President Barack Obama’s aggressive environmental agenda is running into a surprising source of opposition: Black elected leaders.
The administration is slated to tighten the restrictions for ozone, the pollutant that causes smog, by Oct. 1, but some African-American state and local politicians are lining up with business groups to warn that the clampdown would hurt poor communities and manufacturing centers like Gary, Ind., and St. Louis.
Those local and state officials say they are still trying to comply with the ozone requirements that were issued by George W. Bush’s EPA in 2008, and a stricter standard would inflict more pain on their struggling economies and stifle job growth.
“There has to be balance in the application of this policy, particularly when you look at the fact that the standard was recently changed and that industry, particularly the steel industry, have worked hard to achieve the standards and have some challenges in their efforts to achieve the standards,” Gary’s mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson, told POLITICO.
At issue is whether the EPA regulations designed to improve public health will choke off the manufacturing operations in poor, minority areas that are often among the most polluted in nation and tend to lack access to quality healthcare. Improving the air quality and environmental protections in those places is a priority for Obama’s EPA, which has made “environmental justice” a top goal.
Obama has often shrugged off criticism from conservatives and business groupsthat his environmental regulations would be a drag on the overall economy, arguing instead that they would stimulate a green industry. And he’sderided critics of his climate and air pollution agenda for using scare tactics and “stale arguments” to claim that stronger regulations will harm minority and low-income communities.
“[I]f you care about low-income, minority communities, start protecting the air that they breathe, and stop trying to rob them of their health care,” Obama said at an Aug. 3 event where he rolled outEPA’s greenhouse gas restrictions for power plants. “Whenever America has set clear rules and smarter standards for our air, our water, our children’s health, we get the same scary stories about killing jobs and businesses and freedom.”
That’s a position supported by powerful black groups like the NAACP, as well as black members of Congress like [Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Texas Democrats Sheila Jackson Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson.
“We understand the skittishness and concerns among many of our local politicians,” said Hilary Shelton, director of NAACP’s Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy and policy. But these same critical officials will “see in the longer run the need to make sure our children are safe, secure and healthy so they can more actively participate in our society.”
Still, the arguments against the new smog rules may be harder to dismiss when coming from local and state officials who represent the areas that are the target of the environmental efforts to reduce pollution — and who have been staunch supporters of Obama in the past, such as Democratic Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.
“I know I speak for the vast majority of my 5th District constituents here in St. Louis when I say I appreciate the job President Obama has done, especially the moral leadership he showed in the face of racial tragedies in Ferguson and other communities over the past year,” Nasheed, who is black, wrote to Obama senior adviser Brian Deese in July.
But lowering the ozone threshold too far would make things worse for a city like St. Louis that is “still feeling the pain of the 2007-2009 recession,” Nasheed said, and would hurt employment and “create new hardships for already struggling low-income urban families.”
While the opposition isn’t universal among black officials in cities and states, it has been supported by several groups, such as the African American Mayors Association, as well as theU.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Regional Councils, which have asked for the new ozone pollution rule to be put on hold.
Freeman-Wilson, Gary’s first female African-American mayor, had originally backed EPA’s plan to lower the ozone limits. But she changed her mind after 300 residents were laid off and the city lost significant tax revenue from the closure of a U.S. Steel coke plant.
“From a public health perspective, the benefits gained from improving air quality are greater than any cost associated with a higher standard,” she said in an op-ed explaining her change of heart.“Then the bleeding started in my own front yard.”
Some black politicians say they fear the new regulations will go too far, and that even the rules in place now are difficult to meet. That echoes the arguments made by the National Association of Manufacturers, which has launched a multimillion dollar campaign against a tighter ozone standard.
Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. Jake Wheatley, who is black and represents Pittsburgh, said he has heard from both environmentalists who support a tighter rule and also local business leaders who worry that tougher smog standards will hurt his district’s effort to build facility that would process oil and gas from the Marcellus Shale.
“It could be a major economic boon,” Wheatley said. “So it’s a balancing act for me.”
Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin, who is also president of the African American Mayors Association, said in a letter to Obama late last month that many localities are struggling to pinpoint the sources of the ozone pollution and put in place measures to bring them into compliance with the existing rule.
And even in areas where the source of the pollution is easier to identify, “mayors, county officials and governors still face the challenge of curtailing ozone while expanding the industrial production, construction, and infrastructure projects that create jobs and grow our tax base,” he wrote.
And in Arizona, it has been a kook idea. In 2012, lawmakers referred a ballot proposition flatly asserting that the state had sovereignty over federal lands within our boundaries. Voters rejected it by a 2 to 1 margin.
But the idea of the federal government transferring the lands it is supposed to be managing for multiple purposes, excluding areas set aside solely for conservation, isn’t inherently kooky. The non-kooky case is made in a paper published this week by the American Legislative Exchange Council, “Federally Managed Lands in the West.”
The non-kook case begins with a recognition of where the decision will be made. States can’t legally take over federal land. The federal government would have to decide to transfer the land to the states.
That’s hardly unprecedented. In fact, it used to be standard procedure. When Illinois and Missouri were established as states, the federal government had ownership of over 90 percent of their land. Today, the federal government owns less than 5 percent.
