Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dog killed by wolves in Idaho City close to homes

Officers with the Idaho Fish and Game are asking Idaho City residents to keep a close eye on their pets after a dog was killed after a wolf attack. Idaho Fish and Game Wildlife Manager Craig White said the attack happened sometime in the evening of May 21. A young female came home from work that evening at around 11 p.m. to find a wolf in her driveway off Blue Heron and Highway 21. Then a short time later, one of her two dogs were missing. Fish and Game officer Bill London, who responded the morning of May 22, found dog and wolf tracks near the home where the attack was reported. Officials say there was evidence the dog was carried off by one of the wolves. John Mogus lives next to the woman's whose dog was killed and said he knows that wolves frequent the woods nearby, but he has never seen them come too close. “(I) know they are all around. They just don’t usually come right around here,” he told KTVB Tuesday. “We have two little dogs too and so we are concerned about them." White said officers believe there were about three wolves involved in the fight with the small sized dog, and this comes off the heels of other wolf sightings in Idaho City in recent weeks. The animals are believed to be part of a pack that began roaming the area near Idaho City several years ago...more

For Westerns, box office can be good, bad and ugly

For Hollywood, the American Western is as iconic as, well, the American West. Shooting one, though, can be a beast, particularly if you aim for authenticity — a must for director/star/co-writer Seth MacFarlane, whose comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West opened Friday. MacFarlane shot the film in New Mexico and explains that "if you're going to shoot in Santa Fe, allow about 187 additional days for weather. I spent most of that production swearing at the wind." The film, about a cowardly farmer (MacFarlane) who must face a gunslinger in Liam Neeson to win Charlize Theron, says Westerns "seem like a lot of fun to shoot. And if you want to do them right, you have to do them out on locations. The trade-off is, you just have to deal with the (uncooperative) weather. The next time we do this, we're doing it at Disney Ranch." That may make shooting easier, but the climate can be just as unforgiving at the box office, where only eight Westerns have ever made more than $100 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Yet the genre still surprises with the occasional fistful of dollars. Here are five Westerns since 2010 that managed to earn at least $150 million in worldwide ticket sales, along with the movie's silver bullet that propelled it at the box office:

Vesicular Stomatitis Detected in Five Horses in SW Texas

 First Case in the US This Year

AUSTIN - Vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been detected in five horses in far Southwest Texas, (in Kinney County, southeast of Del Rio, TX). The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the viral infection of the five horses. The horses were tested after the owner observed blistering and swelling on the animals' muzzles and contacted their veterinary practitioner.  Testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the virus as the New Jersey serotype.

VS can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats or hooves of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas and a number of other animals. Lesions usually will heal in two or three weeks. Because of the contagious nature of VS and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot and mouth disease (FMD), animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately. Most animals recover well with supportive care by a veterinarian, but some lesions can be painful.

The newly identified infected group of horses is currently under quarantine by the TAHC. Affected and exposed horses will be monitored by regulatory veterinarians until all lesions have healed and a decision is made to release the quarantine (a minimum of 21 days). There is no known exposure to other horses around the state, or at any equine events. No other cases of VS have been identified in the immediate area or elsewhere in the state.

Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas' State Veterinarian and TAHC Executive Director, said "Livestock owners should use the best means possible to limit exposure of their livestock to insect bites". It is thought that insects are an important vector in the transmission of VS. Sand flies and black flies likely play a role in the virus transmission, so controlling insects is important. "VS outbreaks are extremely sporadic and years may lapse between cases. The last confirmed case of VS in Texas was in 2009," Dr. Ellis stated.

Some states and other countries may restrict movement of, or impose additional requirements for susceptible animals from states having known cases of VS, therefore contact the state or country of origin for their requirements prior to moving livestock.

"If you suspect your animal may have VS, you should notify your veterinarian immediately," said Dr. Andy Schwartz, Assistant Executive Director and State Epidemiologist. "VS is not highly contagious to people but it can cause flu-like illness if infected saliva gets into an open wound, eyes or mouth. People handling potentially infected animals should wear gloves for protection, and talk with their physician if they have questions," Dr. Schwartz stated.

For more information about VS visit pdf .

A USDA APHIS-VS fact sheet about Vesicular Stomatitis is available at  

Founded in 1893, the Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock.

Taos welcomes back Michael Martin Murphey

In case you didn’t know, Michael Martin Murphey has been performing up in Red River from time to time, something he said he figured folks in Taos would cop to. But, it turns out the 35 minute or so drive is a little much even for Taoseños who think nothing of driving to Santa Fe for a quick stop at Trader Joe’s or something. Then, his son Brennan Murphey (who works in the advertising department of The Taos News) asked him one day, “Dad, when was the last time you played in Taos?” Murph thought about it and it turns out it’s been about 11 years since he’s done a full-fledged concert here. The ball was rolling and now Murphey and his famous Rio Grande Band are set to play a concert featuring selections from his latest album “Red River Drifter,” along with favorites from his 50-year-plus career Saturday (May 31), 7 p.m., at Taos Mesa Brewing, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. One of the regulars in his band is also well-known to Taos fans, Gary Roller, a fine artist who also happens to be opening an art exhibit of his own work (see Page 24 in Tempo's print edition) the same day of Murphey’s concert. Another is Sean Richardson, who is the 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist nephew of Carmen Acciaoli of Michael Hearne’s South by Southwest fame. He will be performing in place of Murph’s son Ryan, and is “absolutely a whiz … plus, he’s got perfect pitch.” Murph, at 69, isn’t exactly slowing down, but he seems to be at a point that he can surround himself with extremely talented musicians that represent a new generation following in his footsteps as the nation’s “number one cowboy singer.” “At my age and at this point in my life, to get all that stuff archived (is great), because it’s been a long, good run and I don’t want to lose any of that stuff,” he said...more

Radar picks up grasshopper swarm over Albuquerque

Weather officials in Albuquerque say a mysterious presence that showed up on its radar the last few nights has turned out to be of the insect variety. The National Weather Service says a swarm of grasshoppers were detected over Albuquerque’s West Mesa for the fourth night in a row on Friday. Meteorologist Chuck Jones says the swarm got caught up in winds heading southwest and is being carried as high as 1,000 feet. Jones says the grasshoppers likely hatched weeks ago and are now grown, leading to their ability to trigger radar images. Officials say last year’s monsoon season and a drier winter created the ideal environment for the grasshoppers to hatch...more

