January 12, 2016
Destruction of the West: Who’s to blame?
As originally published in Range Magazine
©Mary Blackstock / RANGE
“With more than 50 percent of the West in federal holdings (only four percent in the East), Congress and agencies in gridlock, and judges and environmental [special-interest] groups taking over federal-land management, hope of preventing future massive fires is bleak, without serious radical change. Currently, there is little incentive to return to commonsense management of our God-given natural resources with which the American West has been blessed. Those who live on and with the land have understood and practiced stewardship for generations.”
“We have some 73 million acres of national forest lands at risk from wildland fires that could compromise human safety and ecosystem integrity…. The situation is simply not sustainable—not socially, not economically, not ecologically.”
— Chief Dale Bosworth, U.S. Forest Service, 2003
Dale Bosworth, former chief of the USFS, may have recognized the problem in 2003, now, 12 years later, this situation has become even more ominous, according to a comprehensive special report in RANGE magazine. In explicit detail, the overview reveals the bureaucratic failures that are killing people and destroying homes, livelihoods, lands and wildlife, and the efforts by special-interest groups to block solutions—and in the process make money at taxpayers’ expense.
RANGE, which concentrates on commonsense solutions to problems affecting people who produce food for 300 million Americans, was recently awarded a third consecutive Freedom of the Press award.
“With more than 50 percent of the West in federal holdings (only four percent in the East), Congress and agencies in gridlock, and judges and environmental [special-interest] groups taking over federal-land management, hope of preventing future massive fires is bleak, without serious radical change. Currently, there is little incentive to return to commonsense management of our God-given natural resources with which the American West has been blessed. Those who live on and with the land have understood and practiced stewardship for generations.”
During 2015, throughout the West, local, state, and federal resources became overwhelmed, and by mid September, more than 8.8-million acres had burned—three times the acreage compared to 2014. Drought is a contributing factor, but the loss of life and charred landscapes can be traced directly to federal policies put in place from the 1990s to the present that are annihilating the West.
The lack of government land management has also given special-interest groups the means to pursue their own agendas with endless, time-consuming lawsuits and appeals. Inexplicably, each time federal agencies lose or settle a lawsuit, taxpayers are forced to reward the groups with Equal Access to Justice Act funds—thus “rewarding” them for their part in a deadly situation they helped create. Money needed to file their next lawsuit.
“Firefighting on federal land has become a big business with little incentive to put fires out early but, as with everything else, if it doesn’t make common sense, then follow the money,” writes Judy Boyle, one of the report’s three authors. Boyle is an Idaho state legislator and former natural resources director for Congressman Helen Chenoweth-Hage. The two other contributors include Andrea Scott, a southern Idaho writer who looks at the aftermath of wildfires, and range-management expert Steven H. Rich, who reports on the lessons not learned from the nation’s first mega-fire in Arizona that killed six firefighters, burned 24,000 acres and destroyed 63 homes in June 1990.
Boyle cites a series of operational failures by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS)—misjudgment that led to horrific destruction. She reports:
Owyhee County, Idaho: On Aug. 10, 2015, first responders and ranchers fought a blaze for 36 hours, containing it to 640 acres. The BLM arrived to mop up, sent the volunteers home, pronounced the fire was out, only to have it blow up into the largest in the nation at the time, devastating more than 285,000 acres.
A lightning strike in Canyon Creek near John Day, Ore., was fought by local ranchers and contained at 200 acres. When the federal government took over, the fire eventually threatened the towns of John Day and Prairie City, destroying ranches, 26 homes, cattle, and wildlife over 105,000 acres.
Federal workers were called to assess the situation northeast of New Meadows, Idaho, when lightning struck a large yellow pine tree. They didn’t extinguish the blaze and simply left. During the night, the tree burned in half, rolled down the mountain, and spread the fire. The result was the TeePee Fire, 94,000 acres, which threatened the towns of Riggs and New Meadows, jumped the Big Salmon River, and trapped rafters upriver, and obliterating valuable resources and wildlife.
In Montana, the governor protested to the USFS when state firefighting helicopters were refused permission for an initial attack on the North Fork Fire. Those Montana experts were forced to remain on the ground watching the devastation until federal helicopters arrived—four hours later. The state helicopters could have been there in 30 minutes.
Boyle summarizes, “With more than 50 percent of the West in federal holdings (only four percent in the East), Congress and agencies in gridlock, and judges and environmental [special-interest] groups taking over federal-land management, hope of preventing future massive fires is bleak, without serious radical change. Currently, there is little incentive to return to commonsense management of our God-given natural resources with which the American West has been blessed. Those who live on and with the land have understood and practiced stewardship for generations.