The federal government only began retaining ownership of large swathes of land intended for multipurpose management when states in the West began to be formed.
The federal government has retained ownership of about half the land in the 12 Western states. It owns over 80 percent of Nevada and two-thirds of Utah. It owns 42 percent of Arizona.
Would the states do a better job of managing these lands? That depends on whether you think the lands should lay fallow or be put to productive use.
The federal government loses money on the public lands it manages. The states make money, and quite a bit of it.
Let’s be honest, America is being transformed by a generations-long game of “let’s play pretend.”
It’s hard to pin down an exact date the opening bell rang for the great game of pretend, but I think January 22, 1973 might come pretty close. Roe vs Wade was decided by an activist Supreme Court on that day. I remember it well, because my mom, who gave birth to seven live children and miscarried an eighth, cried all day. Harry Blackmun’s court took it upon themselves to pretend the United States Constitution provides for an individual’s “right to privacy.” Of course, there is no enumerated right to privacy in the Constitution, although privacy is inferred as a condition under which law-abiding citizens have a right to live. But Blackmun and six other justices pretended that a “penumbra” of inferred rights was sufficient to justify unlimited abortion-on-demand. Roe vs Wade made the institutional pretending that life is not life the the law of the land.
On January 22, 1973, the great game of pretend opened with the ultimate denial; an entire nation pretending that life has no intrinsic value, and that a baby is indeed not a baby at all, unless a mother deems it to be so. With 60,000,000 dead babies haunting America’s abortion-on-demand decades, the game of pretend has extended itself to a gruesome, epidemic practice by the abortion industry. Now clinic heads, abortion doctors, and technicians who dissect aborted babies and “procure” their body parts for research, are pretending that obtaining fetal body parts through illegal means is not breaking the law. They pretend that the killing of babies for scientific research, which may in the distant future benefit a human being, justifies the wholesale killing of now living humans. They pretend that Americans don’t care–and to a degree they are right. About 50 percent of Americans pretend that babies are not being killed, procured, and sold piecemeal. Or, perhaps they are pretending that it doesn’t really matter because abortion is “the law of the land.”
But the game of pretend has many innings. Another activist Judiciary, on June 27 of 2015, pretended that marriage as designed and intended by God, and honored for thousands of years by billions of people and countless civilizations, no longer exists. They decided that if they pretend hard enough, God would give them a pass, and they could nullify the nature, intent, and power of the cornerstone institution of society. They pretended that reality was not reality at all, discounting the unique and sacred nature of the feminine and the masculine, the need for children to have a mama and a papa, and the Natural Laws which rule virtually all species of living things, and is Nature itself.
This game of pretend forces others who don’t want to play, into the game. People who believe God’s law cannot be altered, and should not be tampered with, are punished for not wanting to play pretend. Americans who would rather live and let live, while having their reality respected, are fined, excoriated, and imprisoned with all the power indignant pretend players in the courts can muster. The integrity of reality, Natural Law, and the Divine right to act virtuously on the dictates of one’s own conscience, have been attacked mercilessly by the great pretenders in the epic charade called “same-sex marriage.”
But playing pretend isn’t limited to judicial activists, or upheavals of thousands of years of human tradition and biological normalcy, there are individuals–even social movements–pretending that anyone can be, literally, someone they are not because they feel they are someone they are not. “Transgender” folk believe that their true identity is fluid, and biological reality is not real, because mood, tastes, the urge to play pretend is supreme over all other considerations. Men pretend to be women, and women pretend to be men. Many pretend that surgical alterations of superficial characteristics; genitalia, faces, can make the epic pretense a reality. This is hogwash of course, but again, innocent bystanders who decline to play this bizarre game of pretend, are punished, shamed, and discredited because they only want to play by the rules of Nature and Nature’s God.
Identity fluidity has crossed from mere male/female biological reality, into race, even species. A white woman lies about her biological father, and says she is a black woman because she has lived “the black experience.” A white man lies about the identity of his parents, says he is a black man so he can find relevance in an national anti-cop movement. Both the white woman and the white man pretending to be black benefited financially from their adopted racial identities. Deemed by leftists as being on the politically-correct side of their chosen issues, they are given a pass for their shameless pretending, while those who refuse to join this weird game of pretend, pointing out their fabrications, are punished with name calling and claims of “intolerance.”
Let’s not forget the “transspecies” population, a fine gaggle of folk who may acknowledge that on the outside they are a human of sorts, but that inwardly, the have the impulses and expressions of an animal. Like the transgender and transracial, the transspecies are probably chronically unhappy, disturbed, or fully-blown mentally ill people who play pretend as a means to escape their pain. Instead of encouraging such people to find help in order to reconcile themselves with reality, our increasingly grotesque culture, short on truth but long on political agendas, promotes their pretend play, obligating them to a dispassionate political narrative, even if their happiness, or their very lives–suicide rates among those with identity fluidity disorder is extremely high–are sacrificed.
