Saturday, February 23, 2019

Migrants attack unarmed officials as they cross from Guatemala into Mexico: WATCH

Members of a Central American migrant caravan violently attacked unarmed Mexican federal immigration officers with rocks and other blunt objects Tuesday after government officials tried to block the group from illegally crossing into Mexico from Guatemala. Newly released video taken from inside one of the Mexican government vehicles shows a group of about 1,000 people walking down a road in Tapachula after refusing to turn around. Similar videos and pictures circulated by Mexican media confirm the incident took place Tuesday. Federal immigration officers from Instituto Nacional de Migracion, Mexico's national immigration agency, had lined up a handful of white vans and pickup trucks in a row to keep the caravan from passing by. But as the caravan became increasingly rowdy, the Mexican officials ran back into their vehicles. One female officer yelled, "Vamanos," Spanish for "Let's go." The vehicles began backing up, away from the group, but were unable to get away before members of the caravan caught up. Caravan members then began throwing large rocks at the government workers, most of whom were inside the vehicles. The rocks broke windshields and windows, and the unarmed officers could be heard screaming as they ducked down into their seats to avoid being hit...MORE 

Here is the Telemundo video

Mountain lions roaming Colorado town in pride of about 10 'troubles' officials

Colorado wildlife officials issued a warning for the residents of Edwards this week after discovering a pride of 8 to 10 lions has been "roaming" neighborhoods in the area. In recent days, residents have stumbled upon several animal carcasses and at least two attacks on dogs have been reported. The recent increase in mountain lion sightings prompted officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to alert the Edwards-area to be on high alert. "This is a troubling situation and we are very concerned for the safety and welfare of the people in this area," CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke said in an online statement Thursday. "We ask everyone to take this warning seriously." "We urge residents to be extremely cautious because lions are large, powerful predators and can be very dangerous if they've lost their natural fear of people," CPW District Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita added in a statement. "We are monitoring the situation very closely." Based on information they've recieved so far, officials believe there are two female lions that are each traveling with a litter of 3 to 4 juvenile lions — though the young lions are "nearly full grown, as large or possibly larger than their mother," the CPW said. "It appears the female lions are teaching their young to hunt among a human populated area. Considering we are talking about nearly full-grown lions, this is not a sustainable situation. We will take the appropriate management action as necessary, but what the action will be remains to be seen and will be based on our assessment of public risk and the lion's behavior going forward," Yamashita added...MORE

New migrant caravan forms as Mexican cities that border US keep swelling with asylum seekers

Yet another caravan of more than 1,000 mostly Central American migrants has crossed Mexico’s southern border, according to officials. They clashed briefly with federal police and immigration agents (INM) but were able to overwhelm the officials and enter illegally. The new caravan begins the march north toward the United States as border cities like Ciudad Juárez are swelling with migrants already here from previous caravans – with more arriving from the closure of the shelter in Piedras Negras on Wednesday. There are two shelters here that are beyond maximum capacity, each holding more than 600 people. They give the migrants pink wrist bands marked with a number to wait their turn to apply for asylum at the El Paso ports of entry. Such pressures on U.S. border cities like El Paso, Texas, which is across from Ciudad Juárez, are evident in the number of apprehensions for illegal entry, which is up 478 percent this year. As of this week, there have been 43,238 apprehensions in the El Paso sector this fiscal year – compared to 7,481 at this same point last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And migrants here are well aware of comments from Democratic 2020 hopefuls, like Beto O’Rourke, who have suggested tearing down parts of the El Paso wall...MORE

Border agents install razor wire at El Paso bridges

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it's installing coils of razor wire at Texas ports of entry across from Juarez, Mexico, where large groups of migrants wait to seek asylum. The agency released photos of long coils of concertina wire installed on movable barriers in El Paso. Soldiers and CBP agents deployed to the border have installed the wire at or near various entry ports. Local officials protested the wire, including Rep. Veronica Escobar. The El Paso Democrat says border bridges "should not become militarized zones based on a misguided policy rooted in fear."...MORE

DOJ investigation into former Interior chief goes to grand jury

A court proceeding looking into whether former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lied to federal investigators about a decision he made while heading the agency is fully underway, according to The Washington Post. Prosecutors have already begun presenting evidence to a grand jury on whether Zinke made false claims to investigators about his decision to deny a petition by two Indian tribes to operate a casino for profit in Connecticut, two sources told the Post. The Inspector General office of the Interior Department referred the matter to the Department of Justice after its investigators became concerned that Zinke had lied to them about how he came to his decision on the casino. The investigation follows a decision in September 2017 by the Interior Department to decline to approve an application by two tribes — the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan — to run a casino in Connecticut. Interior had tentatively signed off on the proposal in the summer of 2017, before mega-casino MGM began lobbying against it. MGM argued that granting the tribes’ application would give them an unfair advantage over a casino 12 miles away from the proposed site of the tribes' venture. The two tribes argued that Interior’s reversal came because of political pressure, and the Mashantucket Pequot and the state of Connecticut sued....MORE

