Monday, March 31, 2014

Perspectives: The Bundys vs the bureaucracy


    The name Bundy is a familiar one in this part of the American West. Right now it’s a name that many are hearing thanks to a longstanding cattle dispute with the federal Bureau of Land Management.
    I have personally known Ryan Bundy for many years. I consider him a friend and a good man. I feel the same way about his father Cliven. These are men who are well acquainted with hard work and who are willing to stand for liberty when others are unwilling.
    The Bundys are down-to-earth people. They don’t use big words to impress or try to couch their ideas in pseudo-intellectual language. They speak with simplicity. This makes them unsympathetic figures to some.
    But it would be very foolish to mistake them for uninformed troublemakers who don’t understand government’s proper limits. They are the last of dozens of area ranchers who have resisted being regulated out of existence by the BLM. One by one, other cattlemen have been forced to abandon their livelihood by an increasingly unreasonable bureaucracy.
    Stripped of all the emotional posturing and misdirection, the core principle at stake here is a simple one. Either our federal government exists to protect and guarantee our rights of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness or it does not.
    It’s not just the Bundys’ property and liberty that are at stake. There are larger implications for all of us.     But relatively few Americans recognize why this is so.
    Leonard E. Read describes the curious blind spot that afflicts our understanding of liberty:
Most Americans are unaware of a decline in personal liberty, and the reason is obvious: the decline rarely takes the form of personal depravations but, instead, takes the form of unnoticed erosion and, thus, we come to regard whatever state we are in as a normal condition.
    Cliven Bundy and his family know what many Americans don’t yet know. They know what it’s like to fight for your livelihood against a corrupted bureaucracy. Understanding the Bundys’ stance requires some historical perspective.
    Water and forage rights, and a host of other land use rights are all based in the legal concept of beneficial use. This refers to the right held by a person who has equitable title to real property to utilize that real property while another holds the legal title.
    This is what the Bundy family has done for 130 years. While engaging in beneficial use, they have developed the land and made improvements that have benefited wildlife. Most importantly, they have caused no harm.
    So why is a federal bureaucracy so intent on bringing them to heel? Because the nature of unaccountable power is to become progressively oppressive and dictatorial.
    Is the BLM protecting rights and property when it issues complicated legal rules and proclamations to restrict public access to these lands? Is the BLM serving the American people by making rules when no one is looking?
    Do bureaucratic tools like controlled public hearings filled with statistical pseudo-expertise serve the interests of the public or that of the system? Why are we progressively seeing our public lands placed out of reach without a permit?
    Shall we the people govern ourselves or be at the mercy of elitists and bureaucrats in some far off district to make those decisions for us? Who is the servant and who is the master?
    Michael Rozeff sums up why this is a stand worth making:
A bureaucracy can outlast a person and wear him down. Only a very unusual and heroic member of the public is willing to spend his or her life fighting these bureaucracies and rousing the public.
    Cliven Bundy’s courageous stance, coupled with his family’s spirit of rugged individualism tendencies, has enraged the federal supremacists among us.

'Army' of supporters vows to back Bundy

Rancher Cliven Bundy said Thursday there’s a virtual army of people across the country “ready and eager” to come to his side should he ask for help when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) begins impounding his cattle in the coming days and weeks.During an interview Thursday morning with the Desert Valley Times at his Bunkerville ranch, Bundy and his wife, Carol, listed several names and organizations who not only agree with the embattled rancher in his fight with the BLM but have promised to stand beside him if he chooses to confront federal authorities and “contract cowboys” rounding up his livestock. Thursday was the first day the BLM began temporary closures of hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in northeast Clark County including Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats, as the next step to impounding Bundy’s estimated 500 to 900 cattle. Kristen Cannon, public affairs specialist at the BLM’s Southern District office in Las Vegas, said about 322,000 acres of public land were closed Thursday, including 288,000 acres of BLM land, 17,000 acres of Bureau of Reclamation land and 17,000 acres of National Park Service land. The entire roundup is expected to be finished by May 12, less than seven weeks. Over the next several weeks, the BLM apparently will close individual public areas, and use contract cowboys to round up and then transport cattle found in those areas. Ground personnel, a plane and helicopter will play a role in collecting the cattle that eventually will be trucked out. Bundy said the government action is completely out of line, but for the immediate future, he was taking a “wait-and-see” attitude.“Most of the people are ready for this (to support him) but just don’t know when it’s going to start,” Bundy said. “Let them (the BLM) start their ‘dirty work’ of stealing my cattle, and then we’ll see.”...more