But as for me–and I think a lot of Americans will agree with me–I won’t play pretend. I’m sick of being told that reality is not reality, that life is not life, that men are women, and that being on the politically-correct side of an issue is license to change your race or your species. I’m weary of being lied to. I’m sick and tired of judicial activists warping the law to please grumbling identity-politics minorities who make playing pretend a way of life. I’m done with being told that what is real and true and permanent, is really illusory and changeable. Punish me if you will, in the dangerous game of life, I prefer not to be on the politically correct side of issues, but rather on the right side of reality.
We need to get our forests working again and say no to wilderness areas and IRAs.
Cattle being lead away from burned area Carlton Complex fire, Washington State
While I typically refrain from writing opinion pieces or letters to the editor, the recent catastrophic fires in our area have convinced me to act otherwise.
I had originally wanted to write a rebuttal to an opinion piece that derided our local Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association for a billboard they sponsored stating that we need to “log it, graze it, or watch it burn.”
The cattlemen were, of course, speaking about the management on the Colville National Forest where timber harvest levels have dropped significantly in the past 20 years and where grazing allotments are almost in a perennial state of jeopardy.
The result of this inaction in regards to the management on the Colville National Forest is the worst fire season since the “Big Burn” of 1910 where much of the West was on fire until that winters’ snow eventually put out the fires that had destroyed so much of the landscape. To be fair, this was before the invention of the modern day equipment that we currently utilize to fight fire, but it was also before the designation of wilderness areas.
Locally, a group called the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition has been supporting the expansion of wilderness areas in the Colville National Forest. The environmental interests represented on this coalition have agreed not to file lawsuits on timber sales in exchange for expanding and establishing new wilderness areas. I mention this because in wilderness areas, there are literally no options for fighting fire. As a local firefighter once told me, the only option for managing a fire in a wilderness area is to, “let it burn.”
My office has been inundated with phone calls, letters, emails and messages wanting to know why there aren’t more resources available to fight the fires currently raging in the Colville National Forest.
Carlton Complex Fire Washington State
Imagine if wilderness areas were expanded. Even if the State or Federal government had resources available, they wouldn’t be able to utilize those resources because you are not allowed to in areas managed as “Wilderness”. The term “Wilderness Area” sounds harmless because a major reason we all live in this area is the attraction to the outdoors, both for recreation and as a way to make a living. The wilderness in and of itself is a wonderful thing that allows local families the opportunity to raise their families in an area where their proximity to nature literally meets them at their doorstep.
Wilderness Areas, however, have a very different meaning. By definition, a Wilderness Area Designation doesn’t allow for mechanized equipment to enter their boundary lines. This means less recreation opportunity for ATV riders, bicyclists, hunters, campers, firewood cutters and huckleberry pickers. It also means the potential loss of grazing land for our ranchers, and no ability to ever cut down even a single tree with a chainsaw. It also means, that in a time of fire, you wouldn’t be able to drive a fire engine or any other firefighting equipment past those imaginary boundary lines.
When you add into the mix that the same group, the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, is also supporting the decommissioning of roads on the Colville National Forest, I am left wondering how we are supposed to fight fires in other areas that aren’t being sought as Wilderness Areas, but are being promoted as “Inventoried Roadless Areas” or IRA’s, as they are known in Forest Service lingo.
In addition to hearing from my constituents about the lack of resources for fighting these fires, for years I have heard from folks wondering why their favorite forest road had been closed. These roads are utilized for ranchers to access their grazing allotments, but were also historically used for logging, as well as access to firewood, hunting, berry picking and other recreational activities.
The answer to these issues seems pretty simple in my opinion. We need to get our forests working again. We need to return to the logging practices that allowed for healthy timber harvests, grazing, and access that not only allowed people to make a living, but also offered many recreational opportunities.
The reason that the Cattlemen’s Association sponsored billboard is so valid is because those practices of grazing and yes, logging, reduced the likelihood of forest fires. That isn’t to say that we wouldn’t have fires, but we would greatly reduce our susceptibility to them if we had access, and employed preventive measures like logging and grazing.
Smoldering cattle Carlton Complex Fire Washington State
We would also increase our ability to fight the fewer fires that we would have because the conditions in the forest would be so much better. There would be reduced fuels, more defensible space, healthy timber stands, and the grazing would keep the grasses and weeds knocked down.
When I see the pictures of dead, burned cows, as well as houses totally destroyed and property burnt to a crisp, it is heart-wrenching. To see all of the devastation that has been caused by these fires is hard to look at. It is even more difficult to look at knowing that a lot of the destruction could have been prevented.
I, for one, wholeheartedly support the Cattlemen’s message of “log it, graze it, or watch it burn.” I am sad that their message was so prophetic, but it is time that we stand together as a community and say no to “Wilderness Areas” and “Inventoried Roadless Areas”. We have to send a message to the Forest Service and the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition that people’s lives, homes, properties, and livestock are more important than an ideology.
Finally, I want to thank all of the volunteers and fire-fighters that are working so hard to put these fires out. We live in a special place where so many people are willing to help their neighbors in times of trouble. These selfless acts do not go unnoticed and are greatly appreciated by all of us.
burned cattle bulldozed into open pit Carlton Complex Fire Washington State
Washington State 7th District State Senator
RESOURCES OF SOVEREIGNTY: A Democratic state senator calls EPA’s threat to coal-fired power plants under the Clean Power Plan a threat to the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation.