Aamodt water rights settlement challenged; objectors say Legislature’s OK needed

Opponents of a water-rights settlement between the state and four pueblos in northern Santa Fe County are raising new legal issues, including that federal Judge Martha Vazquez may have a conflict of interest in the decades-old case and that the Legislature must approve the settlement. Vazquez, who has overseen the Aamodt water-rights case the past three years, is married to Joseph Maestas, who was elected to the Santa Fe City Council in March. The city of Santa Fe is a party in the case, which dates from the 1960s. A filing last week by opponents of the settlement doesn’t specifically mention the spousal relationship but “respectfully” asked that the judge disclose any conflicts with Santa Fe and for an opportunity for all parties “to vet and object (to) any potential conflicts,” so that the issue “is not later called into question.” The filing, by attorney A. Blair Dunn of Albuquerque, also raises the bigger issue of whether the Office of the State Engineer can legally enter into the settlement with the pueblos of Nambé, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso and Tesuque. Dunn argues that the proposed settlement between the state and pueblos violates the separation of powers spelled out in the state constitution. He cites a state Supreme Court decision in a 1995 case involving gambling compacts with tribes, which determined that then-Gov. Gary Johnson couldn’t enter into the gaming compacts with sovereign tribes without legislative approval. Blair maintains it’s clear from the high court decision that “only the New Mexico legislature, and not any other New Mexico government body, be it executive, judicial or administrative, has the authority to bind the State into compacts and agreements.” The same issue was recently raised in a proposed settlement involving Navajo water rights. A settlement in the Aamodt case – named after an original party in the litigation – would determine water rights for the pueblos, acequias and more than 2,000 wells...more

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rally For Our Rights - video - event is tomorrow







We are having a rally to support our Constitution and our Property Rights

Saturday, May 31st at 10:00AM


Fairgrounds Road and White Sands Blvd (Hwy 54/70)


 For more background on this see:  Otero County seeks Congress' help in water dispute
and Rare mouse threatens to intensify NM drought fight

Economist finds EPA analysis of water rule flawed

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Water Act rule is rife with errors, lacks transparency and would greatly expand strict federal control over land that was previously not regulated by the federal government, according to a report by economist and University of California-Berkley faculty member David Sunding, Ph.D. Sunding’s report, Review of 2014 EPA Economic Analysis of Proposed Revised Definition of Waters of the Unites States, raises the blinds on the controversial proposal by detailing how EPA failed to provide a realistic explanation of the scope, costs and benefits of the rule, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The proposed EPA rule represents an expansion of the “Waters of the United States” to include waters such as small, isolated wetlands, ephemeral drains and many ditches. In the proposed rule’s economic analysis, the EPA systematically underestimated the impact on affected communities and businesses, according to the report. Sunding documents how EPA excluded costs, under-represented jurisdictional areas and used flawed methods to arrive at much lower economic costs of the proposed rule. Sunding’s report also notes that the lack of transparency in the report makes it difficult to understand or replicate EPA’s calculations, examine the agency’s assumptions or understand discrepancies in its results. Sunding has concluded that the errors in the EPA’s analysis are so extensive as to render it useless for determining the true costs of this proposed rule. His report underscores the need for EPA to withdraw the rule and complete a comprehensive and transparent economic review...more

House approves $20 million more for gun background checks (a $60 million increase over the last two years)

The U.S. House on Thursday passed legislation to provide an additional $20 million to incentivize states to submit more records into the federal instant background-check system, handing gun-control advocates a modest win on the issue after a series of high-profile defeats at the federal level. The amendment to a broader spending bill would bring National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) grant funding to about $78 million. The 2014 level is $59 million, up from $18 million in fiscal 2013. It passed by a vote of 260-145, with one member voting “present.” Democratic Reps. Mike Thompson of California, Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut and Mike Quigley of Illinois, along with GOP Reps. Peter T. King of New York, Joe Heck of Nevada, and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania authored the amendment...more

Guess I've been wrong about the feds having a spending problem.

And isn't Rep. Peter King the one who says he's running for President because senators Paul and Cruz are too conservative? In that case let's apply his "moderate" views on the second amendment to say, the first amendment.  That would mean we'd need a National Instant Criminal Background Check before  you could purchase a Bible or a microphone.  Doesn't sound too moderate to me.

EPA targets couple's private pond in Wyoming, threatens huge fines

When Andy and Katie Johnson built a pond on their property in 2011 to provide water for their cattle, they never dreamed it would result in threats of $75,000 a day in fines from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Johnsons believed they had done everything necessary to get permission for the pond, where the tiny Six Mile Creek runs through their property south of Fort Bridger, Wyo. The Wyoming State Engineer's Office provided the permit and even stated in an April 4, 2013 letter to the Johnsons: "All of the legal requirements of the State Engineer's Office, that were your responsibility, have been satisfied for the Johnson Stock Reservoir." The EPA saw it differently -- and sent the Johnsons a Jan. 30 notice informing them they had violated the Clean Water Act, which could carry thousands of dollars in fines. "I believe that the EPA does need to regulate industry and the bigger projects," Andy Johnson conceded, "but my little pristine stock pond, I believe, is a waste of our taxpayer money for them to come after me. It's a waste of my time, it's a waste of my money and we're going to fight it." In their notice, the EPA cited the couple for "the discharge of pollutants (i.e., dredged or fill material) into the waters of the United States," for building a dam and for not getting a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Andy Johnson denies the project caused any pollution. "It's all an assumption. There's been no soil samples done, there's been no water samples done." The Johnsons have since had their own testing done which they say shows that the water leaving the pond is cleaner than the water entering it. They also say that, far from damaging the environment, the pond has improved it. "Before we didn't have ducks and geese. ... Now you can see bald eagles here, we have moose come down. We have blue herons that come in every evening. Before we did this ... it was basically just a little irrigation canal." The EPA says Six Mile Creek runs into Black Forks River which runs into the Green River -- which it calls a "navigable, interstate water of the United States." The Johnsons and their attorney say Six Mile Creek has long been diverted about 300 yards below their property into a man-made canal used for irrigation. "There is no connection to the river," Andy Johnson maintains...more

Unsettling - House panel hears debate on climate change science

Liberals have been piling on Rep. Lamar Smith and his fellow House Republicans for failing to hold more committee hearings on climate change, but Thursday’s often-heated testimony probably wasn’t what the movement had in mind. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee heard from scientists who poked holes in the prevailing catastrophic theory of man-made climate change and said researchers are under pressure to support more alarming scenarios. “The science is not settled, no,” said Roger Pielke Sr., professor emeritus in meteorology at Colorado State University. The focus of the hearing was the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose latest report in April called for slashing carbon emissions by 40 percent to 70 percent in the next 35 years to avoid what it said would be disastrous global warming. Mr. Tol, a lead author on one of the panel’s working groups, said the field of climate research suffers from “alarmist bias” and “groupthink.” “Academics who research climate change out of curiosity but find less-than-alarming things are ignored, unless they rise to prominence, in which case they are harassed and smeared,” Mr. Tol said in testimony to the committee. Daniel Botkin, professor emeritus in biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said the U.N. panel’s 2014 report and the White House National Climate Assessment are “scientific-sounding,” but also present “speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve.”...more