“There are intelligent, honest environmentalists who truly want to do what is best for the natural landscape,” she writes. “Then there are those whose real motives are the removal of man. The founder of Western Watersheds Project often publicly stated that his motive was to end ranching in the West. Other groups worship creation rather than the Creator, believing nothing should be touched by man.
“If they must destroy the natural environment to accomplish their goal, so be it,” Boyle writes.
A digital version of the detailed Special Report, “Destruction of the West,” can be found by visiting RANGE’s home page at www.rangemagazine.com.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 1/12/16
Nevada rancher and former Shoshone chief’s range war with BLM predates Bundy standoff
In 2002, the federal government seized Raymond Yowell’s 132 cattle and later sold them at auction before the U.S. Bureau of Labor Management sent him a bill for $180,000 in back grazing fees and penalties. Twelve years later, Yowell, seen here in 2011, told FoxNews.com he’s still looking for the ‘equality and justice’ he heard about as a schoolboy. (AP)
Long before Cliven Bundy faced down federal agents in his dispute with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights, fellow Nevada rancher Raymond Yowell, an 84-year-old former Shoshone chief, watched as the BLM seized his herd.
Adding to that, since 2008 they’ve taken his money as well — in the form of a piece of his Social Security checks.
Yowell’s 132 head of cattle had grazed for decades on the South Fork Western Shoshone Indian Reservation in northeastern Nevada until 2002, when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — the same agency at odds with Bundy — seized them. The federal agency sold the cattle at auction and used the proceeds to pay off the portion of back grazing fees it claimed Yowell owed. Once the cattle was sold, the agency sent Yowell a bill for the outstanding balance, some $180,000. They’ve been garnishing his monthly Social Security checks since 2008 to satisfy the debt Yowell says he does not owe.
“There’s a definite pattern in the West, beginning in the 1990s, maybe in the late ’80s, of what I feel are illegal cattle seizures,” Yowell said. “[Bundy’s case] is the latest example of that pattern.”
While Bundy is defying the federal agency over fees for grazing cattle on government-owned land, Yowell’s cattle had roamed reservation land. But a 1979 Supreme Court decision held that even land designated for Indian reservations is held in trust for them, and thus subject to BLM regulation. Yowell says treaties that led to creation of the reservation granted him and other herdsmen the right to graze cattle on the land, which they did successfully for decades. The Western Shoshone say they have never relinquished their right to the territory.
Yowell represented himself in a successful effort to win a federal injunction to stop the BLM from impounding his cattle, as well as a subsequent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that reversed the lower court. He’s again representing himself in a petition to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear his case, in which he argues his cattle were taken without due process and in violation of multiple treaties.
“Certainly, due process of law has not been followed in my case,” Yowell told FoxNews.com. “When we were kids going to school, learning the white way, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and one of the things I remember saying is ‘equality and justice for all.’ Well that’s certainly not the case.”
Celia Boddington, a BLM spokeswoman, said she had no comment on the pending case. But the BLM has previously said the tribe’s Te-Moak Livestock Association held a federal permit to graze cattle on the public land from 1940 to 1984, but had stopped paying required fees in 1984, when it asserted the tribe rightfully owned the land.
Last week, the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, which represents the federal government in disputes before the Supreme Court, was granted an extension in Yowell’s case even as the Bundy situation was making national headlines. Federal attorneys are due to file a response to Yowell’s petition for a writ of certiorari on June 4.
While the Bundy case is not exactly the same as Yowell’s, the parallels are obvious in the The Silver State and beyond. Bundy’s dispute, like Yowell’s, dates back decades to when the government designated the scenic Gold Butte region, where Bundy’s cattle graze, as protected habitat for endangered desert tortoise and slashed his allotment of cows. He then quit paying grazing fees to BLM, which canceled his grazing permit and ordered him to remove his 380 cattle.
Yowell said he sees some “commonality” between his fight and Bundy’s, but stressed his claim to the land is further strengthened by the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863, which formally recognized Western Shoshone rights to some 60 million acres in Nevada, Idaho, Utah and California. In 1979, however, the Supreme Court ruled that the treaty gave the government trusteeship over tribal lands and could eventually claim them as “public” or federal land.
“His feeling is that he’s acquired certain rights and now his rights are being violated by the Bureau of Land Management,” Yowell said. “But I have Indian rights, treaty rights that he doesn’t have.”