By Jackie Moreau | Watchdog Arena
On Friday, June 12, a Democratic legislator representing the Southwest region’s Navajo Nation criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for threatening the Navajo Nation’s economy and sovereignty.
Arizona state Sen. Carlyle Begay, a Navajo tribe member, was invited to speak at the Heartland Institute’s 10th annual International Conference on Climate Change. Begay warned conference goers of the consequences coal restrictions will have on the Navajo people. The nation holds a population of over 300,000 tribal members– the largest population of the 500 recognized tribes and 318 reservations in the country.
Arizona State Sen. Carlyle W. Begay, District 7
Coal production provides the Navajo Nation with 60 percent of its general fund revenues, according to Begay, and has allowed the Navajo Nation to retain its sovereignty.
“These revenues represent the Navajo Nation’s ability to act as a sovereign nation. It’s important revenue that meets the definition of self-determination,” Begay stated. “I often argue that as a tribal community and tribal nation, we are truly not sovereign without our ability to be self-determined, and natural resources like coal provide some of that future.”
EPA regulations are stifling coal’s ability to keep the Navajo Nation a self-determined people. According to Begay, the nation is mining 8-10 million tons of coal each year, down from 13-16 million tons, before EPA regulations began to take its toll. Begay says they have billions of tons of coal to feed the economy.
“From this natural resource, we actually generate approximately 3,750 megawatts of electricity sold primarily off the Navajo Nation to feed our economies in Arizona and the Southwest.”
The Navajo Nation is located in the Four Corners region, with the majority residing in the state of Arizona. Navajo lands stretch 27,425 square miles — about the size of West Virginia. Begay claimed that the coal industry continues to provide over 2,000 high-paying jobs on the Navajo Nation, but of the 300,000 tribal members that live within its boundaries, less than half are able to make a living, with an unemployment rate reaching over 50 percent. The economic development as a whole remains stagnant.
Recently, the Navajo Nation purchased the Navajo mine from BHP, a global resources company, to make the nation, what Begay calls, not just a stakeholder, but “a shareholder.”
“If it wasn’t for the Navajo Nation’s purchase of the BHP plant, the Four Corners power plant would have shut down, BHP would have shut down, and part of the strategy for Navajo purchasing BHP was to have solvency and protect the jobs that the industry had produced,” said Begay.
“Navajo sees it as a daunting task for the people, and really the hope is that there’s the understanding and collaboration by EPA [and] by the U.S. government that ensures that the transition of energy policies are considerate of the communities it impacts and is done so in an economically responsible way.”
Under the Clean Air Act section 111(d), the EPA’s Clean Power Plan was proposed in June 2014 “to cut carbon pollution” by regulating emissions from existing coal-fired power plants from 2020-2030 in an effort to curb climate change.
The Navajo Nation would not be the only victim if the power plants aren’t fought for, and Begay acknowledges that. “It’s not just the Navajo Nation that is being impacted, it’s the entire region. And you’re talking about regions that are largely rural, largely frontier in a lot of ways.”
Access to a reliable and affordable water source will also be impacted under the EPA’s regulation. Arizona’s water source comes from the Colorado River and has to get down to Phoenix and Tucson. The only way that’s achieved right now is through coal-fired power generation, said Begay.
“There’s not the efficiency in solar or wind right now to meet that demand, and so part of the balance is if the customers in Arizona do not want a significant increase in their rates of electricity or water, we have to find that balance.”
The EPA maintains that its proposal will be affordable. In a June 12 letter to the editor, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Ensuring that the final CPP supports our electricity system’s ability to deliver reliable—and affordable—energy has been a top priority all along.”
The Energy Information Administration was recently tasked with using its National Energy Modeling System to analyze the impacts of EPA’s proposal. According theInstitute for 21st Century Energy, “The ‘Base Policy’ scenario EIA designed hews closely to the Clean Power Plan, including interim goals and compliance around EPA’s four building blocks.”
Jackie Moreau is the Managing Editor of WatchdogArena.org, the Franklin Center’s network of boots-on-the-ground writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists stationed across the country. Jackie comes to the Beltway originally from Upstate New York, where she earned her BA in English from Binghamton University. Find her on Twitter: @Jackie_Moreau
Illegal aliens have been destroying wildlife habitats and delicate environmental areas along the southern border for years. Although not a new problem, it has reached devastating proportions as the surge, beginning last year, of illegals pouring into the Southwest has exploded. The Left, invested in this tsunami of new Democrat voters, has remained largely silent on the environmental impact of their new constituents. Below is a collection of stories and images chronicling the pollution, damage, and species depletion caused by the unchecked, human-caused disaster known as the “border crisis.”
Trampled Wilderness: Illegal Immigrants, Drug Traffickers Destroying Border Parks (Brownsville Herald, June 2002)
By JULIE WATSON
The Associated Press
EL PINACATE BIOSPHERE RESERVE, Mexico Drug traffickers scar volcanic desert with illicit runways, while law enforcement officials chase them through once-tranquil parks. Thousands of migrants traipse across delicate backcountry areas sending campers fleeing to ranger stations, fearful of crowds trekking by their tents in the night.
