Saturday, August 13, 2016

Obama Administration Seeks To Limit Gunsmiths In The US

Gunsmiths around the country say they were blindsided by President Obama’s latest executive order that would make their trade qualify as manufacturing and therefore eligible for all the mandated regulations and fees that go along with that classification. “When you have expanded the definition of manufacturing to include enhancements and the function of the weapon, you are basically opening the door to everything you do would make you a manufacturer,” Iowa gunsmith Mike Ware told The Daily Caller. The president’s executive order, which Obama signed on July 22 — around the beginning of the Democratic National Convention — conveys to the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), which is primarily in charge of managing the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and establishing its rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). DDTC now names commercial gunsmiths as “manufacturers” for relatively simple tasks as threading a barrel or duplicating a small custom part for an older firearm. Under the AECA, “manufactures” must register with DDTC at a high cost or risk criminal penalties. “By their definition, loosely interpreted, you could say that you are a manufacturer,” Ware said, noting that making any sort of adjustment that can even make a hunting rifle more accurate could put a gunsmith “in jeopardy of getting fined going to jail or having his livelihood pulled, because he is some sort of felon or lawbreaker today when he wasn’t yesterday.” The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action weighed in on the issue and said in a statement: “As with prior executive actions on guns, the administration released its dictate suddenly and without advance warning to or prior input from affected businesses, completely bypassing the normal formalities associated with a significant rulemaking. The guidance is also likely to result in more confusion than clarity and may significantly chill heretofore legal conduct associated with gunsmithing.” According to Forbes, 15,615 gunsmiths are in the United States today, many of whom run small shops. Some say requiring a $2,250 annual fee will force these shops out of business and give less options for legal gun owners to find someone who can repair their firearms at an affordable price...more

Navajo Nation seeks D.C. memorial for Code Talkers

During World War II, more than 350 Native Americans served as Code Talkers for the U.S. Marines to transmit messages the enemy couldn’t break. Now the Navajo Nation wants to commemorate their service with a memorial in Washington, D.C. A Navajo Nation Council committee resolution asks the U.S. Congress to provide funding for a Navajo Code Talkers National Monument in the Washington. The resolution also authorizes Navajo Nation officials to speak with federal representatives on the matter. “The Navajo Code Talkers provided an invaluable service to the United States of America and should be honored and recognized in a significant manner in constructing a national monument,” the resolution states. According to the resolution, the U.S. military utilized hundreds of Native American languages for encrypted messages during the First World War. The military continued to test those efforts but found it difficult to employ since there were not many military terms in those languages. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, the Marines recruited 29 Navajos to serve as Code Talkers. That number grew 353...more

Friday, August 12, 2016

How the Feds Support Eco-Terrorism


Both before and after September 11, 2001, the FBI has considered “eco-terrorism” one of its primary domestic terrorism concerns. The FBI defines eco-terrorism as “the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.”

It comes in several forms, but one of its primary tactics is “ecotage” or “monkey-wrenching” where radical environmental groups sabotage the property of companies whose activities they deem to be bad for the environment (such as the capital goods used in the logging industry).

But, some groups have discovered a tactic in which they are able to not only avoid punishment by federal law enforcement, but also enlist the feds as willing partners in their effort to destroy private property or deprive people of it.

One of the groups that has practiced this method to perfection is the Western Watersheds Project (WWP), which has the intention of abolishing all grazing on lands claimed by the federal government. As detailed by William Grigg, the WWP sends people to search for endangered species (including while trespassing on private lands) in order to sue the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to revoke grazing permits for ranchers using those lands, or to sue the ranchers themselves. The federal courts have been more than willing to indulge WWP in their efforts. In one case, the WWP sued an 85-year-old rancher named Verl Jones, claiming that irrigation of water on his own property harmed the bull trout. Despite not presenting any evidence to demonstrate this, the federal court required Jones to stop irrigating and to pay the WWP’s legal fees. After losing his ranch and being forced to sell off his assets in order to pay them, Jones soon passed away.

The legal actions of the WWP that have decreased grazing allotments have not only made life more difficult for ranchers, but have led to lands growing vegetation that has served as extra fuel for range fires. One such fire, the Soda Creek Fire, occurred last year and devastated nearly 300,000 acres. Ironically, the WWP, aided by the federal courts and the BLM, has helped to destroy much of the habitat of Sage Grouse and other federally protected species, as well as kill wild horses and cattle. Whereas other radical environmental groups intentionally avoid harming humans (at least physically) and animals, the joint efforts of the WWP and the federal government have led to the deaths of both. In this way, the feds have enabled radical environmentalists to be more dangerous than they would be on their own.

EDITORIAL - Moving closer to ‘Clexit’: Climate change is seen by growing numbers as a magnificent hoax

First there was Brexit, when Great Britain shook up the global establishment by following through on a dare to exit the European Union. Now a movement is building that would further stun the supranationalists: an exit from the United Nations climate change protocol, dubbed “Clexit.” (Not very imaginative, but sloganeers are rarely original.) Men of good will don’t tear up agreements unless there’s ample reason, but international pacts with intangible benefits are never worth the paper they’re printed on. Brexit happened, and Clexit could be next.

Donald Trump, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of establishmentarians of both parties, has said if elected he would renegotiate or cancel U.S. participation in the accord signed by nearly 200 nations in Paris last December. He says the pact, meant to reduce greenhouse gases that the greenies say cause global warming, is particularly harsh toward U.S. industry, and his rallying cry is “America first.”

Clexit-like language has prompted squeaks of dismay from adherents of green orthodoxy in Washington. Two former directors of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly, issued a statement this week claiming the Donald would undermine the environmental legacy of Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. “Donald Trump has shown a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws,” they say. “To back away now, as Trump wants to do, would set the world back decades — years we could never recover.” Lest they lose their place in the capital establishment, both endorsed Hillary Clinton. Once a bureaucrat, always a bureaucrat.

While these two worthies fret over the fate of “the world,” Mr. Trump focuses on the future of America, which would be his No. 1 job as president. In his speech to the Detroit Economic Club, he pledged to end the Obama-Clinton “war on the American worker, and unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.” Lifting restrictions on American energy would boost the U.S. GDP by $100 billion and jobs by 500,000 annually.

Prospects for that kind of bounty is what drove Great Britain to bolt the EU. In short order, post-Brexit Prime Minister Theresa May has adopted a plan to unleash a hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” revolution. Her plan would award Britons in the vicinity of shale natural gas drilling operations as much as $17,000. The money — a bribe, as anti-fracking activists call it — would be funded by drilling fees paid by industry.

Dollars in the wind

THERE is more than one way to achieve dreadful public policies. Committees of bureaucrats have crafted real stinkers over the years. Other duff laws are the work of deep-pocketed special interests. But to create the worst government programmes—schemes that combine brow-furrowing folly with gasp-inducing expense—few methods are as sure as inviting Congress to spend the money of future taxpayers, in order to pander to public sentiment today.

For a case in point, consider the Wild Horse and Burro Programme of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM, a federal agency which manages more than 245m acres of public land, is a whipping-boy for the environmental left and the anti-government right alike. But when it comes to the mismanagement of wild horses, the real villain is Congress. The BLM runs 177 “herd-management areas” across ten states. The animals are in truth feral, not wild—a few can be traced back to horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish, but most are descended from ranch stock or unwanted animals set loose during the 20th century.