Feds Exploit “Threatened” Bird for Massive Land Grab

The Obama administration is under fire from critics, state governments, and lawmakers for yet another federal “overreach” and abuse of power after it unveiled plans for a massive land grab across five states under the guise of protecting the “lesser prairie chicken.” Analysts and opponents of the scheme say the controversial decision to declare the bird “threatened” could unleash major damage against property rights, oil exploration, energy, farming, ranching, jobs, development, industry, states’ rights, the U.S. Constitution, and more. Affected state officials and lawmakers, though, are already considering their options to fight back. The Obama Fish and Wildlife Service ruling, announced late last week following a court ruling, adds to the escalating pattern of lawlessness in the federal government’s accelerating war on private property and state sovereignty. If growing efforts at the state and federal level to rein in the administration are unsuccessful, the decision, allegedly justified by the unconstitutional and much-abused “Endangered Species Act,” will go into effect on May 1. It affects about 40 million square acres — more than 62,500 square miles, or about 25 times the size of Delaware for perspective — across five states: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Much of the land is privately owned. State officials, though, are attacking the scheme from all angles — particularly the administration’s latest abuse of the increasingly well-known “sue and settle” scam. Under the controversial tactic, employed primarily to defraud taxpayers and expand government power, federal agencies such as the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and countless other rogue outfits collude with radical special-interest groups. In a essence, the fraud works like this: A group sues the agency in question to demand some particular power grab that both the agency and the group want to foist on America unilaterally; then the agency agrees to “settle” by adopting the desired scheme while paying massive sums of taxpayer funds to the group that sued to set up future scams. The EPA has become particularly adept at defrauding taxpayers and skirting the Constitution using the plot, yet Congress continues to allow it despite occasional expressions of outrage. In response to the latest exploitation of the scam in the “threatened” lesser prairie chicken designation, where the Obama Interior Department “settled” with radical pseudo-environmentalists in a “sue and settle” case over the bird, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed his own lawsuit this month. In court filings, the top law-enforcement official for Oklahoma, one of the five affected states, explains that federal agencies are colluding with various special-interest outfits to bypass constitutional policymaking procedures — and the people...more

Corn Prices Are Popping

Corn prices are surging after U.S. farmers said they expect to plant the lowest corn acreage since 2010. That's because inventories in the world’s biggest grower and exporter jumped 30 percent from a year earlier. Acreage is estimated to hit 91.691 million, down from 95.365 million a year earlier, according to a survey of more than 84,000 growers released today in Washington, Bloomberg said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated 93.014 million, on average. Here's how corn reacted to the news:

Reg's - Obama administration skirts congressional review

The Obama administration is skirting congressional review of some major federal regulations by failing to designate the rules as economically significant, according to a study being released Tuesday by a Washington advocacy group. The American Action Forum, a center-right nonprofit group, said it found at least eight administration regulations that have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, but which were not designated as “major” rules and therefore don’t fall under the Congressional Review Act. The regulations include the individual and employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act. “In total, these eight regulations have imposed more than $1.4 billion in costs and 8.7 million paperwork burden hours, but Congress has little oversight power if the administration ignores important aspects of the CRA,” the group said in its report, adding that the omissions “raise troubling issues of regulatory transparency and accountability.” The administration often has been a target of complaints by business groups and Republican lawmakers for imposing too many new regulations. A report by the Congressional Research Service last year found that there was a sharp increase in regulations during the first three years of Mr. Obama’s first term, followed by a drop in 2012...more

Will US expand NSA surveillance?

