Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Who Was Anne Gorsuch Burford? Neil Gorsuch's Mom Was the First Female EPA Head

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump is expected to announce Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to be his nominee for the Supreme Court. But Neil isn’t the first in his family to serve the federal government. The political career of his late mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, could prove telling about his own leanings. Burford was the first female head of the EPA — and by most accounts, she wasn’t a very good one. Burford was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served for about two years. Her tenure was marked by perceptions that she was “a handmaiden to industry.” She became known for her efforts under Reagan for working to lessen the clout of the federal government in the area of environmental regulations, trying instead to devolve authority and give the states more leeway over their own jurisdictions. The realization of this goal meant weakening the EPA, which was not seen favorably by activists or members of either political party. Gaylord Nelson, chairman of The Wilderness Society at the time, said that Burford was engaging in a “wholesale dismantling” of environmental progress. Her disdain for federal authority came to a head when she refused to provide Congress with documents relating to a toxic waste cleanup. Burford declared that she would “go to jail rather than surrender them to Congress.” With respect to Neil Gorsuch, Burford’s career can be a vehicle for predicting his behavior should he be appointed to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has proven solidly conservative in many areas, but he doesn’t have much of a judicial record on environmental issues. If his mother’s career is any indication, then Scott Pruitt may find himself with an ally on the Court as Gorsuch hands down rulings against the expansion of federal regulations. It’s possible he’d couch those opinions in the same logic his mother used: that these matters are better left to individual states...more

 Anne Gorsuch, later Burford, became a dear friend as we served together during the Reagan administration. If he is as intelligent, vibrant and conservative as his mother was, then he will be a great addition to the Supreme Court.

Trump taps Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

President Trump on Tuesday selected Neil Gorsuch to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, setting up a nasty confirmation battle with Senate Democrats stung over the GOP blockade against former President Obama’s pick. Trump named Gorsuch, a well-respected conservative who sits on the Colorado-based 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, after a drama-packed day that resembled the president’s former reality show “The Apprentice.” Trump said he has promised to nominate a judge who respected the law and loved the Constitution. “Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them and I am a man of my word and will do what I say, something the American people have been asking of Washington for a very long time,” Trump said. At 49, Gorsuch would be the youngest member of the court — a major consideration for Trump, who wants his picks to potentially remain on the bench for decades. Supreme Court justices receive lifetime appointments. Gorsuch is likely to face a tough confirmation battle, though he was seen as a less provocative choice for the court than Bill Pryor, the circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit...more

‘Takings’ trial on irrigation shutoff now underway

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The 2001 shutoff of water to Klamath Project irrigators is the focus of a trial now underway in federal court in Washington, D.C. – and the outcome could extend beyond the Klamath Basin. Farmers and ranchers claim the shutoff of water was a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. “It’s a trial that will determine basically, the outcome of 2001.” Explains Scott White, Executive Director of the Klamath Water Users Association. “Whether it was a ‘takings’ of their water rights, or not.” The government ruled at the time that sucker fish upstream, and salmon downstream had water priority under the Endangered Species Act, or ‘E.S.A.’ “It was determined that there was not enough water in the system to satisfy both the biological, or the species, and the Klamath Project irrigators.” Notes White. The shutoff sparked a summer of protest at the headgates to the ‘A’ canal in Klamath Falls. Irrigators are seeking about 30 million dollars in damages. But, White adds that a favorable ruling could have even bigger impacts. “This really would force the federal government to consider operations when it comes to shorting project irrigators.” The ‘Bucket Brigade’ protest focused national attention on Klamath Falls in 2001. And Scott White believes the ‘takings’ trial is just as important. “I think everybody, if they’re not, they should be watching this because it really could have an impact on, not only operations for the Klamath Project, but for all the other Reclamation projects out there that deal with endangered species.”...more

The meeting that never happened

Attorneys, ranchers and members of the Finicum family called for political activism in the wake of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation and the death of LaVoy Finicum last year. Jeanette Finicum — the widow of the refuge occupier who was killed during a traffic stop en route to a meeting in John Day in the final days of the Malheur occupation — spoke to the crowd and thanked God and all those who supported her and her family since her husband’s death. “They silenced one man’s voice, but in doing so, they created 13 more very loud voices,” Finicum said in reference to herself and her 12 children. She read a statement prepared by the family’s lawyers announcing they filed a notice of administrative claim as a precursor to filing a federal civil rights lawsuit. “While we could have filed our wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Oregon, it is more efficient to wait a short while longer to include the FBI in one lawsuit,” she said. She recounted the jury’s acquittal of seven of the occupants on federal conspiracy charges to thunderous applause, adding her husband should have been among them. Finicum played several videos made by her husband before and during the occupation, which explained he supported the occupation because he believed the federal government was overreaching and overly-regulating farmers and ranchers. She urged those in attendance to become involved however they can in their local communities. “One man can make a difference,” she said. “He did make a difference.” Grant County resident and event organizer Jim Sproul said 470 tickets were sold before the event and another 218 at the door, at $15 each. He estimated there were 650 in attendance, including 250-300 locals...more

Utah: House Democrats try to stop floor debate on Bears Ears resolution

Utah House members are expected to debate a resolution Tuesday calling on the Trump administration to rescind the creation of the Bear Ears National Monument. But minority Democrats cried foul Monday, arguing that HCR11 and HCR12, a resolution seeking congressional support to reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, should be sent to a House committee for public comment before going to the floor. The House Rules Committee last week voted to send the legislation straight to the House floor. The committee decides which bills move forward and which do not. Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who heads the committee, said the state's congressional delegation — all Republicans — wants lawmakers to move quickly to get the issue before President Donald Trump. The contention led to a spirited debate about legislative rules that the Democrats ultimately lost. The GOP-controlled House voted 55-17 to let the resolutions go to the floor. House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said the divisive issue deserves a public hearing. He said a majority of Utahns want the Bears Ears National Monument. "We need to hear from them," King said. Noel said the Rules Committee meeting provided that chance. House Republicans also said they expect a Senate committee to hold a hearing...more

Ranch Radio's Chris Allison Special

Chis Allison posted on facebook he needed some advice answering a question on his hunting license application, and Ranch Radio goes all out finding the answer. The tune, by the way, is Gold In Your Pocket, performed by Tommy Morrell and Don Edwards


