Monday, July 24, 2017

U.S. Cattle Inventory at 103 Million Head, Jumps 4% Since 2015

By Wyatt Bechtel

The total U.S. cattle herd counting all cattle was at 103 million head on July 1, 2017. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) outlines in the latest Cattle Inventory Mid-year Report that the total herd count has increased 4% since the previous summer report on July 1, 2015, when there were just 98.2 million head. The total cow herd was at 41.9 million head, up 5% from the 39.8 million head mark two summers ago. Beef cows composed 32.5 million head in the total herd and accounted for a 7% increase during the last two years. Dairy cows were up 1% from the previous report with 9.4 million milk cows. There were 16.2 million head of heifers weighing 500 lb. or more at the time of the report, a 3% increase from the 15.7 million head reported on July 1, 2015. Beef replacement heifers actually saw a drop of 2% from 2015 reports with just 4.7 million head. Dairy replacement heifers saw no change in the last two years with 4.2 million head counted. Non-replacement heifers accounted for a 9% increase in numbers with 7.3 million head reported this year. Calves under 500 lb. increased 5% from 2015. There were 28 million light weight calves reported on July 1, 2017, compared to only 26.7 million head two years ago...more

EPA chief spent almost half of spring in home state of Oklahoma

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, was in his home state of Oklahoma on at least 43 of the 92 days of March, April and May, according to copies of his travel records obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project watchdog group and reviewed by Reuters. Pruitt’s frequent visits to Oklahoma have raised concerns among critics that he is cultivating political relationships in the state at taxpayer expense, instead of focusing on his job as head of the environmental regulator. EPA officials contend that Pruitt works hard and pays for his trips home to Tulsa to see his wife and children. "Administrator Pruitt works long hours and is available around the clock," said EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman. "He is extremely focused and disciplined, which is evident by the fact that he spearheaded over two dozen significant regulatory actions since being sworn in."...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1885

Its Swingin’ Monday and we have Jody Nix with Let’s Get It Over and Done With. The tune is on his 2010 CD Twin Fiddles Turn Me On.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Udall supports preserving monuments

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., took a break from Beltway duties to fish in the Rio Grande July 21 with supporters of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. It is part of a devoted effort by Udall, his colleague Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. and others to protect the state's newest national monuments, created under former President Barack Obama. The U.S.Department of Interior is reviewing most of the monuments designated under the Obama administration with an eye to rolling back protections or reducing the size of the protected areas. Those reviews include the Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, all in New Mexico. According to his communications staff, "Udall has been leading a coordinated effort – with other members of Congress and engaged people across New Mexico and the country – to rally public opposition against President Trump's threat to rescind or shrink Rio Grande del Norte and other national monuments. "Sen. Udall has repeatedly called on the Trump administration to drop its misguided attack on public lands, and has expressed his clear position that President Trump does not have the legal authority to rescind or shrink a monument designation," according to an email from Udall's staff. Udall is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department's budget. Udall has talked about the monument review one-on-one with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke three times. He has urged Zinke to end this unprecedented attack on national monuments, said staff...more

Small farmers push for USDA reforms

Small farm and ranch companies and animal rights activists flew to Washington to meet with lawmakers and push for legislation they say will bring needed reforms to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At issue are mandatory USDA fees for so-called checkoff programs. Farmers and ranchers are required to pay for federal programs that help market industry products. The funds have been used for such popular and iconic campaigns as the "Got Milk" ads and the "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" campaign. But critics say those programs promote policies for industrialized agriculture, not small farmers and ranchers. The fly-in on July 19 to 20 was organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The least we are asking for is transparency,” Eric Swafford, Tennessee HSUS state director and a former state representative told The Hill. “No one can see how these checkoff dollars are being spent, and there is no accountability. The system is inherently broken.” One of the bills, the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, would enforce greater transparency on how the funds are used. The bill has bipartisan support and was introduced by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Cory Booker (D- N.J.). Reps. Dave Brat (R-Va.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) also working on companion legislation in the House. “Federal checkoff programs -- which impose a mandatory tax on farmers and ranchers -- are in desperate need of reform,” Booker told The Hill. “Checkoff programs need to do a better job of spending their dollars in ways that benefit small family farmers, and the legislation that Senator Lee and I have introduced will increase transparency and help restore trust in checkoff program practices.”...more

Zinke’s decision on NM monuments coming soon

By Michael Coleman / Journal Washington Bureau

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has just one month left before he’s due to report on the likely fate of New Mexico’s two newest national monuments, as well as nearly two dozen others around the nation. New Mexicans on both sides of the debate are getting antsy. Ultimately, the decision to downsize the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and/or the Rio Grande del Norte national monuments in New Mexico – or not – lies with President Donald Trump. But Trump is waiting on Zinke’s recommendation, due no later than Aug. 24. Zinke told Congress on June 22 he would visit New Mexico to discuss the monuments with concerned parties “in two weeks.” Late Thursday, an Interior Department spokeswoman said the agency, responsible for millions of acres of federal lands, still wasn’t ready to announce Zinke’s visit...more

Note to readers

Century Link finally got the internet back up on Friday a.m. I had continued posting on Face Book by using my phone.

THE WESTERNER will also be different this week as I'm working on a special project which will soon be apparent to all.

Dubois Brothers

The Dubois Brothers were a French-Canadian organized crime group, who operated mostly in Montreal in the 1950s to the mid-1980s. The Dubois Brothers began their reputation for their criminal behaviour and their toughness throughout their teenage years.[1] By the 1960s the Dubois Brothers were gaining control and were becoming the only crime group in Montreal that were considered to rival the Cotroni Clan in the 1960s and 1970s. The Dubois Brothers engaged in extortion, the exploitation of strippers and prostitutes, drug trafficking, loan sharking, and the murder of rival victims.[2] A report by the Quebec Crime Commission called the gang "the most important criminal organization in Quebec," so vicious and strong that they were known to be feared by both motorcycle gangs and the nearby mafia.[3]...more

My brother happily sent this along...

Rancher, Sheriff Clash over Seized Horses

A North Dakota rancher is battling to keep custody of his horses after the county sheriff, a discredited veterinarian, and an anonymous call from an out-of-state person rained down the unconstitutional seizure of his animals, he says. He now faces animal neglect and abuse criminal charges, including a felony charge. This dispute arises out of laws passed in the North Dakota legislature in 2012 after lobbying from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). Rancher Gary Dassinger, who is also a licensed clinical social worker, has raised constitutional objections to the actions taken by the sheriff’s office, as well as the application of the state’s law that became effective in 2013. A preliminary hearing in the criminal prosecution is scheduled for July 31. In April, a Stark County deputy sheriff came to the Dassinger ranch and said they had been notified that there were dead and “thin” animals on the ranch. The Dassingers later learned that the complaint came from a person who had never been to his ranch and did not live in North Dakota.