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rains helped, but NM still in drought

Two to 4 inches of rain last weekend across parts of New Mexico’s eastern plains was a relief, but was far short of what will be needed to reverse New Mexico’s drought. “It’s changed everyone’s attitude here in this part of the country,” Franklin McCasland, manager of the Arch Hurley Irrigation District, said of a weekend storm that soaked parched farm fields around Tucumcari. The gentle rain added 2 feet of water to Conchas Lake, but the irrigation district’s management is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward whether there is enough water to increase irrigation allotments to farmers who have gone without water completely in six of the past 12 years. While the eastern plains have been hardest hit by the drought, and received the most rain last weekend, a similar story repeated around much of New Mexico. Above-average May rain will likely break a five-month-long dry streak for most of the state, but years of drought mean water deficits are deeper than can be erased by a single wet month. “Long-term drought is still with us, and probably will be for a while,” Chuck Jones of the National Weather Service said during Wednesday’s meeting of the state-federal Drought Monitoring Working Group. The amount of rain it would take to end drought conditions varies widely. Statewide, New Mexico has received 32 inches of rain over the past three years, 10 inches below average. According to the National Climatic Data Center, western New Mexico would need 3 to 6 inches of rain over the next three months to end drought conditions, while the drier east would need 6 to 9 inches. Forecasters say a growing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, a warm water pattern that tips the odds to wetter weather, could help...more

Operation Choke Point forces bank to dump gun store

A Massachusetts gun seller says it’s the latest victim of a federal multiagency task force that is squeezing financing sources for industries deemed “high-risk” by the Obama administration, such as porn stores, drug paraphernalia shops and gun merchants. Powderhorn Outfitters, which sells firearms, archery gear and fishing equipment in Hyannis, Massachusetts, posted in an online forum this week that its longtime bank — TD Bank — had suddenly dropped its account. “TD Bank does not support the Second Amendment and has contacted us here at the Powderhorn to say that due to our involvement in firearms sales, we as a business are no longer welcome to have an account at their bank,” the sporting goods store posted on, an online forum for shooting enthusiasts in New England states. “They classify us in the same gray area as the local weed shops sprouting up on the Cape.” Powderhorn said it has moved its business to “a bank that does support the Second Amendment.” The Times reported last week of gun retailers’ complaints that the administration is bypassing Congress and is using increased scrutiny by financial regulators to choke off their lines of credit and squeeze them out of business. Since 2011, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has directed banks to scrutinize the risks of their merchant customers who use payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. In addition, the Justice Department has launched “Operation Choke Point,” a credit card fraud probe ensnaring banks that do business with 24 industries deemed “high-risk” by the FDIC...more

This is another example of two things: 1]  The intertwining of gov't in the economy not only distorts markets, it now can result in loss of civil liberties.  The Supreme Ct. says you have an individual right to bear arms, but the FDIC won't allow financing of sellers, and 2]  The unbelievable amount of authority delegated to the executive by Congress.


Report: EPA Could Be Relying on Fraudulent Data

As the Environmental Protection Agency prepares major new regulations on carbon emissions, the agency’s top watchdog is warning that fraudulent environmental data may be influencing its work. The findings could provide fodder for critics of the new regulation, who warn that it could cost the U.S. economy billions and cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs. “The EPA lacks a due diligence process for potential fraudulent environmental data,” the agency’s inspector general warned in a report released on Thursday. Existing processes for weeding out such data, the report said, are “out of date or unimplemented.” “Our survey of EPA regional staff on their knowledge and use of the EPA’s fraudulent data policies and procedures found that a majority of respondents were unaware there was a policy, and approximately 50 percent expressed the need for such policies and procedures,” the report said. The EPA relies in large measure on federal contractors to gather environmental data on which the agency bases its regulatory decisions. However, a lack of communication with those contractors and clear guidelines on investigative procedures has created confusion with respect to the processes by which fraudulent data is rooted out and corrected. Similar problems plague interactions between EPA and state environmental regulators, the report found...more

Memo outlines Obama’s plan to use the military against citizens

Bill Gertz - The Washington Times

A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans.

The directive contains noncontroversial provisions on support to civilian fire and emergency services, special events and the domestic use of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The troubling aspect of the directive outlines presidential authority for the use of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, in operations against domestic unrest.

“This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens,” said a defense official opposed to the directive.

Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec. 29, 2010, and states that U.S. commanders “are provided emergency authority under this directive.”

“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states.
“In these circumstances, those federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances” under two conditions.

The conditions include military support needed “to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order.” A second use is when federal, state and local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”
“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions,” the directive states.

Military assistance can include loans of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft. The directive states clearly that it is for engaging civilians during times of unrest.

...A U.S. official said the Obama administration considered but rejected deploying military force under the directive during the recent standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters.

...Defense analysts say there has been a buildup of military units within non-security-related federal agencies, notably the creation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. The buildup has raised questions about whether the Obama administration is undermining civil liberties under the guise of counterterrorism and counternarcotics efforts.

Other agencies with SWAT teams reportedly include the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Education Department.

The militarization of federal agencies, under little-known statues that permit deputization of security officials, comes as the White House has launched verbal attacks on private citizens’ ownership of firearms despite the fact that most gun owners are law-abiding citizens.


2 Counties to Vote on California Secession Next Week

Residents of California's largely rural, agrarian and politically conservative far northern counties long ago got used to feeling ignored in the state Capitol and out of sync with major urban areas. The idea of forming their own state has been a topic among local secession dreamers for more than a century. Residents in two counties will have a chance to voice that sentiment next week. Voters in Del Norte and Tehama, with a combined population of about 91,000, will decide June 3 on an advisory measure that asks each county's board of supervisors to join a wider effort to form a 51st state named Jefferson. Elected officials in Glenn, Modoc, Siskiyou and Yuba counties already voted to join the movement. Supervisors in Butte County will vote June 10, while local bodies in other northern counties are awaiting the June 3 ballot results before deciding what to do. A similar but unrelated question on the primary ballot in Siskiyou County asks voters to rename that county the Republic of Jefferson. "We have 11 counties up here that share one state senator," compared to 20 for the greater Los Angeles area and 10 for the San Francisco Bay Area, said Aaron Funk of Crescent City, a coastal town in Del Norte County near the Oregon border. "Essentially, we have no representation whatsoever." The current county secession efforts are merely advisory, encouraging local officials to further study the idea. The steps involved in trying to become the country's 51st state are steep, first requiring approval from the state Legislature, then from Congress. The counties that could opt in -- as many as 16, according to supporters -- make up more than a quarter of the state's land mass but only a small portion of its population. The seven counties that have voted or will this month have a combined geographic area twice the size of New Hampshire, with about 467,000 residents...more