Monday, January 30, 2017

Caprock Chronicles: Sheep come to South Plains in 1870s

Immediately after American soldiers defeated Southern Plains Indians in the Red River War of 1874-1875, sheepherders pushed their ovine flocks onto the Llano Estacado. And, perhaps they did it before then, for Antonio Baca claimed to have grazed sheep in the present-day Oklahoma Panhandle prior to the Civil War. After the Red River War, former comancheros, traders from New Mexico, led the way. They knew the Llano and its rich grasslands, its life-sustaining water courses and its sheltering canyons. Many former comancheros remained friends with, or old business partners of, Comanches, Kiowas and Cheyennes. Thus, fear of an Indian attack did not inhibit them in their new pastoral enterprises. The best known of the New Mexico sheepmen, or pastores, as they were called, to climb onto the Texas High Plains was Casimero Romero. In 1876, he led 12 men and their families down the Canadian River from New Mexico’s Mora County to about where Tascosa and modern Boy’s Town in Potter County exist. Romero and the others herded at least 4,500 sheep to the site. In wagons, they brought household supplies and ranching equipment to establish permanent dwellings in the area, and they drove horses and enough cattle to provide beef and milk for the settlers. They built homes of adobe and settled in to graze their sheep on the high lands — the Llano Estacado — above the river valley. Other New Mexicans soon heard of abundant grasslands, clear springs and permanent creeks in the wide valley. They arrived with thousands of additional sheep. Not all who came were Hispanic or Pueblo. Henry Kimball, a blacksmith, moved his sheep to a site along Rita Blanca Creek on the north side of the Canadian River. Englishmen Jim Campbell and A. B. Ledgard establish a sheep ranch northwest of Rita Blanca Creek. Their flock numbered about 25,000 animals. In the Lubbock area, Zachary T. Williams, a 29-year old from Mississippi, grazed his flocks near modern Buffalo Springs Lake. He claimed to have been there as early as 1877. Richard Wilkerson, a 26-year old from Indiana, grazed sheep in Blackwater Draw in the vicinity of present-day Lubbock Country Club. John Coleman ran a very large spread across what is today Mackenzie Park. One of his five herders was Andrew Gonzales, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, and one of the first permanent Mexican-Americans in Lubbock. Grazing circuits extended on the Llano from north of the Canadian River south to Tule and Quitaque canyons and beyond into the upper Brazos River drainage system west of Lubbock. Jesus Perea, for example, herded his flocks of 30,000 sheep to Tahoka Lake, Yellowhouse Canyon and Blanco Canyon. Because of the great amount of grazing land and water needed for so many sheep, Perea scattered his animals widely and took them wherever good grass and water could be found...more

Some uncertainty surrounds Trump regulation-cutting order

...Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, told Agri-Pulse that NPPC is generally supportive of the order as a means to make sure farmers, ranchers, and business owners “aren’t overburdened.” “While there’s constantly new regulations added, there’s never any taken away,” Warner said. “At some point, something’s got to give.” In the legislative process, bills passed by Congress commonly require rulemaking by executive branch agencies. Warner says that rulemaking can get to such a point where regulations might be duplicative or outside the intent of Congress. NPPC isn’t necessarily trying to slice current regulations to a lower quota, Warner said, but NPPC members think a healthy look at what’s on the books could be a good thing. But others aren’t so sure. “It’s unworkable,” Ferd Hoefner, senior strategic adviser with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, said in an interview with Agri-Pulse. He pointed to how the provision could hit agriculture’s chief legislative priority – the upcoming farm bill – and keep it from being fully implemented. “Essentially, Congress would pass a new farm bill in 2018, and USDA would have to pick and choose a couple of things to implement because they (only) have a handful of things that they can get rid of,” Hoefner added. There’s also confusion about how the withdrawal of regulations would work. If a new regulation is produced by the Agriculture Department, would two USDA regulations need to go or would regulations from another department also be up for grabs? What about rulemaking that updates programs but is not a completely new regulation such as annual blending targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard?...more

This reminds me of a Will Rogers story:

 In 1914 the Germans were sinking U.S. ships in the North Atlantic. It was a turkey shoot because the Germans had the U-boat and we didn't. Somebody asked the American folk philosopher Will Rogers what we ought to do about it. He thought about it a moment and said, "Well, I think you should boil the ocean." The man was incredulous. "Boil the ocean?" "Yes," said Rogers. "I think if you heated up the Atlantic ocean, the submarines would rise to the surface and you could capture them." "But how do you boil an ocean?" the man asked. Rogers responded, "I've given you the solution. It's up to you to work out the details." 

Trump is making policy, and will let others work out the details.

Montana’s Mister Secretary

By Dave Skinner

...For example, thankfully-outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell grew up in the Seattle region and spent her formative weekends recreating on Northwest public lands with her parents. Despite her short stint in the petroleum industry, she brought a weekend-warrior hiker, urban point of view to her work as Secretary.

Zinke, by contrast, grew up in the Flathead when we still had a resource economy. Our community not only played in the forest on weekends, but also worked there the rest of the week, all year. Plus, there’s the additional growing up mandated by the naval special-operations environment, where there is much more at risk than who gets the corner office.

But Zinke is not completely Jewell’s opposite. He drives a Prius, and as a state senator was regarded as a greenish, “moderate Republican.” He’s also toed the Green line on a few select votes, which in my view should give him a much higher League of Conservation Voters score than the 3 out of 100 rating Zinke currently enjoys.

Importantly, Zinke pegs himself a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican” – which might be a good thing to be for the leader of Interior.

Greens like to claim Roosevelt for their own, as the guy who introduced “progressivism” to American politics, our first, very aggressive “conservationist President.” But that’s an oversimplification of a complicated man who lived in a complicated era.

...Finally, there’s something else about Zinke worth relating. Only months after retiring from the Navy, he was elected a state senator in 2008. In 2012, Zinke ran for Montana lieutenant governor instead of for re-election (and lost). In 2014, he won a crowded Republican primary and later became the first Navy SEAL in Congress. After that, common “wisdom” held that Zinke planned a 2018 run against incumbent U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

Everyone who knows the soft-spoken Ryan Zinke is also aware that he is quietly, yet aggressively, ambitious...

Republicans take first steps to kill five Obama-era regulations

House Republicans on Monday began the process of killing five Obama-era rules on corruption, the environment, labor and guns under the first real test of the Congressional Review Act, a law intended to keep regulation in check. Republicans put as much urgency on limiting what they consider over-regulation that stifles economic growth as they do on overhauling the tax code and dismantling the Affordable Care Act, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. This is the first time the Republican-led House of Representatives has targeted specific rules since convening on Jan. 3. Earlier this month it passed bills to limit regulatory agencies and Republican President Donald Trump is cutting regulation through executive orders. Under the law, Congress can use simple majority votes to stop recent regulations in their tracks. Timing in the law means any rules enacted after May 31 are eligible for axing. The law has been used effectively only once, ending a rule on ergonomics in 2001. Both sides consider this week a test of its powers. The House Rules Committee was expected on Monday evening to send to the full chamber a measure axing three regulations enacted under former President Barack Obama, a Democrat. They were the Stream Protection Rule, the Securities and Exchange Commission's "resource extraction rule," and the Social Security Administration's expanded background checks on disabled gun buyers. On Tuesday it will send another measure overturning rules on methane and federal contractors. The full body is expected to pass both measures on Wednesday and then hand them off to the Senate...more