The federal government might actually expand the controversial surveillance program that collects Americans’ phone records in a bid to preserve evidence for the multiple lawsuits filed against the National Security Agency, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.  The decision comes despite President Obama’s instruction in a speech on American surveillance practices last month that government officials find a way to end the data collection program.Obama tasked Attorney General Eric Holder and members of the intelligence community with finding a way to wind down the government program without eroding the government’s intelligence capabilities. But, according to the Journal, government lawyers are worried that, if they shut down the program, they could violate evidence preservation rules requiring them to maintain the databases amid ongoing litigation...more

Department of Homeland Security cancels national license-plate tracking plan

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of a plan by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to develop a national license-plate tracking system after privacy advocates raised concern about the initiative. The order came just days after ICE solicited proposals from companies to compile a database of license-plate information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers. Officials said the database was intended to help apprehend fugitive illegal immigrants, but the plan raised concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized. The data would have been drawn from readers that scan the tags of every vehicle crossing their paths, and would have been accessed only for “ongoing criminal investigations or to locate wanted individuals,” officials told The Washington Post this week....more

Court: Horse owners must prevent injuries

Owners of horses and other domestic animals must try to prevent their animals from causing foreseeable injuries, the state's highest court ruled Wednesday in a decision that avoided the larger issue of whether horses are inherently vicious while siding with a family whose child was bitten by one. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 6-0 to uphold an Appellate Court decision that said a horse belongs to "a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious." But four of the justices said that the question of whether an animal is naturally dangerous must be considered individually by lower courts. The owner or keeper of a domestic animal "has a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the animal from causing injuries that are foreseeable because the animal belongs to a class of animals that is naturally inclined to cause such injuries," the court ruled. Owners may be held liable for negligence if they fail to take reasonable steps and an injury results, the justices said. Connecticut's sizable horse industry has warned that classifying the animals as vicious could make owning a horse uninsurable. Legislation is moving through the General Assembly proposing to reduce liability exposure for the owner or keeper of a horse, pony, donkey or mule in civil actions for personal injury damages caused by the animal. The case began in 2006 when a boy tried to pet a horse named Scuppy at a Milford farm. The animal stuck his neck out from behind a fence and bit the child on his right cheek, "removing a large chunk of it," according to court papers. The Supreme Court said the owner or keeper of a domestic animal he does not know to be "abnormally dangerous" is liable if he is negligent in failing to prevent the harm. To conclude otherwise would undermine established legal principles of liability, the court said. But to determine that that an injury caused by a domestic animal was foreseeable, the person who claims injury does not have to prove that the species as a whole has a natural tendency to inflict harm, "but only that the class of animals to which the specific animal belongs has such a tendency," the justices said...more


Sen. Lisa Murkowski excoriates Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Alaska road decision

The birds are putting Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at "loggerheads." At issue is Jewell's December rejection of a congressionally approved land swap that would have permitted a 10-mile road to run through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The long-sought road would connect the remote King Cove community to an all-weather airport used for emergency medical evacuations in Cold Bay. But Jewell said a department review found the road would endanger federally protected waterfowl and shorebirds, and that it would consider alternatives. Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has said there are no alternatives to the road. An earlier plan to provide a hovercraft proved ineffective, and she said using the Coast Guard for emergencies would be too costly. She threatened to hold up Jewell's nomination over the subject last year but eventually relented.  On Wednesday, though, she made it clear in a Senate Appropriations Environment and Interior Subcommittee hearing that all is not forgotten. "I will never forget the telephone conversation you and I had on December 23rd," Murkowski told Jewell. "I told you at that time, and I have repeated, I cannot convey in words adequate to describe the frustration, the anger, the sadness with which I received that decision." Their relationship is key because Murkowski is in line to take over the Energy Committee, which oversees Interior, if Republicans regain the Senate majority in November.

The article also has this: 

Few people would argue that the Obama administration's priorities would face smooth sailing in a GOP-controlled Senate. But one GOP aide said winning concessions could face roadblocks, with the King Cove situation lingering. "Jewell is someone who has the ability and background to work well with Republicans," a GOP aide said. "But if that doesn’t translate into good relationships with key members — of which Murkowski is one — that’s a major detriment to getting things done."