14 NM counties adopt 2nd Amendment resolution

As gun laws make their way through the state Legislature, 14 county commissions around the state – including those from Sandoval and Valencia counties – have passed resolutions declaring their county to be a “Second Amendment sanctuary county.” The sanctuary resolution says a commission supports its sheriff in any decisions not to enforce unconstitutional laws and not to u se any county resources to enforce laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. It is likely to be passed in even more counties at meetings in the coming weeks...MORE

China proposes to buy $30 billion more in U.S. ag products

China is proposing that it could buy an additional $30 billion a year of U.S. agricultural products including soybeans, corn and wheat as part of a possible trade deal being negotiated by the two countries, according to people with knowledge of the plan. The offer to buy the extra farm produce would be part of the memoranda of understanding under discussion by U.S. and Chinese negotiators in Washington, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential. The purchases would be on top of pre-trade war levels and continue for the period covered by the memoranda, they said. As part of the talks, officials are also planning to discuss removing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on distillers dried grains, a by-product of corn ethanol production that’s used in animal feed, people said earlier. Soybeans, corn and wheat futures prices rose in Chicago in response to the news. In 2017, China imported a total $24.2 billion in American agricultural products, with 60% of that in oilseeds and the remaining in products such as meat, cotton, cereals and seafood. Combined purchases slumped by a third to about $16 billion last year as China’s 25 retaliatory tariffs on American farm goods reduced imports...MORE

Friday, February 22, 2019

DC District Court Follows Ninth Circuit’s Lead Dismissing NABA’s Border Wall Case

On February 14, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the complaint of the National American Butterfly Association (NABA) alleging that the U.S. Government’s border wall preparation and law enforcement activities at NABA’s National Butterfly Center, located in South Texas along the Rio Grande River, violated federal environmental laws (National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)) as well as NABA’s constitutional rights. The case is National American Butterfly Association v. Nielsen, et al. On January 25, 2017, the President issued an Executive Order to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (Secretary) to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border” with Mexico. A few weeks later, the Secretary issued a memorandum to the U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement to implement the Executive Order. The land occupied by the NABA has been affected by these actions, as well as other actions taken by the Secretary pursuant to her authority under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), located at  8 U.S.C. § 1103. In addition, the activities of Government work crews have come to the attention of NABA, and some tense encounters are alleged to have taken place between them. In October 2018, the Secretary, pursuant to IIRIRA, waived all legal requirements, including NEPA and the ESA, because she deemed that action necessary to ensure expeditious construction of physical barrier and roads along the border, and this waiver specifically applied to the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector that encompasses the NABA’s National Butterfly Center. Citing a recent Ninth Circuit ruling, In re Border Infrastructure Environmental Litigation, decided February 11, 2019, the District Court holds that the Secretary’s use of this statutory waiver is an affirmative defense to the complaint that the Secretary’s actions violated these environmental statutes, and observes that this law also deprives federal courts of jurisdiction to review any non-constitutional causes or claims. With respect to the alleged constitutional claims, the District Court notes that the Fourth Amendment “offers little refuge for unenclosed land near one of the country’s external borders,” that for Constitutional purposes this property is an “open field,” which is unprotected by the Fourth Amendment even when it is privately owned. Similarly, the Fifth Amendment claim must be dismissed because it is predicated on an event that has yet to take place, and indeed may never take place.

Green New Deal Seeks Virtually Totalitarian Transformation of US

Paul Driessen

...Ms. Cortez has no such qualms. When asked whether implementing her Green New Deal would require “massive government intervention,” she replied: “It does. Yeah. I have no problem saying that.” Moreover, she added, we shouldn’t point fingers and say China or India or Russia isn’t doing anything like this. We shouldn’t “hold ourselves to a lower bar.” We should “choose to lead” the world in this transition. Lead the world in economic suicide, environmental degradation, plummeting living standards, shorter life spans and societal upheaval would be a more accurate description of her Green New Deal. But at least Democrats and environmentalists have now made clear what they will do to America’s energy, economy, jobs, transportation, infrastructure and society if they regain control of the House, Senate, White House, Deep State and courts...Energy journalist Ron Bailey estimates that the Green New Deal would require installing some 154,000 offshore wind turbines, 335,000 onshore wind turbines, 75 million residential photovoltaic systems, 2.75 million commercial solar systems, and 46,000 utility-scale solar facilities sprawling across millions of acres. My guess is that it would require a lot more than that – plus millions of Tesla-style battery arrays. Manufacturing and installing all those units … and the transmission lines to connect them … would require removing hundreds of billions of tons of rock, to reach and extract tens of billions of tons of ores, to create billions of tons of metals, concrete and other materials. That would be expensive, fossil fuel-intensive and habitat destructive. If it is done overseas, as most of it is today, it would involve virtually no health, safety, environmental, human rights, child labor or fair-pay protections...There’s more. Contrary to claims by Green New Deal advocates, electricity rates would likely skyrocket – to at least the 38¢ per kWh families and businesses are already paying in Germany and Denmark. That’s four times as much as Americans now pay in states where coal, gas, nuclear and hydro generate most of the electricity. Those rates are job killers for factories, hospitals, schools and businesses...MORE