Bobcat escapes from National Zoo in Washington

A bobcat that escaped from its enclosure at the National Zoo is perfectly capable of surviving in the wild and would find plenty to eat in a leafy park nearby, zoo officials said Monday. The female bobcat, believed to be about 7 years old, was found to be missing Monday morning when it didn’t show up for breakfast. At the zoo, the bobcat is known as Ollie. The bobcat poses no danger to the public, the zoo said. While no bobcats are known to live in Rock Creek Park, which surrounds the zoo, bobcats are native to much of North America and its mid-Atlantic region. The park, run by the National Park Service, occupies more than 1,700 acres of the nation’s capital. “We know that she is absolutely capable of surviving, even thriving, in this area,” said Brandie Smith, the zoo’s associate director of animal care. “We are prepared for the eventuality that she is not recaptured.”...more

Trump signs '2-for-1' order to reduce regulations

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order that would require agencies to revoke two regulations for every new rule they want to issue. The executive order is aimed at dramatically rolling back federal regulations, one of his top campaign promises.The order requires agencies to control the costs of all new rules within their budget. Agencies are also prohibited from imposing any new costs in finalizing or repealing a rule for the remainder of 2017 unless that cost is offset by the repeal of two existing regulations. Trump's order does make exceptions for emergencies and national security. Starting in 2018, the order calls on the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget to give each agency a budget for how much it can increase regulatory costs or cut regulatory costs...more

“No ban, no wall, Albuquerque is for all,”

Armed with chants and handmade signs, about 1,000 people Sunday evening marched on city streets and into the Albuquerque International Sunport in protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from several majority Muslim nations. “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here,” the group shouted. The protest started in a parking lot on Yale SE on Sunday afternoon and gathered into a mass as speakers shared messages of encouragement, tolerance and resistance through a megaphone. Signs stood above the crowd. One with cut out green and red chiles read “We love red, we love green and all the colors in between.” Images of the Statue of Liberty decorated several signs, and many more quoted a portion of the poem engraved on her pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” After hearing multiple speakers, protesters took over two of Yale Boulevard’s northbound lanes as they headed for the airport. Many passing motorists honked or offered a thumbs-up in support. Police briefly stopped traffic into and out of the Sunport as the dense but sprawling protest crossed roadways outside. Soon the group flooded inside, still chanting...more

NM lawmakers extend invitation to Mexican president

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has a new diplomatic invitation to visit the United States after canceling a trip to Washington in response to President Donald Trump’s plans to build a border wall – this time from a trio of Democratic lawmakers in the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico. Democratic state Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque said Sunday that Trump’s insistence on making Mexico pay for a border wall extension is a threat to centuries-old economic and cultural ties between Mexico and the state of New Mexico, including recent investments by taxpayers in the Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo border crossing that have spurred trade...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1771

In 1960 Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan got back together to record for Liberty records. The reunion didn't last long but they did make some great music, like Ida Red


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The language of horse trading

 by Julie Carter

There is an entire dictionary-size list of phrases, sayings and quotes you can pin to the horse trading business. The best advice for the buyer is to carefully discern the words they hear and look for what they may actually signify. Hidden meaning is a trademark of a seasoned horse trader.

For example, when the trader tells you, "This horse will let you do all the thinking," it really means he is big, dumb and heavy-footed. If he says, "For this one you just need to start a little sooner or cut across," he means the horse has two speeds which are slow and slower.

When the trader tells you "he'll watch a cow" he could mean that he'll actually have the instincts to keep his eye on the cattle and have some quick responsive action. But it could also mean he'll stand in the gate and watch them go by.

When he says that he has a “good'un that doesn't 'look' real good right now,” it means that he's blind in one eye.

A buyer should always look beyond the obvious. "This horse doesn't let much get past him," usually doesn't mean he is alert and attentive. It more likely means the horse will booger at a shadow or a bird flying overhead at a thousand feet. Riding uneventfully through rolling tumbleweeds and blowing dust will never be an option.

The horse described as having "a nice little cowboy lope" is one that is so rough to ride he will loosen your teeth fillings at a trot and if you can ever get him in a lope, he'll jar your hemorrhoids up to your tonsils. This type of horse can be described as having the ability to “give a woodpecker a headache.” I know because I owned one of such as this.
The age of a horse is often disputed, especially if the horse has no registration papers for proof of age or origin. The ability to "mouth a horse" and read their age by the stage and condition of their teeth is a real benefit to the buyer.

But the die hard trader will always justify a smooth-mouthed old horse with the line, "He's been in a sandy pasture and his teeth may look a little older from that sand grinding at his teeth."

Buyers beware when you hear things like "He doesn't buck very often." My suggestion would be that even if you don't mind an occasional bucker, if the trader can't tell you exactly when he does buck, keep shopping.

Other things to listen for are the brilliant statements like "When his nose quits running and his eyes clear up he'll be just fine," or "I usually don't have to hobble him to saddle him but he just looks better when I do." In a moment of trying to dump a real mess of a horse, they will actually say things that are desperate, even to people who know better.

Horse traders come in all sizes, shapes and classes much like used-car salesmen. Some you can't trust and others you shouldn't trust. And, some traders are quite honest with their dialogue. My all-time favorite is "this horse will do anything you can get him to do."

Horse traders do have place in the world. Proof of that is the wife that said her husband bought a couple horses from a horse trader and it was going to take a horse trader to get rid of them.

Having a horse for sale and being called a horse trader is much like be a writer and being labeled a journalist. It is just not all that flattering.