Lexington recently visited a herd in the McCullough Peaks of Wyoming—100,000 acres of desert badlands softened by pale, scented sagebrush, and cut through by canyons of pink-striped rock. To keep the herd’s population constant, a BLM officer, Tricia Hatle, injects between 50 and 60 wild mares each year with darts containing PZP, a contraceptive. This involves stalking the herds with a fearsome-looking gas-powered dart gun, capable of hitting a horse from 40 yards. Ms Hatle, an efficient sort, finished her darting in 18 days this year, down from several months a few years ago. The cost is $150 per horse, per year.

That sounds reasonable—except that the McCullough Peaks herd comprises just 152 animals, out of 67,000 wild horses that roam public rangelands. The McCullough Peaks animals are also among the most accessible in the country, feeding and drinking near dirt roads open to the public.

Salmon supporters win again in court

by Paul VanDevelder

In the Pacific Northwest, treaties with Native Americans — signed in bad faith more than 150 years ago — continue to haunt the federal courts and state governments. Most were made to justify land grabs by newly arriving settlers, and what was guaranteed to the tribes must have seemed inconsequential. Washington's first territorial governor, Isaac Stevens, negotiated a bundle of these treaties in the 1850s and 1860s, baldly promising state legislators that he would “extinguish, as quickly as possible, the Indians' claims to their traditional lands so that settlers could be given legal title.”

The governor's duplicitous treaties eventually led to war with the Nez Perce, the Umatilla and the Yakama tribes. Most of his other treaties with tribes on Puget Sound sparked legal battles that have tied up federal courts for more than a century.

Then, this June, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals added yet another loss to Washington state’s nearly perfect record of defeats, which began in 1905, with a case challenging the Yakama Tribe's treaty right to hunt, gather and fish in “all of their usual and accustomed places.”

As Matthew Love and Carly Summers explained in the July 2016 National Law Review, this new decision grew out of litigation that began in the 1970s. Back then, Washington's attorney general (and future U.S. senator) Slade Gorton challenged the tribes' fishing rights, with hopes of extinguishing them forever.

The lawsuit also sought to clarify three issues stemming from the original treaty with Gov. Stevens: Did the tribes have a guaranteed right to a percentage of the annual commercial catch; should hatchery-bred fish be included in that percentage; and do treaty rights implicitly safeguard the environment so that the tribe's right to fish in “all the usual and accustomed places” is protected?

FOIA Request Probes Extent of Government Spying on Climate Protesters

Citing an investigation that revealed federal agents went undercover to spy on environmental activists, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on Thursday filed nine Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information on surveillance of peaceful protests at federal fossil fuel auctions.
As they wrote at The Intercept in July, journalists Lee Fang and Steve Horn obtained emails showing that in May, local law enforcement and federal agents monitored and infiltrated a "Keep it in the Ground" protest at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in Lakewood, Colorado.  "The emails, which were obtained through an open records act request, show that the Lakewood Police Department collected details about the protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned," they wrote. "During the auction, both local law enforcement and federal agents went undercover among the protesters."  What's more, The Intercept reported:
The emails further show that police monitored Keep it in the Ground participating groups such as, Break Free Movement, Rainforest Action Network, and WildEarth Guardians, while relying upon intelligence gathered by Anadarko, one of the largest oil and gas producers in the region.
Now, CBD wants to know not only what happened at the Lakewood protest, but whether similar surveillance strategies have been pursued at other fossil fuel auction protests...more

Black Vultures Are Protected By Treaty, But Eating the Profits of Oklahoma Ranchers

This is the centennial year of the Migratory Bird Treaty. The compact between the United States and Canada assures many birds can travel undisturbed, but the international agreement protects one species that’s a menace to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. Frank Lawrence is sick of the black vultures he’s been dealing with his entire life as a rancher in southeast Oklahoma. “When a cow has a calf, they’re just sitting there in a tree, ready to get a hold of it,” Lawrence says. “It pecks their eyes out, and one of mine, it pecked its naval. Its intestines were sticking out. I took it to the vet and it died.” The black birds don’t have any fans at this monthly meeting of the Latimer County Farm Bureau at the Eaton Hole in Wilburton, and they aren’t exactly dinner conversation. Trying to scare the birds off just makes them vomit, providing a source of food and more reason to stick around. But black vultures are also protected by international treaty and U.S. law, even though their numbers are going strong. That protection means ranchers, like Lane Jeffrey, can’t just shoot them. “You don’t want to get thrown in jail for shooting a protected species when you’re just out there trying to protect your livestock,” he says. “It is unlawful at any time, by any means, or in any manner, go after them, hunt them, kill them, sell them, possess them, offer them for sale, transport them,” says Kristin Madden with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They weren’t one of the birds that were originally named in the treaty in 1916, but when the act went in in 1918 they fell under ‘birds that naturally occur in the United States.”...more

Eagles kill hundreds of lambs each year but it goes unreported

ALBANY, Ore. — Laura Wahl stands in the pasture with her lambs eight hours a day during peak lambing season to protect them. The predators aren’t coyotes or cougars; they are bald eagles. Wahl runs Wahl Grazing, a sheep and goat operation, with her family near Albany, Ore. She estimates that she loses 300 lambs a year to eagle depredation — a loss of approximately $37,500. During lambing season, Wahl is used to seeing 20 eagles lining the perimeter of her pastures waiting for ewes to give birth to their lambs. Because of a complex reporting system, few resources available to ranchers and the stigma surrounding complaints about the national bird, Wahl said her family doesn’t have many options to protect their lambs. “There’s nothing we can really do about (eagles),” Wahl said. “All we can do is hope the eagles don’t find the lambs.” Eagle depredation is a controversial and complicated issue for ranchers, ranching advocates and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees protected species. Ranchers agree that eagles killing lambs is a big problem but they do not report the depredation out of a lack of faith in federal government services. Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association, said avian raptors are a huge problem for producers and that eagles are a particularly tough problem because there are limited tools and resources to help sheep producers...more

California Fox Makes Fastest Endangered Species Recovery

A diminutive California fox, near the brink of extinction just 12 years ago, is being removed from the endangered species list. It’s the fastest recovery of any mammal on the list, according to federal wildlife officials. The Channel Islands fox is only found on six islands off the Southern California coast, with each island home to its own subspecies of fox. “The island foxes are very cute,” says Christina Boser, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy who helped with the fox recovery.  “They’re only about four pounds and they’ve got these beautiful expressive eyes.” Island fox numbers plummeted after a cascade of human impacts. Early ranchers brought non-native pigs to the island. At the same time, the native bald eagle population crashed because of the pesticide DDT.  With no eagle competition, golden eagles began arriving from the California mainland, finding an abundant food source in both piglets and the tiny foxes. Only a few dozen foxes remained on three of the islands, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz. Ten years ago, a pig eradication effort began (causing a minor uproar). The golden eagles were relocated and bald eagles, which don’t eat foxes, returned to the islands. A captive breeding program for foxes also began. Today, the islands are home to several thousand foxes...more