 That's a veiled threat and one without much clout behind it.  Doubt if one road in Alaska will affect Jewell's relationship with all the GOP senators.  And as far as "getting things done" with all those Wilderness and similar bills in the Committee do we really want them to get things done?  However, if Murkowski goes after Interior's budget in the Appropriations Committee, that could get their attention.  She won't though...there's too many goodies in there for Alaska (60% of Alaska is owned by the feds).  Which leads to the following:

Still, Murkowski said a 90-minute meeting with Jewell on Tuesday was "very respectful" and that the two "acknowledged we have many issues to work on." It appears Murkowski's options to force a reversal may be limited. She said she's hoping to convince Jewell to reopen the decision. A legislative tack is also an option.

If Murkowski gets language in the approp's bill will Jewell recommend a veto?  Probably not and especially not if its a bundle of approp's bills like they've done recently. 

Secretary Jewell Releases Statement on the President’s Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued the following statement today on the release of the Interagency Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions:

 “The President’s interagency strategy puts us on a path to reduce methane emissions while continuing to harness America’s domestic energy resources that power our economic future. Working collaboratively with our federal partners, state governments and the private sector, the Interior Department is taking steps to capture and sell natural gas and reduce methane emissions from oil, gas and coal development on public lands to improve air quality and achieve public health and economic benefits. We will continue to work hand in hand with states and industry to power more homes with cleaner American-made energy, while reducing methane emissions and cutting carbon pollution.”

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is studying a number of steps to reduce the amount of methane that is vented or flared from oil and gas development on public lands and as waste from coal mines...more

The strategy includes reduced emissions from livestock (see my post here).  Since they are reducing uses on federal lands based on the endangered species act and global warming, I suppose it is within the realm of possibility they would reduce grazing to lessen methane emissions.  You never know with this administration.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1233

Its Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here is Roy Hogsed's 1951 recording of Put Some Sugar In Your Shoes.

Artist Biography by Stacia Proefrock

Born in Arkansas, Roy Hogsed (b. 1919, d. 1978) relocated to San Diego at the beginning of his career. He was responsible for one of the most original sounds in post-war country music, often throwing in elements of the not-yet articulated styles of rockabilly and rock & roll. His Rainbow Riders Trio combined accordion, guitar and slapped-bass rhythm to help produce hits like his version of "Cocaine Blues." Several other hits were made by him with a larger band format, including "Snake Dance Boogie," "Let Your Pendulum Swing," and "Aint a Bump in the Road." His career lasted from 1947, when he made his first singles for Coast Records to 1954, when he made his last record for Capitol. He had a limited impact on the larger country music scene, largely because of his location in San Diego instead of another musical powerhouse like Nashville or L.A., but his music remains a fascinating anomaly regardless.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The West isn’t dead 

By Julie Carter

Only in a small ranching community do you get a phone call like this. “Two of your bulls got out. They are behind the Tasty Freeze and headed toward the town swimming pool.”

Additionally, only in a small ranching community will you arrive to find a half dozen or more helpful folks already fixing the fence, putting the bulls back through the gate into the pasture before returning to their coffee drinking at the corner gas station/coffee shop.

God Bless this country and those things that remain with the stamp of a Currier and Ives Americana-- Western style.

I do know that in the majority of the good old USA, people find it hard to believe there are still people who “live like that.” But it’s the truth.

We are at least one generation and maybe two into a world where it is a genuine belief the West is dead and can only be found in Hollywood or in a book. Those people live in a concrete and asphalt world defined by Wall Street and where travel by subway, train and taxi is the norm. If they own a pickup it is because its trendy-- functional is not a factor.

The work-place fashion never includes a pair of five-buckle over shoes and the fine canvas duck wear by Walls or Carhart is unheard of. They actually think Powder River is just a place and Panhandle Slim probably is some guy who advertises for the tobacco company along with that Marlboro guy.

Honest, cross my heart, it is the truth. I heard her say it. “I couldn’t finish the cookies I was baking until one of the chickens laid an egg.”