  On May 17, North Dakota State Representative Luke Simons, who also served as a Stark County Sheriff’s Department volunteer deputy, visited the ranch after news of the seizure spread. He interviewed Dassinger and took a tour, and it including filming the livestock. Representative Simons posted the video of the interview and the stock on his Facebook page. Sheriff Oestreich later contacted Rep. Simons and reportedly told him his services with the department were no longer needed....more

Saturday, July 22, 2017

PLF renews property rights battle in Wisconsin announcement

MADISON, WI; July 20, 2017: Joining a press conference today on new property rights legislation by two Wisconsin state lawmakers, John Groen, Pacific Legal Foundation’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, announced that PLF is launching a campaign to restore and buttress property rights nationwide. The legislation introduced today responds to the U.S. Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in the PLF case of Murr v. Wisconsin, in which Groen argued at the High Court on behalf of the Murr family. The measure’s authors are State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake). Two members of the family were also on hand at the press conference — Donna Murr and her brother Mike Murr. The press conference was streamed live at 8:15 a.m. (CDT) and can be viewed above or here. “Pacific Legal Foundation is proud to be here today for the announcement of important legislation to help right the wrong that was perpetrated against the Murr family and, by extension, the property rights of all Americans,” said Groen. “PLF is also announcing that the fight to reverse the damage caused by the Murr decision will not be confined to Wisconsin. PLF will be waging a nationwide campaign, in the nation’s courts and the nation’s statehouses, to restore the rights that were undermined by the Murr ruling. We are determined to protect all Americans from the injustice that was done to the Murrs, by once and for all prohibiting government from inventing ways to strip people of the use of their property while denying them the compensation that the Constitution requires.” “What happened to my family should not happen to any American, and the Supreme Court’s ruling must not be the final word,” said Donna Murr. “We are grateful to Sen. Tiffany and Rep. Jarchow for proposing tangible measures to strengthen the rights that were weakened by the Supreme Court’s decision. We are also grateful to Pacific Legal Foundation for its determination to fight nationwide until the setback from the Supreme Court’s ruling is overcome. The Murr family is proud to have helped raise everyone’s awareness about the importance of property rights, and we will continue to stand up for our own rights and those of all Americans.” The Murrs were the victims of a government stratagem that took away their property rights without any reimbursement. They were denied the ability to use or sell a vacant parcel along the St. Croix River that was handed down as a family legacy. The government declared the lot substandard — based on regulations imposed after the family purchased it. Officials said the Murrs were owed no compensation because they also own an adjacent parcel, on which their family cabin sits. By a 5-3 majority, the Supreme Court accepted this regulatory maneuver by which officials avoided paying for a regulatory taking...more

Interior to review rules against killing bear cubs and wolf pups with their mothers

The Trump administration has ordered a review of federal rules that prevent hunters from killing bears and wolves using techniques many people consider extreme: baiting the animals with greasy doughnuts, ambushing mothers with pups in dens and shooting animals from boats while the bears are swimming. An Interior Department official sent memos to the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week requesting that they reassess rules on “various prohibitions that directly contradict State of Alaska authorizations and wildlife management decisions.” Alaska severely manages predators to increase moose and caribou populations for the benefit of hunters. Bears, wolves and coyotes prey on those animals for food. “I anticipate that you will focus this reconsideration on certain aspects of the rule that I believe are particularly worthy of additional review,” acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks Aurelia Skipwith wrote in the memos. Skipwith told the acting directors of both agencies to work with Alaska residents to make a new final rule for the national parks there and for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The action is separate from a March vote along party lines in Congress to rescind the Obama administration’s order late last year, which outlawed the prioritizing of prey over predators at 16 federal wildlife refuges in Alaska. Under the 1994 Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 days to overturn a presidential order. But rules prohibiting wildlife management that specifically target predators had been adopted by the National Park Service in Alaska and the Kenai refuge years ago...more

Trump to tap longtime coal lobbyist for EPA’s No. 2 spot

President Trump will nominate a prominent coal lobbyist and former Senate aide, Andrew Wheeler, to serve as the Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy administrator, according to two senior administration officials. Wheeler, a principal at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, is a lobbyist for coal giant Murray Energy and served as a top aide for Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) when Inhofe chaired the Senate Environment Committee. He has represented Murray Energy — whose chief executive, Bob Murray, is a prominent supporter of the president — since 2009. In addition to tapping Wheeler, according to the officials, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is preparing to pick three conservatives to head three key divisions within the agency. Trump will nominate Bill Wehrum as associate administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Matt Leopold to serve as EPA general counsel and David Ross as assistant administrator for Office of Water. [How Sen. James M. Inhofe is helping shape Trump’s energy policies] Wheeler and EPA officials declined to comment Friday. The fact that Wheeler was likely to be nominated was first reported by Axios Friday. The news of these appointments is likely to cheer those who criticized how the agency operated under President Barack Obama — and anger environmentalists. Wheeler has been an outspoken critic of nationwide limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as scientific bodies such as the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...more

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Internet down

We had 2.65 inches of rain here last night and I have no internet access except through this phone

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1884

Our selection today is Cowboy Copas' 1947 recording of Sweet Thing for the King label.

Monday, July 17, 2017

GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West

...The political power of Las Vegas is a hint of the GOP’s worst-case scenario: A mega-metropolitan area so dominant, and so Democratic, that it swamps the Republican advantage in increasingly conservative rural areas. Republicans who have watched Nevada politics in recent years worry their party’s struggles in the Silver State will be a harbinger of things to come as the face of the American electorate changes — especially in other Mountain West states such as Arizona and Colorado. “The Wild West is slowly becoming an Urbanized West,” said Mike Slanker, a Republican strategist in Las Vegas. This is the 11th story in our Changing America series, in which we investigate the demographic and economic trends shaping the nation’s politics. Nevada’s booming growth underscores the two trends working most in Democrats’ favor: the rising power of cities that are acting more reliably liberal, and the expanding influence of Hispanic-Americans who are becoming the nation’s largest minority community. Republicans still control most offices in Mountain West states. In the eight states within the region, stretching from Montana in the north to Arizona and New Mexico in the south, the GOP owns 10 of 16 Senate seats, 19 of 31 House seats and six of eight governorships. But many of those seats are at stake in the 2018 midterm elections: Republican governors of Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and New Mexico face term limits, as does the Democratic governor of Colorado. The two most vulnerable Republican senators facing reelection are Heller and Arizona’s Jeff Flake. Democrats are targeting a handful of U.S. House seats in the region...more