BLM releases draft Gunnison sage-grouse plan

A draft proposal for managing Bureau of Land Management lands in western Colorado and eastern Utah to better protect the Gunnison sage-grouse would take different approaches for the bird’s main population in the Gunnison Basin and smaller populations in places including Mesa County. The BLM released its draft environmental impact statement Thursday. It is proposing amending up to 11 resource management plans in the two states. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the Gunnison sage-grouse requires listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. “The inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms in land use plans was identified as a major threat (to the bird) in the FWS listing decision,” the BLM says in its draft EIS. The BLM is examining the adequacy of current conservation measures and considering additional, landscape-scale measures. “We are considering a wide range of alternatives designed to ensure consistent conservation of important sagebrush habitat on BLM-managed lands in order to facilitate the de-listing of Gunnison sage-grouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act,” Colorado state BLM director Ruth Welch said in a news release Thursday. Officials say about 5,000 breeding Gunnison sage-grouse live in the two states. Some 4,000 live in the Gunnison Basin, and the others in six satellite populations in Colorado and a seventh in Utah. One group of the birds lives in the Piñon Mesa area of Mesa County...more

North Dakota lowers mountain lion quota for first time

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota wildlife officials are lowering the number of mountain lions that can be killed by hunters for the first time since seasons began about a decade ago. The Game and Fish Department is lowering the limit this year from 21 lions to 15 due to recent research indicating the cougar population in the state is trending downward. Furbearer biologist Stephanie Tucker says that's due in large part to the prowess of hunters, particularly those with hounds. The size of the state's lion population still isn't known, though, and some ranchers wish the quota would be left alone. North Dakota Stockmen's Association Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson says the group that represents about 3,000 ranchers asked that the quota stay the same, to better protect livestock and farm families.

Obama’s bureaucratic tar pit keeps oil, gas in the ground

Even without the Keep It in the Ground protesters providing backup, the Bureau of Land Management scrapped another oil and gas lease sale scheduled for Thursday in Colorado — which wasn’t unusual. Under President Obama’s tightfisted federal lands policy, the agency has now canceled 34 out of 64 sales — 53 percent — in eight states in the past two years, a record that drew a lawsuit Thursday as concerns mount over Democrat Hillary Clinton’s similar leftward swing on energy issues. The Democratic Party platform, drawn up in July by a panel stacked with Clinton appointees, vows to “phase down extraction of fossil fuels on our public lands,” a policy that critics say is already well underway under Mr. Obama. Anti-lease activists “could stay at home, and they’re still getting their demands met, because the BLM is just not holding the sales like they’re supposed to,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for the Western Energy Alliance...more

Non-profit suing BLM over NM lease sales

The Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the Bureau of Land Management on Thursday, due to their failure to conduct an adequate number of oil and gas lease sales annually. The lawsuit cites the Mineral Leasing Act, which requires each state hold at least four land lease sales every year where eligible lands are available. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kimberly Brubeck said the BLM is aware of the lawsuit but is unable to comment on pending litigation. The Western Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization that represents around 300 companies in the oil and gas industry. Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at the Western Energy Alliance, said the Bureau of Land Management is often hampered by its own bureaucracy when planning sales. "In 2010, the Department (of the Interior) made leasing changes and those policies have resulted in leasing taking two years, where it used to be a matter of months," Sgamma said. Those changes were made to provide more opportunity for public comment and to improve the environmental screening process for available parcels. Only two oil and gas lease sales were held in New Mexico in Fiscal Year 2015 and only once during this fiscal year. Some were due to postponements, and others were due to a lack of expressions of interest...more

6 NM counties have mosquito species known to carry Zika

The mosquito species known for transmitting the Zika Virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, have been reported in six counties in New Mexico — and Eddy County is one of them. Dr. Paul Ettestad, New Mexico Department of Health veterinarian, said as of now there are only four cases of the virus in New Mexico — two in Bernalillo County and one each in Chaves and Doña Ana counties. According to the New Mexico Department of Health's website, the four people infected contracted the virus while traveling abroad and were diagnosed after they returned home. Ettestad said the virus can spread if the mosquitoes bite someone who is infected and then bite another person. Because carrier mosquitoes have been reported in Eddy County, residents have to stay cautious. "The mosquitoes are aggressive in the daytime but are also night-biters," Ettestad said. "They like to get inside homes and live there." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the virus include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis or red eyes, muscle pain and headache...more

A bit of Wilson County’s ranching history

Ranching, cattle and the cowboy way of life have long been important in the San Antonio River Valley. It has been so since the early mission era in the 1700s, when Spain owned Texas. Five Spanish missions were established along the San Antonio River. Native Americans, who lived near San Antonio, came to live in the missions. Each mission had longhorn cattle to provide meat and other products for people living in the missions. These cattle ranged between the missions and the farms of residents of San Fernando de Bexar. Farmers in the area planted crops and fenced the cropland in. Cattle broke down fences and destroyed crops. There was friction between the missions and the people of the town. The Spanish government furnished the missions with large land grants to ease problems the cattle had caused. The early 1700s saw Spanish Mission ranchos spread out along the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek between San Antonio and La Bahia (Goliad). Longhorn cattle grazed on the tall, green grass on these ranchos. Robed Missionaries taught Native Americans to ride and work cattle from horseback.  Private ranchers of this era developed large ranches alongside the mission ranches and herds of cattle and horses roamed the land freely. This was the beginning of the grand ranching era in the area between the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek. After the American Civil War, there was a shortage of meat in the northern and eastern states of the country. Texans had plenty of beef on the hoof, but little cash. The longhorn cattle, descendants of cattle that came to Texas with the missionaries and early explorers, still grazed the pasture lands in the San Antonio River Valley. Texas cattlemen saw good reason to turn cattle driving into a good business. Driving cattle from South Texas to the northern railheads turned out to be a very profitable business. In the San Antonio River Valley, the Dewees Brothers, J. T. Thornton, Ellington, William G. Butler, Mr. Camp, Presnell, and a few other men were ranchers who took a big role in the cattle enterprise. They assembled cattle in the San Antonio River Valley and contracted management of the cattle drives over land to markets at railheads in Kansas, Nebraska, and other areas. Some of the trail drivers of this era were Thad Rees, Billy Callaway, Vicente Carvajal, Juan Santos Coy, Hub Polley, Mr. Walker, and others. The cowboys were Mexican Americans, Anglo Americans and African Americans. Some were descendants of the early mission vaqueros...more

The president of Earls is apologizing to Canadian beef ranchers

Mo Jessa says the company now knows that it deeply offended the Canadian cattle industry in April when it announced it would buy all of its beef from an American supplier that had a “Certified Humane” designation. The move prompted outrage and threats of a boycott. He says the company won’t make the same mistake again, a declaration met with applause from hundreds of beef industry conference delegates gathered in south Calgary. The restaurant chain reversed its decision and in June signed supplier deals with Canadian ranchers who raise cattle without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones and who are regularly audited for animal welfare...more

‘Hell or High Water’ vividly taps into today’s troubled times

“Hell or High Water” is a great genre picture: film noir cannily combined with a Western, but with a modern-day setting. Tapping into a genuine feeling of desperation and decline, and the fear of a bleak, unpromising future, the movie takes place in hardscrabble Texas after the economic crash, where things will never be the same again. Everyone is poor, everything is closing up, people are selling out and moving on. Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as the Howard brothers, Toby and Tanner. Tanner (Foster) is a loose cannon, having spent a large portion of his life in prison, while Toby (Pine) has an ex-wife and two sons and a lot of unpaid alimony. The brothers owe the bank thousands on their family ranch, and it will soon be foreclosed upon. So they come up with a plan: They will rob just enough to pay their mortgage and taxes. They’ll take just the cash in the teller’s drawers, rather than the traceable money from the vaults. Meanwhile, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges, in a great performance that recalls his Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit”) — just days away from retirement — takes the case, accompanied by his stalwart half-Indian, half-Mexican (and Catholic) partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham). The screenplay is by sometime actor Taylor Sheridan, who wrote one of last year’s smartest and best films, “Sicario,” and seems to have a bright future at the keyboard. Australian director David Mackenzie has spent his career making strange, sometimes uncomfortable, envelope-pushing films. His last, “Starred Up,” was his best to date, and now he has topped it. Together, Sheridan and Mackenzie have made the kind of beautiful crime drama that punches up a lackluster movie year, as “Blood Simple” and “One False Move” once did. Yet it goes deeper, like a Jim Thompson novel, asking questions about why these people have done what they’ve done, and how they feel about it; it’s not about the thing itself...more