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Especially for those who want to return to a pre-industrial environment

Pollution in Pre-Industrial Europe

Marian L. Tupy

...Today, I wish to turn to pollution. It is well known that industrialization helped to pollute the environment, but that does not mean that air and water were clean before factories and mills came along! Compared to today, our ancestors had to endure horrific environmental conditions. Let’s start with air quality. In the 17th century London, Claire Tomalin observed in Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, “Every household burnt coal … The smoke from their chimneys made the air dark, covering every surface with sooty grime. There were days when a cloud of smoke half a mile high and twenty miles wide could be seen over the city … Londoners spat black.” In a similar vein, Carlo Cipolla in his book Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy 1000-1700, quotes from the diary of British writer John Evelyn, who wrote in 1661: “In London we see people walk and converse pursued and haunted by that infernal smoake. The inhabitants breathe nothing but an impure and thick mist, accompanied by a fuliginous and filthy vapour … corrupting the lungs and disordering the entire habit of their bodies.” The streets were just as dirty. John Harrington invented the toilet in 1596, but bathrooms remained rare luxuries two hundred years later. Chamber pots continued to be emptied into streets, turning them into sewers. To make matters worse, even large towns continued to engage in husbandry well into the 18th century. As Fernand Braudel noted in The Structures of Everyday Life, “Pigs were reared in freedom in the streets. And the streets were so dirty and muddy that they had to be crossed on stilts.” Lawrence Stone observed in The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 that “In towns in the eighteenth century, the city ditches, now often filled with stagnant water, were commonly used as latrines; butchers killed animals in their shops and threw the offal of the carcases into the streets; dead animals were left to decay and fester where they lay; latrine pits were dug close to wells, thus contaminating the water supply. Decomposing bodies of the rich in burial vaults beneath the church often stank out parson and congregation.”... According to Stone, “The result of these primitive sanitary conditions was constant outbursts of bacterial stomach infections, the most fearful of all being dysentery, which swept away many victims of both sexes and of all ages within a few hours or days. Stomach disorders of one kind or another where chronic, due to poorly balanced diet among the rich, and the consumption of rotten and insufficient food among the poor.”...The situation was no better on the European mainland. In the middle of the 17th century, Queen Anne of Austria and mother of Louis XIV noted that “Paris is a horrible place and ill smelling. The streets are so mephitic that one cannot linger there because of the stench of rotting meat and fish and because of a crowd of people who urinate in the streets.” In the 19th century, pollution remained a problem. In Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England, Judith Flanders noted Waldo Emerson’s observation that “no one … [in England] wore white because it was impossible to keep it clean.” According to Flanders, hair brushes looked “black after once using” and tablecloths were laid just before eating, “as otherwise dust settled from the fire and they became dingy in a matter of hours.” In 1858, the stench from the River Thames was so bad that “the curtains on the river side of the building were soaked in lime chloride to overcome the smell”. The effort was unsuccessful, with Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once fleeing a committee room “with a mass of papers in one hand, and with his pocket handkerchief applied to his nose,” because the stench was so bad. He called the river “a Stygian pool, reeking with ineffable and intolerable horrors.”

Border county commissioner: Ranchers are scared to report drug trafficking crimes

If ranchers in our own country are scared to report crimes, not of internal criminals, but of foreign invaders at our border, is that a national emergency? And if their properties are being used for drug smuggling, does that count as drugs coming in between ports of entry in the minds of the media? And if you live in a poorer county at the border in New Mexico, are you as much of a citizen as a resident of Maryland or Virginia? In a wide-ranging conversation with Joel Edwards, one of the county commissioners in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, he expressed deep concern for his constituents in this hard-hit county. “One of my primary responsibilities is to try to see that the residents of my county can enjoy a solid quality life and they don’t have to live in fear for their lives,” said Edwards. “You know, they shouldn’t have to live in fear that somebody is going to steal their vehicle or their four-wheeler or their horses, just because they live on an international border.” Edwards explained that the folks in Washington live near counties that are completely protected and have robust resources to deal with internal crime, yet his county is left in the lurch dealing with “sophisticated cartels” coming over an international border. And that is scaring his residents. “Some of them are afraid to even come forward because they live right there on the border,” said Edwards of the ranchers encountering drug traffickers dressed in paramilitary getup. “Some of my residents go back and forth across the border because they actually have some family on the other side of the border, and they fear retaliation from the cartel if they cooperate and [try] to do something about the border problem.”...MORE

Go to the link to see photos provided by Edwards.