Julie can be reached for comment jcarternm@gmail.com

Monument by Dictatorship

Rogue Leadership
Monument by Dictatorship
Fake News
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            There was a lonely place where the trail ran up to the sky. It turned sharply left on the very point of a lofty promontory overlooking the long sweep of the valley below. Here the trail offered to the passerby a vision of this hour. Rosy-tipped peaks and distant purple mountains could be seen, beyond the far reach of the tall grass range.
            Upon the very lip of the rocky shelf sat a solitary horseman. He was a man tall in the saddle, astride a strangely marked horse. Its head was held high; its ears were pricked forward with attention riveted upon the valley, as though in tune with the thoughts of its rider- thoughts that said there lay a new country, with new dangers, new rewards, and new trails.
            Okay, now try this for impact.
            There was a lonely place where the vestige of an ancient trail must have carried painted warriors of the windswept plains. Here the trail offered a lofty promontory overlooking the long sweep of a plain where the spirit of ancients intermingled with the like minded dreamers of the modern world.
            Upon the very lip of the rocky shelf stood a solitary hiker. He was a man covered with sunscreen, his left shoelace undone from his Eddie Bauer sports boot, but the redundancy of its closures would assure ankle protection if it was called for. His hydrating pack was nearly empty as he took another, boost charged draft of scientifically formulated energy and electrolyte drink. He was now alone with his thoughts. This wilderness, with all its imagined dangers, self awarded benefits, and a blazed trail was all a caring citizen of this earth could possibly imagine, and, of course, protest for.
            The real question arises. Which of the foregoing is political make believe and which isn’t?
            Fake News
            Fake news is everywhere.
            As we watch with utter fascination the proprietary meltdown of the uber-liberalistas, we are beyond trying to speculate why we still read their newsprint. It is always couched in mission double speak, and it denigrates anything aside from its socialistic footnotes. There are no longer any boundaries or standards. The more bizarre the issue becomes the greater the fascination. Only the cause counts and only members of the cause are welcome.
            That was the exactly the case of the visit to the Las Cruces community by border congressman, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) last week. He arrived on the representation of a national tour of protected sites on behalf of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. The stage was set complete with agenda and press coverage. The invited citizenry selected to speak of the glowing success of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument had also been part of the similar chance visit of the outgoing Secretary of Interior when she dashed into town to give the loyal operatives a refresher on fifth column tactics to derail any alteration of the monstrosity for the public good.
            Eighteen residents were posed to speak about the wonders for Grijalva. According to the paper, they represented “outdoor enthusiasts, tourism entities, and some businesses”. Staff representatives of New Mexico’s senatorial duo were also there.
            What the paper didn’t question, however, was the absence of a single person who had an investment, duty, or responsibility on the lands. It didn’t mention that the congressman whose district the monument spanned, Steve Pearce (R-NM) was uninvited and that Congressman Grijalva was not only out of his district but out of his state.
            The emphasis only dealt with the superlative benefits as related by the invited, selected guests. There was not a single invitation to the 44 ranches and the 90 families that stand directly in the approaching avalanche of threatened losses. Neither were there welcomes to the influential off road affiliations, law enforcement, border patrol, utility providers, chamber of commerce, conservation districts, and local government that are charged with the economic well being of the community. If the latter were informed at all, they found out about the “educational event” within the hours before the event was staged.
            Why wouldn’t a newspaper emphasize that in its coverage?
A no borders, congressional far-leftist was in another colleague’s state and district, without his knowledge or input, and was leading a concealed protest refresher for the agendized promotion of monument’s special interest status. The whole event was a façade. It was an embarrassment even to the gathered partisan, biased leadership. It was blatant lapse of good manners (and probable misuse of federal funding) and the local newspaper supported the cause without challenge.
            Shame on them and shame on their perpetuation of fake news!     
            Monument by Dictatorship
             It has come to light that Thomas Jefferson added 530 million acres to United States territory. It wasn’t without conflict or objection. There was a fairly brisk dustup in congress in the approval of the action. Many in congress believed it was unconstitutional to obligate the nation to more debt.
            Not to be outdone the fellow that just vacated the White House added a whopping 553 million acres to the nation’s maritime and land based national monuments. The status of a surface mass the size of the Louisiana Purchase plus twenty three million more acres was changed without a single congressional vote being taken or a floor debate scheduled! There is something dreadfully wrong with that extra legal perversion and it must be fixed. The action to take is to dramatically role back the oppressive overreach. Two places to start are here in southern New Mexico where the border is most vulnerable and in Utah where representation actually cares for the well being of its productive citizenry. The combination will serve as a comprehensive modification of administrative overreach.
            Monument by dictatorship must end.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “I want to know who on the National Resources Committee approved Grijalva’s community outreach on the monument issue.”

Just to reiterate Wilmeth's point, in my column in March of last year I wrote:

"Everybody is coming to me with their wish list," says Interior Secretary Sally Jewel.
You take your wish list to one person, who then takes it to one other person, who can grant you your wish.  Under this model, three people can determine how 640 million acres are managed.  No public hearings, no debate, no involvement of Congress. And this model is being heavily used by the current administration.

Is this model acceptable to anybody? We'll be watching the Republicans to see.

Baxter Black: Mechanical problems

On the coldest morning of last December my pickup wouldn’t start. It wasn’t the battery; it turned over. I ground away at the starter, manipulating the manual choke (it’s 30 years old) until the battery began to weaken.
Installing my daughter behind the wheel and hooking up the jumper cables, I squirted jets of ether down the carburetor’s throat as my daughter ground the starter. Occasionally it would catch and a ball of flame would shoot from the two barrel!
I broke off and went to town for more ether. My daughter suggested it was outta gas. She switched the gas gauge from MAIN TANK to AUX, “See,” she said, “it’s empty.”
“No,” I explained, “You’ve just switched it wrong. See, the other tank is full.”
I used another can of ether to no avail. I released my daughter, unhooked the cables and left my pickup for the wolves.
That night I lay in my bed plotting how to pull it to the mechanic in town when my unconscious mind finally spoke up, “Dummy, switch yer tanks. Yer outta gas!”
Which I was. I haven’t confessed to my daughter yet, so if she doesn’t read this column I’ll still retain my position as “The Perfect Father.” Unfortunately, Bruce’s whole family was there when Mr. Lanham diagnosed his mechanical problem.
Bruce was a recent arrival to northeast Missouri. As the new Extension Service man from California, he was making big waves. Because everyone knows that California produces people on the cutting edge of agricultural technology!
Bruce’s tractor was on the blink. Either the transmission or the linkage was fouled. “I’ve checked it thoroughly,” he told his wife and kids, “I’d better call Mr. Lanham.”
Mr. Lanham is to the age where he doesn’t worry about coddling.

Lee Pitts: Rancher’s Rules

So you want to be a rancher, huh?

There is more to it than joining the cattlemen’s association, buying a hat and sitting at the coffee shop all day. These are the rules all ranchers must obey.

1. You must be at least 59 years of age.
2. Membership is non-transferable. Once you start you cannot quit. There is only one exception to this rule. (See rule number three.)
3. Membership may be canceled or revoked at any time without prior notice by your banker.
4. A rancher’s horse is his most prized possession. It should be a Quarter Horse, but a little Thoroughbred blood is acceptable. Under no circumstances should the rancher’s horse be a Peruvian Paso, Paso Fino or any of those foreign jobs that walk funny.
5. The rancher must own at least one cow or steer, preferably not of the Holstein variety.
6. Before you buy… beg.
7. Never take your wife to a bull sale.
8.Under no circumstances should you let your wife drive. If you do who is gonna open the gates?
9. Keep all work within the family.
10. Don’t expect kind words or praise. That will only come when your dead.
11. The rancher must drive a four wheel drive pick-up with at least two of the following in the bed.; a dog, empty beer can, broken shovel, rolled up ancient barb wire, broken float valve, horse halter, sack of feed, flat tire, baler twine or a broken plastic sorting paddle.
12. A rancher should feel undressed wearing anything other than a pair of Wranglers or Levis. None of those pants with pleats or darts in the front are allowed. I think they call them Dockers. No real cowboy would be caught dead in something called Dockers.
13. A rancher must wear proper headgear at all times. He or she only takes off his or her hat in two instances: at a funeral or when soliciting funds from the banker. The rancher’s hat should either be of the baseball variety, a straw or a beaver hat. At no time should the rancher cover his beaver hat with a plastic rain cover. Beavers love getting wet. So should ranchers.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1770