Feds Spend $224,999 on ‘Clean Water’ Video Game

Children can 'right environmental wrongs' of fictional town

The National Institutes of Health is spending over $200,000 on a video game about clean water. The computer game will help children "right the environmental wrongs" of a fictional town. A grant for the project was awarded last month to Meadowlark Science and Education, a company that makes STEM video games in Missoula, Mont. The target audience of the new environmental health video game is 5th and 6th graders, who will use the game to sharpen their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills while increasing their "awareness of the importance of clean water."...more

Zinke tours Cascade-Siskiyou monument, hears from both sides - Interior secty: 'Nobody knows' how boundaries made

Interior secty: 'Nobody knows' how boundaries made
Over the weekend, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon, one of about two dozen national monuments whose status and borders his agency are reviewing at the direction of President Donald Trump. Zinke met with stakeholders in the region, including state Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland. Marsh told Eric Tegethoff of Oregon News Service she wants Zinke to keep three things in mind when considering the monument's status. First, it's the only national monument designated to protect an area's rich biological diversity. Second, she said, it has a lot of local support. And last is the economic piece. "We really see this as being a part of our economic future here in southern Oregon," Marsh explained. "We are a region that's been dependent on resource extraction in the past. For many reasons, timber's gone away, and we're building a new, strong economy that's based in large part on tourism." The Capital Press reported that since undertaking the Cascade-Siskiyou monument review, Zinke said he hasn’t gotten a satisfactory answer to a key question. “How were the boundaries made? Nobody knows how the boundaries were made,” Zinke said Saturday. While he’s prepared to accept the premise that the area’s flora and fauna justify a monument designation, Zinke said the Cascade-Siskiyou’s boundaries seem arbitrary in some areas. So far, he said, nobody at the Interior Department has taken responsibility for drawing the boundaries or explaining their placement. Zinke said he’s also examining how the boundaries affect traditional economic uses, such as grazing and timber, as well as recreational uses, including hiking, snowmobiling and horseback riding...more

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association applauds Secretary Zinke for touring Siskiyou National Monument

Announcing on twitter that he was “Glad to be back in Oregon! Here for a monument review…” the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association applauds Secretary Zinke for touring with OCA President John O’Keeffe and for hearing both sides of the issues of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. On April 26th, President Trump signed an Executive Order for the review of monument designations made under the Antiquities Act by previous Presidents. As many Oregon ranchers hoped, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, as designated by President Trump, made a trip to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument on July 15th, 2017, where he conducted a thorough and precise preview. “Secretary Zinke’s trip to the Cascade-Siskiyou monument area is encouraging for all-natural resource industries,” said Jerome Rosa, OCA Executive Director. “The gross misuse of the Antiquities Act by prior administration will hopefully be overturned.” Secretary Zinke met with members of Oregon’s Bureau of Land Management where he hiked through the monument, hearing all sides for his report. Meeting with various other industries such as the snowmobile industry, the timber industry and the ranching industry, it is reassuring that his attention to detail is precise to find the true impacts that a monument of this size can cause to the economy of our state. OCA President John O’Keeffe spent the afternoon with Secretary Zinke and a few select others which included Lee Bradshaw, a rancher within the allotment, and Representative Greg Walden. O’Keeffe commended Secretary Zinke for the quality questions that he asked and his genuine concerns for all parties involved. “He seems to be really interested and generally concerned with the issues that the monument raises,” said John O’Keeffe...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1883

Its Swingin' Monday and we have Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant with Speedin' West.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rallies support defendants in Bunkerville standoff case

By Jessie Bekker and Max Michor

Hundreds of supporters turned out at a Las Vegas event Saturday night supporting the defendants facing trial in the Bunkerville standoff case. They gathered at Rainbow Gardens to hear speeches from Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, members of the Bundy family and even Roger Stone, an on-and-off adviser for President Donald Trump. The overarching theme at Saturday event: The “mainstream media” hasn’t given the Bundy family a voice. “They’re supposed to be unbiased. They’re supposed to be dealing with facts and truth,” said Jeanette Finicum, wife of the late LaVoy Finicum, who was present at the 2014 Bunkerville standoff and who was shot by an Oregon state trooper during another standoff at an eastern Oregon wildlife refuge last year. Throughout speeches, members of the crowd shook their heads, clapped and wiped away tears. On and off, they hollered and shouted affirming yeses. Stone closed the evening Saturday by accusing the FBI and the Bureau of Land Management of “threatening death, … slaughtering livestock and laughing in our face about it.” The crowd whistled and offered a standing ovation to welcome him to the podium. “I am here for one important reason. I stand in solidarity with every member of the Bundy family,” Stone said. The crowd responded by chanting, “Roger! Roger! Roger!” “I have not followed this case with the intensity that I might have,” Stone said. Still, he noted, “The more I read, the angrier I got.” Over time, he said, Americans’ constitutional rights have been eroded to the point of being unrecognizable. “This is the oppressive and of a military jackbooted government that has lost all sense of law or morality.” Stone called out U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not offering direct support to the 17 defendants. Then, he appealed Trump to “review this case in the name of justice, in the name of mercy … pardon every member of the Bundy family.”...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Love, fighter, wild horse rider

by Julie Carter

Billy Paul believed himself to be and therefore claimed he was a lover, fighter and a wild horse rider. Not an uncommon thought process for cowboys in general. In real life, he was very much married and had a couple tow-head kids that would run into his back pockets if he suddenly stopped in his tracks.

There was the possibility that he might have accidentally become involved in a bar fight a time or two in the distant past. Considerable distant and with an embellished memory.

As far as riding the wild horses, his current job entailed starting the colts born of very gentle mares on the See Nothing Ranch where he was currently employed. “Wild” was a relative term as far as these horses went and again, they came with an embellished description.

For the most part, Billy Paul stayed at the ranch. Only when caught in his “unawares” was he enticed to travel with his wife to town. And at that, it absolutely never involved Walmart. That just wasn’t tolerable for him.

Somehow, on this occasion, his bride had successfully pulled a fast one on him. Before he realized it, he was walking along behind her into a building that, to his notion, would work pretty good for an indoor roping arena. Except of course it was filled with clothes, groceries and everything else from power tools to tennis shoes. 

The little woman had told him she needed to pick up just a few things, so in resignation, he followed along. Not paying any serious attention, he suddenly lost her to the endless aisles of shopping possibilities. He wandered up and down each aisle until he encountered a sudden obstruction.