Two more Northern California counties may support breakaway state

If approved on June 3, Measure A would essentially ask the Board of Supervisors in each county to take up the matter and officially discuss supporting the secession movement, which has so far been joined by nearby Modoc, Siskiyou and Glenn counties.  The state of Jefferson -- a grouping of Northern California counties that would separate from California -- has been gaining steam since late last year, when the secession movement was revived by residents who complain of overregulation, lack of representation and a culture clash with urban areas. Before a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the mid-1960s, each California county — with a few exceptions for the tiniest — had its own state senator. But as both legislative houses adopted a system based on population and a rural exodus accelerated, the far north was left feeling voiceless. The State of Jefferson was coined in 1941 as was its logo: a gold pan bearing two x's meant to represent the purported double-crossing by state seats of government in California and Oregon. Activists hope some southern Oregon counties might join the effort, but so far the movement has taken greater root in Northern California...more

How 51st State "Jefferson" Would Change America, From Its Politics To The Flag

Voters in two California counties, Del Norte and Tehama, will soon be deciding on whether to pursue a controversial, unlikely, and long-sought dream: seceding from Northern California and becoming the 51st state, apparently called Jefferson. Tuesday will bring the vote on Measure A, an advisory question which, if passed, would urge their supervisors to join with other counties in the quest for Jefferson. The pleaseeasure already has some support — elected officer-holders from Siskiyou County, Glenn County, Yuba County and Modoc County have already voted in approval of the effort. But this is nothing new for the northernmost corners of California, where talk of forming Jefferson has been around for over 70 years. It was all the way back in 1941 when the idea was first proposed, and it’s risen intermittently ever since, buoyed by a largely conservative populace isolated near the Oregon border, at vicious odds with the rest of the state’s pervasive liberalism...more

The Obama Administration’s Hypocritical Environmental Policy

Congress and the federal government have enacted policies and made decisions in the name of protecting the environment. The problem is, now those decisions have backfired — and made us worse off environmentally. Here are five examples:

1. Keystone Delay Means More Rail: Stating concern for the environment, President Obama delayed and rejected the initial Keystone XL Pipeline permit even though the State Department found no environmental complications. After five years of political dodges and delays from the president, TransCanada is now seriously considering using railroads to deliver the oil to refineries – an option the State Department did find less environmentally safe. Carloads of crude oil have increased from 9,500 in 2008 to more than 407,000 last year. The State Department determined that rail delivery had a higher likelihood of spills and  higher CO2 emissions than pipelines. Rail transport should be an option, of course. But if Obama’s top concern is the environment, he should opt for the pipeline – and not drive TransCanada to rail transportation.

2. Biofuels are an ecological and human disaster: As part of his climate change agenda, Obama has praised alternative fuels as the way of the future and condemned oil-based transportation fuels for tying the U.S. to dependence on CO2 emissions and foreign countries. But evidence continues to mount that ethanol, the largest source of alternative fuels, is at best accomplishing nothing in the way of efficiency or energy independence. Not only are biofuels an economic loser, the Department of Energy funded a recent report that found biofuels actually increase CO2 emissions. Other studies have shown our biofuels policy results in poorer land and water quality, not to mention higher food prices. Though America’s biofuels policies predate Obama, there’s no reason to support a policy that even environmental organizations have called “an ecological disaster.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Children swarming southern border prove a test to Obama’s immigration policy - Estimated 60,000 minors likely to double

Children traveling without their families, including an “overwhelming” number younger than 12, are flooding across the southwestern border in the latest test of the Obama administration’s immigration policy. Homeland Security Officials predict that 60,000 minors will cross the border this year and that the number will double next year, accounting for an astonishing percentage of people trying to jump the border — braving the tremendous perils of crossing Mexico and trying to evade border authorities, hoping to eventually connect with family in the U.S. Officials are grappling with how the U.S. should handle children inside the border and whether there is any way to stop the flow. Under U.S. law, the children are entitled to special protections and can’t be put straight into deportation proceedings, as adults are. Instead, they are screened for trafficking concerns. Once processed, they are placed with either foster families or sent to their own families in the U.S. while they apply for asylum or a special juvenile visa, said Marc R. Rosenblum, deputy director of the Migration Policy Institute’s U.S. immigration policy program. In some cases, Homeland Security officials are sending the children to be with their parents — even when those parents are known to be living in the U.S. illegally. A federal judge in Texas blasted the department for that practice late last year, saying the government essentially had become complicit in criminal activity. “The DHS is rewarding criminal conduct instead of enforcing the current laws. More troubling, the DHS is encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children,” Judge Andrew S. Hanen wrote in a court order...more

Otero County seeks Congress' help in water dispute

Officials from one rural New Mexico county have sent letters to the state's congressional delegation, asking that hearings be held to investigate the actions of the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies as battles continue in several western states over water and property rights. Otero County commissioners said in the letters that the federal government is trampling on people's rights across New Mexico and in Utah, Nevada and elsewhere. They invited the delegation and the chairmen of the House Natural Resources and Judiciary committees to a rally planned for Saturday across the street from the Forest Service office in Alamogordo. "Otero County has taken a strong stance to try to protect our citizens and their rights," the letters read. "To date, the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Justice have been unwilling to even reasonably compromise to de-escalate the situation and to work cooperatively." "This appears to be an uncompromising example of government bullying," the commissioners wrote. Decades in the making, the dispute in Otero County centers on whether the Forest Service has the authority to keep ranchers from accessing Agua Chiquita. In wet years, the spring can run for miles through thick conifer forest. This summer, much of the stream bed is dry, and ranchers say their cattle can't reach what little water is left. The Forest Service says the metal fence and locked gate that surround the spring are the results of a decision made in 2004 to protect the wetland habitat. The Forest Service says grazing on public land doesn't automatically ensure a right to the water on that land. The county, its lawyer and other supporters argue that the water belongs to the ranchers. "It is a property right," rally organizers said in a statement Wednesday. "It's time we let the federal government know that we the people understand the U.S. Constitution." Environmentalists have sent letters of support to forest officials, saying the agency has a duty to safeguard water supplies on public lands. On Wednesday, WildEarth Guardians accused Otero County of "thuggery" for threatening to remove the fences. Depending on the outcome of their request, county commissioners have cleared the way for the sheriff to take steps to remove or open the gates at Agua Chiquita...more