Our gospel number today features Hot Rize and their 1970 recording of The Man In The Middle.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Misdemeanor charges against second round of Oregon standoff defendants will go before a judge, not jury

The misdemeanor charges filed against the second round of Oregon standoff defendants will be tried before a judge. Because the charges of trespass, tampering with vehicles or equipment and destruction of property are Class B misdemeanors and considered petty offenses, the defendants don't have a right to a jury trial, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown ruled. The judge also cited the "significant uncertainty in the law'' as to whether she has discretion to allow a jury trial for such offenses. "Simply put, the Court declines to exercise discretion to take an action when it is not at all clear that the Court has such discretion in the first place,'' Brown wrote in her ruling Thursday. "The Court notes Congress explicitly intended the trial of petty offenses to be tried to the court, and expressly permitted magistrate judges to conduct such trials in order to facilitate their efficient resolution without the process associated with a jury trial,'' Brown wrote. Brown said she plans to hear evidence on the misdemeanor charges filed against the seven as a jury hears evidence on their felony conspiracy and weapons charges. If there's additional evidence on the misdemeanor charges, the judge will hear it while the jury deliberates on the felonies, Brown said. Defense lawyers have indicated that they'd ask a federal magistrate judge instead to hear the misdemeanor charges because that's the typical procedure for such offenses, said attorney Jesse Merrithew, who represents Jake Ryan. Brown suggested that would be a waste of resources. Defendants and their lawyers were dismayed by the ruling. Andrew Kohlmetz, standby lawyer for defendant Jason Patrick, said, "It's very important for Mr. Patrick to have a jury of his peers make those decisions. He's frankly not happy.'' Matthew McHenry, who represents defendant Sean Anderson, argued in court papers that a jury verdict that "reflects the judgment of the public and the defendants' peers'' would provide a "more satisfactory and acceptable resolution'' to defendants and the public...more

Is the government's real intent to facilitate "efficient resolution", or is to avoid a jury of local citizens? 

Mathew McHenry, one of the defense attorneys, thinks it its the latter:

"Finally, the defendants believe the government's strong desire for a bench trial stems in large part from the jury acquittals in the first trial. The government should not be aided by this Court as it attempts to take this case out of the hands of a jury of the defendants' peers,'' McHenry wrote.

In another ruling on the same day, Judge Brown said she would not allow evidence of the acquittals to be presented in the second trial: 

"Admitting evidence related to the verdicts following the September 7, 2016, trial would be confusing and necessarily would require the jury to consider (and likely to guess) which evidence or aspect of the government's case the jury in the prior trial found insufficient," Brown wrote. 

These average citizens would be "confused" and might start "guessing" about the evidence, so we'll not let these ignorant Oregon hicks have a say. No, we'll let the all-knowing, august court, where you can't wear cowboy boots and they tackle and taser defense attorneys, be the final arbiter. Only then can justice be done.

Bottome line: The federal prosecutors requested two things from the judge and they got both of them.

Hundreds Expected At Meeting In Oregon 1 Year After LaVoy Finicum's Death

Hundreds of people are expected in John Day Saturday for an event organized by the widow of LaVoy Finicum. A year ago, Finicum was killed by law enforcement during the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation. A police investigation last year found the shooting was justified. Jeanette Finicum says she organized the event independent of the families of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who led last year’s occupation. “This isn’t a Bundy event," she said. "This is an event that our family — the Finicum family — wanted to put on because we wanted to further the education of property rights and to discuss the constitution and learn more about state sovereignty.” Members of the Bundy family will still attend, and many of their supporters will speak at the event. The event is titled "The Meeting With LaVoy Finicum That Never Happened In Oregon." Finicum, the Bundys and several others were on their way to speak at a public meeting in John Day a year ago when Finicum was shot and the others were arrested...more

The Endangered Species Act: Uncertainty under Trump

Environmental preservation is an issue that has enjoyed bountiful support across all religions and party lines for more than a century, which is why it’s troubling to see today’s leaders using the Endangered Species Act -- a bill championed by Republican President Richard Nixon meant to protect endangered species and their habitats -- as a political football. The previous Congress introduced over 250 amendments, bills, and riders aimed at stripping away provisions of the ESA, such as provisions that would limit lawsuits as a means to maintain protections for species or limit the number of species that can be protected. With the GOP firmly in control of both the House and Senate, it is likely these efforts will be renewed in earnest, and have a much better chance of succeeding. But these direct attacks on the ESA are not the only threat to our wildlife.

...As head of DOI, Rep. Zinke would oversee a department that manages hundreds of millions of acres of land, numerous bodies of water, and the countless species of wildlife that inhabit them. He’ll also be responsible for leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in developing policies in line with the ESA - a law that he has a history of seeking to dismantle. During his short time in Congress, he has championed expanded oil and gas development on public lands, and moved to exempt agribusiness from ESA regulations.

Most disturbingly, he has led efforts on the federal level to take away protections for some of our majestic species, including wolves and lynx, and voted to block efforts that would have limited the black market ivory trade. He is inheriting a role designed to protect America’s public lands; yet, based on his past efforts to take away protections for endangered species, how can we trust Zinke to stand up to his Republican counterparts as they try to phase out the Endangered Species Act?

...The Bible tells us the story of Noah who was called on by God to build an ark for all species, big and small. The Endangered Species Act is today’s ark. Once again, we must prioritize saving each and every species before disaster strikes and opportunity is lost. This is, in the words of President Reagan, “our great moral responsibility.”

 The National Religious Partnership for the Environment’s mission is to educate the public and policy-makers about with it means to uphold this responsibility in our daily lives, and how we can value the importance of every species present on this Earth. To this end, last month on Capitol Hill, we hosted the fourth in a series of roundtables and events on species protection featuring science and faith leaders -- and in some instances, endangered animals themselves.