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chris Stewart - decision already made on Bears Ears, Interior just "going through the motions"

Congressman Chris Stewart is singing the same tune as his Washington colleagues and most of his constituency when it comes to the proposed designation of another national monument in Utah. To show the federal government’s commitment to getting participation from the state, Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, visited southeastern Utah last month to hold a three-hour meeting focused on gathering feedback. Still, the effort falls short in Stewart’s eyes as he believes, like other Utah lawmakers, the president has already made up his mind and is just “going through the motions.” During a recent interview exclusively with St. George News, Stewart discussed the proposed designation and his concerns. While Utahns are largely in opposition to the monument, he said he does not believe their opinion will matter. “I think they’ve made the decision already,” Stewart said, “and they’re just going through the motions of coming out here to Utah and listening to folks.” Utah Policy reported last May on a poll that found only 17 percent of Utahns want Obama to declare the Bears Ears area in Southeastern Utah a national monument. The poll, conducted by Utah-based public opinion pollster Dan Jones and Associates, was in stark contrast to one taken by an environmental activist group showing an overwhelming number of Utahns want to see Bears Ears protected under national monument status. Several environmental groups also maintain the designation of the monument is largely supported by Native American groups of the Bears Ears area and within the state. Stewart, however, argues that is not true. “… There’s some interest but there are also many who oppose it,” Stewart said. “Many of the tribal interests who support the Bears Ears (monument) live outside of the state.” Stewart said if the president is sincere he will listen to local input and not create the monument. Stewart recently added a Monument Prohibition Amendment to the House Interior Appropriations Bill aimed to block the creation of new national monuments in Utah and other areas. The amendment, passed during a U.S. House Interior Appropriations Committee Mark Up and later the full House of Representatives, was written in anticipation of Obama’s actions to designate the monument, Stewart said. He added that while he is a strong supporter of preserving the country’s national treasures, he believes in local input...more

Oregon standoff prosecutors treating case like 'spaghetti western,' defendant argues

For Kenneth Medenbach, the government's federal conspiracy case against him and other defendants in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge plays like a spaghetti western. Prosecutors depict the FBI, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff and "the kind folks of Burns" as the "Forces of Good," Medenbach argues, while he, Ammon Bundy and the rest are the "Forces of Evil.'' "The Court cannot allow the government to turn this trial into a morality play,'' attorney Matthew Schindler wrote in a legal motion filed in federal court Wednesday. Medenbach is representing himself but Schindler was appointed as a "stand-by'' lawyer to help him if needed. Medenbach and co-defendants contend in newly filed court papers that the refuge occupation was a protest protected by their First Amendment rights to free speech and free assembly and Second Amendment right to carry firearms for self-defense...more

Proposed compromise could salvage major desert race

The popular Las Vegas-to-Reno off-highway race would go forward as planned under a proposed compromise aimed at protecting Nevada’s newest national monument. Michael Herder, manager of the Bureau of Land Management’s Ely District, said a decision on whether racers can traverse a portion of the Basin and Range National Monument could happen by the end of the week.The original application called for the race to enter the monument from the east at Seaman Wash Road north of Hiko and exit heading west near Rachel, traversing just 40 miles on existing roads at the southern end of the 704,000-acre monument. Under the proposed compromise the route would remain the same. But when racers reach the monument they will slow down to 35 miles-per-hour and will not be allowed to pass each other. The racing could resume once competitors leave the monument. Although Herder said he doesn’t expect a final decision on the race permit until at least Thursday or Friday, Best in the Desert Racing Association, which organizes the event, already has terms of the deal on its website....more

Coquille Tribe: BLM forest management plan a 'lose-lose for everyone'

The Coquille Tribe continues to fight a proposal from the Bureau of Land Management. As of last Friday, the BLM finalized its Forest Management Plan, one they've been working on over the past four years. The plan includes management objectives that hinder logging in older forests. BLM says the restriction will protect habitat for the spotted owl. Under Title V, the Coquille Tribe is required to manage its land based on restrictions put on adjacent federal land. "We have an 80-year rotation, so we grow big timber, we harvest big timber, and by them defining old growth in a certain way makes it to where that's not how we manage our lands,” Coquille Indian Tribe chairwoman Brenda Meade said. “We want mature timber; we want to make sure that we manage for all things and this plan doesn't do it. We rely on the revenue; we rely on the jobs in this community and this plan is a lose-lose for everyone." The Coquille Tribe says with the management plan in place, a majority of their forest land can no longer be harvested. They say they're concerned for the health of the forests in Oregon, and putting more money into fighting fires...more

Montana Proposes Elk Hazing To Check Brucellosis Spread

Montana wildlife officials are proposing to keep elk that have been exposed to disease from mingling with unexposed elk across a wide area north and west of Yellowstone National Park, though they acknowledge that plan has a high possibility of failure. The proposal released by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks adds a new wrinkle to the state's elk management plan in areas with brucellosis, a disease that causes animals to abort their young. Ranchers fear wildlife such as elk and bison will spread the disease to their livestock. Previous versions of the management plan have allowed elk-kill permits, fencing and hazing elk away from cattle in an effort to stem the spread of the disease. The new version also would allow hazing to keep different groups of elk separated near the boundary of a designated brucellosis surveillance area that covers a wide swath of southwestern Montana. The aim is to keep the elk within the surveillance area — about 30,000 animals, according to FWP estimates — from coming into contact with elk from outside the area that are presumed to have no brucellosis exposure...more

Horse Shooting Investigation

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Three horses in Texoma - one just a colt - are shot and killed on private land in Woodson and a family wants justice. The O'Dell family believes at least one person shot their beloved horses in their pasture sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The O'Dells are cattle ranchers who have leased the land where the horses were kept for about a decade. Shawn O'Dell says when his father went to go check on the horses Sunday morning - he found them dead. Their mare, Goldie, had been in the O'Dell family for almost two decades. She was Shawn O'Dell's grandfather's horse. When Goldie became unable to work the O'Dell's put her out to pasture on a small farm located on FM 1710 about five miles North of Woodson where the O'Dell's lease land. She shared the pasture with her colt Goldie Jr. and a gelding named Jack. Shawn O'Dell says when his father found the horses Sunday morning they were scattered across the pasture. "They were separated - maybe 50 to 100 yards between all three of them. He called me, of course, they were dead." The bodies were decomposing quickly in the heat. O'Dell says he saw the bullet hole's entry and exit wounds in the mare's head - confirming his theory that the horses were shot instead of killed any other way. He and his father got a backhoe and dug a grave. O'Dell says the Throckmorton County Deputy came out that afternoon to look for evidence. The O'Dell family is devastated. Two words sum up their feelings. "Sad and empty. My whole family knew Goldie. It was my grandad's horse and his last one so that's kind of the end of that."...more

Stetson-hat wearing grandmother a memorable character

By Suzanne Carter Hahn

The 1963 movie "Hud" was based on McMurtry's novel "Horseman, Pass By." It was a cautionary tale, although told at least a decade after the fact. Hud was the product of generations who had carved a sometimes meager living out of an unforgiving land. He was thrust into a changing world he didn't understand. Major social changes seem to be more apparent from an altitude of 80,000 feet.