Not ever did the former domestic diva of daytime, Martha Stewart, ever tip-toe to the barn to check the nests in the haystack to see if she had one more very fresh egg to finish her baking project.

There are just some things that brand rural life as unique, genuine and almost unbelievable, unless you live there.

Calving season on the domestic front means the not so rare event of thawing out a half-frozen baby calf in the house bath tub filled with warm water. This is another event not glorified in the halls of polite company.

Somehow we need to not let people forget there are places in our country where a big Saturday night event is watching a family movie on the television with popcorn and Kool-Aid for refreshments. Remember there are places where nuisance varmints are not gangs with guns and knives but black “kitties” with big white stripes down their backs and the occasional raccoon or possum.

The West isn’t dead and nobody knows it better than those that live in the West. We carry on day to day pretty much as we did decades ago. Fashion trends come and go, markets rise and fall, it rains or it doesn’t. Constants are the cows need fed, the water pipeline needs fixed and Ma is still nagging about the hole in the floor of the house where the snake keeps getting in.

Just try to tell her the West is dead!

Julie, a living testimony of Western life,  can be reached for comment a

The Tale of Two (or Three) Cities

Modern land rush update
The Tale of Two (or Three) Cities
What private property?
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            President Obama recently put his phone down only to pick up his pen to sign the newest proclamation designating a national monument.
            Some 1665 acres of the Point Arena-Stormetta Public Lands in California’s Mendocino County was added to the California Coastal National Monument with the stroke of his pen. The document of record was Presidential Proclamation 9089, Boundary Enlargement of California Coastal National Monument.  As set forth by the Antiquities Act, the president was required to designate only the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the object to be protected. He covered that base referencing those very words, “I declare national monument land and interests in lands … which is the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected”.
            Reading the remainder of the proclamation, there is language describing how beautiful the place is with its various fauna and flora. It heralds the archeological values with the ancestral homelands of the Central Pomo Indians. There was also a brief reference to 19th century industries which prompts a question. Is there any modern counterpart to those industries, and, if there isn’t … why not?
            The Tale of Two Cities
            When did we have to endure Dickens’ The Tale of Two Cities? Was it high school or was it in Mrs. Oberg’s 8th Grade English class?
            In either case, we were not mature enough to understand its context. The book was a depiction of how the ruling class attempted to maintain a strangle hold on the peasantry, and how barbaric overreactions culminated in horrific conflict between the classes. There was no way we could relate to the real world implications and the chaotic similarities between Paris and London before and after the French Revolution.
Two passages elevate the unflattering parallels.
            The first is the symbolism exhibited when the Marquis St. Evrémonde ordered his carriage to be driven recklessly through the streets of Paris and a peasant child was killed. His annoyance at the trivial incident was rectified when he reached into his purse for a coin and tossed it out to compensate the distraught father for the loss. The Marquis had better things to do with his time than consider the plight of some minion. His world had more serious issues at hand. His importance was immense. The worth of those masses around him registered no comparison to his intellect and eminence.
            The second passage is what we most likely remember from the book.
It was the best of times … it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom … it was the age of foolishness. It was epoch of belief … it was epoch of incredulity. It was season of light … it was season of darkness. It was spring of hope … it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us … we were all going direct to heaven … we were all going the other way.
            Consider the relevance of those words today. Can there be 81 words more appropriately written describing the parallels of our current relationship with our government and its networking legions of governance barons?
            A word to the wise, though, don’t reread the book … it will add needless depression to your lives.
            The Tale of Three Cities … a modern corollary
            Ranchers in Dona Ana County are concerned about the debacle they face if their private lands become inholdings within a national monument as proposed in S. 1805. The legislation, introduced by New Mexico Senators Udall and Heinrich, would contain some 75 parcels of private land.
            News outlets have reported on the matter of state trust lands within the proposal. Those lands, deeded to the state in the state’s enabling act, serve as revenue sourcing for the state’s educational fund. The state’s Land Commissioner, Ray Powell, told a crowd of some 700 people in the weeks preceding that he supported the monument plan and that he would work diligently with the BLM to trade those lands for federal lands elsewhere. Those 100± square miles of land became topics of agreement within the press and the legislation’s proponents for their release from any threat of isolation and the subsequent diminishment to their earning potential. Education has to be served.
In turn, voices asking for similar and commensurate consideration for private lands have been told time and again the monument posed no threat to their lands. The contradiction cannot be lost on anybody.
 So, what is the truth? That can be found in referencing the tale of three cities. Aside from Las Cruces, the nearby municipalities of Deming, Hatch, and Mesilla have something in common with the pending monument. The summation of the combined deeded lands within their city limits would fit within acres of the consolidated private lands within the proposal!
 Would the citizens of those three communities believe their land would not be affected if a monument designation was made on all sides of their private property?
Furthermore, can you imagine the public outcry that would take place if the three municipalities were merged into some grand plan without a token of landowner input or comments? That is exactly what private property owners have faced in this highly contentious debate.
Folks have been told repeatedly nothing would happen to their private lands, but, at the same time, they were never offered any consideration of trading their lands under the same courtesy extended to the state of New Mexico in order that state trust lands maintain their future earning potentials.
Indicators of things to come
When the government is in the mix, nothing is quite like it seems.
In the case of the Dona Ana proposal, the only way S.1805 gets done in this political climate is to hand it off to the president for him to sign a proclamation to designate the area a national monument by authority of the Antiquities Act. When that happens, people ought to realize the footprint of S.1805 is not the purported 498,815 acres as stated in the language of the bill.
When the state land commissioner and the BLM agree on their pending land swaps, the federal footprint will increase to at least 563,150 acres. When the private lands are annexed into the mix, the acreage will become at least 572,500 acres.
But ... how can that be?
The citizenry continues to be told their private land will not be affected. Notwithstanding the stepwise elimination of future rights to enjoy the privileges of private property, a larger, more overt specter looms. It arrives in the text of the recent designation of the Point Arena-Stormetta Public Lands proclamation.
In Presidential Proclamation 9089, words set forth exactly what the ranchers impacted by the proposal have expected as the government’s preferred alternative. “Lands and interests in lands within the unit boundaries not owned or controlled by the Government of the United States shall be reserved as a part of the unit upon acquisition of ownership or control of the United States.”
If the United States isn’t intent on acquiring the private property in the lands of S.1805, it needs to reevaluate its treatment of folks pleading for protection of their homes and investments. At a minimum, they should be extended the same rights and privileges pledged to the state of New Mexico.
If their lives are to be shredded, the least the government could do … is to toss a symbolic coin into their midst.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “If 572,500 acres is the smallest area for the managed care of this object … at least tell us what the object is!”