Praising Nixon - quoting Reagan - invoking the Bible - they'll do whatever it takes to protect the most powerful weapon in the environmental arsenal. And that weapon, the ESA, takes direct aim at the market economy, individual property owners and most of the rural West. Folks are simply acting in self defense, and rightly so.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Trump is eager to undo sacred tribal monument, says Orrin Hatch

President Trump is "eager to work with" Republican lawmakers on undoing new federal protections for Bears Ears, a sacred tribal site in Utah, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Former president Barack Obama designated the 1.35 million-acre area, which includes artifacts and rock drawings from ancestral Pueblos, as a national monument in late December. But Hatch and several other key Utah Republicans, including House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, have argued for months that Obama should not have invoked his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect the site. Hatch, who met with Trump Thursday, said Friday that he had spoken with Trump "and one of the issues I raised very strongly was Bears Ears." In a statement, he noted the president's interior secretary nominee, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has already pledged "that his first trip after confirmation would be to Utah to get right to work with us on addressing this travesty." "As secretary of the Interior, Zinke will play a key role in this fight, but in the end, changes to a national monument have to come from the president himself," Hatch said. "That's why I raised it with the president directly." The senator continued: "And not only is he willing to listen, he's eager to work with me to address this." Bishop and Chaffetz have also been pressing the issue with the administration, including before Trump actually took office...more

Court hearing held about wolf release program in NM

A battle over how to save endangered wolves in the Southwest moved to a federal appeals court last week as judges heard arguments on whether states can block the federal government from reintroducing wildlife within their borders. The Interior Department is asking the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a preliminary injunction that bars the department from releasing more captive-bred Mexican gray wolves into the wild in New Mexico without that state’s approval. It’s the latest skirmish in the federal government’s long and troubled effort to restore the rare wolves to part of their original range under the Endangered Species Act. It comes as the future of the law is in question, with Congress and the White House in the control of Republicans who generally see it as an impediment to jobs and economic development. New Mexico has multiple complaints about the Mexican gray wolf program, and in 2015 it refused to issue a permit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — part of the Interior Department — to release more of the predators in the state. New Mexico also announced it might sue the agency. The Socorro County Board of Commissioners also passed an ordinance last year forbidding the release of wolves and other predators within the county. Fish and Wildlife decided to release more wolves anyway, citing an urgent need to expand the wild population to prevent inbreeding. New Mexico officials went to court, and a federal judge in New Mexico issued an order last year blocking further releases while the dispute is resolved. The Interior Department appealed to the 10th Circuit. Appeals court judges generally take weeks or months to issue a ruling after hearing oral arguments. Even if the court sides with the government, it’s not clear whether president-elect Donald Trump’s administration will continue to fight after he takes office. U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce, who represents Socorro and Catron counties where the wolves could be released, has sided with the state and local governments on the issue...more

Finicum family, Bureau of Land Management still tangling a year after fatal standoff

by Valery Richardson

Ten months after her husband was killed in a standoff with the federal government, Jeanette Finicum was driving her cattle to their winter range in Northern Arizona when she received a message from the Bureau of Land Management: Keep off. She was told she could not pasture her cows on the grazing allotment she inherited upon the death of her husband, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, even though she had turned in her application and written a check for fees and fines before making the 50-mile trek. “We were in the middle of the cattle drive [in October] when we got word that they were not accepting my check,” said Ms. Finicum. “I had to stop because my attorneys didn’t want me to be out of compliance, and I had to find somewhere else to put my cows.” She was stunned. “Here I am, in the middle of the desert with 150 cows, going, ‘Where am I going to go?’” she said. Ms. Finicum, 56, was able to move her cattle to her sister-in-law’s pasture, but she still has a problem on her hands. She fears the directive may be more than a bureaucratic snafu, that federal officials want to wrest her grazing rights in order to discourage other ranchers from challenging land-management policies, as her husband did. “I believe it’s because of his stand and because of what happened in Oregon,” Ms. Finicum said, referring to the armed takeover of a federal wildlife reserve. “They want to make an example out of him. They want to make sure people don’t do this again by taking my ranch away from me. It’s like, ‘Here’s what will happen to you if you don’t behave.’” J. Morgan Philpot, one of the Bundy attorneys, is aiding Ms. Finicum in her fight to keep her winter range, known as the Tuckup Allotment, a pasture used by ranchers for more than 100 years that her husband purchased the rights to from the previous owner in 2009. Mr. Philpot said she should inherit the allotment rights under Arizona and federal law, “but for some reason the BLM has made a choice to obfuscate and avoid rather than working with Jeanette to ensure that her permit remains in effect.”...more

Federal judge considers NM ranchers' discrimination case

An attorney representing Hispanic ranchers told a federal judge Thursday that the U.S. Forest Service violated the law when deciding to limit grazing on historic land grants despite recognition decades ago by the government that the descendants of Spanish colonists have a unique relationship with the land that is integral to their heritage and traditional values. Simeon Herskovitz argued that the agency failed to consider the social, economic and cultural effects that would result from limiting grazing in a region where poverty is high and the fragile existence of the rural communities there depends on access to surrounding lands. He accused forest managers of making "naked assumptions" without collecting or reviewing any data to support their position. Herskovitz laid out his arguments during a daylong hearing before U.S. District Judge James Browning in case that has been stewing for years. Browning expects to issue a ruling next month. The ranchers filed their lawsuit in 2012. It chronicles a history in which they claim the property rights of Hispanics have been ignored and an institutional bias has been allowed to continue. Efforts to get the Obama administration to address discrimination and civil rights violations repeatedly went unanswered in recent years, and many of the plaintiffs see the court case as a way to validate their concerns. "The demographics of the area and the poverty have been recognized, but the Forest Service didn't consider any of that. They ignored all those factors," said Dave Sanchez, a New Mexico rancher and member of the Northern New Mexico Stockmen's Association. In motions filed over the years, the ranchers point to a 1972 policy that emerged following the raid of the Tierra Amarilla Courthouse in 1967 over unresolved land grant issues. That policy noted the relationship Hispanic residents of northern New Mexico had with the land and declared their culture a resource that must be recognized when setting agency objectives and policies. Carlos Salazar with the stockmen's association said that policy and a more recent report highlighting civil rights violations against Latino ranchers in New Mexico and Colorado show the agency isn't following through with its own directives. "If the Forest Service was such a good neighbor, we wouldn't be standing here," he said outside the courtroom...more

Information lockdown hits Trump’s federal agencies

Federal agencies are clamping down on public information and social media in the early days of Donald Trump's presidency, limiting employees’ ability to issue news releases, tweet, make policy pronouncements or otherwise communicate with the outside world, according to memos and sources from multiple agencies. The steps to mute federal employees — seen to varying degrees in the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of the Interior, Transportation, Agriculture and Health and Human Services — are sparking early fears of a broader crackdown across the government, as Trump vows to pursue an agenda sharply at odds with his predecessor. Amid a public outcry, several agencies began distancing themselves late Tuesday and Wednesday from their earlier efforts to limit communication. New administrations have long sought to control the message coming out of federal agencies. But watchdog groups worry about what restrictions the Trump administration may yet impose on federal workers, who are already reeling from the president’s decision Monday to freeze most hiring, as well as a move in Congress to allow lawmakers to impose draconian salary cuts for individual employees...more