He found himself hemmed in behind a, as he described it, “corn-fed lady in millennium yellow spandex pants.” Since there wasn’t any clearance on either side of this glow-in-the-dark object in the aisle, he stood there with many thoughts running through his cowboy brain.

The first of which was “How many folks had it taken to get her into those britches?” Surely, it involved all four of her kids that were milling around and her husband, and probably a neighbor or two had helped out with the project.

Billy Paul needed rescuing in the worst way and his bride was lost to him somewhere in the endless vista of dry goods. Finally escaping when he and this yellow aberration reached the end of the aisle, he turned down the next one, still on the lookout for his wife.

It was in this runway that he circled up on another wonder of the world, also wearing yellow spandex. However, this time the model was blonde, every bit of six-feet-tall and built like the proverbial well-shaped brick outhouse.

Billy Paul, like any other lover, fighter and wild horse rider, appreciated well-made clothes so he decided that since he was lost anyway, he would just stand there and visually inspect this lovely and her fine yellow garments. Predictably, this was close to the same time his bride located him.

In an instant, Billy Paul was catapulted into validating the “fighter” part of his legend. Yellow never was a good color for him and this time it guaranteed him a week of a cold shoulder and equally cold meals.

Billy Paul’s message to all: “Stay out of Walmart.”

Julie can be reached for comment at

Adios to Political Parties

Constitutional Debauchery
Dark Age of Reasoning
Adios to Political Parties
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I am on a mission.
            We have had a bad week with our 80 year old perimeter fencing. The monsoon is trying its best to offer us some welcome relief, but rains have once again been spotty. Where it has rained there have been repeated rains and where it has not rained it is not just dry it is muy seco. The result is that our cow herd is “chasing green” and fences are being tested.
            Yesterday morning, we put some cows back through our gate from a neighbor’s only to find we had missed another three dry cows. We discovered them when Oscar had given me a ride back to my truck where I had jumped Bailey out. So, there we were in the rocks with a four wheeler and a pickup and trailer. We got them started even cutting them out of the neighbor’s cattle. It went well until I had to leave my wing position and get the gate open where we had crossed the first cows and where I had tied my horse. I got horseback and we got the three to the gate. We put the lead cow through and began to count the reasons we were such good cowboys.
            We didn’t count very far.
            Fifteen yards from an open gate, the lead cow acted just like her mother before and set sail with her head high like a strobe light. The other cow bailed like she had been raised by a quail hen. Needless to say, in the rocks and with a tired horse and a four wheeler, we finally decided we were doing nobody any good and would come back with fresh horses and some patience.
            I am going to pen that cow, though, and I am going to ship her.
            Dark Age of Reasoning
            The ability to deal with congressional partisans, however, is not as easy to fix.
            We are symbolically wined and dined through the election process only to be disappointed with the glaring dismissal of truth and intent. Myth exceeds reality in Washington by at least a margin of one. In the ‘70s, the democrats told us the human population increase would reach such a feverish pitch “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death”. At least 65 million of those would be Americans dying of starvation between 1980 and 1989. Did any of us save a single news paper headline documenting such a doomsday result?
            Today, these chronic professional alarmists remain intent on serving up fear and mass hysteria over the extinction of species, particularly those losses predicated on anthropogenic global warming. If that is the case, name the demise of a single species that has been tied inexorably to global warming in the modern era.
            Their current shock warning is coming from their learned think tanks predicting the deaths of millions of Americans because of the oppositions bungling of the Affordable Care Act or its scores of alternatives. Will it happen? Most certainly people will die, but they will die whether there is an affordable health plan or the one we have now, the unaffordable health plan. Why is anybody still listening to these chumps?
            Although the republicans are not predicting extinction of any species (albeit they should be worrying about their own fall from existence), they are performing in no less splendor. When Senator Cornyn of Texas revealed that nobody is really intent on reducing the federal budget, he was probably as truthful as he had ever been to his constituents. For heavens sake, tell it like it is. Most of us would much rather hear something we didn’t like knowing it was truthful than telling us something and having no intention of performing.
            The Westerner’s discovery on Friday that the republican controlled Appropriations Committee bill for U. S. environmental public lands programs is roughly $4.3 billion more than President Trump’s budget request tells the real story. It displays not just a fundamental absence of courage, it demonstrates that getting reelected trumps (no pun intended) promises any and every day.
            That party is in the throws of glaring ineptitude. They are demonstrating many worst case nightmares and that starts with remembering it is much easier to talk than it is to commit to a course of action and defend it to their political deaths.
            Constitutional Debauchery
            Both sides stand in the shadows of the Constitution without regard to its purpose. They believe in it when they need to make a point. It gives credibility to their message regardless of intent. Three examples have been used out of context on the basis of such constitutional protections.
            The first is the promise of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Even O’Reilly used the point in a “constitutional” rebuttal before his own fall from grace. The problem is it doesn’t appear in the Constitution, but, rather, it comes from The Declaration of Independence. It isn’t law. It is a statement of passion.
            The second example is Of the People, By the People, For the People. There is no connection with this phrase and the Constitution at all. This was crafted by Lincoln in his three minute address at Gettysburg.
            The final example is  political parties. Americans have come to believe that political parties are part of the system as much as the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch. They dominate the news outlets and expand the polarization of this country. The dems adhere to party marching orders as if they are automatons of the underworld. The repubs try to make sense of the Grand Old Party, but keep tripping themselves up by play acting in uniformity, a condition that is contradictory to their being.
            Both views of the absurdity of rule by mob is about to bring us to our knees. The Constitution was predicated on the sovereignty of the individual although it took until the Bill of Rights to be ratified before that little promise was remembered.
            It is time to throw off this yoke of polarization and special interest hatred that two party mob rule has brought to our Union. We need to outlaw political parties on the basis that no such mention or intention was set forth in the Constitution. Let’s see how the individual acts when he is guided solely by his conscience and abilities. If he can’t perform, limit his ineptitude to the idiots who elected him and … leave the rest of us alone!

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.

Baxter Black: Photosensitization

Summertime brings with it bathing suit ads, lawn mower commercials, kids home to help with the chores, mosquitos, firecrackers and PHOTOSENSITIZATION. Photo: light; sensitization; sensitive to. Sensitive to sunlight. And that is an understatement! We're talkin' hard core, fourth and goal, damn the torpedo's, all ahead full sunburn! Not to be confused with true sunburn or snowburn.