Wilmeth raises an interesting issue.  Why is private land treated differently than state land?  Why is there specific language in S. 1805 that encourages state land be exchanged out of the proposed monument but no such language exists for private landowners?  This is another instance where one form of gov't (the feds) have special provisions for another form of gov't (the state) while they both trample the private individual.

EDITORIAL - Rancher stands up; feds should back off

A rancher needs big brass ones to stand up to Washington. Not only is the federal government the country’s largest and least competent landowner, it’s also the country’s largest police force and largest law firm, wrapped with red tape into one unflinching leviathan.

Cliven Bundy has big brass ones, all right. And the belt buckle and hat to go with them. But Clark County’s last cattle rancher knew his defiance would one day come to this. After more than 20 years of being dared to use their heavy hands, Bureau of Land Management officials and federal authorities say they’re finally going to seize and auction Mr. Bundy’s livestock.

Starting Thursday, Washington restricted access to almost 600,000 acres of land — nearly 1,000 square miles, or roughly the area of Rhode Island — with pockets of closures so agents and contract cowboys can round up several hundred “trespass cattle” owned by Mr. Bundy. The restrictions will be in place through May 12. Public land, indeed.

Although Mr. Bundy stopped paying grazing fees to the BLM in 1993, the desert tortoise is driving this confiscation. The BLM closed large areas of land northeast of Las Vegas to grazing in 1999 in another misguided attempt to protect the reptile and its habitat. Never mind that grazing has long benefited tortoise populations by churning seeds into soils, keeping predators at a distance and limiting the vegetation overgrowth that feeds wildfires. Never mind the long record of federal busybodies killing off tortoises by trying to save them.