Grazing Limits Feed Tension in Nevada

Rancher Pete Tomera slowed his pickup truck on a dusty mountain road one day last week and swept an arm toward tall green grass blowing in the wind: "Man, look at all the feed a cow could eat," he said. Since last summer, Mr. Tomera's 1,800 cows have been banished from these mountains in northern Nevada, part of a clampdown by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management against grazing on federal lands during an extended drought. An additional 500 head of cattle owned by two other ranching families have been ordered off a roughly 350,000-acre grazing allotment managed by the BLM in the Shoshone Range about 10 miles to the south of this town. The animals have been put out to private pastures or fed hay at far greater cost than on the public land. Early this week, dozens of supporters of the ranchers staged demonstrations to protest grazing policies that they say are overly restrictive, especially in light of recent rains that have turned many hillsides green. "If you put a mouse in a corner, he will fight for his life," said Mr. Tomera, 68 years old, whose family, like many here, has ranched in the area since the 1800s. "That's what we're doing." The dust-up comes after a confrontation in southern Nevada between rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM over his nonpayment of grazing fees to the federal government. The conflicts echo rising frustrations across the West over federal control of the region's vast mountains, deserts and forests. In San Juan County, Utah, a group of ATV enthusiasts led by a county commissioner this month rode into a canyon the BLM had closed to vehicles in 2007, despite warnings from the federal agency against trespassing. Friday, the Tomeras, Filippinis and rancher Shawn Mariluch signed a temporary agreement that allows them to graze their cattle on BLM lands, with strict limits in place on the amount of grass the cows can consume. If those requirements aren't met, the cattle can be ordered off the land. Ranchers said they had no choice but to sign, or face rising expenses to keep their cows penned up and fed. The ranchers worry the limits are "unattainable," and they are pushing for the removal of Doug Furtado, the BLM district manager, and protest the BLM's position. "We kicked and fought and screamed, but that's not something they would budge on," said Mr. Tomera's wife, Lynn...more

Rare mouse threatens to intensify NM drought fight

A battle that started over access to a small spring in the mountains of Southern New Mexico could end up expanding to other areas of this drought-stricken state if federal land managers are forced to fence off more sources of water to protect a rare mouse. Cal Joyner, the head forester for U.S. Forest Service lands in New Mexico and Arizona, is trying to get district rangers and ranchers talking now, but he concedes tensions could grow if more pressure is put on the region’s dwindling water resources. “Now we are really struggling to figure out what are we going to be able to do to best balance the needs of habitat protection and allow for livestock grazing,” Joyner told The Associated Press in an interview. Officials with the Lincoln, Santa Fe and Carson national forests have already sent letters to ranchers, warning that drought will likely continue to result in less forage on grazing allotments on national forest land and less water in streams and springs this season. The letters talk about the lack of moisture but don’t mention the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, which federal wildlife managers have proposed to list as an endangered species. Along with the impending listing, the federal government wants to set aside critical habitat for the mouse along streams and wetlands in a dozen counties in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Federal wildlife managers say more fencing will likely be needed on the Lincoln and Santa Fe forests in New Mexico and Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to keep livestock away from wetlands once the tiny rodent is listed...more

Chamber: Costs of EPA climate rule could top $50 billion a year

The country’s largest business lobby warned Wednesday that the Obama administration’s proposal to impose new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants could eclipse $50 billion in annual costs through 2030. The new study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce comes ahead of the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned rollout of draft regulations at the center of President Obama's climate change initiative. Obama announced the push last year, declaring that he would not wait for the bitterly divided Congress to pass legislation to counter the effects of global warming. "Congress is being bypassed and this is the path that we’re on, which its why we sought to analyze this,” said Karen Harbert, president of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.The intitute's report concludes that the forthcoming regulations could diminish the nation’s coal-fired energy capabilities by a third, as plants unable to meet the new standards shutter. Coal currently represents roughly 40 percent of the country’s energy production, and is a major part of the employment picture in many states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. The Chamber’s study says as many as 224,000 jobs would be eliminated annually through 2030 under the proposal...more

Grass March joins protest parade in Carlin

In the midday heat, dozens of residents met Monday for a protest parade against the Bureau of Land Management. Grant Gerber and his son, Travis, finished the first leg of their “Grass March” in Carlin, where they stopped for rest, a meal and to participate in a police-escorted parade that looped through town. Cliff Eklund, Carlin mayor and county commission candidate, organized the event that began on east Chestnut Street, turned left onto Fourth Street, cut back on Bush Street and then up 10th Street over the freeway to an arena for a brief rodeo. “It should be fun,” Eklund said moments before the parade began. “I’m glad to see so many people show up to support the ranchers. That’s what it’s all about.” For the moment, Gerber’s efforts seem to have helped the ranchers’ plight. “It’s gotten the BLM’s attention,” said Pete Tomera. “They’ve given us a temporary license. We were able to turn our cows out.” The march gained statewide media attention, as well. Over a late breakfast, Eklund spoke with a reporter from the Associated Press via cellphone. The Filippini family brought an ATV with signs that stated “Less Gov’t More Cows” and “Feed cows not fires.” Gerber said in addition to harming the ranching families, the decision to leave the grass on the range would result in severe wildfire when it dries into combustible fuel...more

A Gandhi quote:  “I’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours.”

‘Grass March’ to support ranchers

Grant Gerber will head out horseback at daylight Monday on his Grass March and will be greeted with a parade when he reaches Carlin. The parade will wind its way through town and head to the Equestrian Park, where a welcome celebration is planned. During the festivities, Gerber will resume his march to Battle Mountain, where he plans to hand off petitions seeking the removal of Bureau of Land Management Director Doug Furtado to a Cowboy Express that will deliver the petitions, Pony Express style, to the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City. Separate rallies are being planned all along the way. Carlin Mayor Cliff Eklund said the Carlin community is supportive of the families facing the BLM closure. “The ranching community is very important to the economy of Carlin and all of northern Nevada and we welcome the opportunity to show our support,” he said. Carlin’s parade is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Monday at the East Carlin Exit from Interstate 80 and end at the Equestrian Center, where food and refreshments will be available. Jess Jones of Lamoille is organizing a mini-rodeo for the event. The Cowboy Gandhi will then mount back up, circle the arena and resume his Grass March to Battle Mountain. “I plan to ride as long and as hard as my old body can stand and arrive in Battle Mountain late Tuesday or early Wednesday,” he said. After Gerber’s 70-mile Grass March the Furtado petitions will be handed off at daylight Wednesday morning to the Cowboy Express that will relay them to Gov. Brian Sandoval. Rallies are being planned along the way in Winnemucca, Lovelock, Fallon and Carson City, where the petitions will be available for more signatures. The Cowboy Express is an ambitious undertaking, Gerber said. He already has had calls of support from Las Vegas, southern Idaho, Round Mountain and the Nevada Division of the National Pony Express Association...more

A Gandhi quote:  “I look upon an increase in the power of the State with the greatest fear because, although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality which lies at the heart of all progress.”
Mahatma Gandhi