Yowell, who has separately sued the BLM and the Treasury Department for $30 million, said the U.S Treasury Department began garnishing his Social Security in 2008 check at BLM’s behest.
“They’re entitled to take up to 15 percent of what I get,” said Yowell, who receives $962 of what should be an $1,150 check per month. “And that’s what they’re doing.”
Yowell, who retired in 2006 and turned what remained of his ranching business over to his 50-year-old son, said his legal fight is his “legacy,” even though it has already left him with a jaded view of the white man’s government.
“It’s diminished my feeling, my view of the government,” Yowell told FoxNews.com. “They don’t practice what they say.”
As originally posted on Foxnews.com
Reposted by Reagangirl.com
January 7, 2016
by WILLIAM PERRY PENDLEY
As originally published by National Review
‘Over the past two decades . . . government officials, and perhaps [others], entered into a literal, intentional conspiracy to deprive [the family members] not only of their [grazing] permits but also of their vested water rights. This behavior shocks the conscience.” These are not the words of the embattled Hammond family in Harney County, Ore., nor their noisy defenders who made headlines with their illegal occupation of a few buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — actions the Hammonds do not support — nor even conservatives who see another Sagebrush Rebellion spreading across the American West. Instead, they are the thoughtful words of Nevada chief federal district-court judge Robert C. Jones in a painstakingly thorough 104-page decision in May 2013 following a 21-day trial held in 2012 in Reno.
Judge Jones ruled in a lawsuit filed pro se by Wayne N. Hage, defending the estate of E. Wayne Hage, his father, against two huge federal land-management agencies — the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service — and their employees, all represented by scores of lawyers from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture. (The federal lawyers’ appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was argued last month.)
As National Review’s David French has chronicled, the Hammond travails over the decades mirror the fearful path trod by the late Wayne Hage and his family, except for the substitution in the Hammonds’ case of yet another federal land-management agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs the national wildlife refuge surrounding their ranch.
Unfortunately, federal agencies’ abuse of the citizenry is not uncommon. In 2007, a third of a continent away, but still within the vast expanse of America where federal land ownership predominates — reaching two-thirds and more of some states and over 90 percent of some rural counties (72 percent of Harney County is federally owned) — a similar battle raged in Wyoming. Unlike the Hammonds in Oregon or the Hages in Nevada, the case of Harvey Frank Robbins and a federal agency “run amok,” in the words of a BLM employee, reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that the BLM “made a careless error:”
After obtaining an easement to use a private road across the ranch owned by Robbins’s predecessor, federal officials failed to record it. Thus, when Robbins bought the ranch, he did not know about the easement, and, under Wyoming law, he took title free of it. Thereupon, BLM officials, wrote Ginsburg, “demanded from Robbins an easement — for which they did not propose to pay — to replace the one they carelessly lost.” When Robbins offered to negotiate an agreement, they told him “the Federal Government does not negotiate” and “this is what you are going to do.” When he refused, he became, according to Ginsburg, the target of “a seven-year campaign of relentless harassment and intimidation to force [him] to give in.” When Robbins offered to negotiate an agreement, they told him, ‘the Federal Government does not negotiate.’ After two appearances each before the federal district court in Wyoming and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Robbins reached the Supreme Court in his effort to hold federal employees accountable for violating his constitutional rights to exclude them from his land and for trying to extort an easement from him.
Sadly, Justice Ginsburg did not write the majority opinion; her outrage on Robbins’s behalf was a lonely dissent; instead, Justice David Souter, on behalf of the Court, held that Robbins had no cause of action. He admitted that Robbins had suffered a “death by a thousand cuts,” in “endless battling” that “depletes the spirit along with the purse,” but concluded that the rights of citizens to be protected from “illegitimate pressure” by “unduly zealous” bureaucrats was balanced against the government’s need for “zeal on the public’s behalf.” Fearing that granting Robbins relief “could well take the starch out of regulators who are supposed to bargain and press demands vigorously on behalf of the Government and the public,” the Court held Congress was in a “better position” to provide relief if it saw fit.
In the years since the 2007 ruling, however, Congress has done nothing to protect citizens from “unduly zealous” — meaning “lawless” — bureaucrats and the taxpayer-funded lawyers who defend them. It is not just Congress — which could conduct oversight hearings, investigate abuses, hold officials and lawyers accountable, and constrain budgetary authority — that did nothing.
The abuses by bureaucrats in the field far from Washington — instigated, and aided and abetted, by environmental extremists, both local and national — of the Hammonds, the Hages, and Robbins occurred either knowingly or negligently during the administrations of Republican and Democrat presidents alike. For example, in 2005, a man who became a client of Mountain States Legal Foundation and prevailed after a nine-year battle before five federal courts was told by federal lawyers that his property rights and legal precedents were irrelevant. He had what they wanted and they would take the case to the Supreme Court to get it. They did but they lost.