Federal hiring freeze hits Western land agencies

by Anna V. Smith

President Donald Trump announced a freeze on all federal hiring on Monday, eliminating any vacant positions and prohibiting the creation of new positions as of noon on Jan. 22. The presidential memorandum will affect all federal agencies except the military, and includes land management employees. It follows on the heels of another announcement that U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts will be frozenThe memorandum did not make allowances for seasonal hires, a necessity for agencies like the National Park Service and Forest Service, which hire thousands of short-term rangers and other employees nationwide during the summer months. In an interview with the Missoulian, Melissa Baumann, council president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said she did not know how this would impact the hiring of wildland firefighters. According to Baumann, the Forest Service hired 11,000 seasonal workers in 2015, many of them to fight the Western wildfires that break out between June and September. According to National Parks Traveler, the National Park Service is going ahead with identifying potential new seasonal hires in hopes that a waiver will be granted for some workers. A representative for the Forest Service said, “The U.S. Forest Service is waiting for further clarification and direction from the Office of Personnel Management related to the hiring freeze. We cannot speculate on the impact of the hiring freeze.” The freeze comes at a time when the National Park Service, the Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuge System and Bureau of Land Management are seeing an increase in public use of the millions of acres they manage, and are struggling to keep up...more

Federal hiring freeze hits Forest Service jobs

Earlier this month the Shasta-Trinity National Forest was plowing ahead to fill dozens of jobs at the federal agency, holding a job fair and posting openings online. The application period closed just this week for 68 openings — not including temporary firefighting jobs — that were advertised online. The list included such jobs as forestry technicians, archaeology technicians and range technicians. But President Donald Trump issued an order this week that freezes hiring at all federal agencies, bringing new employment activities at the Shasta-Trinity to a halt, including seasonal firefighter jobs. The Shasta-Trinity job applications will continue to be processed during the hiring freeze, said Josef Orosz, a spokesman for the National Forest. He characterized the hiring process as being paused and expected the freeze to be lifted. “The applications are still in the system. We don’t go out and zero out everything,” Orosz said. “This is nothing new. Every president that comes in does this.” And every president has also lifted hiring freezes, he said. While the U.S. Forest Service has included firefighting jobs among those included in the hiring freeze, other federal agencies have not. Jim Milestone, superintendent at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, said public safety positions, such as firefighters, law enforcement, sewer plant operators and lifeguards are excluded from the hiring freeze...more

Over The River's temporary use permit relinquished after Christo announcement

After Christo's announcement that he was canceling his Over The River temporary work of art project Wednesday, Fremont County received email notification from the Over The River Corp. relinquishing a Temporary Use Permit issued in 2011. Christo said in a statement that after 20 years and going through five years of legal arguments, he no longer wished to "wait on the outcome" and would rather devote his energy, time and resources into the realization of The Mastaba, Project for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which he and his late wife Jeanne-Claude conceived 40 years ago. The only remaining case pending for Over The River is one that was issued in 2015 by Rags Over the Arkansas River against the Bureau of Land Management's 2011 approval of the project. Christo was quoted in a New York Times article, also released Wednesday, as saying the pleasure is gone from OTR "because of the nature of the new administration," referring to the recent inauguration of President Donald Trump. "I am not excited about the project anymore," Christo said. "Why should I spend more money on something I don't want to do?"...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1769

Our tune today is Eddy Arnold's 1948 recording of Just A Little Lovin'. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Conservation groups buck against Noel’s bid for BLM director

Kane County’s own Mike Noel has been publicly campaigning for the position of director of the Bureau of Land Management, but a group of conservation advocates and outdoor recreation businesses are urging President Donald Trump’s administration to look elsewhere. The outspoken Republican legislator and backer of the state’s efforts to wrestle away control of the vast federal public lands within Utah’s borders has earned the support of many of Utah’s political leaders, but his years of conflicts with conservation groups and others worried about his ability to protect the natural resources entrusted to the BLM. In a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Department Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke, the Alliance for a Better Utah writes:

 Over the years, Rep. Noel has espoused positions antithetical to leading the BLM. He has been a staunch opponent of the federal government. He believes law enforcement on federal public lands should rest with local sheriffs, and he has been an ardent advocate for Utah’s multi-million dollar lawsuits seeking to have ill-prepared state governments, like Utah’s, take title to federal public lands that belong to all Americans. Rep. Noel has also demonstrated his disregard for the thoughtfully and collaboratively crafted management plans of the Bureau he hopes to direct, instead throwing his support behind illegal protests on BLM land and the extraction companies that hope to expand their activities on public lands...

We are also alarmed by Rep. Noel’s temperament and management style, something we believe should be considered when deciding who should hold this important position...

The BLM director is a Presidential appointment, but I can't imagine Trump appointing anyone who is not fully approved by the Secretary, and I find it hard to believe Zinke would support someone committed to the transfer of federal lands.

Prosecutors seek to restrict defense at upcoming Bundy trial in Las Vegas


Anticipating a battle in the upcoming trial against six associates of rancher Cliven Bundy, federal prosecutors this week asked a judge to prohibit defense attorneys from referencing a wide range of material that is central to defense strategy in the case. The six men scheduled to stand trial next month are considered the least culpable of the 18 charged in what authorities call a “massive, unprecedented assault on law enforcement officers” who in 2014 tried to remove Bundy’s cattle from public land in Bunkerville following a decades-long dispute over grazing fees. The antagonistic rancher rallied armed supporters, and a high-stakes standoff ensued. The six requests in the sweeping motion filed late Tuesday include one asking that defense attorneys be prohibited from arguing that the federal government does not or should not own the land from which Bureau of Land Management agents tried to seize cattle. That includes mentions of ownership of the Gold Butte range and its recent designation as a national monument. Some defendants charged in the 16-count indictment have, through court filings, framed the case as a referendum on the reach of federal power. Defense attorneys have referenced land treaties that predate Nevada’s admission into the Union to boost their arguments that the federal government lacked the authority to carry out impoundment operations. The government’s motion similarly requests a blanket ban on arguments that “‘natural law’ or other authority permits the use of force against law enforcement officers,” as well as opinions that federal agents are “improperly and excessively armed.” Citing fears of engendering sympathy from jurors, the government also asked the court to block references to “supposed mistreatment of cattle” during impoundment operations. The government accuses Bundy of mistreating his cattle; the Bundy family has countered that some cattle were shot and others died of dehydration during the roundup...more

Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum's widow returns to Oregon a year after he was shot