Wilderness areas on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are taking a beating from an onslaught of migrants, drug traffickers and law enforcement officials, a new study says. Some national treasures in both countries have been lost forever.
Few parks have taken a greater toll than the U.N.-designated biosphere reserve El Pinacate and Arizonas adjoining Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Last year, officials caught 200,000 migrants and 700,000 pounds of drugs in Organ Pipe alone.
Trash left in an arroyo in Organ Pipe National Monument used by illegals and drug traffickers
Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, situated along its border with Mexico, has suffered irreparable harm from more than a decade of illegal aliens streaming through on their way north. Its slow-growing and fragile cacti, some hundreds of years old, are often pushed over or gouged by illegals and the coyotes and drug traffickers guiding them. Its paths are worn, strewn with filth, and the habitats of its native animal and plant species are being degraded at an alarming rate.
Public Lands Being Destroyed by Illegal Immigration
A position statement released by the Public Lands foundation on July 18, 2014 concluded:
Drug smugglers from Mexico
Smuggling of controlled substances and people into the United States from Mexico has caused significant impacts to lands and resources managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Tribal and State governments and private citizens along the southwest border of the United States. The impacts imperil designated Wilderness Areas, National Conservation Areas, National Monuments and other public lands. These impacts are so severe that immediate action by the Administration and Congress is required, including enactment and enforcement of a new immigration policy and allocation of sufficient resources to mitigate impacts resulting on lands within the National System of Public Lands administered by BLM.
In 2006 the National Wildlife Federation released this article detailing the destruction of habitat of endangered and species by illegal aliens and drug smugglers. It reads, in part:
Cabeza Prieta–the size of Rhode Island and 90 percent officially designated as wilderness–is one of three federally protected wildlife areas under assault along southwest Arizona’s border with Mexico. The 330,000-acre Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which is 95 percent designated wilderness, abuts 30 miles of border, and Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a former ranch covering 118,000 acres of native grassland, lies along 5.5 miles of border. All of these lands were set aside to protect desert wildlife and wilderness habitat. Cabeza and Organ Pipe are home to the Sonoran pronghorn, an endangered subspecies, and Buenos Aires was established in part to protect the endangered masked bobwhite quail.
The Sonoran Pronghorn is further endangered by the vehicular and foot traffic of smugglers and illegal aliens traveling through it’s habitat.
Jaguars, Ocelots, Sonoran Pronghorns and other threatened species are now the brink of disappearing from southwestern border states due to decreased immigration enforcement and increased illegal movements northward from Mexico.
In 2006 Defenders of Wildlife released a publication titled, On the Line: The Impacts of Immigration Policy on Wildlife and Habitat in the Arizona Borderlands. In the Executive Summary of the document, it reads:
Beginning in the early 1990’s, the U.S. Border Patrol dramatically increased its immigration enforcement efforts in heavily populated border areas such as San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas, essentially shifting undocumented immigration, drug trafficking, and other illegal activities from urban areas to more remote and less populated areas–especially the borderlands of Arizona. This has resulted in significant environmental degradation in some of the most pristine and valuable wildlife habitats in the nation.
Each year wildfires are started intentionally as a diversion by coyotes and drug smugglers, and unintentionally by illegals camping in the deserts along the southwestern border. Senator John McCain (R) Arizona, in 2011 brought this to the attention of the country much to the displeasure of those who advocate open borders and illegal immigration. But a report from the Government Accountability Office documents the truth of Senator McCain’s assertions. It says:
Wildland fires can result from both natural and human causes. Human-caused wildland fires are of particular concern in Arizona–especially within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border because this is a primary area of entry for illegal border crossers and GAO has previously reported that illegal border crossers have been suspected of igniting wildland fires. Over half of the land in the Arizona border region is managed by the federal government–primarily by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and four agencies within the Department of the Interior. These agencies collaborate with state, tribal, and local entities to respond to wildland fires. GAO was asked to examine, for the region, the (1) number, cause, size, and location of wildland fires from 2006 through 2010; (2) economic and environmental effects of human-caused wildland fires burning 10 or more acres; (3) extent to which illegal border crossers were the ignition source of wildland fires on federal lands; and (4) ways in which the presence of illegal border crossers has affected fire suppression activities. GAO reviewed interagency policies and procedures; analyzed wildland fire data; and interviewed federal, tribal, state, and local officials, as well as private citizens..
From 2006 through 2010, at least 2,467 wildland fires occurred in the Arizona border region. Of this number, 2,126, or about 86 percent, were caused by human activity.
The United States of America, once the world’s beneficent super power, fostered through its public lands policies and animal welfare statutes, a respect for the natural world, its inhabitants and their homes. Third world nations sometimes pay homage to wildlife and natures wonders, but the ethos of respect for nature is, for the most part, lost on impoverished, uneducated masses from socialist nations to whom survival supersedes all other considerations. It’s no wonder that illegal aliens, human traffickers and drug smugglers traversing our southern border leave in their wake environmental destruction, filth, and death.
As three decades of failed immigration enforcement culminates in the current wave of illegals from nearly eighty countries splashing into our states, the likelihood that this environmental horror can be stemmed is nil. The contemptible hypocrisy of the American Left who, on one hand uses environmental issues as a bludgeon against progress and Capitalism, will, on the other hand, turn a blind eye to the very real and irreversible loss of species, habitat, and natural features where illegal aliens, drug cartels, international terrorists, and future Democrat voters blaze super highways into the heartland of our once-sovereign nation.