As anyone who has the federal government as a neighbor knows — whether in northwestern Montana, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas — federal land managers and their lawyers make the worst people to have next door. The federal government, which owns a third of the country, acts not just as a landowner; it behaves as sovereign too, especially when it sends its lawyers into court. The Canons of Ethics purport to regulate the behavior of those lawyers, providing that: “A government lawyer . . . has the responsibility to seek justice . . . and he should not use . . . the economic power of the government to . . . bring about unjust settlements or results.” Moreover, Supreme Court justice George Sutherland, Utah’s only Supreme Court Justice, wrote, “The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest . . . is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.” “It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful [result] as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one,” Sutherland concluded.
Regrettably, in my experience, federal lawyers seek not justice, but to win and to win at all cost. Regrettably, in my experience, federal lawyers seek not justice, but to win and to win at all cost, which includes: Failing to conduct due diligence before defending federal employees named personally for wrongdoing, withholding documents, misstating or suppressing legal authority, and misrepresenting facts during oral argument. Where are the Canons or Justice Sutherland’s command then, or perhaps more important, where is the disciplining from senior attorneys, supervisory officials — many confirmed by the Senate — or state bars?
That federal lawyers have “run amok,” much like the bureaucrats they defend, is evident, not just from my experience, but also from the fact that the Hammonds were charged, not with trespassing on 140 acres of federal property with the backfire they started to protect their land, but with terrorism! The Oregon district-court judge trying the case saw the outrage and the injustice but was reversed by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, where were senior officials at the U.S. Department of Justice and where were their overseers in Congress, which had ample opportunity to question the legal proceedings in Oregon during the confirmation of Attorney General Loretta Lynch? Silent as always! No wonder fury builds at the injustice being done in the West. — William Perry Pendley, an attorney, is president of Mountain States Legal Foundation in Denver and author of Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle with Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today.
Read the full article here!
— William Perry Pendley, an attorney, is president of Mountain States Legal Foundation in Denver and author of Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle with Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 1/7/16
January 5, 2016
As originally published on DanDagget.com
PROTECTING THE WEST FROM ITS PROTECTORS
Posted on May 20, 2014 by Dan Dagget
In 1980 when I first moved to the West, to Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the first things I did was become involved as an environmentalist and join the Sierra Club and, shortly thereafter, Earth First! I was excited about my new home, about the mountains, canyons, rivers, and wide open spaces, and wanted to keep those things as spectacular, healthy, open and free as possible.
At the time I arrived, one of the hottest environmental issues was grazing private livestock on public lands. Grazing livestock on land both public and private was claimed to be the most damaging activity humans had brought to the West. As one environmental group put it:
“The ecological costs of livestock grazing exceed that of any other western land use.”
Livestock grazing was blamed for endangering species, destroying vegetation, damaging wildlife habitats, disrupting natural processes, and wreaking ecological havoc on riparian areas, rivers, deserts, grasslands and forests alike. What most caught my attention about this campaign against public lands grazing were the photos of denuded, eroded, cowturd-littered landscapes. Those photos served as one of the most effective tools for communicating the damage described above to those, like me, who were most likely to be concerned and recruited.
Here are a couple:
To make a long story short, I got involved in the campaign to protect public lands, wrote a couple of books about the topic in regards to range lands (actually about environmentalists and ranchers working together), and ended up enjoying a fairly rewarding speaking career about the matter.
Over time, the furor over public lands grazing has lost much of its intensity. Although grazing continues on public lands, it is highly regulated and significantly reduced. In fact, it has been totally removed from many areas where it had been standard operating procedure for more than a century. Also, Global Warming/Climate Change has replaced it (as well as a number of other issues) at the top of the eco-issues hit parade.
Living in Arizona, and remaining just as concerned about the mountains, canyons, rivers, and wide open spaces that have been my home now for 34 years, I have continued to keep track of the areas I made such a big deal about as a wilderness advocate and crusader for “healthy ecosystems.” As a result, I have something to report that may surprise you. It certainly surprised me.
The surprise is, the problems purportedly caused by grazing haven’t gone away even where grazing has. In fact, they have become worse, so much worse that a significant portion of Western rangelands may be in worse shape today than they were when the campaign to protect them was at its hottest. What is different, however, is that the responsibility for the deteriorated condition of the western range has shifted — reversed, in fact. Now it is protection and regulation and the advocates of those policies that are wreaking havoc on our natural heritage.