My brother and I lived that transition in the early 1950s. Early on he planned to leave ranching in his rearview mirror. The cities welcomed his hard-won skills. It took them a while longer to welcome mine. First I had to figure out that skills might be required.

Zillah was our grandmother. She lived in a small brick house at 509 Childress St. Today, the entire block is buried beneath the tons of steel and concrete we call the Houston Harte Expressway.

Few passing by would forget the sight of an elderly figure roaming the yard wearing a house dress, sensible shoes with stockings — and a Stetson hat — surveying a small herd of plastic Herefords. A fake sheep or two strayed nearby. At the center of it all was a 4-feet-tall ceramic cowboy, his whirling lasso flinging water in all directions.

Zillah loved the movie star Joan Crawford, Ranch Romance magazines, dipping snuff and having fun. She took pleasure in rising earlier than her next-door neighbor and took up painting, water colors of Hereford steers, close up and clearly ready to charge off the page. What Zillah lacked in talent, she made up for in production. Supply exceeded demand. Wish I'd rescued just one.

Zillah was born in Gonzales County in 1876, and in 1879 her father, Andrew Jackson Nichols, migrated west to Runnels County. Zillah described visiting her Gonzales relatives. She told of riding horseback to dances 20 miles distant, party dress tied to the back of her saddle, and how cold her hands got along the way.

But her family's role in the founding of Texas? Apparently not worth mentioning. Yet her kinsman, William Philip King, died at the Alamo — he was 16 years old, the youngest to die there. He went as a substitute for his father, who had a family to protect.

Zillah landed in Concho County when she married an English immigrant cowboy. They acquired land when it was more plentiful than people willing to live and work on it. When her husband's health declined, running the operation on the Concho River was left to Zillah. After his death she soldiered on.

Former residents’ annual reunion returns life to Pinos Wells

Wind rattles the rusted metal roof of a half-collapsed adobe house, grasses wave in the small churchyard and the crude lettering on a weathered gravestone reveals it belongs to a young child, telling the exact lifespan in months and days. Pinos Wells had a short lifespan, too. The Torrance County ranching community southeast of Estancia once had its own post office, a school, stores and a hotel that offered food, water and lodging to travelers from White Oaks bound for Santa Fe. It was there, in the years shortly before New Mexico gained statehood, that a high-profile politician was shot to death, reported the Albuquerque Journal ( ). Like many other New Mexico ghost towns, the population of Pinos Wells, never more than a few hundred, gradually fell victim to drought, the Depression and the lure of city jobs. But on a recent weekend, as it has for decades, the village sprang to life when more than 100 former residents, their children, grandchildren and friends flocked home to celebrate the Fiestas de San José, for whom the church is named....m0re

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Zane Grey's Crib Gains Protection

The feel of the Old West came through in the novels of Zane Grey. Grey came to love the Rogue River Valley, and built himself a cabin near the river.  The cabin recently earned designation on the National Register of Historic Places, giving it a firmer shot at survival.  The Bureau of Land Management has been owner of the cabin for much of the last decade. Duane Erickson from BLM visits with word of future care and feeding of Grey's old home. [link]

Burning Man turns 30: How a group of radical pranksters built a city in the desert

Burning Man was born 30 years ago as a bonfire beach party in San Francisco. An 8-foot-tall wooden stick figure planted in the sand of Baker Beach, and the Golden Gate Bridge loomed in the background. Three dozen avant-garde souls surrounded the recycled lumber effigy as it burned, the attendees summoned by two vagabond comrades, Jerry James and Larry Harvey. "It was like a second sun brought down to this earth, it was just ... it transfixed us, but ... that's where the story begins, in fact. Because at the moment it was lit, everybody on that beach, north and south, came running," Harvey would later say in a 1997 speech. The burning of “the man” stuck, became an annual tradition and, after a few years, the free spirits traded sand for dust. They migrated to an ancient lake bed outside of the gun-toting, leave-me-alone, 200-person town of Gerlach in Northern Nevada. Over a bizarre three-decade evolution, the getaway would turn into Burning Man, a weeklong capital of nowhere inhabited by 70,000 fancy desert rats driven by mischief and mindfulness. In the spring of its age, Burning Man was a wild, unruly, devious teenager. No doubt, today it is more composed, but it struggles constantly with its identity, perhaps because so many kinds of followers now identify with it. The hippies. The techies. The punks. The pyros. The ravers. The libertarians. The dreamers. The creators. As Burning Man turns 30, the Reno Gazette-Journal has collected interviews with some of the "movers and shakers" of Burning Man to piece together a story of evolution -- a story that begins before Burning Man ever was and ends somewhere in the future. In today's age, Burning Man has come to be known for the techies, stars and fashionistas who attend, but this story sheds light on the lesser-sung influences of Burning Man such as the Suicide Club, Cacophony Society, Desert Siteworks, Survival Research Labs and early Silicon Valley...more

Ryan Bundy Faces Possible Charges After Jailhouse Incident

Ryan Bundy, one of eight people scheduled to go on trial next month on charges stemming from the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, was involved in an incident Tuesday morning at the jail. Deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office were getting ready to hand him over to deputies from the U.S. Marshals Office when Bundy resisted. A sergeant who was trying to handcuff Bundy at the time, forced him to the ground when Bundy turned around to face him. Several deputies assisted the sergeant in handcuffing Bundy. He was then checked by medical staff at the jail to make sure he had not been injured. Despite some assertions on social media that Bundy had been bruised, jail officials say that wasn't the case. Bundy, who is representing himself, was written up for failing to follow orders and fighting with staff...more

Adams County sheriff cancels meeting about rancher's death

Adams County officials say there will not be a community meeting about the November shooting death of a rancher. Sheriff Ryan Zollman had said both at a community meeting in the fall and more recently on July 29 that he planned to hold a public forum about the death of Jack Yantis. But Monday, Zollman said that meeting would not take place, The Idaho Statesman reported ( ). Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced last month there is not enough evidence to charge the two deputies involved in the November fatal shooting of Yantis, 62, who was killed after one of his bulls was hit by a car. Yantis arrived with a rifle just as deputies decided to put down the animal. Authorities have said there was an altercation, and Yantis and the two deputies all fired their weapons. Zollman said officials with the county insurer have asked him not to talk about the Yantis case. "Everything is online where you can see it — it was released to the public," Zollman said. "There's nothing I can tell people that's not already accessible to them."...more

8 anti-conservation “riders” poisoning federal budget process

Destructive add-ons or “riders” threaten everything from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to greater sage-grouse in a bill to keep the government funded over the next year. The next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, meaning that Congress is running out of time to cobble together “must-pass” appropriations legislation that will pay for the day-to-day expenses of the federal government. But in what has become a sad annual commentary on some leaders’ dereliction of America’s conservation tradition, the process is gummed up with counterproductive “riders” that have no place in the appropriations process, and would hurt wildlands right when they sorely need our help. Annual failure to properly fund conservation Funding for conservation—which includes national parks, forests and wildlife refuges—makes up barely 1 percent of the federal budget. These programs are enormously popular and contribute substantially to our local and national economies, generating up to $10 for every $1 invested, and creating high quality jobs that cannot be exported. Despite this, these programs are on the chopping block once again as Congress works to pass a budget to fund the government for another fiscal year. As Congress works to pass an appropriations bill, we will fight for conservation funding, as well as working to keep the most toxic riders out of the budget. Here is our “top” eight list of the worst riders in the bill...more

I don't recall them bitching about the riders when the dem's were running things.