The animal is sensitized to the sun's rays so that even a lot of the weaker rays can cause damage. An animal cannot be sunburned through a window glass but can be photosensitized through it.

It occurs in sheep, grazing cattle and I've seen it show up in the feedyard. Most commonly is related to the ingestion of specific plants the animal has eaten. St John's wort (Klamath weed) in the Northwest, agave and sachuiste in the Southwest, plus others including cultivated rape, horse brush and buckwheat. Sudan grass, clover or alfalfa have even been incriminated.

Either through liver damage or directly, breakdown products of the plant enter the blood stream and circulate to the skin. There they become exposed to the sun's penetrating rays. A chemical reaction occurs which damages the surrounding capillaries and tissue. Thick hair or darkly pigmented skin usually blocks out the sun's rays so the reaction only occurs in the lighter areas.

 Following ingestion of enough plant toxins the affected critter's skin begins to redden, itch and swell. By the second day the muzzle and eyelids have a burned appearance. With continued exposure to sunlight the skin dies, becomes hard and leathery and starts to peel at the edges of the eyes or muzzle.

Lee Pitts: Get Along, Little Dogies

Among the many things I enjoy about raising animals is watching their interpersonal relationships. If there was such a thing, I think I'd have made a very good cow, sheep, pig or horse psychologist. Wisely, I considered their ability to pay and became a writer instead, which pays only slightly better than a tightwad hog would.

Here are some observations I've made over a lifetime of studying farm animals.

Horses are high society. They consider themselves better looking than the sheep, smarter than the cow and higher class than hogs. They'll use human males and allow them to ride on their backs so they can buck their way into the Hall of Fame, or win the race for the roses at the Kentucky Derby. If they get tired of men, as they often do, they just put them in their place: on the ground. Horses absolutely love the human female gender and vice versa. Women and horses are BFF and the love affair between them is a beautiful thing to behold.

Horses think they're far superior to cows, don't care much for sheep and absolutely hate poultry. The only time my horse Gentleman did not act like one was when I rode him behind the shop where we had just finished killing some chickens the day before. I won't say that Gentleman actually bucked, he never had that much energy, but he almost crow-hopped a little.

Horses set a wonderful example for their barnyard brethren to follow if only the others were that smart. In fly season you'll see two horses head to tail, swatting flies off each other. When was the last time you saw two hogs doing that? Granted, that might look a little silly considering the fly-swatting ability of a pig's tail.

...Cattle don't recognize swine or cowboys as members of the animal kingdom and will only suffer sheep as long as they don't eat the same grass they do. Despite their place in life, cows can be very snooty with the black hided ones thinking they're far superior to the reds, and the registered cattle lording it over the more commercial grade. Cows enjoy keeping company with other equally worthy cows but their boorish behavior can border on bigotry. Take the relationship that exists between beef and dairy cows for example. Beefier cows take one look at dairy cows and think, "Just look at those stupid ninnies, gathering themselves up so that some jerk with rough hands can yank on their udders two to three times day." Or, "What a pitiful example of a cow, being bred by an AI technician instead of a real bull!"

Hogs are the rich uncle who shows up at the family reunion driving a brand new Bentley with a much younger gilt for a girlfriend. Secretly, other animals are jealous of the hogs because they have their food delivered to them and they don't have to suffer from wolves or PBR cowboys... 

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1882

Hot off their 2017 CD We'll Sing Again, Here are the South Carolina Broadcasters with Don't Let Nobody Tell You.

Zinke: Some lands may be ‘better suited’ as rec areas

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said his Saturday tour of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument reveals that “a lot of the use is heavy recreation,” but he stopped short of saying some of those lands should be downgraded from monument status. In the midst of reviewing whether 27 national monuments are appropriately sized and created under the Antiquities Act, Zinke said that some lands now within national monument boundaries are “better suited” under National Recreation Area status. Various uses within national recreation areas are determined by the language written to create them and could allow commercial logging, which is banned in monument lands. While Zinke already has recommended National Recreation Area status for some new monument lands in Utah, he said if he recommends any border alterations in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, doing so would have to protect the land’s unique biodiversity that led to the monument designation. "Generally I think you have to go to science on what objects, and in this case biodiversity, so let’s look at what that means and how do we protect it,” Zinke said during a brief Saturday news conference along the shore of Hyatt Lake that included comments by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden. “This site is unique among the 27 sites I’m reviewing, not just because it’s in Oregon.” Zinke Visit Sign-wielding protesters from both sides also attended the news conference in the parking lot outside the Hyatt Lake Resort. Zinke is looking specifically into whether the monument lands are the smallest necessary to protect the land or objects they are designed to protect, whether the lands are appropriately classified as of historic or scientific interest, and their impact on multiple-use. The review also includes looking into the economic impacts of monument status and whether the federal government can properly manage those lands...more

Secretary of Interior visits, reviews Cascade Siskiyou Monument

As part of President Trump's executive order back in April, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has been visiting 27 monuments around the country - the Siskiyou Cascade Monument is one of them. On Saturday, Zinke met with Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument, Bureau of Land Management staff (including the Oregon State Director, the district leadership, a local Interpreter, and the Artist in Residence), industry leaders from timber, forestry, ranching, agriculture and snowmobiling and small business owners with businesses near the monument. Zinke must determine if all the land claimed by the monument serves its purpose as preserving the right object with the least amount of land. He admits the Cascade Siskiyou Monument differs greatly from the others he has visited. "Biodiversity is the object," Zinke said in a press conference, "So how do you protect that biodiversity and how do you make sure the proclamation looks at that? That's what I'm evaluating." On Sunday, Zinke will meet with Governor Kate Brown, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, the Klamath Tribes and the Jackson County Commissioners. link

JBS Sells Canadian Cattle Feeding Business for $40 Million

JBS has announced the sale of a feedlot and neighboring farmland near Brooks, Alberta, to MCF Holdings Ltd. (MCF) for approximately $40 million ($50 million CAD). The Lakeside Feeders yard has a capacity of 75,000 head and JBS took ownership of the feedlot in 2013, forming JBS Food Canada. JBS Food Canada will continue to own and operate their packing plant in Brooks, Alberta. As part of the agreement MCF will continue to supply cattle to the packer. The transaction is still pending a regulatory review and approval. This is the first sale of the JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding LLC since the announcement was made last month that the cattle feeding business would be divested by JBS. The sale is part a $1.8 billion divestment plan by JBS following a bribery scandal that has rocked the Brazilian owned business. Five Rivers has 12 feedlots in the U.S. with locations in Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Including the yard in Canada, JBS had a one-time capacity of one million head in North America, making it the largest cattle feeder in the region...more