This is something you have to see to understand — and to believe.
Having noticed the poor and deteriorating condition of the rangelands near my home in Sedona and on trips as far afield as Big Bend National Park in Texas and Jasper National Park in Canada, I started taking photographs to confirm my concern. First, I took photos of the most eye-catching (and mind-blowing) examples of degradation on lands that are now “protected” but were grazed in the past. That ignited my curiosity, and inspired me to start ferreting out old photographs of those exact same places while they were being grazed. These I located via local U.S. Forest Service offices, museums, books, and the internet. I even copied some from old movies (An old Elvis movie — “Stay Away Joe” was one of my sources).
One of the first “before and after” comparisons that caught my eye is illustrated by the following pair of photos from along a favorite hiking trail near Sedona. The first photo (courtesy of the Sedona Heritage Museum) was taken on 12/29/1957. Grazing was ended on this site shortly after this photo was taken.
The next photo shows the exact same place in 2012 after 55 years of protection from grazing. The mountain on the upper right in the first photo (Courthouse Butte) doesn’t show above the trees in the second photo because the trees are bigger, and the point where I took the re-photo is lower than the original photo point, according to my rough calculations, due to 3 to 4 feet of soil erosion.
Next, I located some old U. S. Forest Service photos of old rangeland monitoring sites used to evaluate the effects of management (in this case grazing) on Forest Service lands. Here’s an example — a photo taken in 1963, also near Sedona, of an area that had been grazed for more than 50 years.
In 1963 the grass was short (most likely it had recently been grazed), but you can see the plants were close together, the coverage was fairy complete, and there was little evidence of erosion.
I even located a photo of a 3 foot square frame by means of which the plants in a certain part of the transect were identified, recorded, and mapped to enable the USFS to accurately read and record any change that happened. Forty-nine years later (2012) I took a photo of that exact same site. I even relocated (and re-photoed) the frame. According to the best information I can find, grazing was removed from this area “before 1981,” so, at the time of the re-photo, the area had been protected for 30+ years.
Interestingly, a U. S Forest Service Range staffer, upon visiting this site with me in 2013, and comparing what she saw with the 1963 photographs said, “Well, The grass looks healthier now than it did back then, except where there isn’t any.” ”Where there isn’t any” is just about everywhere.
To shed a little more light on what is happening here, I included a photo of the land just to the left of the monitoring site. (That’s the same location stake.)
Left for Upload To give an even bigger picture of what’s happening here I’ve included a photo from nearby on the same grazing allotment.
From the look of the exposed tree roots and freshly toppled trees it appears safe to say that erosion continues in this area in spite of the fact that it is being protected and has been for 30+ years. (I would also add it’s just as obvious that protection isn’t doing much to heal the area.)
Seeing devastation of this degree I couldn’t help but wonder: Were the effects of “overgrazing” anywhere near as bad as the effects of protection? To answer that question, I started searching the Web for those denuded, eroded, cowturd-littered images that were used to make the case against public lands grazing. I wanted to compare the effects of the activity whose “ecological costs exceed that of any other western land use” with the impacts of the remedy that was supposed to return the West to conditions the protectionists described as “pristine nature.”
This is where things really got surprising — the great majority of those “cows destroy the West” photos were mild, ho-hum, no big deal in comparison. Some even looked like positive impact photos. Here’s the collection of images that resulted from one of those Google searches.
When that collection of photos showed up on my computer screen I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this what so outraged me and recruited me thirty years ago? Is this the best they’ve got? It must be, I concluded. These are the images that were published in books like Welfare Ranching, and Waste of the West. These are the photos that are on the websites of the groups still making the case to remove grazing from public lands. So, If environmental groups were so concerned about the effects of grazing on public lands in this photo, for instance:
From Mike Hudak’s Photo Gallery of Ranching on Western Public Lands “This drainage in a heavily grazed field has eroded to a width of five feet.”
Why do we not hear a peep from them about the apparently much more damaging effects of protection on public lands in, for instance, this photo?
This drainage, in an area that has been protected from grazing for more than 30 years, has eroded to a depth of more than ten feet.
Another comparison — same question: If environmental groups are concerned about the effects of grazing on public lands in this photo:
From Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West — LIFEBLOOD OF THE WEST Riparian Zones, Biodiversity, and Degradation by Livestock, by J. Boone Kauffman, Ph.D “This stream in northern New Mexico has become “entrenched.” Over time, grazing and trampling of the soils and banks by livestock have caused the stream to widen and cut downward.”