The 2,500-Pound Snake That Devoured Gigantic Crocodiles

Long ago, legend has it, the god Thor and the giant Hymir rowed to sea in search of Jörmungandr, a snake so huge it circled the Earth. Thor dropped a line baited with an ox head, which Jörmungandr nommed on, and with his bare hands reeled the beast in. Once the serpent was at the edge of the boat, though, Hymir got all nervous and cut the line. The moral of the story? I haven’t the slightest clue. But what I do know is that 60 million years ago, in the swampy waters of what is now Colombia, there lurked a serpent of similar hyperbole: titanoboa, by far the biggest snake that ever lived. At nearly 50 feet long and weighing in at 2,500 pounds, it was 10 times as heavy as the average green anaconda, a giant that now rules titanoboa’s stomping grounds… or slithering grounds, I guess you’d say. Titanoboa was so big, it pushed the boundaries of being able to exist on land and remain in accordance with the laws of physics. You, me, every cat and antelope and towering sauropod, we’ve all evolved under the constraints of gravity. Evolution got a bit carried away and produced the 100-foot blue whale, the biggest critter ever, only because gravity doesn’t affect giants as much in the sea...more

The article describes the Titanoboa as an "ambush hunter", "a constrictor of enormous proportions", "supersized" and an "apex predator".  Sounds like a description of our federal government.  Are there any good snake charmers out there?


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rare Footage: Mountain Lion Attacks Mule Deer Buck - video

If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when a mountain lion attacks large prey, you’re about to find out. Mountain lions are rarely seen taking down large bucks in the wild, so when we saw this video we took notice. Filmed in New Mexico back in 2001, this footage shows a bold mountain lion attacking a big mule deer buck. The narrator estimates the buck weighs 265 pounds and places the mountain lion in at around 150 pounds. It’s middleweight vs. heavyweight, but that doesn’t deter the mountain lion; he’s hungry and ready to fight to the death for the meal. The cougar goes straight for the back of the buck’s neck, a tactic lions often use to neutralize their prey. The buck doesn’t go down easy. He has a huge neck, and he’s full of piss and vinegar from the rut. It’s a battle of strength and endurance, as the two grapple on the ground. The buck lays several powerful kicks against the cougar’s head, but the lion doesn’t even flinch. Both animals must change their tactics if they are to survive. Watch to see how the fight unfolds...more

Justice to count how many guns feds have

The Justice Department is updating a report on how many guns the federal government has. It will be the first time Justice has addressed the topic in six years, and it comes as conservative and libertarian complaints about an excessively gun-happy government have intensified. The issue was central to the recent controversy generated by a stand-off between right-wing rancher Cliven Bundy and agents from the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada.Bundy and his supporters argued an armed federal government threatened too much force in a dispute over grazing and public lands. But critics of Bundy worry that the decision by federal and local officials to back off in response to armed resistance by Bundy and his supporters could embolden self-styled militia groups. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) will undertake this year’s report. It will begin surveying federal agencies about how many of their agents carry guns and have the authority to make arrests in July, according to the author of the 2008 version Brian Reaves. It is not clear when the data will be finalized, though the final release could take until early 2015. Six years ago, the Justice Department found that 73 government agencies employed about 120,000 armed agents. The 2008 report found that four out of five armed federal agents belonged to branches of the Justice Department or the Department of Homeland Security, but the other 20 percent were spread out among dozens of agencies that are not as well known for their law enforcement activities. Not only is the FBI armed. So too are members of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Railroad Retirement Board, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to the report. Until recently, even the Library of Congress employed an armed unit. From 2004 to 2008, the government added about 15,000 armed agents, the earlier Justice report found. During that time period, an additional eight agencies began employing armed units...more

Actually they don't count guns, just the number of employees who are authorized to carry guns and make arrests.  However, the report or something like it should include the number and type of weapons, the amount and types of ammo, the number and types of special vehicles, the number of drones, the number of attack dogs, etc.  I'm sure there are items I've not listed.  I once talked to a Border Patrol agent who said he liked to patrol with Forest Service LEOs because they had attack dogs.  Any way we need a report of their entire arsenal, not just the number of employees.

Bucky's Birthday Bash

Experiment aims to help Mexican gray wolf pups

With threats of disease, malnutrition and even inbreeding, the deck can be stacked against a Mexican gray wolf pup. Federal wildlife managers have long been troubled by the survival rates of wild-born pups, so they’ve started experimenting in an effort to boost the population as they reintroduce the endangered predator to the American Southwest. Biologists earlier this month transplanted a pair of 2-week-old pups born in a large litter to another pack of wolves with a smaller litter and more rearing experience. The cross-fostering technique has worked with red wolves on the East Coast. This marks the first time it’s being tried with Mexican gray wolves. Benjamin Tuggle, head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Region, said the goal is not only to grow the population, but also to have wolves that are genetically diverse and can steer clear of trouble while living in the wild...more

Lumber Union Protectionists Incited SWAT Raid On My Factory, Says Gibson Guitar CEO


    “Henry. A SWAT team from Homeland Security just raided our factory!”
    “What? This must be a joke.”
    “No this is really serious. We got guys with guns, they put all our people out in the parking lot and won’t let us go into the plant.”
    “What is happening?” asks Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz when he arrives at his Nashville factory to question the officers. “We can’t tell you.” “What are you talking about, you can’t tell me, you can’t just come in and …” “We have a warrant!” Well, lemme see the warrant.” “We can’t show that to you because it’s sealed.”
    While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.
    Up until that point Gibson had not received so much as a postcard telling the company it might be doing something wrong. Thus began a five-year saga, extensively covered by the press, with reputation-destroying leaks and shady allegations that Gibson was illegally importing wood from endangered tree species. In the end, formal charges were never filed, but the disruption to Gibson’s business and the mounting legal fees and threat of imprisonment induced Juszkiewicz to settle for $250,000—with an additional $50,000 “donation” piled on to pay off an environmental activist group.
    What really happened at the Nashville plant?
    Henry Juszkiewicz bought the troubled Gibson Guitar company in 1986. With revenues having dropped to below $10 million a year, the iconic 84-year old guitar maker was bleeding cash and on its way to bankruptcy. Since then, Juszkiewicz turned Gibson around, making it into an international powerhouse, growing at better than 20 percent a year compounded, with current annual revenues rumored to be approaching $1 billion.
    A great American success story? Yes, but Gibson’s very success made it a fat target for federal prosecutors, whom Juszkiewicz alleges were operating at the behest of lumber unions and environmental pressure groups seeking to kill the market for lumber imports. “This case was not about conservation,” he says. “It was basically protectionism.”
     Two months before the raid, lobbyists slipped some arcane supply-chain reporting provisions into an extension of the Lacey Act of 1900 that changed the technical definition of “fingerboard blanks,” which are legal to import.
    With no clear legal standards, a sealed warrant the company has not been allowed to see too this day, no formal charges filed, and the threat of a prison term hanging over any executive who does not take “due care” to abide by this absurdly vague law, Gibson settled. “You’re fighting a very well organized political machine in the unions,” Juszkiewicz concluded. “And the conservation guys have sort of gone along.” Hey, what’s not to like about $50,000?