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Zinke to visit Cascade-Siskiyou monument in Oregon

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon comes under federal scrutiny this weekend as U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke visits it as part of his study on whether 27 national monuments should be abolished or resized. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will be meeting with Zinke, trying to persuade him to leave it alone, and will also tour the monument, which former President Barack Obama expanded in the final days in office by 48,000 acres. Since June 12, Zinke has recommended that the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be downsized, and that no changes be made to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and the Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington. President Donald Trump, when he ordered the review in April, called the designation of the 27 monuments by three former presidents “a massive federal land grab.” Brown and Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have urged the Trump administration to protect the full Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which covers mountains and forests in Southern Oregon and a sliver of Northern California, for future generations. Brown’s press secretary, Bryan Hockaday, said Brown will meet privately with Zinke. She will also tour part of the monument on horseback with aides, Hockaday said. “The future of Oregon’s federal public lands and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument gives me great concern, as I know it does for many Oregonians,” Brown said in a statement to The Associated Press Friday. “Oregonians have a long tradition of environmental stewardship and deep appreciation for our public lands, and I will make sure the voices of Oregonians are heard by Secretary Zinke and the federal administration.”...more

Grading Lujan Grisham and Pearce


Well, it’s official. Two members of the state’s congressional delegation are running for governor, and given their name recognition, proven political acumen, and hefty Rolodexes of supporters/volunteers/donors, it’s likely that Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Rep. Steve Pearce will win their parties’ nominations. The best way to predict how the two would govern New Mexico is to examine the way they vote in Washington. So here’s a quick look at how Lujan Grisham and Pearce scored on the latest ratings tabulated by four limited-government organizations (0 is worst, 100 is best)...more

 Read the rest of the post, including info on each of the rating orgs, by going here

Suspected Deming bank robbers arrested after high-speed chase

An Arizona man suspected of leading authorities on a high-speed chase throughout Las Cruces and surrounding areas Thursday evening is a suspect in bank robberies in two states, officials said. Zachary Stephen Reeder, 39, of Marana, Arizona, was arrested after the dramatic, 45-minute chase came to an end with a crash and foot pursuit near Apodaca Road and N.M. Highway 28. A passenger, identified as Cassandra Webb, 28, of Phoenix, also was taken into custody at the time of Reeder's arrest. Reeder and Webb were booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center early Friday morning and are being held without bond on federal charges, jail records show. The complaint states Webb told authorities she met Reeder about one month ago in Arizona. She said they are in a relationship. Webb, who talked to authorities Friday, said she drove Reeder to an unnamed bank in Mesa, Arizona, about five days ago. According to Webb, Reeder was wearing Army camouflage clothing and entered the bank with what she described as a sawed-off black shotgun. She said she was driving a BMW "when the bank was robbed," the affidavit states. Later, the two drove to Lordsburg, where Webb said they "picked up the White Acura SUV," with Arizona plates, the complaint states. Webb told authorities she and Reeder drove to Silver City on Wednesday in an attempt to rob the Wells Fargo bank. She said they arrived late and the bank was closed. On Thursday, Webb and Reader were in Deming and she drove him to the First Savings Bank, the complaint states. Reeder entered wearing Army camouflage clothing with a tan hat and sunglasses, Webb told authorities. The First Savings Bank at 520 S. Gold Ave. was robbed Thursday morning by a man wearing a camouflage jacket and boonie hat, according to the FBI. The FBI report states the robber displayed a shotgun and demanded money from the teller before leaving with an undisclosed amount of money. "The suspect left the bank and got into a vehicle described as a white SUV that was last seen heading west," the FBI reported...more

Western Watersheds Project Wins Protections for Native Fish in Central Idaho!

Western Watersheds Project and our partners at Advocates for the West have entered into a settlement agreement with the Forest Service that gives salmon, steelhead, and bull trout spawning habitats in the upper East Fork of the Salmon River a chance to recover from the impacts of livestock grazing!
The settlement resolves a 2016 lawsuit challenging violations of Endangered Species Act  requirements on two national forest grazing allotments. The allotments are within the acclaimed Sawtooth National Recreation Area and they overlap with the new White Clouds Wilderness. The new court-approved agreement guarantees that there will be no domestic livestock on the Upper and Lower East Fork allotments in 2017 or 2018, and no livestock will be allowed to return until stream health standards for trout and salmon are fully met. This will stop the bank trampling, removal of streamside vegetation, and associated shallower, warmer and more turbid waters, and give the salmon, steelhead and bull trout of the East Fork a desperately needed leg up on survival. The Forest Service must also reassess whether any livestock grazing should occur on these sensitive habitats in the future...more

Friday, July 14, 2017

Trump administration rejects request to declare site of Dakota Access Pipeline protests a disaster area

John Sexton

Are left-wing protesters the equivalent of a natural disaster? It may sometimes seem that way but the Trump administration rejected a request by the Governor of North Dakota to declare the scene of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests a disaster area. The Governor was looking for the feds to help with the massive $38 million spent policing the protests. From the Seattle Times...more

How big of a stretch would it be to says the feds should bear some of the cost for this? No stretch at all says Sexton: 
 The claim that the feds bear some responsibility for this is far less of a stretch than it might at first appear. Remember that the main camp where, at its peak, several thousand protesters were living, was on federal land. The police were able to remove the protesters from private land when they tried to set up camp there but were not able to remove people from the federal land. The Obama administration didn’t move to close that land until late November. And even then, the government didn’t enforce the closure.

House panel lifts ban on slaughtering horses for meat

A House panel has voted to lift a ban on slaughtering horses at meat processing plants. The move by the House Appropriations Committee would reverse a horse slaughter ban that was contained in a huge catchall spending bill signed into law by President Trump in early May. A move to renew the slaughter ban, pushed by California Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard, was defeated by a 27-25 vote. The Horse slaughter ban has mostly been in force for more than a decade. The ban is enforced by blocking the Agriculture Department from providing inspectors at meat plants that slaughter horses and is in place through Sept. 30. There are currently no horse slaughter facilities operating in the U.S. The vote came as the panel approved a Department of Agriculture funding bill.  AP

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

TGIFF! Its Fiddle Friday and let's go back and pick up one of our country roots tunes, Old Jake Gillie by the Kessinger  Brothers. The tune was recorded in NYC on Feb. 4, 1929.