Besides there are some riders I've always liked, whether they were horseback or mounted on a spending bill.

Foes of right to farm bill change tactics after court challenge dismissed

Plaintiffs whose pre-election challenge to the constitutionality of the so-called Right to Farm Amendment was dismissed as untimely by the Oklahoma Supreme Court shifted gears to focus on community outreach and educating the public about its impact if passed. State Question 777 would carve out constitutional protections for "citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma" engaged in farming and ranching activities. It would prohibit lawmakers from passing any laws that might infringe upon the rights of that limited class "to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest." Save the Illinois River President Denise Deason-Toyne said educating the public "is the key" to prevent passage of a legislative referendum she and other critics contend would cripple efforts to protect and preserve the state's natural resources. STIR, a grassroots coalition of clean-water advocates was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking the removal of SQ 777 from the general election ballot in November. The justices, two of whom were appointed as substitutes for two disqualified jurists, affirmed an Oklahoma County District Court Judge Patricia G. Parrish's dismissal of STIR's legal challenge, but for a different reason. Parrish found the measure constitutional on its face, a ruling rejected by the high court in favor of an argument based upon a separation of powers. "The Oklahoma Supreme Court ... basically stated it will not inject itself into the legislative process by deciding the validity of legislation before it is enacted," Deason-Toyne said. "This ... is not a decision on the merits of our claims — it just is basically stating that our challenge shouldn't be heard unless and until SQ 777 becomes law."...more

Endangered California Condors Threatened by Soberanes Fire

America's largest land bird has been moving back from the edge of extinction. rr A fire that began on August 31 with an illegal campfire is within eight miles of 3 nests with young California condor hatchlings. The months-old young are not yet able to fly and could not escape the flames on their own. The Soberanes fire has roared through nearly 70,000 acres of wildland, destroying 57 residences and 11 outbuildings. Biologists report that none of the condors living in the area has yet been killed by the fire, but one of the feeding stations where they leave dead animals for the birds has been destroyed. The fire is moving south across coastal Monterey County toward the remote sections of the Los Padres National Forest where the condors nest. This is also the location of a "condor sanctuary" site with pens, trailers and a cabin that scientists use when they release condors that have been hatched in zoos. a..morereb9j..more

Feds Must Study Wind Farm's Harm to Bats

Wind-turbine opponents persuaded the D.C. Circuit that the government issued a permit to an Ohio wind farm without fully considering ways to reduce the deaths of endangered Indiana bats. Ohio-based Union Neighbors United brought the 2013 complaint in Washington, D.C., taking issue with the U.S. government's approval of a permit for the Buckeye Wind Power Project. The Indiana bat has been listed as an endangered species since 1967. Though the species does not hibernate in the general area of that proposed facility in west-central Champaign County, it does migrate through the area during the spring and fall. In its application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act, Buckeye Wind LLC estimated that its 100-turbine wind-generation facility, with use of various controls, would injure or kill 5.2 bats per year. Finding that the proposal to lower turbine speeds during certain months met statutory standards, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS, approved Buckeye Wind in 2013 for a five-year limit of 26 bat "takings." A federal judge granted the agency's director and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell summary judgment last year, finding no violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, the National Environmental Policy Act or the Endangered Species Act, otherwise known as the ESA. The March 2015 opinion credits the finding by the FWS "that the minimization and mitigation measures 'fully offset' the impact of the taking of Indiana bats, and thus, it was not necessary to determine if the plan was the 'maximum that can be practically implemented.'" Bu the D.C. Circuit partially reversed the ruling Friday, finding that the FWS failed to consider an economically feasible alternative that would kill fewer bats before issuing the permit...more

Another example of how the ESA has turned into land use bill.  Here's a bunch of land owners who could give a rat's ass about the bat, but they sure don't want that wind farm in their back yard.

The Pipeline’s Approved. Environmentalists Are Angry.

Final federal approval for what is being called the “new Keystone” came from the Army Corps of Engineers on July 26—allowing the pipeline to move forward. The 1,168-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also called the Bakken Pipeline, is comparable in length to the Keystone XL. It will cross four states and carry 450,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to a transfer terminal in Illinois where it will connect with other pipelines and be taken to refineries. The $3.8 billion dollar project has pitted environmentalists against economic interests.  During the Keystone fight, outspoken opponent Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, said: “In America we should be focused on making sure that the oil in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and others, in Montana, that that oil is getting to market.” Now, thanks to DAPL, America’s oil will have a safer way to get “to market”—freeing up as many as 750 train cars a day to transport corn, soybeans, and grain. However, as soon as DAPL came on the scene, they moved the marker, and environmental opposition was mounted. Bold Iowa, a group that shares a website with Kleeb’s Bold Nebraska, says it has members willing to risk arrest in “nonviolent protests.” They are also training monitors to report any environmental violations or hazards...more

The total bill for new regulations under the Obama administration is staggering

 If you’re feeling a bit of a pinch in your wallet these days you may want to examine some of the new government regulations which have come into effect since Barack Obama has been in office. It’s an effect which isn’t always clear to the layman because federal regulations seem to exist in a far off bureaucratic world which isn’t directly tied to people’s day to day lives in the same way that taxes and utility bills are. But the reality is that all of the regulations which flow out of Washington impact the entire economic reality of the country and all the bills are eventually paid by working citizens. So how many regulations are we talking about and what’s the total bill? A new study tallies up the numbers and it’s probably a lot more than you may think. (The Hill)
Since President Obama took office in 2009, the federal government has issued 600 major regulations totaling $743 billion, according to a new study from the conservative American Action Forum.
The Obama administration issues an average of 81 major rules, those with an economic impact of at least $100 million, on a yearly basis, the study found.
That’s about one major rule every four to five days, or, as the American Action Forum puts it, one rule for every three days that the federal government is open.
“It is a $2,294 regulatory imposition on every person in the United States,” wrote Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum, who conducted the study.
The definition of a “major regulation” used by the American Action Forum is a fair one. An impact of $100M is a good round number, though there are countless other smaller regulations which come and go on a weekly basis. One new major regulation every few days adds up pretty quickly. Barack Obama is already on a record setting pace, and if the projections in this report prove accurate, he’ll top $830B in new regulatory costs before he leaves office.