For more information about the environmental impact of illegal aliens please check out the following:
Underlying the debate over marijuana legalization has been an equally fierce battle between marijuana and another so-called vice industry: alcohol.
As an increasing number of states look to join the four states and Washington DC in legalizing recreational marijuana, many in the alcohol industry have feared that legalized weed will cut into their existing profits.
But a few years into Colorado legalization, alcohol sales are up in the state, and those in the alcohol business have embraced their fellow industry.
In the 18 months since recreational sales were legalized in Colorado, “we’ve just seen phenomenal growth”, said Justin Martz, 32, who runs Mr B’s Wine & Spirits in downtown Denver. He noted that there was some concern initially about legalization, “but it’s really turned out to be a non-issue”. In fact, he said, “if anything it’s kind of helped us. A high tide lifts all boats.”
Bryan Simpson, spokesman for the Fort Collins craft brewery New Belgium, agreed that doomsayers in the alcohol industry were wrong. He argued that rather than alcohol and pot directly competing against one another for consumers’ dollars, the two can be mutually beneficial in boosting overall sales. “There’s definitely some crossover in the two communities of beer drinkers and herb enjoyers,” Simpson said. “But I don’t think people are doubling down in one category or the other.” To underscore that point, he noted that legal marijuana has had “no demonstrable impact at all in terms of sales” at New Belgium.
Tax records show that alcohol sales have continued to grow in Colorado despite the rapid rise of recreational marijuana. Even as tax revenues from marijuana nearly tripled between June 2014 through May 2015, alcohol sales continued to steadily increase as well, with alcohol excise taxes rising 2.1%, the same increase as the year prior.
This symbiotic relationship comes after the two groups went head-to-head in the fight over legalization.
Industry groups have feared that marijuana legalization would deplete interest in alcohol. “Consumer preferences and purchases may shift due to a host of factors,” including “the potential legalization of marijuana use on a more widespread basis within the United States,” warned the Brown-Forman Corporation, a publicly traded liquor manufacturer that produces many well-known brands including Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort, in a recent SECfiling.
“While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit.” —Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood founder and heroine of the American Left
Margaret Sanger’s ghost haunts the news. Memories of the patron saint of Dilatation and Evacuation, as well as the Left’s depraved obsession with killing, have returned to the public conscience, thanks to the efforts of a courageous pro-life sting effort. The Center for Medical Progress videos which document months worth of meetings and hundreds of hours worth of footage in which Sanger’s modern proteges discuss dismembering and selling, piecemeal or whole, human babies, has exposed her agenda in the most concrete terms. The architect of abortion-on-demand said:
While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit. They are excellent means of meeting a certain phase of the situation, but I believe in regard to these, as in regard to other eugenic means, that they do not go to the bottom of the matter. Neither the mating of healthy couples nor the sterilization of certain recognized types of the unfit touches the great problem of unlimited reproduction of those whose housing, clothing, and food are all inadequate to physical and mental health. These measures do not touch those great masses, who through economic pressure populate the slums and there produce in their helplessness other helpless, diseased and incompetent masses, who overwhelm all that eugenics can do among those whose economic condition is better.
Margaret Sanger was a tireless advocate for the progressive ideal of “people control.” Sanger’s ardent promotion of quantitative and qualitative population control, provided the basis for the“Eugenics,”movement; the philosophical basis for the NAZI plan to achieve “racial purity.” The mother witch of progressive social experimentation associated openly with the KKK. Although her activism predates Roe vs. Wade, her dream of legal and state-sanctioned abortion is now status quo. But this woman had contempt for those to whom she referred as “feeble-minded” and “unfit.” Margaret Sanger wanted to eliminate people with disabilities from society. Her ideas about the “unfit” and the expendability of “the least humans” have inveigled themselves into the platform and policies of the Democrat Party.
The IPAB, or Independent Payment Advisory Board portion of the Obamacare law, is not designed specifically to discriminated against the elderly and disabled. But in every model of socialized medicine that has ever existed the rationing of medical care has become an ingrained function of huge government/medical partnerships. In the UK, for example, medical care is regularly withheld from the elderly and people with disabilities. This policy, whether inferred or written in granite, is an outgrowth of Eugenics and its related philosophies which base the value of a human directly with the usefulness of that human to the greater society. People with disabilities often do require greater expenditures for educational, medical, and sometimes social services. They are the least efficient of all people and so, in the thinking of Margaret Sanger, the architects of socialized medicine, and population control social engineers, they are also the most expendable.