R's appropropriate $4.3 billion MORE than Trump's request for DOI, EPA, Forest Service

The full Appropriations Committee bill includes $31.4 billion in funding for many other U.S. environmental and public land programs. This is $824 million below last year’s levels, but roughly $4.3 billion above President Donald Trump’s budget request...more

The R's are making it clear they don't have the stomach for significant cuts to environmental programs. They might have had the courage to do so if Trump hadn't squandered so much of his political capital on ill-timed tweets, useless media wars and so on, resulting in his precipitous decline in the polls. They do, however, somewhat address land acquisition by redirecting those funds to deferred maintenance:

NPS needs to spend four times the amount it gets every year from Congress to fix its maintenance backlog, which is expected to grow each year, according to research from the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). Much of the maintenance backlog facing the agency is caused by expanding operations at the expense of basic upkeep. The NPS added 18 new units to the national parks system since 2009, costing the agency an enormous amount of money. As the mission of NPS expanded, the agency became increasingly unable to fund necessary maintenance projects. The correlation between new park units and deferred maintenance is quite direct. The U.S. government has spent more than $10 billion acquiring new public lands, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Recall that one of those acquisitions was the Valle Caldera in northern NM, and I wrote at the time:

It also contains the Heinrich-Udall language to transfer the Valles Caldera Preserve from a multiple-use trust to the sole jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  In a joint statement Senators Heinrich and Udall say the transfer is “to increase public access.”  In a floor statement Senator Heinrich says current management has resulted in “drastically limited public access with relatively high entrance and permit fees” and the new management will result in “expanded public access.”  A more realistic assessment comes from the Washington Post: The Park Service is taking on Valles Caldera and numerous other properties at a time when the agency is struggling with more than $11 billion in deferred maintenance at existing parks and monuments and is looking to boost entrance fees at parks across the nation to generate more revenue in advance of the agency’s centennial. Can the agency afford what amounts to its largest expansion in nearly four decades?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gov. Martinez backs Interior Dept. monument review in NM

By Michael Coleman / Journal Washington Bureau
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is voicing her support for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s decision to review and possibly reduce the size of two national monuments in New Mexico. “I support a thorough review of the two national monuments to focus on the respective proclamations and the objects to be protected to analyze whether the designations make the best sense for New Mexico,” Martinez wrote to Zinke in a letter this week. Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation strongly oppose altering the New Mexico monuments in any way. But Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican who is running for governor in 2018, has said the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is too large and hampers economic development. Martinez, a Republican who hails from Las Cruces, focused her five-page letter primarily on the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument. She said the “sheer size and scope of the monument increases management complexity and requirements for all parties (federal, state, local, and private entities).” “The nearly 574,000 acres that encompass the (monument) may be greater than needed to address concerns of ‘theft from and destruction of archaeological sites,’ which was the original impetus for the (Antiquities) Act,” she wrote. “It is unclear how a larger designation better protects specific objects, especially since multiple federal laws, policies, and programs already exist to protect antiquities and archaeological sites.”...more

 And the MSM finally covers the story...

After 14 years, U.S. beef hits Chinese market

During his Senate hearing to be confirmed as ambassador to China, then-Gov. Terry Branstad said he would prefer to serve Iowa beef — not cuts from Australia — at the U.S. Embassy there. He won’t get that wish yet, but the prime rib he slices into Friday when joined in Beijing by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Chinese government officials to ceremonially mark the return of U.S. beef to China after a 14-year ban will be from closer to home — Nebraska. The meat shipped last week by a South Omaha meatpacker was reported to be the first shipment of U.S. beef to China since 2003 after officials sealed a long-sought trade deal this month. “This is a big deal. It’s definitely very positive news,” said Lee Schulz, an Iowa State University Extension livestock economist. But Schulz cautioned overcoming the political hurdles that had prevented U.S. beef exports to China over fears associated with mad cow disease are only the first step. It will be some time before American beef becomes “it’s what’s for dinner” for nearly 1.4 billion Chinese. He described the Chinese market for U.S. beef as “in its infancy” in terms of its impact on Iowa and U.S. producers and processors...more

The Ancient Incas and the Collectivist State

Examples of government control over social and economic life are as old as recorded history, and they always have features that are universal in their perverse effects regardless of time or place. One of the most famous of these collectivist episodes was that of the Incas and their empire in South America. The Inca Empire emerged out of a small tribe in the Peruvian mountains in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Theirs was a military theocracy. The Inca kings rationalized their brutal rule on the basis of a myth that the Sun god, Inti, took pity on the people in those mountains and sent them his son and other relatives to teach them how to build homes and how to manufacture rudimentary products of everyday life. The later Inca rulers then claimed that they were the descendants of these divine beings and therefore were ordained to command and control all those who came under their power and authority. The fourteenth and especially the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries saw the expansion of the Incas into a great imperial power with control over a territory that ran along the west coast of South America and included much of present-day Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and parts of Argentina and Colombia. The Incas were brought down in the 1530s by the Spanish conquest under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro. The Inca kings, asserting to be both sons and priests of the Sun god, held mastery of all the people and property in his domains. And like most socialist systems throughout history they combined both privilege and egalitarianism. When the invading Spaniards entered the Inca capital of Cuzco, they were amazed by the grandeur of the palaces, temples, and homes of the Inca elite, as well as the system of aqueducts and paved roads. But having an economy based on slave labor, there had been few incentives or profitable gains from the development of machines and tools to raise the productivity of the work force or reduce the amount of labor needed to perform the tasks of farming and manufacturing. Methods of production were generally primitively labor-intensive. Thus, the Spaniards, in comparison, were far better equipped with more advanced instruments of war to defeat the Incas...more

Labor Unions Are Now Filing Grievances Against Goats

A major union is rallying its supporters to battle the latest job-stealing enemy: goats. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the University of Michigan have had a well-established working relationship with each other for years. But this is largely because the labor union holds a contract with the school, barring it from hiring non-AFSCME members for various positions. Landscaping is among the many career fields supported by the union and is actually at the center of this latest controversy. While the university has traditionally employed AFSCME landscapers to tend to the school’s outdoor grass-trimming needs during the summer, the school has —albeit on accident— gone a different route this season and union members are anything but pleased. Blame It on the Livestock Tasked with clearing poisonous brush and overgrown vegetation that is both extremely difficult for humans to remove and all the more plentiful in the summer months, the university decided to utilize goats to get the job done. Renting a team of 20 goats from local residents, the livestock were expected to complete the 15-acre clearing job before students returned to campus in the fall. But the goats exceeded all expectations and instead of completing the job by the end of the summer, they fulfilled their task in a matter of weeks. Since the goats had been rented for the season and were still in the care of the university, they were allowed to graze on campus property after they had finished clearing the overgrowth. While this was not the campus’ original intent, this grazing allowed the goats to feed themselves while the university received a cost-effective lawn mowing service on campus. But not all parties saw this cheap labor as a win/win for the campus community. As animals, the goats themselves were not privy to the terms of the AFSCME’s contract with the school and made the grave error of eating grass that existed outside of the designated 15-acre clearing area. Unfortunately, trimming grass on campus property is a job-protected in the labor union’s contract with the university, making these goats “scabs” in the eyes of the AFSCME...more