Tribes say they’re shut out of grizzly bear delisting

A federal official has rebutted complaints that the government is not working with Native American tribes and that it has put a trophy hunter in charge of removing the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear from Endangered Species Act protection. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said tribes have been represented on a committee that’s recommending delisting the bear. The federal agency — not a single person — makes such recommendations based on science and study, she said. Spokeswoman Serena Baker made her comments in response to a letter to federal officials from Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. In it he rails against the government saying, “the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Lakota people steadfastly stand in opposition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s [delisting] intention…” Among the fears is that delisting will lead to hunting of grizzly bears, a species considered sacred to tribes. Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, not the federal government, would decide on hunting after federal protections are removed, likely by the end of this year. About 47,000 persons are enrolled Oglala Lakota members, according to the Pine Ridge Agency. “The Oglala Sioux Tribe strongly refutes claims made by the US Fish and W,oand laws,” Poor Bear wrote...more

Meet The Texas Rodeo Cowboy Advising Trump On Agriculture

Sid Miller, Texas agriculture commissioner, will advise Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on agriculture as part of a special advisory committee. The Trump campaign will announce the full agriculture advisory committee sometime this week, but Miller revealed his involvement as national co-chair in an interview with radio host Chad Hasty on Friday. “When he gets elected, and the day he takes office, America will get our respect back around the world because his personality is, ‘If you hit me, I’m going to hit you twice,'” Miller said in the interview. Miller is a lifelong Texan, a rancher, farmer, teacher and rodeo champion. He knows agriculture, and believes Trump will is the best bet for agriculture in Texas, as well as American farmers...more

Government tries to control church sermons

An Iowa church just wants to be free to preach the gospel, but the state’s so-called nondiscrimination requirements could block the house of worship from doing just that. Lawyers for the church are asking a federal court to prevent Iowa from censoring what the religious group can say about homosexuality, same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism and other related topics. The case erupted when the state’s Civil Rights Commission first claimed the authority to control the content of sermons and then to define what’s religious. . At issue is the state’s nondiscrimination requirements that specify any “public accommodation” can be ordered not to say anything that might make a homosexual or a transgender feel “unwelcome,” such as even reading from the Bible a condemnation of such behavior. Lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom, who are representing the church, have filed a reply in support of their motion for a preliminary injunction that would protect the church members’ constitutional rights while the case plays out...more

And keep in mind this from yesterday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

What a wonderful day...not

First my back went out.  Loaded up on muscle relaxants and continued on.  Then the spasms in my legs caused the mouse to go flying - and break.  Finishing on the laptop, where the small keyboard is a real pain.  Tomorrow must be better.

College Takes Down Historical Paintings Because They Might Traumatize Students

A public college in Wisconsin is moving two historic paintings out of the public eye after the school’s Diversity Leadership Team warned they could be psychologically devastating for American Indian students. Since 1936, two large murals by Cal Peters portraying early Wisconsin history have dominated the common area of Harvey Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout). One mural shows French fur traders and American Indians traveling down the Red Cedar River by canoe, while another portrays a wooden fort constructed by the French. Neither painting shows any violence at all. But now, after 80 years, the murals are abruptly being given the heave-ho after concerns were raised that the paintings are offensive. School chancellor Bob Meyer says some American Indian students have objected to what the paintings show. In addition, UW-Stout’s Diversity Leadership Team complained about the murals to Meyer, arguing their presence helped to perpetuate racial stereotypes...more

State-sponsored "teams" roaming through buildings and removing objects of art because they aren't politically correct seems awful scary to me.  Reminds me of Hitler's theory of Entartung or "degenerate" art and his purge tribunals

Hitler's rise to power on January 31, 1933, was quickly followed by actions intended to cleanse the culture of degeneracy: book burnings were organized, artists and musicians were dismissed from teaching positions, artists were forbidden to utilize any colors not apparent in nature, to the "normal eye",[95] and curators who had shown a partiality to modern art were replaced by Nazi Party members.[96] “Through the Ministry of Propaganda or the ERR, the Nazis destroyed or quarantined the culture of all the nations they invaded.”[97] "A four-man purge tribunal (Professor Ziegler, Schweitzer-Mjolnir, Count Baudissin and Wolf willrich) toured galleries and museums all over the Reich and ordered the removal of paintings, drawings and sculptures that were regarded as 'degenerate'." 

Or Stalin's enforcement of socialist realism

Socialist realism became state policy in 1934 when the First Congress of Soviet Writers met and Stalin's representative Andrei Zhdanov gave a speech strongly endorsing it as "the official style of Soviet culture".[38] It was enforced ruthlessly in all spheres of artistic endeavour. Form and content were often limited, with erotic, religious, abstract, surrealist, and expressionist art being forbidden. Formal experiments, including internal dialogue, stream of consciousness, nonsense, free-form association, and cut-up were also disallowed. This was either because they were "decadent", unintelligible to the proletariat, or counter-revolutionary.

Dictatorships of all stripes seek to control human expression through works of art, by deeming them degenerate, decadent, anti-proletariat, or in this case, politically incorrect.

HT:   Jim Hughes

Study: Planning key to minimizing effect of oil on Badlands

Better planning and coordination are needed to reduce the impact of oil development in North Dakota's Badlands, a report released today says. More than 70 North Dakotans participated in a study aimed at assessing oil development in the Badlands and the Little Missouri River Valley, with most agreeing that more should be done to preserve the land while developing the resources. "The overriding theme was that we need to do a better job with the surface, for the surface owner, for ranching and for wildlife," said Rod Backman, owner of Covenant Consulting Group in Bismarck, which conducted the study. The firm conducted interviews with ranchers, conservation representatives, government officials and the oil industry to gauge the stakeholders' attitudes and identify areas for improvement. Most participants were not critical about the oil industry's development in the Badlands, but commented that it came too fast and resulted in some areas of duplicate infrastructure, Backman said. Most participants were not critical about the oil industry's development in the Badlands, but commented that it came too fast and resulted in some areas of duplicate infrastructure, Backman said. Several ranchers commented that oil companies would move facilities or roads for landowners who owned minerals, "but if you don't have minerals, they don't pay much attention to you," Backman said. The study, funded by the World Wildlife Fund, was not aimed at hindering oil development, but designed to spur discussion about ways to minimize impacts in the future. North Dakota has more than 13,000 producing oil and gas wells, and is protected to ultimately have between 55,000 to 65,000 wells...more

Drought in South Dakota means more cow elk hunting licenses

South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks Department will issue an additional 50 cow elk hunting licenses this year because of drought. The Capital Journal reports that the move is part of a drought contingency program in the state's elk management plan. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of western South Dakota in severe or extreme drought. The U.S. Forest Service says range conditions in the Black Hills are deteriorating quickly. Game, Fish and Parks in late July said it would not recommend issuing contingency licenses, but ranchers pressured the agency to change its mind. Five additional licenses will be issued for each of 10 northern Black Hills antlerless elk hunting units. A license lottery drawing will be held within the next few months.  AP

Amnesty International calls for halt to Site C, dam threatens B.C. indigenous rights

Amnesty International is calling for a stop work order on British Columbia’s $8.8 billion Site C hydroelectric dam, saying the mega project on the Peace River threatens the human rights of indigenous peoples. The independent human rights advocate released a report Tuesday calling on the federal and provincial governments to immediately suspend or rescind all construction approvals and permits related to the project in northeast B.C. The report, The Point of No Return, also says the project should only proceed on the basis of free, prior and informed consent of all affected indigenous peoples. At least two area First Nations are challenging the project in court. The Amnesty International report stated archeological evidence shows indigenous peoples have lived in the Peace River area for more than 10,000 years and many rely on the valley to hunt, fish, trap, conduct ceremonies and harvest plant medicines...more