The environmentalist toadies at the Center for Biological Diversity don’t like ranching and grazing. They believe a few hundred cattle will destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of desert. They want the BLM use force to remove Mr. Bundy’s cattle. The roundup will disturb plenty of tortoise habitat, at great public expense, but no matter. BLM officials have spent years in the courts making sure Mr. Bundy has no legal recourse to stop them this time.

... The most obvious solution, releasing federal land to local control, won’t happen overnight. So we offer a final chance at compromise: Have Washington stand down and send the zealots of the Center for Biological Diversity to collect the cattle, instead.

Oklahoma AG Issues Consumer Alert For HSUS

by J.R. Absher

Does the nation's largest anti-hunting and animal rights organization solicit contributions from the public under dubious pretense during times of national disaster, only to funnel those assets to further its agenda to end certain types of legal hunting and agricultural practices?

The Attorney General of Oklahoma apparently suspects that might be the case.

In a statement issued March 12, AG Scott Pruitt issued a warning to Oklahomans regarding solicitations and advertisements by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an organization known well by hunting groups and animal farming interests. Pruitt said he was concerned HSUS gave Oklahomans the mistaken impression their donations are assisting Oklahoma animal shelters, when in fact the donations of Oklahomans may go toward unrelated efforts like lobbying in other states or at the federal level.
Archery Wire readers may recall our feature appearing earlier this month, "Ballot Measure Threatens Black Bear Archery Hunting in Maine," in which we detailed the effort to prohibit the hunting of bears using bait, hounds or traps through the voter initiative process. The primary organization bankrolling the issue is - you guessed it - HSUS.

It marks the second attempt to ban bear hunting in Maine - the most bear-rich state in the lower 48 - in the past ten years using the ballot box and an emotion-driven campaign. For its ultimately unsuccessful 2004 effort, Washington DC-based HSUS ponied up nearly a half-million dollars.

In Oklahoma, the Attorney General said he is specifically looking into concerns over fundraising advertisements in the wake of the devastating and deadly May 2013 tornadoes that struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. Pruitt contends HSUS advertising and public relations gave Oklahomans the deceptive impression their donations would help pets and other animals displaced by the storm, as well as support local shelters impacted by the storm.

But that was not the case, Pruitt's office discovered.

Bird preservation groups want war on feral cats on public lands

Cats look so cute batting at a piece of string, or pouncing on a ball of yarn. But a lot of people don't think cats are cute when they're batting, or pouncing on, a bird -- especially one of an endangered species. Almost 200 conservation organizations from across the country have joined a campaign urging the U.S. Department of the Interior to adopt policies for dealing with feral cats on public lands. A letter addressed to Sally Jewell, secretary of the Interior, cites studies by scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimating that 2.4 billion birds, and 12.3 billion mammals, are killed by cats every year in this country. "They attribute two-thirds of these bird deaths, and nearly 90 percent of mammal deaths they attribute, to feral cats," said Allison Jones, executive director of the Salt Lake City-based Wild Utah Project...more

All these peace-loving birders want WAR!  I mean they want Wildlife Services out there with guns, traps and poison.  Offer a bounty...whatever it takes!  Don't waste time on NEPA, no time for plan amendments, they want WAR!

How Cruel.  Don't they understand feral cats are a symbol of the west?  Time to find a Wild Cat Annie and pass the Wild & Free Roaming Feral Cat Act.

EDITORIAL - Lights-out ‘Earth Hour’ is 60 minutes wasted

Few cries for attention are less effective than turning off the lights and sitting in the dark for an hour. Who can watch if they cannot see? Nevertheless, the World Wide Fund for Nature is encouraging people around the world to honor, or celebrate, or mourn, or whatever, during "Earth Hour," Saturday night between 8:30 and 9:30.

The idea is to persuade everybody to renounce technology with the flick of a switch, raising "awareness" of the need for big government to rescue the globe, indeed even the universe, from the scourge of global warming.