Justice Thomas Assails Landmark US Libel Ruling That Protects Media

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark 1964 ruling that made it harder for public figures to sue for defamation, a precedent that has served as powerful protection for the news media. Thomas took aim at the unanimous ruling in the libel case known as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan in an opinion he wrote concurring with the court's decision to end a defamation suit against Bill Cosby filed by a woman who said the comedian raped her in 1974. Thomas, one of the high court's most conservative justices, said the 55-year-old decision was not rooted in the U.S. Constitution. That ruling and subsequent ones extending it "were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law," Thomas wrote, expressing views in harmony with President Donald Trump, who often attacks the media and has advocated making it easier to sue news organizations and publishers for defamation. The New York Times v. Sullivan ruling has served as a safeguard for media reporting on public figures. Trump in January 2018 called current defamation laws "a sham and a disgrace" following the publication of a book about the White House by author Michael Wolff called "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," which among other things questioned the president's mental health. The high court's 1964 ruling held that in order to win a libel suit, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the offending statement was made with "actual malice," meaning knowledge that it was false or reckless disregard as to whether it was false. The case involved a lawsuit against the New York Times, a newspaper that Trump often criticizes for its coverage of him. Thomas wrote that "we should carefully examine the original meaning of the First and Fourteenth Amendments," referring to the constitutional provisions protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the application of those rights to the states.  "If the Constitution does not require public figures to satisfy an actual-malice standard in state-law defamation suits, then neither should we," Thomas wrote. Thomas said defamation law was historically a matter for the states, and should remain that way. "The states are perfectly capable of striking an acceptable balance between encouraging robust public discourse and providing a meaningful remedy for reputational harm," Thomas wrote...MORE

Thomas, one of the high court's most conservative justices, said the 55-year-old decision was not rooted in the U.S. Constitution. That ruling and subsequent ones extending it "were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law," Thomas wrote.

"If the Constitution does not require public figures to satisfy an actual-malice standard in state-law defamation suits, then neither should we," Thomas wrote. Thomas said defamation law was historically a matter for the states, and should remain that way. "The states are perfectly capable of striking an acceptable balance between encouraging robust public discourse and providing a meaningful remedy for reputational harm," Thomas wrote.

 How refreshing to see a Justice who reads the Constitution, determines the original intent and applies it to the case at hand, and in doing so recognizes the dual sovereignty incorporated in that document by our Founding Fathers. 

And shame on the media for politicizing Thomas' writing by involving Trump's recent statements on the media. It is clearly an attempt to defray the public away from the legal reasoning of Justice Thomas.

Make up your own mind and read his concurring opinion here.

Sell Montana to Canada? State lawmakers aren't opposed to it. Formally, at least.

Montana lawmakers on Wednesday shot down a resolution formally opposing the sale of the state to Canada, an intended tongue-in-cheek pushback to a now-viral petition. The petition, launched one week ago on, calls for sale of the Treasure State to our neighbors up north for a cool $1 trillion, which would then supposedly help eliminate the national debt. "We have too much debt and Montana is useless," the petition's founder, identified as Ian Hammond, wrote. "Just tell them it has beavers or something." The petition drew 11,000-plus signatures, sparking a gobsmacked column in the Great Falls Tribune and catching attention of Rep. Forrest Mandeville, a Republican from Columbus and chair of the state's House Administration Committee. He had an idea. A vision. A proposal for "a little fun": a formal House resolution from lawmakers opposing the petition's goal. As the 20-person committee convened Tuesday morning, Mandeville spelled out just what the resolution could entail. He needed three-quarters approval to authorize a draft of the resolution. He got it: 15-5. The naysayers raising their hands seemed unamused. Staffers could now begin work on a resolution pushing back on this preposterous petition. "Montana is worth a heck of a lot more than $1 trillion!" Mandeville later said. But the victory was short lived, he told USA TODAY on Wednesday: The committee had reconsidered the bill request, and it was defeated. There would be no bill on the issue, Mandeville said His fun deprived, Mandeville seemed unconcerned about the petition's success...MORE

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Sam Nichols & The Melody Rangers have some good advice for us with Keep Your Motor Hot. The tune is on the CD Hillbilly Bop, Boogie & The Honky Tonk Blues, Vol. 1. The Westerner