BLATANT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH COGNITIVE DISABILITIES
Cases of medical discrimination against children and adults with various cognitive disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome have been documented for years in the UK. Their National Health System has been beset with a record of discrimination against such individuals. Heart transplants and other critical cardiac measures are among the services commonly withheld from individuals with Down syndrome in the UK. These decisions are not made based on outcome or cost, but appear to be purely discriminatory based on the relative valuation of individuals who require more support and more attention than the “normal” population. A twenty-three year-old Pennsylvania man with autism was recently denied a heart transplant. The young man who has a a chronic and dangerous heart condition must take medications to help him manage the emotional and behavioral symptoms of his autism, and the potential for complications from drug interactions was put forth as one excuse for the decision. This seems like a tenuous rationale for withholding a life-saving operation since most adults in the United States take at least one or two prescription medications on a regular basis. The physicians who made the decision to deny surgery to the young man with autism refused to comment because they thought that public discussion of his case would be “unkind.”
SELECTIVE ABORTIONS THAT TARGET POTENTIALLY DISABLED CHILDREN
Abortion has become the intervention of choice to deal with children whose lives may be complicated by a congenital or acquired disability. I use the words “may” and “potentially” because prenatal tests designed to detect such disabilities have often read as false positives. The Medicaid systems in some states are willing to pay exorbitant amounts to cover the surgical abortions of late-term babies if they test positive for a condition such as Down syndrome. In fact, it is reportedthat nine out of ten children that are aborted following prenatal genetic testing test positive for Down syndrome. The gradual eradication of people with Down syndrome is taking place before our eyes.
Surviving the economic, social, and natural upheavals of our day will be accomplished only by those who have developed emotional intelligence, and the ability to forge ahead despite unforeseen and perhaps unimaginable adversity. ~Reagangirl.com
They’re Emotionally Intelligent
Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental toughness. You cannot be mentally tough without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong negative emotions and do something productive with them. Moments that test your mental toughness are ultimately testing your emotional intelligence (EQ).
Unlike your IQ, which is fixed, your EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with understanding and effort. It’s no wonder that 90% of top performers have high EQs and people with high EQs earn $28,000 more annually (on average) than their low-EQ counterparts.
Unfortunately EQ skills are in short supply. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people, and we’ve found that just 36% of these are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.
Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right. – Henry Ford
Mentally tough people subscribe to Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed. This notion isn’t just a motivational tool—it’s a fact. A recent study at the University of Melbourne showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than others did.
True confidence—as opposed to the false confidence people project to mask their insecurities—has a look all its own. Mentally tough people have an upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because their confidence inspires others and helps them to make things happen.
They Neutralize Toxic People
Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find common ground and solutions to problems. Even when things completely derail, mentally tough people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.
They Embrace Change
Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.
Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.
You’re bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
They Say No
Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Mentally tough people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem and foresight to make their nos clear.
When it’s time to say no, mentally tough people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.
The mentally tough also know how to exert self-control by saying no to themselves. They delay gratification and avoid impulsive action that causes harm.
They Know That Fear Is The No. 1 Source Of Regret
Mentally tough people know that, when all is said and done, they will lament the chances they didn’t take far more than they will their failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.
It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.
They Embrace Failure . . .
Mentally tough people embrace failure because they know that the road to success is paved with it. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure.
By revealing when you’re on the wrong path, your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed. The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box, and to see the solution that you’ve been missing.
. . . Yet, They Don’t Dwell On Mistakes
Mentally tough people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy, which produces positive emotions and improves performance.
Mentally tough people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.
They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy . . .
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When mentally tough people feel good about something they do, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them.
While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. Mentally tough people know that regardless of what people think of them at any particular moment, one thing is certain—they’re never as good or bad as people say they are.
. . . And They Don’t Limit The Joy Of Others
Mentally tough people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves.
Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Jealousy and resentment suck the life right out of you; they’re massive energy-stealers. Mentally tough people don’t waste time or energy sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up.
Instead of wasting your energy on jealousy, funnel that energy into appreciation. When you celebrate the success of other people, you both benefit.
A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually, and athletically competent. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, which is key to mental toughness, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.
They Get Enough Sleep
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your mental toughness. When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep, so when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.
Mentally tough people know that their self-control, focus, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep, so they make quality sleep a top priority.
They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you but not so great when life throws you a curve.
When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. Mentally tough people know that too much caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.
They Don’t Wait For An Apology To Forgive
Mentally tough people know that life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life.
The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body, and holding on to stress can have devastating consequences (both physically and mentally). When you forgive someone, it doesn’t condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.
They’re Relentlessly Positive
Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time, and you’ll see that it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It’s easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.
And who knows? Maybe it is. But mentally tough people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control. Instead of trying to start a revolution overnight, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power—their attention and their effort.
Bruce Jenner was a global heart throb in 1972. Lean, fit, boyishly handsome, he symbolized the Olympic-class competitive male. Bruce Jenner, in 2015, is a global twit. Dressed in women’s clothing, affected speech, nose nipped, junk tucked, and skin tugged tight to hide his maleness and his age, Jenner now symbolizes the crowning absurdity of the 21st Century; the notion that a man can be a woman if he feels like a woman inside.
The transgender phenomenon is a lie, a pathetic charade, unfortunately propped-up by a community of agenda-driven psychological clinicians, and mainstream media as adrift from reality as Bruce Jenner himself. The power of progressive social-experimentation constructs, such as “fluid” sexuality; transgender, LGBTQ, trans-racial, and other ludicrous fabrications, lies in their appeal to those seeking purpose and/or attention; the vulnerable, or wounded or lonely who crave an identity that will set them apart and provide meaning, a cause, in the midst of what appears to be an increasingly pointless and purposeless world.