A year ago, Jeanette Finicum was watching her daughter's basketball game at Fredonia High School when she overheard something about a shooting in Oregon. She had just returned to Arizona from a weekend visit with her husband at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where Robert "LaVoy" Finicum had become the spokesman for the armed takeover. She grabbed her cellphone, dialed her husband's number but didn't get an answer. A short time later, she got a call from Lisa Bundy, the wife of refuge occupation leader Ammon Bundy. "She told me LaVoy had been killed,'' Jeanette Finicum recalled this week. "It was horrific. They stopped the game. His mother and father and brother, my daughter were all there.'' Jeanette Finicum has returned to Oregon this week to gather supporters in John Day - the city where her husband was headed to speak at a town hall about the refuge seizure and the protest against federal control of public land when he died. Saturday's meeting comes as questions remain a year later about the FBI's role in the confrontation. Jeanette Finicum said she intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In a notice of her intention to sue the Oregon State Police, FBI and other law enforcement agencies, she alleges negligence and violation of her husband's civil rights. "I don't know if they'll hold anyone accountable unless we pursue that,'' she said...more

Why the Latest War on Wolves? Three Reasons You May Not Know

by Leda Huta 

...Back to the question: why this unrelenting war on wolves?
Some believe that ranchers and wolves can’t coexist. And yes there are individual ranchers and ranching groups that oppose wolves. But the truth is that only a fraction of one percent of cattle are killed by wolves. Things like weather and disease are the real dangers. Ranchers from Michigan to Idaho who follow best practices for ranching in wolf country have few conflicts with wolves.
So what is really going on here?
For starters, state fish and wildlife agencies have historically received the bulk of their funding from hunting and fishing license sales, as well as ammunition tax revenue. So hunters often have an outsize influence on the agency decisionmaking (so much so that, in many parts of the country, these agencies are called fish and game—not wildlife)...
Second, wolves aren’t just seen as one cog in the wheel of nature. They’re seen as a symbol of the federal government. Since wolves were reintroduced by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into Yellowstone and managed by FWS in other regions, they’re deeply associated with “the feds” and deeply despised by those who hate all things federal.
Third is mythology. Wolves are smart, family-oriented, and communicative. Their personalities are clear...
But we treat wolves differently than all other species. It isn’t about science. It’s about the mythology—the stories we tell ourselves. As children, we read Little Red Riding Hood. And we haven’t let go of our childhood fears...

This boils down to: 

---You and your livestock are statistically insignificant, so you must succumb to a predator 

---State agencies' only motive is to protect their budget and hunters want no competition from the wolf when it comes to killing wildlife, and

---Any opposition to the wolf is childish and caused by your inability to mature beyond a fairy tale

That first one bothers me the most. Our whole political system was based on the individual and individual rights. Each individual carries those rights, not just those who are statistically significant. Those systems who thought otherwise have wrought many historical horrors, and that's no fairy tale.

Committee schedules Zinke nomination vote

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has rescheduled a confirmation hearing on Congressman Ryan Zinke, President Donald Trump’s nomination for secretary of the Interior, and Rick Perry, the energy secretary nominee. The business meeting is set for 9:30 Tuesday in the Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The hearing was announced Wednesday. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the committee, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the committee’s ranking Democrat, announced the postponement of a Tuesday business meeting until further notice. A vote on Zinke’s and Perry’s confirmation were scheduled. Later, Murkowski’s office said the hearing was postponed due to a miscommunication between her and Cantwell...more

Mystery solved - American farmers feed cows defective Skittles

American farmers have secretly been feeding their cows defective Skittles to avoid paying for corn. That discovery was made public after a truck deposited hundreds of thousands of Skittles onto a rural road. All of them were in one colour and without the trademark "S" on them and, after they were found, the police were forced to ask highway cleaners to get rid of them. Unknown to many, the practice has been going on for years, according to experts. Not only are Skittles cheaper than corn – especially when bought for a lower price because they are defective – they could even provide other benefits over traditional feed. As well as clearing up the mystery of why so many skittles appeared on the road, the crash has helped shed light on feeding practices that had until now had only been known by farmers. The practice is healthy and might even be more environmentally friendly, according to those who use it. Joseph Watson, owner of United Livestock Commodities, told LiveScience in 2012 that feeding cows sweets "actually has a higher ratio of fat [than] actually feeding them straight corn", and that it has "all the right nutrition". And John Waller, a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Tennessee, told the site that it was likely to be more green because it keeps "fat material" from simply going into landfill. Officials said that the crash had actually proven useful because the roads had been icy for days and the skittles provided extra traction for vehicles...more

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Greenpeace activists hang ‘RESIST’ banner from crane to protest Trump

Greenpeace activists hung a large banner reading “RESIST” from a 270-foot construction crane in downtown Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning to protest President Donald Trump. “It is a message to this administration,” Nancy Pili Hernandez, a Greenpeace activist based in San Francisco, said on a Facebook livestream as she hung from the crane with safety harnesses. “But more than that, this is a hand-painted love letter to you. This is a message to the people.” Environmental groups have sharply criticized several steps Trump has taken during his first days in office, including signing executive orders that revive plans to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. Greenpeace confirmed in a statement that seven activists climbed the crane and hung the 70-foot by 35-foot banner, which is visible from the White House. As of 12:45 p.m. EDT, they were still perched on the crane. There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it. The protest disrupted traffic around 15th and L streets Northwest, where the crane is located, the Washington Post reported. It is part of a construction site where new Fannie Mae offices are being built...more

Cattle market beginning to bounce back

by Jerry Lackey

The cattle market is showing signs of recovery from 2016 lows when prices fell below a dollar per pound. In turn I overheard a couple ranchers in the coffee shop talking about rounding up calves they have been holding and sending them to town. “It’s amazing the value of cattle now versus 18 months ago,” said Jason Cleere, beef cattle specialist at Texas A&M University in College Station. “We are starting to see more beef in the system every year, and that’s putting pressure on prices,” said Jason Johnson of Stephenville, livestock economist for Texas A&M University Extension Service. “In 2016 and into 2017, there’s much more of a normal spread between feeder calves and slaughter steers,” “Part of the reason for the drastic fall in prices was the reduction in a (traditional) large spread between feeder and fed cattle prices. Back when prices were high, feedlots were paying premiums to keep their operations going. They paid $2.20 a pound and didn’t make a lot of money when prices started coming down,” Johnson said. Feeder heifers sold $3 higher and steers were steady at Abilene Livestock Auction on Tuesday, according to owner Randy Carson. Feeder steers 200 to 300 pounds brought from $150 to $200. Receipts totaled 1,062 head. Calves and yearlings sold another $2 to $4 higher at the most recent sale compared to the week before at San Angelo’s Producers Livestock Auction. Better quality steers, 400 to 600 pounds, brought mostly $125 to $150. Receipts totaled 2,733 head in a replacement female sale at Jordan Cattle Auction in San Saba on Saturday; the market was very active, with pairs selling from $1,800 up to $2,600 except for some Brahmans that brought $2,700, according to owner Ken Jordan. “We had a full house of buyers on hand from Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, and all across Texas along with 604 on the internet,” Jordan said. Jordan said the bred cows were in strong demand, with most of the middle- to long-bred cows ranging from $1,500 up to $1,925 except for some Herefords and Brahmans that went for $2,300 to $2,375...more