What about this?
Talk about entrenched!!! This is the Coconino National Forest White Hills Erosion Control Study Plot protected since 1935 (78 years and counting). (Photo courtesy of the Coconino National Forest)
What do these comparisons tell us? Well, one thing they seem to make clear is that, for those of us who are truly concerned about restoring and sustaining the ecological health of the rangelands of the American West, we’re spending our money and our energy in the wrong place. Instead of campaigning to protect the public lands of the West from grazing, we ought to be protecting them from, well, “protection,” which may qualify as the real “most damaging activity humans have brought to the West”
One thing that qualifies protection for this distinction is that the damage it causes is not only more severe, it is more permanent — more permanent because it is a one way street. Ask protectionist groups what they can or will do to heal the damage shown in the photo of me looking up through those protected tree roots or that fellow peering out from that huge eroded gully in the White Hills Study Plot, and the great majority of them will tell you, “Protect it longer.” One activist has told me, “It might take more than a lifetime.” The White Hills Study Plot has been protected for 78 years. That sounds like a lifetime to me.
I’ve written books and articles about ranchers who have healed damage greater than anything shown among the “grazing destroys the West” photos by using their management practices and their animals as the means to perform that healing. In fact, I’ve done some of those restorations myself. Those restorations took days instead of lifetimes. In fact, I have some dynamite photos. See the photo sequence below.
Before (This would make a good “Cows destroy the West” photo. Watch the skyline these photos were taken in the same place (within a couple of feet).
During We added seeds, hay for mulch and to attract the cattle, and then the cows did the planting, mulching, and tilling for us
The results! Not bad, eh?
To their credit a few environmental groups and collaborative associations are using those grazing-to-heal techniques today. I suspect that, in some cases, they’re even using them to heal the effects of protection. But to heal damage, you have to be able to see it, be aware that it is there, and you have to want to heal it.
Environmentalists have trouble seeing the damage they cause because they suffer from a type of blindness of which they have accused ranchers for as long as I’ve been involved in this issue. Environmentalists accuse ranchers of being blind to the damage they cause to the land because they (ranchers) consider what they do (raise food for people by using resources they believe God gave us just for that purpose) so valuable and so righteous that they refuse to see, just plain ignore, or consider irrelevant the damage it causes.
This phenomenon — being rendered blind to the damage you cause by your own feelings of righteousness — is a more accurate description of an affliction that plagues the green side of the aisle. When environmentalists say, “We all want to protect the environment,” they use the word “protect” in its vague general sense: “to protect from hurt, injury, overuse, or whatever may cause or inflict harm.” The idea that “protecting” in this sense could cause harm to anything doesn’t make any sense. How could saving something from harm cause it harm? If you peel away this blindfold of righteous semantics, however, as the photographs in this article have done, it becomes evident that the ecological impacts of “protection” may actually “exceed that of any other western land use” including grazing.
The implications of this are clear… If environmental groups and government agencies truly want to achieve their stated mission — to protect the environment from whatever may cause or inflict harm — they’ll have to open their eyes to the damage caused by what they call “protection.” And hold this environmentalist panacea as accountable as any other land management method.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 1/5/16
December 30, 2015
Below are summaries of testimonies presented last year in a hearing on federal lands management in Western states, and instances of “threats, bullying and intimidation” by agencies and the bureaucrats who work for them. Stories similar to these have only increased in frequency since this hearing. With a growing list of injustices, incompetence, and devastating personal losses to citizens in the West, the transfer of public lands management from federal tyrants to state agencies accountable to the people is more important now than ever.
|Federal Land Managers Intimidation, Bullying Threaten Citizens Rights, Create a Hostile Environment
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 2014 – Today, the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations held an oversight hearing on “Threats, Intimidation and Bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies.” This hearing continued Committee oversight into bullying by federal land management agencies and federal law enforcement agencies on private, state, and federal lands.State and local governments, ranchers, business owners, and private citizens have been subject to threats, lack of cooperation, and numerous unfair or heavy-handed tactics which threaten public safety, the environment, endangered species, and the livelihoods of communities. Congressional oversight is necessary to provide an effective check on federal officials who abuse their regulatory powers.
“Today we took a second look at threats, intimidation and bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies. During a hearing the Committee held last year and again today, we heard first-hand accounts of mistreatment at the hands of federal officials seeking to extort the witnesses into relinquishing their property rights,” said Representative Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). “These firsthand accounts give the victims of abusive conduct by a federal land managing official a chance to tell their story to Congress. Status quo agency oversight, policies and procedures are inadequate for addressing or deterring employee abuses and may instead embolden overreaching or malicious employee behavior with little risk of retribution for their actions.”