Animal rights protesters carrying butcher knives swarm Chick-fil-A store

PINNELLAS PARK, Fla. — Customers at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the Tampa-area found themselves navigating past animal rights protesters wearing masks, covered in fake blood and clutching butcher knives. One customer at the fast food restaurant on Tuesday captured the melee on video. The Tampa Bay Times reports some protesters wearing chicken and horse masks lay on the tile floors, while others pretended to stab them with bloody knives. Others lofted signs, and some screamed, "Animal killers!" A Kissimmee woman who attended the protest said the goal was to protest how they think animals are treated in slaughterhouses. “We went into to Chick-fil-A with the intent of only speaking on the animals, but we actually didn’t even get a chance to do our speak out because everybody got so aggressive so quickly.” While customers looked on, yelling for the demonstrators to leave, some tried to shield their children from the fracas. Restaurant managers attempted to quell the disturbance...more

Man Kills Horse With Axe

Wolfe County, Kentucky – A 72-year-old man, Carl Miller, spent the night in jail after killing his horse with an axe. He was angry at the horse because it kept breaking through the fence onto his neighbor’s property, and he did not want any further damage to the fence. Miller allegedly killed the miniature horse by splitting it’s head open with his axe because he did not own a gun. “I see both sides,” Miller’s adult daughter, Starr Campbell, explained to reporters. “I don’t condone what he did. I don’t like what he did. But he’s just from that generation where that’s what they did when they didn’t see anything fit, they got rid of it.” Miller is charged with second degree animal cruelty, and is due in court on August 19.

See the full WKYT video report here.

L.A. took their water and land a century ago. Now the Owens Valley is fighting back

A century ago, agents from Los Angeles converged on the Owens Valley on a secret mission. They figured out who owned water rights in the lush valley and began quietly purchasing land, posing as ranchers and farmers. Soon, residents of the Eastern Sierra realized much of the water rights were now owned by Los Angeles interests. L.A. proceeded to drain the valley, taking the water via a great aqueduct to fuel the metropolis’ explosive growth. This scheme became an essential piece of California history and the subject of the classic 1974 film “Chinatown.” In the Owens Valley, it is still known as the original sin that sparked decades of hatred for Los Angeles as the valley dried up and ranchers and farmers struggled to make a living. But now, the Owens Valley is trying to rectify this dark moment in its history. Officials have launched eminent domain proceedings in an effort to take property acquired by Los Angeles in the early 1900s. It is the first time Inyo County has used eminent domain rules against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which owns 25% of the Owens Valley floor, officials said Wednesday. Unlike previous battles with the DWP that focused on the environmental and economic damage caused by L.A.'s pumping of local water supplies, the county seeks to pay fair market value for property and water rights needed for landfills, parks, commerce and ranchlands along a 112-mile stretch of Highway 395 east of the Sierra Nevada. “We’re using a hammer the DWP has never seen before in Owens Valley,” Inyo County Supervisor Rick Pucci said. “Our goal is the future health and safety of our communities.”...more

Senators say interior secretary to leave Hanford Reach monument as is

The nation’s interior secretary has made a commitment not to change the status of the Hanford Reach National Monument, according to Washington state’s two Democratic senators. Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell spoke to Secretary Ryan Zinke in a joint phone call on Wednesday, according to their staffs. “Today, the Department of Interior confirmed what so many Washingtonians have known all along — that the Hanford Reach, designated after years of collaboration in the Tri-Cities community, is worthy of protection for generations to come,” Murray said. Murray led efforts in the 1990s to establish the national monument from nearly 200,000 acres of land that had remained undeveloped, and some of it largely untouched, since it was set aside as a security perimeter around the Hanford nuclear reservation in 1943. Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said “An attack on one of our national monuments is an attack on all of them.” “Now that Secretary Zinke agrees that the protection of the Hanford Reach National Monument should not be changed, the Trump administration should abandon this review and the ill-advised effort to undermine national monuments altogether,” Cantwell said...more

AG Sessions: ‘I’m not taking sides’ in Bundy case

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a brief reference to the ongoing Bunkerville standoff trial Wednesday when he offered praise to the lead prosecutor, but he declined to take a side in the case that his Justice Department is prosecuting. “I’ve got to tell you, it’s impressive when you have a tough case, a controversial case, and you’ve got the top guy leading the battle, going to court, standing up and defending the office and the principles of the law,” Sessions said of Nevada Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre. “I’m not taking sides or commenting on the case,” Sessions said. “Just want to say that leadership requires, a lot of times, our people to step up and be accountable.” Sessions’ comments — and his explicit unwillingness to take a side — were significant because supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy previously have signaled that they see a potential ally in the Trump administration. That was evident in the throngs of Bundy supporters who rallied outside the U.S. attorney’s office when Sessions gave his remarks Wednesday. The supporters held signs supporting both Bundy and President Donald Trump. They called for the release of more than a dozen defendants who were arrested in the case. Sessions’ comments “were a victory for us,” said supporter Ashley Jones, a producer for radio show host Pete Santilli. Santili, a Bundy ally, is incarcerated pending trial in the case. Meanwhile, Roger Stone — the longtime on-and-off adviser to Trump — is scheduled to speak at a pro-Bundy rally in Las Vegas this weekend to raise money for the rancher’s legal defense fund...more

Judge issues protective order to conceal identities of other FBI agents, police in Finicum shooting case

A federal judge Wednesday ordered that the names be kept private of all law enforcement and FBI agents questioned or identified as witnesses in the investigation of an indicted FBI agent accused of concealing that he fired two gunshots during the stop of refuge occupier Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones barred the defense lawyers for FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita from sharing government documents received as evidence. Astarita faces a five-count indictment charging him with making false statements and obstruction of justice. "Threats have been made against the officers and agents who were present when Finicum was shot. Their identities have not been released in order to protect their safety,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Maloney wrote in a motion seeking the protective order. Instead of redacting all their names from investigative reports before sharing the documents with Astarita's lawyers, the prosecutors asked for the order, citing a need "to protect the safety of law enforcement agents and officers and the integrity of ongoing law enforcement operations.''...more