of the capital which would more efficiently rout the commoners into and out the midst of his Senate’s important business proceedings.
Governance by important people of permanence shan’t be disturbed!
Shades of propertied class
There is so much political intrigue in Clark County, Nevada that a soap opera should be produced. For starters, running battles of government agencies against the county’s diminishing booted, spurred, and sweaty stewards could fill at least a month of the first episodes. Next, the green revolution could be featured. In fact, the Searchlight chronicles should be part of that segment. Searchlight, the gold mining center of the county, is the birthplace of none other than past majority leader, Reid. He remains the senate minority leader and the Democratic Party’s leading advocate of green energy.
Should there be little surprise that Searchlight is the target for a 19,000 acre, 87 turbine, and 200 megawatt wind farm? A more important question then becomes, “is there any surprise that the project is near Shades’ property?”
The project happens to be on federal lands which would never be considered if it wasn’t part of a well connected, special interest effort with allies in high government. It simply wouldn’t happen.
The hypocrisy is stifling.
Clark County ranchers have largely been evicted because of nominal threats to a desert tortoise species that might be harmed by their cattle presence, but grading of the desert lands for the installation of the turbines some of which reach 428’ passes muster by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the BLM (at the same time, the latter agency has put a notice in the Federal Register prohibiting any mining claims in the area for several years. This follows on the heals of prosecuting two ranchers for terrorism relating to setting two fires that burned less than 200 acres of federal land in Oregon).
The threat from grading the 19,000 acres of Clark County desert land with the resulting potential release of the fungi that causes valley fever or coccidioidomycosis, however, has been used by local citizens to halt the process. This grassroots effort now stands poised to secure an unexpected and unprecedented legal victory over the government and its wealthy minority leader power structure.
History demonstrates, though … government eventually gets what government wants.
Stimulus I
Our first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, was claimed to be a genius by most biographers. He was also a cocky, womanizing progressive rooster that failed to agree with any of the benchmark strategies of the Constitution. He lamented that he and the Constitution were simply at odds. He wanted “important” people permanently at the helm of the new government. He opined that the government should control the property of the nation, and, with that, the revenue sources.
He also conceived of the methodology from which to create our nation’s credit system which largely remains today. When it is studied, it must be elevated into the hierarchy of what we now know in modern parlance as Economic Stimulus.
Gutshot and Shades stand in unitary juxtaposition!
He got it done in two steps both of which were spawned in his “Report” that, at once, stunned and amazed the first Congress. While many of the near frontier representatives wanted to sell public lands to reduce the war debt of the new nation, Gutshot conceived a process that would a) reward and elevate the “important” people and b) transfer the burden of the debt to the citizenry without relying on the sale of public lands. The vehicle of implementation was the paper held by the original war effort creditors.
Most of the securities were held in “the hands of soldiers, farmers, and merchants in the remote interior”. To most of them, the counterpart to the modern sweating masses, the certificates had come to mean “so much worthless paper”. They had given up hoping it would be redeemed. Hamilton, however, held to the idea to hold par the promises to pay for all those securities. What took place was that the moneyed class, the important people, got wind of the idea long before the news of the idea reached the back country of Georgia, North Carolina, and elsewhere. They were ready and able to make fortunes.
Four days after the “Report” was read in Congress, expresses with large sums of money were on the trails and roads south, west, and north and at least three sea going vessels were sailing to southern ports for the purposes of buying those securities up before the holders got word of the idea. It is believed that 29 of the elected Congress were party to the frenzy. What those “plundering harpies” accomplished was to buy up the majority of the debt by preying on the ignorance of the poor. The gallant veterans, driven by economic necessity in the wilderness were robbed by the “by speculators of the pittance a grateful country had bestowed”. So thoroughly did the money holders skewer the commoners that they were able to buy the majority of the certificates for “two to five shillings on the pound” … dimes on the dollar.
The process advanced to the government paying full face value for the paper, one hundred cents on the dollar for a purchase of fifteen to twenty cents, by taxing the citizenry to pay the obligations. The cornerstone not only got robbed, they had to pay the bill.
The wealth accumulation was immense. Robert Morris benefited to the tune of $18M dollars of that day! Jeremiah Wadsworth cashed his in for $9M and New York Governor George Clinton bankrolled $5M.
Gutshot Hamilton secured the first phase of his credit vision. He had private capital in banks started by “important” people.
The second step of securing his dream was the move to assume the debt of the states. This action effectively triggered the process of eliminating state rights and sovereignty by transferring monetary power to the central government. It was the ultimate move to mortgage the government to the “important citizenry”. The process was the same. The speculating gentry, fully flush through the first wealth transfers, were ready to act. All they needed was government approval and they got it. The state certificates were soon in their hands with the promise of the government to pay in full by taxing the populous. What made the second phase of Hamilton’s credit creation so distasteful was the relatively heavy debt that remained in the northern states. The southern states had retired a greater portion of their debt, but when the remaining debt was purchased, they were faced with added taxes to pay for North’s debt as well!
Important citizenry … only got more important.
The Trade
What is most revealing in this whole sordid affair was the trade that secured the debacle of “Assumption”. The north wanted the relief of debt along with the rabid desire of the neuveau rich capitalists to increase their banking strength through another grand round of stimulus. The South wanted the nation’s capital.
Both got what they wanted. Washington became the capital and Hamilton got his credit system. It was the citizenry and the states that were permanent losers … just as the Nevadans will likely become the permanent losers on their federalists’ desert.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Jefferson later tried to explain his support for Assumption, but he may have negated all his contributions by the agreement to support Hamilton in this ruse that permanently created a ruling class of gentry … attached to the central government.”