Witnesses highlighted examples of flagrant intimidation met by citizens who refuse to surrender their constitutional rights, land and water rights, grazing permits and other multiple-use benefits.
Sheriff James Perkins, Garfield County, UT, highlighted his perspective from 27 years of law enforcement and experience working with various federal law enforcement agencies.
“BLM’s attitude towards coordinating with local law enforcement is summed up best by a conversation I had with a BLM law enforcement officer while we were attending a drug task force meeting in Cedar City, Utah. He told me point blank that he didn’t care about any authority that I thought I had as the Garfield County Sheriff, and that he did not feel like he had to coordinate anything through my office… This refusal to coordinate, coupled with a lack of any meaningful oversight, has created a perfect environment where the abuse of federal law enforcement powers can occur.”
Leland Pollock, Garfield County Commissioner, Garfield County Utah, testified on how BLM law enforcement has moved away from a public service philosophy due to polarization of personnel and bullying and cancellation of cooperative agreements.
“Our concerns/ complaints are not just a matter of hurt feelings, bullying, intimidation, lack of integrity, and a host of social issues. BLM’s Chief of Law Enforcement has cost Garfield County real dollars… We are befuddled how one individual can override a State Director and negatively impact an entire county with impunity.”
A. Grant Gerber, Elko County Commissioner, Elko Nevada, discussed specific examples of wrongdoings, threats, intimidation, and bullying by both BLM law enforcement and a district manager.
“When I was a boy and as I grew up the few Federal Agents were mainly local or from rural areas and fit in well with the local area. They knew the people and worked cooperatively. Now the Federal agents are predominantly from outside the area and do not develop connections with the locals as was done previously. Many start off with a belligerent attitude, even a commanding presence. They are especially offended if anyone opposes any Federal Government actions. The worst are the Federal Law Enforcement Agents that arrogantly announce that they are not governed by Nevada law, but can enforce it if they choose. Now we have been informed, that without notice of hearings, the BLM has determined that two more BLM Law Enforcement Agents are necessary to control the people in the Elko area. All of this is resulting in less use of Federal Lands by citizens as the citizens become afraid of being accosted and berated.”
Jose Valera Lopez, President of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, Rancher, Santa Fe New Mexico, testified on current justifications Federal Land Managers use to intimidate and bully including Endangered Species protection and resource protection.
“Endangered species ‘protection’ is the biggest culprit. At the moment the Fish and Wildlife Service is considering critical habitat for the lesser prairie chicken, the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, and two varieties of garter snakes. Expansion of the Mexican wolf habitat is expected as early as tomorrow. We have had 764,000 acres in New Mexico and Arizona recently designated critical habitat for the jaguar although only a few male jaguar have been sighted in the U.S. over the last 60 years… In my own case, the BLM has been buying up private lands near my family ranch within the boundaries of an Area of Critical Environmental Concern that they designated part of their Resource Management Plan. They not refer to our ranch as an in-holding. What this designation has done is de-valued our land and effectively prohibits any type of future development on the ranch.”
Posted by Reagangirl.com 12/30/15
December 23, 2015
…But today my burden is light and sweetly scented. It is Joseph’s wife, Mary, young and gentle, and her words in my ears are like music compared to the clanging and pounding of the builder’s craft. Joseph has put away his tools and seated Mary upon my back, and we have set out for a far city. This is my first journey away from home.
I am Lazaro. My master, Joseph the carpenter, gave me the name “Lazaro” when I was a colt and he was not very old himself. It means “God has helped.” Perhaps he knew that I would need a little help from God each day, to pull the sledges stacked with timbers, and the baskets on my back heavy with carpenter’s tools and nails. But today my burden is light and sweetly scented. It is Joseph’s wife, Mary, young and gentle, and her words in my ears are like music compared to the clanging and pounding of the builder’s craft. Joseph has put away his tools and seated Mary upon my back, and we have set out for a far city. This is my first journey away from home.
From my birth I have lived in Nazareth. When not in Joseph’s service, I like to roll in the dirt and bray at the crows that patrol my feeding trough. I watched as Joseph and his pretty wife, Mary, became friends, and grew in love. Now, with child, she pats my neck and encourages me on while singing a nursery song. The paths out of Nazareth are worn, but rocky. My feet, unaccustomed to long travel, are already sore as Joseph searches for a grassy place to spend the night. On a verdant hillside we make our camp. It is spring and shepherds lead their flocks to folds beyond the hills, carrying the new lambs across their shoulders, silhouetted against the squinting sun. Mary and Joseph are quiet as he sits next to her under a tree. His hand traces the shape of her round belly before the kisses her good night.