A surprising number of businesses and organizations have bought into the scheme. Atlantic City casinos run by Caesars Entertainment will switch off exterior lighting (though maybe not the lights on the slots and the roulette tables). Verizon has encouraged employees to turn off lights in their homes. The Empire State Building, the Gateway Arch, Chicago's Navy Pier and the Space Needle in Seattle will be dimmed. So will Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower.

Earth Hour paints humanity as the villain pillaging Mother Earth and perpetuates the Luddite myth that modern technology is the enemy of nature. That's not even close to being true.

...That's the idea behind Human Achievement Hour, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's response to Earth Hour. Rather than sitting in the dark on Saturday night, Human Achievement Hour encourages people to "celebrate a human achievement that has improved their lives — everything from indoor plumbing to computer technology, to access to consumer goods and affordable energy."

The free-market think tank encourages people to participate by enjoying a warm (or even hot) shower, to crack open a cold beer, watch a basketball game on TV, text a friend on a smartphone or enjoy any of the simple joys of life made possible by the energy and innovation of free men.

More of the world's problems have been solved by human ingenuity and the free market than by sitting around in the dark and feeling guilty (for the wrong things) for an hour.

Going Green A Luxury Good For Rich At Expense Of Poor

It used to be said that socialism was the opium of the liberal intelligentsia. But now the drug of choice for the elite is environmentalism.

The dirty little secret of the modern green movement is that it's become a luxury good for the uber-rich who espouse policies — from carbon taxes to renewable energy standards to closing down coal plants — that impose high costs on poor people who can least afford to pay the green tab.

A Pew Research Center poll released last week offers further confirmation of this truism. It found that only two major voting groups oppose construction of the Keystone XL pipeline: Democrats who make more than $100,000 annually and Democrats with college or advanced degrees.

Democrats with advanced degrees oppose the pipeline 51% to 35% — further evidence that a Ph.D. is negatively associated with economic common sense.

Democrats who earn six figures oppose the project by roughly the same magnitude. No doubt liberal millionaires and billionaires like global-warming warrior Tom Steyer are most opposed.

This is a big and problematic rift inside the usually unified Democratic Party. For pretty much all other Democrats, a construction project that would create 5,000 jobs with $70,000-plus salaries, reduce American dependence on Middle-East oil and cut our balance of trade deficit is close to being a no-brainer.
Pew confirmed almost all other polls that find that among Americans outside the White House and the headquarters of the Environmental Defense Fund, Keystone supporters outnumber opponents more than 2-1.

The fact is, Keystone won't benefit millionaires or university professors much. The lower electric utility costs and the additional hiring from the oil and gas drilling bonanza throughout North America haven't materially affected their lives. Not too many lawyers or community organizers will ever stoop so low as to take one of these blue-collar jobs

This must be true - beer, meat and cancer

Meat and beer: The two best things of barbecue season. Now, grilled meat marinated in your favorite brew is even better, thanks to science. According to a recent study, soaking your meat in beer can reduce levels of potentially cancerous substances in grilled meats. Writing in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a group of European scientists found that beer marinades reduced the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the carcinogens known to form on meat when cooked at very high temperatures. So what beer should you use? Pilsner and black beer are most effective. According to the study, after a four-hour soak in the marinade the PAH levels in grilled pork loin were reduced by half, compared with unmarinated pork. Even a non-alcoholic pilsner reduced the material by 25 percent. Regular pilsner performed the worst at 13 percent...more

Daylight saving time linked to heart attacks

Switching over to daylight saving time, and losing one hour of sleep, raised the risk of having a heart attack the following Monday by 25 percent, compared to other Mondays during the year, according to a new U.S. study released on Saturday. By contrast, heart attack risk fell 21 percent later in the year, on the Tuesday after the clock was returned to standard time, and people got an extra hour's sleep. The not-so-subtle impact of moving the clock forward and backward was seen in a comparison of hospital admissions from a database of non-federal Michigan hospitals. It examined admissions before the start of daylight saving time and the Monday immediately after, for four consecutive years...more

This sheds a whole new light on saying, "They are killing us."