Sagebrush-covered landscapes keep water on the land

According to the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI)’s newest Science to Solutions report – which summarized research from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) – a sagebrush-dominated watershed holds water in snow drifts an average of nine days longer than one dominated by juniper trees.  Removing invading conifer trees improves the health of sagebrush ecosystems, providing better habitat for wildlife and better forage for livestock. And now, new science shows these efforts may also help improve late-season water availability, which is crucial for ecosystems in the arid West. Researchers with ARS analyzed snow and streamflow data from a snow-dominated sagebrush steppe ecosystem in southwest Idaho to evaluate the impact that juniper-dominated landscapes might have on water availability in the system. They found that areas with more juniper had earlier snow melt and less streamflow relative to sagebrush-dominated landscapes. The water retention in sagebrush systems comes from the increased water storage within snow drifts and delayed release of the melting snow back into the soils. Water delivery is delayed by an average of nine days in sagebrush systems compared to juniper-dominated systems. While many juniper-removal studies have demonstrated value to wildlife species, this research adds an entirely different dimension to the practice – the improvement of ecosystem services provided by sagebrush habitats. Rangelands in the West face harsh, dry conditions with plenty of wind, and in higher elevations the vast majority of precipitation comes in the form of snowfall. Holding water later into the summer season helps the sagebrush system become more diverse, benefiting vegetation, wildlife and ranchers. This is one of the greatest services that an ecosystem can provide in the West, the report notes. Since parts of the sagebrush landscape hold water longer, the soil has more water available later in the season to grow “green groceries” – succulent grasses and wildflowers that make for high quality habitat and grazing lands. This ARS research also shows that snow-covered, sagebrush-dominated watersheds are better at turning limited precipitation into streamflow. Timing of snowmelt influences riparian and wet meadow areas that are critical for many species, including sage grouse, as the arid sagebrush ecosystem dries up during the summer...more

Harvesting Alaska: Ranchers try to meet demand for yak

Hand-raised yaks, not in the Himalayas, but the heart of Alaska. “Trina!” Barbara Fithian called out. She knows almost every one of her animals at the Circle F Ranch by name. “Woebegone gets fed with a bottle because his mom didn’t have enough milk,” she explained. Another steer, Drifter, is special to the Fithians. “He’s a small yak, kind of a runt,” Bobby said. “He’s trained to pack and to ride. He’s such a treasure to us he’ll never be a meat animal.” Barbara and her husband Bobby Fithian are hunting guides who wanted to find a sustainable use for their hundreds of acres outside Glennallen. Hours of research led them to yaks. While cattle eat three percent of their body weight, yaks only eat one percent. In the winter, that saves the Fithians money when they have to feed supplemental hay. Yaks can also withstand the blistering cold, 40 below zero temperatures of the interior. Barbara said it’s also one of the healthiest red meats in the world, leaner than chicken. Yak ranching just seemed to make sense to the Fithians as more people push for farm to table food. Yaks are a new meat industry in Alaska. The Circle F Ranch is now up to 100 head; Bobby said there 300 yaks in the state altogether and only 6,000 in the entire United States. “The problem is once you go yak, you never go back — but there’s never enough yak,” he laughed. The Fithians keep a freezer full of meat in their gift shop at their ranch about 15 miles up the Edgerton Highway. Despite a higher price than beef — $28 a pound for sirloin — they can barely keep it in stock. The Fithians keep a freezer full of meat in their gift shop at their ranch about 15 miles up the Edgerton Highway. Despite a higher price than beef — $28 a pound for sirloin — they can barely keep it in stock.Most of that meat ends up on the grills at David McCarthy’s restaurants. The chef-turned-restaurateur owns four eateries in Denali and just opened the 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage where yak is featured in several ways on the menu...more

The ‘War On Coal’ Threatens A Sleepy Colorado Mining Town

CRAIG, Colo.– Coal, from extraction to use as a generation source, forms the literal bedrock of 
Craig. The past few years have shaken the once quiet town, as an onslaught of federal government regulations and actions by environmental activists bent on keeping Moffat County’s key natural resource in the ground have sparked concerns not only over the future of coal, but the future of the region itself. Colorado’s second largest in total land area, Moffat County comprises more than 4,700 square miles of land including remote wilderness areas like Dinosaur National Monument. The county has fewer than 14,000 residents however, in a space roughly the size of the state of Connecticut or larger than Delaware and Rhode Island (2x) combined. Visible from all parts of the tiny Colorado community, Craig Station, a 1,304 MW coal-fired power plant operated by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, sits on a gently rolling hill five miles south of Craig’s main street, U.S. Highway 40. A city limit sign featuring a stylized outline of the installation greets drivers approaching from the south on Colorado State Highway 13. The roughly 9,000 residents of the city, situated 200 miles northwest of Denver, have been on edge the past few years as they endured wave after wave of uncertainty, from a potential endangered species listing for the greater sage grouse to awaiting the unveiling of the administration’s most ambitious environmental rule: the Clean Power Plan regulation targeting coal-fired electrical generation units. Then there’s the state renewable energy mandate, seeking 30 percent renewable energy by 2020. Add in a pair of lawsuits challenging the environmental permitting for the Colowyo and Trapper mining operations, two nearby coal mines that provide the raw, low sulfur subbituminous coal for Craig Station. It has become, as the American Energy Alliance called the city’s predicament in 2012, a “perfect storm” for Craig, and an instructive lesson in how onerous regulations and disruptive activism can work to bury a town...more

Monday, August 08, 2016

Are National Parks An Appropriate Backdrop For Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue?

By Kurt Repanshek

For many young adolescent boys growing up in the 1960s, the cold winds, ice, and snows of winter met a thaw in February, when a softer, not quite so lusty version of Playboy showed up in mailboxes across the country: Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue.
...In 2002, a representative for the National Organization for Women said the issue, "promotes the harmful and dehumanizing concept that women are a product for male consumption."

...Until recently, national parks have been left out of the Swimsuit Issue, and generally have been promoted by media as wonderful family destinations. But in 2014 the sports magazine requested, and received permission, to shoot in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Bryce Canyon national parks for its 2015 Swimsuit Issue.

An outtake from the Yellowstone shoot (above) was used by National Geographic this year in its May issue, which was dedicated to Yellowstone.

Now, as the Park Service is confronting an issue of sexual harassment and misconduct within its workforce, a watchdog group is questioning whether the agency's decision to permit the pictorials doesn't "undermine" its commitment to root out an institutional "culture of tolerance for sexual harassment." In addition, the Park Service's approval of the photo shoots illuminates the gray area in interpreting the agency's management guidelines and recalls a magazine shoot four decades ago that a former park ranger deemed "extremely offensive."

Back in August 1977 Grand Canyon National Park made a splash in Playboy in a river trip pictorial that raised more than a few eyes, as Roderick Nash noted in Wilderness and the American Mind while discussing the issue of river trip permit allocations:

The Grand Canyon allocation controversy raised the deeper question of what kind of use is most appropriate in a federal managed wilderness. One point of view regarded the large, motorized commercial trips as little more than outdoor parties. Beach volleyball and cold beer highlighted these trips. The customers neither expected nor wanted a wilderness experience. The whitewater rapids might as well have been located in an urban amusement park. The highly publicizied and much photographed river trip that Playboy staged came to represent the problem in many minds. The fact that this kind of Grand Canyon trip used part of the limited visitor quota, and in effect kept wilderness enthusiasts off the river, rubbed salt in the already tender wounds of noncommercial boaters.

It used to be that a conservative was defined as someone who was concerned that someone, somewhere, was having a good time. It now appears that liberals have taken over that mantle. This is without a doubt one of the more attractive uses of our National Parks.