EPA’s next target in fight against climate change: cooking stoves

The war on climate change may soon be moving inside the kitchen. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy is set to unveil on Tuesday six federal grants to universities to fund research on clean cookstove technology. The announcement will put the EPA’s resources squarely behind a United Nations’ quest for cleaner burning stoves and an end to deadly cooking pollution. “This research will help to improve air quality, protect public health and slow climate change,” the EPA said in explaining why the agency chief will preside over the announcement on Tuesday. To make the case for why these grants are so important, EPA noted the World Health Organization estimates that exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open pit fires leads to 4.3 million premature deaths each year. The fact is, though, most of the problem lives far from the shores of the United States, where most Americans have modern gas and electric stoves. Rather, the target of this research are the 3 billion people, mostly in the developing world, who still cook using solid fuels like wood, crop wastes, charcoal, coal and dung in open fires or leaky stoves., according to the World Heath Organization...more

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Remember the fallen

by Julie Carter

Memorial Day is all about honoring those that have gone on to their great rewards, traditionally in the service of our country.

However, before life became complicated and I understood all those things, it was simply "Decoration Day" to me and several generations and branches of my family tree would gather to clean and decorate all the kinfolks’ graves, military and otherwise.

Decoration Day was delightfully fun for my siblings and me. It was a much less organized family reunion of sorts. But, instead of meeting at some park or at a relative's house, we met at the cemetery.

My dad's side of the family was quite extensive. My grandmother was one of 12 children of a German homesteader and my grandfather was one of seven that were born and raised in a high mountain valley in Colorado.

In those days, there were large numbers of them still alive and living within a day's drive back “home” to where the roots of the family tree were first planted on homesteads, farms and ranches.

The cars and pickups of every age, size and color would pull up the hillside in the old pine tree-shaded cemetery where our clan had claimed resting ground since the 1870s.

Kids were the first to come pouring out of the vehicles and begin running up and down the pathways, seeking familiar faces and a space to blow off the hot crowded car ride.

Trunk lids would raise and as chattering voices carried on the late May breezes, the shovels and rakes along with buckets and buckets of fresh cut flowers would appear.

There were fresh-cut pine and spruce boughs, irises by the dozens and lilacs with a strong fragrance that wafted through the piney woods.

I don't know just how or who got it all done, but shortly, every grave would be clean, orderly and with a fresh bouquet. My grandmother would, as she did every year, explain to us who this or that person was and how they were related. She would laugh with me at the given names of the time - Hulda and George Washington Baker was just the funniest, I thought.

As we wandered through the many tiny tombstones that told a story, she told me about the flu epidemic that took so many children in 1880-82. Each marker bore the tale of the horrible loss of one, two and more children in the same family that died, sometimes within days of each other.

With history reviewed and duty done, we'd all pile back into the vehicles and travel off to have a huge picnic lunch. We’d find somewhere that allowed us to leave the propriety and reverence behind us while we got reacquainted with kin folk that we might not see again until the next May.

Annually, I recapture those moments from the recesses of my mind. Families have scattered far and wide and that tradition, like many others, got lost in the miles. And now gone too, is the enduring uncle who faithfully looked after and cared for our history at the cemetery.

My generation is now the “older” generation. We hold the historical value of the family in our fading memories and carry the burden of seeing it passed to those that come behind us.

This Memorial Day I am fortunate enough to be making the trip back to pay my respects to those laid to rest in those piney hills. I will be joined by a younger generation that I hope will find the honor and tradition in the day of remembering.

 Julie can be reached for comment at

The Antiquities Act - Preservation without Representation

NOTE: In April, 2013 the following article appeared in Frank DuBois’ The Westerner. The article was pertinent to the concern of the pending threat of an Executive Order by the president to unilaterally designate 600,000 acres of Dona Ana County, New Mexico as a national monument. That threat came to fruition on May 21, 2014 when President Obama did exactly that. A postscript is now in order.