There is no doubt that a small minority of people struggle with emotional and physical impulses which drive them to explore homosexual relationships, or cause them to question their sexual identity. That minority comprises less than 2 percent of the population of the United States.
None of this would have been imaginable 20-30 years ago. But the slippery-slope of social decline has been a slippery-slope away from God and the social institutions He devised to keep us moored to Him. In 1962 teacher-led open prayer was banned from public schools. In 1973 the Supreme Court constructed the ‘right to privacy’ as a basis for legalizing unconstrained abortion. In June of 2015, the Supreme Court–despite determinations to the contrary in 38 states–proclaimed that marriage, as instituted and designed by God, no longer exists. SCOTUS, subverting the will of the people, ripped the moorings of law away from the immutable commandments and eternal realities of God.
The Progressive Left’s war on God and religion is akin to their war on traditional marriage which is akin to their war on biological gender identity permanence which is strangely akin to their war on true and accurate history.
Race-opportunists and history revisionists pounced on the hideous massacre of 9 innocent black worshipers in North Carolina by the murderous punk, Dylan Roof, as fortuity to eliminate the Confederate Flag as a state symbol throughout the South. The Stars and Bars, or more accurately, the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, became a symbolic rallying point for the Confederate States of America. Although its history and symbolism are broad and complex, Progressives and race-exploiters used the North Carolina church massacre to mount a campaign to ban the Confederate Flag image from public view.
Deemed “offensive” or “hurtful” by Progressives and myriad useful idiots asserting the tyranny of discomfort, Confederate Flags and images of Confederate Flags are being erased from public view across the nation, despite calls to guard history and its symbols from selective, politically-correct censorship.
Contained within a massive salvo of arrows aimed at the heart of western values and traditions are transgender-ism, homosexual marriage and the equating of holy matrimony to other aberrant sexual arrangements, swelling ranks of Atheists, Pagans and apostates, and efforts to erase symbols, characters, Christian principles, and true accounts from history. But how is the elimination of America’s symbols connected to the dissolving of lines between male and female, husband and wife, marriage and homosexual encounters? The answer is human identity.
Identity, the self, as well as certain ideas and things one associates with the self, are the foundation of human action. Sound self-identity and the confidence and assurance that come with “knowing oneself” are key to mental health in people of all ages. With a diminished identity or knowledge of self, comes a diminished ability to think and act in healthy ways.
The lack of a sure identity–fluidity–brings confusion, suffering, and an inability to act with determination and direction. If you don’t know who or what you are or where you come from, you will lack the ability to positively and healthfully determine what to do. It is dehumanizing to base identity upon passing appetites and popular whim.
To use a deceptive premise, such as “if a man feel like he’s a woman, he can BE a woman,” or, “marriage is defined only by love,” can isolate an individual whose identity is unformed or tenuous from the reality of the self, the authentic, biological, physical, and moral identity. Without the context of an identity, or knowledge of the nature of the authentic self, action is easily commanded by external voices that appear confident and sure. Humans seek stability, assurance, a sense of security in feeling that actions are “right.” In the absence of a sure, authentic, moral identity, one will allow the louder voices, even those which come from deceivers and users, to both command, and take responsibility for his or her actions.
Within the progressive, pop-culture sheepfold of people with false or weak identities, is a deceptive sense of belonging and safety. One who believes he is “transgender” because of emotional turmoil or biological imbalance, may seek a place of belonging and can be easily drawn into a milieu where the expression of his confusion and emptiness is lauded as “brave” and “pioneering,” as in the case of Bruce Jenner.
While the creature as which we are born, and the genetic capacity within, is our human identity; male or female, black or white, bright or average, tall or short, our history defines our national identity; good or ill, moral or immoral, successful or failing. The elimination by Progressives of our historic rites and symbols, from prayer in public schools, to images and monuments of the Ten Commandments, to representations of Confederate Flags, is also a forced estrangement from the collective identity of our country. Without a national history that is sure and accessible to all, there is no nation to which men and women can pledge allegiance. The deceptive, commanding, confident voices may then gain the allegiance of those embarrassed or confused or ignorant about their national identity formed through collective history; the unique heritage borne of lessons learned from the past.
To erase symbols, memorials, words from books, and expressions from spoken language, is to discredit the whole of American history from its very founding. If America can be effectively discredited by the progressive Left, then the founding principles of Life, Liberty, Property, the Pursuit of Happiness–all given by the Hand of our Creator, and the laws which defend our God-endowed rights–are discredited. All wars fought in the name of liberating humanity from tyrannical governments will be discredited. The builders of the nation, and the economic system of free-market Capitalism, which made the nation possible, will be discredited, left to dim from memory as a brief folly during which the experiment of human freedom failed.
History, gender, marriage, God are the most obvious targets in Progressives’ cross hairs. But they are presently visible casualties in a much greater war against justice, freedom, and humanity itself. To cede our personal identity and/or national identity–our individual and collective natures–is to cede Natural Law, and to cede Natural Law relegates free men and women to the roles of serfs in an arbitrary and unforgiving dictatorship.