What’s good for the Goose ain’t for the Gander
The Antiquities Act
Preservation without Representation
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            New Mexico wasn’t the ideal candidate for admission into the lofty social realm of the United States.
            Much trepidation ensued before statehood was granted in 1912. There was concern the territory’s lower caste society was incapable of governing itself. After all, it was made up of remnant Native Americans, Mexican peons, known outlaws, unkempt townsfolk, suspect drifters, and migrant Texans.
            In order to assure Congress it was grounded, the enabling legislation set aside lands for the sole purpose of educating its uncouth youth. Sections 2, 16, 32, and 36 of each Township were deeded to the state for the purpose of revenue generation for educational funding. That checkerboard administrative nightmare set the stage for government dominion that was never checked.
            It only got worse when the federal government abrogated its Constitutional responsibility to dispose of lands within the states for the purpose of debt reduction and stimulating the economy.
            Environmentalism cometh 
The environmental movement isn’t new.
            It appeared years ago when society provided enough leisure dole to allow the pursuit of scientific reviews. The phenomenon occurred in earnest in the 1880’s. That is when the literature began forewarning that bureaucrats and the academic community were becoming concerned about the loss of ‘antiquities’ on public lands.
            The movement grew roots when President Benjamin Harrison established the first timberland reserves under the General Land Office (GLO). The voice in the American wilderness at that time was Dr. Thomas Wilson who collaborated with an Interior attorney to convince a congressman he held the key for preserving arrowheads and pottery shards.
            Unbeknownst to the professor, the GLO had its own idea about preserving such sites. Disappointing to them, many of those lands weren’t under their 46 million acre forest purview. All they could do was to convince Congress to create a national park (Yellowstone had been created in 1872).
            The problem was that path was an agonizingly slow, unwieldy process. In order to save those features ‘before they were lost’, something more nimble had to be created.
            The GLO Commissioners, Binger Hermann and his successor, W.A. Richards, conceived the idea of getting Congress to give the president a tool to fast track that protection into their authority.
            In February, 1900 the first legislative attempt was made. Problems arose. Westerners didn’t agree those special places were so important and they didn’t want to give the president authority to act on parcels of land that exceeded 320 acres. They sent a clear signal. Any lands considered for preservation over a half section would be debated in Congress.
            The next hurdle arose when Gifford Pinchot, in a similar agency manipulation, convinced Congress to move all the forest reserves to the Department of Agriculture. The empire builders over at Interior lost their inside opportunity to put the United States into the cultural preservation business.
            Enter the next golden haired environmental planner. His name was Edgar Lee Hewett. Hewett was an archeologist. He recognized the stumbling block created by the parcel sizes. He addressed the issue by crafting wording that all such designations “shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects.”
            John Lacey of Iowa was sought to carry the bill. Lacey convinced the skeptical westerners that the purpose of the bill was “to preserve these old objects … the cave dwellers and the cliff dwellers.” With his influence, the Antiquities Act was passed in June, 1906.
            Four months later the very promise Lacey had made was breached when Teddy Roosevelt used his new authority naming Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming as the nation’s first monument.
            Preservation without Representation
            John Lacey stands out in the preservation annals as the archetype of leaders who have no hint of the meaning of states’ rights. He was willing to make landmark land designation decisions just as long as it didn’t impact his state. By the time a national monument was designated in Iowa, 83 other national monuments were created by his legislation. He never suggested or backed a single designation in his own backyard.
            The precedent was set in the West. Three states caught most of the Roosevelt attention. They were California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
            The willingness of California to endure constitutional perversion by the President remains a matter of historical curiosity, but the ability of Arizona and New Mexico to defend themselves was another matter. They didn’t have congressional representation. They were not yet extended statehood. Congress was still debating the wisdom of inviting that society of smelly aborigines and ne’er-do-wells to the union!
            The practice of preservation without representation was discovered. It continues today.
            Roosevelt opened the floodgates and ignored any notion of the promise of ‘smallest area compatible with proper care’. In a tiff with Congress, he boldly converted 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon into a national monument in 1908. He used the excuse of scientific value in the act as his authority. Arizona watched incredulously without any congressional defense.
            There was a firestorm of western response, but no legislative action was taken. The damage was done. The breach had been created and precedent had been set.
Noting that, Roosevelt expanded the breach by proclaiming 615,000 acres of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula as Mount Olympus National Monument. Unlike the domination of tourism at the Grand Canyon, that monument had protesters in the form of mining and timber interests. They were the Americans who coined the term “lock-up” when referring to federal land grabs.
They continued to object to the size and scope of the land grab into the Wilson administration, but that new age progressive aided in the expanding assault by refusing to challenge the actions taken by his predecessor. In affect, he blessed the actions and initiated a fraternity courtesy toward administrative fiat on matters of what we must now describe as presidential environmental dabbling … the pass time of executive privilege.
In the history of the Antiquities Act, there is a common theme. As the distance increases away from the original 13 colonies, presidents tend to get bolder and schemes get grander. With recent Obama designations, seven of the original colonies now have a monument.  There are 11 Antiquity monuments in those states, and, without exception, they fit the model of ‘smallest area compatible with proper care …” They comprise forts, a canal, Edison’s lab, an ‘African’ burial ground, Governors Island Castle, Father Millet’s cross, and, most recently, an underground railroad. There is not a single grand land scheme.
On the other hand, five states out west are impacted by 60% of the designations. Alaska, California, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico together have 80 of these Antiquity wonders.  New Mexico emerged as the state with the most examples of what John Lacey promised about the preservation of “those old cliff dwellers …”
Alaska has endured the greatest burden of the land based designations. After Congress adjourned in 1978, Jimmy Carter used his authority to ‘lock-up’ over 56 million acres of Alaska in 15 separate monument designations. Those lands were set to be offered back to the state for the purpose of homesteading and other claims. In time honored fashion, the secretary of Interior, in this case Cecil Andrus, convinced Carter he had to save those lands from the scourge of the citizenry.
Rightfully, Alaska was appalled.
The state’s senators offered legislation to scale the travesty back, but, ultimately, the state couldn’t prevail. What they did get was a legislative preclusion of any future presidential designations.
Wyoming scored a similar agreement. In a move to accept Jackson Hole private lands from one of his Gold Coast confederates, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Roosevelt unleashed the wrath of the state. He vetoed the bill passed to abolish his actions. Congress finally intervened in 1950 moving the monument into Grand Teton National Park with the agreement that Wyoming would never again face such unilateral action.
The beat goes on
In southwestern New Mexico, that portion of the state where government ownership of lands equates to 87% of the landscape, yet another demand for national monument unmercifully plods along. This time a total of 600,000 acres of Dona Ana County is being subjected to the newest generation of environmental fervor ‘to save the lands’. In the planning led by membership of the county’s progressive county commission, city council, and professional wilderness lobbyists, not a single citizen who has duties, responsibilities, or investments on the land targeted got invited to the discussion. It was obvious greater plans can not be burdened by common needs.
In response, the district’s Congressman, Steve Pearce, offered legislation to finally correct the abuse of the Antiquities Act. The local liberal press hammered him.
“Nixing 100 years of Protection” the headline read.
It should have read …“Nixing 100 years of tyranny”
The postscript: perversion of the Antiquities Act expanded
On May 21, 2014, President Barack Hussein Obama signed into law by presidential proclamation the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument. The worst fear of every citizen who has a duty, a responsibility, or an investment on the 900 square mile footprint of the monument came to pass.
There are 95 families directly impacted by the pending protective restrictions on the land, and every citizen in the county will be forever affected by the longer term fallout. There are also over 500 points of water on the greater backdrop of those lands that are there and maintained only because of the livestock industry that depends on those lands. That compares to five natural water sources. Not being a purpose of the proclamation, the livestock industry must wait for public scoping to solidify the management plan to reveal the real measures of restriction it faces. As a use in the action, ranchers have been told a grandmother in Miami Beach has as much to say about how the monument should be managed as they have.
As one of those livestock producers, the true common language of stewardship of the lands in question should be revealed only in law and in legislative action rather than mob action and environmental pact money. Over $2 million was waged against the diminishing community that created the customs and culture of these lands. There was no reasonable expectation that any similar defense could be raised in our behalf.
The shared values of decency and dignity assumed in the relationship between the elected senatorial office holders who implored the actions of the president and those emissaries of customs and culture are nonexistent. To our knowledge, not a single request for any measure of protection was accepted much less advocated by Senators Udall and Heinrich (Ds-NM). The intolerance and disrespect of those actions is symbolic of the greater assault being waged on heritage industries in every corner of our Union.
In the darkest hours of World War II, Winston Churchill stood before a joint session of Congress and reminded our leadership of the dangers of discord amongst the Allies. “It is in the dragging-out of the war at enormous expense, until the democracies are tired and bored or split, that the main hopes of (the enemies) must now reside”, he lectured. The eight year siege by New Mexico’s senatorial leadership against the local community in posturing to exploit the ultimate course around a legislative process defines the fear Churchill envisioned.
There is no constitutional victory in this presidential proclamation … the little guys were drawn and quartered, and, adding horrors to their constant fear … every similar designation has assured the fact most of them will not survive.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance complete wilderness inventory, and thus Senator Tom Udall’s marching orders, totals 2,917,366 acres … local, rural communities have no stroke with this man unless they are on a colonia list.”