I awake when a lark hops around in the grass close to my muzzle, plucking up grubs. I bray loudly to startle the lark. Joseph cries, “Lazaro, you foolish beast. Be quiet!” But Mary has awoken and she says, behind a soft giggle, “silly donkey.”
How long we must walk, I do not know. How many days, we can only guess. The food and water in my packs have already grown lighter, but Mary, sitting upon my back with one leg folded in front of her large belly feels heavier than the day before. I plod a narrow trail up the rim of a high plateau. I’m not a mountain donkey, I am of the plains and fields and village roads. Joseph grows impatient. “Get along Lazaro! Mary cannot wait forever!” Suddenly, Mary leaps down and tells Joseph, “I will walk. He’s a small donkey, and my legs need to move and the child needs to stretch. He’s growing as impatient as you!” In Mary’s voice there is life–a mastery of enjoyment–rare to one so young as she. Her sweet voice impels me to pick up my pace. My legs ache, my rib cage heaves with great breaths, but up I go, for many hours and many miles.
“Lazaro, stop!” Joseph’s voice jars me to a halt. I look back and see that Mary is kneeling, one hand on her belly, and the other hand cupping her forehead. “Lazaro, come back. Mary can walk no farther.” I hear Mary’s voice, so tired and worried, “My time is growing near.”
Joseph heaves her upon my withers and looks back in the direction of Nazareth. “I shouldn’t have brought you…” Mary stops him with, “Shhhh. I will not be without you, nor will the child.” We trundle to the top of the rim, and there on the other side of the hill is the largest valley I have ever seen. I see smoke from a few distant fires, wadis and copses of trees, but mostly space. There is water, I smell a spring that runs down the hill to the valley below. I snort and bray to tell Joseph that here, there is refreshment for Mary.
We go on. Another day, another sunset. My flanks quiver with the exertion as I kneel down to lie on my side when finally we rest. Joseph leaves Mary to find wood for a fire, and while he is gone, Mary begins to weep. She puts her arms around my neck and buries her face behind my ears and through her stuttering sobs I hear. “Oh Lazaro, you are only a beast, but I cannot let Joseph know how afraid I am. I feel a great burden. My child is coming very soon, and here we are on the plains. Bethlehem is so far away. Oh, donkey, I feel alone with such a great task. What will happen should I fail?” She holds me fast, stroking my neck and weaving her fingers through my short mane. I take her robe in my teeth and tug gently. I want to tell her that my name, Lazaro, will be my promise that God will help us get to Bethlehem. Otherwise, she may forever call me ,” foolish beast.” She calms, and wipes her face and straightens her robes when Joseph returns with some sticks for a fire. I nuzzle her belly as she stands, and she laughs gently and goes to Joseph and holds him as if she will never let go.
The morning light reveals Mary’s face, serene but tired. Joseph looks worn, his hands calloused and cracked, and his back stooped. The spring from the hills has grown into a rushing stream. The water is cool and sweet and I crop the watercress and grasses along its edge. Mary washes the sleep from her eyes, and Joseph fills the water bags and drinks his fill before we continue on toward Bethlehem, the early sun warming us. We pass the great city, Jerusalem, and travelers pour onto the roads. Some are young like Joseph and Mary, others old, some walking, some riding asses, and a few Roman soldiers patrol the peopled trails. Two Roman horses, their masters stoic, pass me, they snort, then they pause. They look at me with disdain, but their eyes soften and heads lower when they look upon Mary. A soldier commands his horse onward. The horse goes on, reluctantly. A walking man, old, lame, his eyes pale with blue clouds of blindness, traveling with his son, nears my side. His face turns to Mary, his sightless eyes lock on her form. The old man feels for my mane and grabs it so that I may guide his way for awhile. Mary speaks gently to him. “Sir, are you going to Bethlehem?” “Woman,” he answers sheepishly, “you would speak to me?” “Of course. We are but travelers on the way to Bethlehem. You may walk with us if you like, but we must make haste for I am with child and my time is nearing.”
The old man grabs my halter and yanks at it to stop me. “Woman,” says he, “the child you carry…He is a king.” Crazy old man, I think. Mary is the wife of Joseph, the carpenter, and the blind old man thinks she is a queen! But the old man persists. “Woman, God be with you. God bless you. The child in your womb…He…is the chosen one…the Messiah.” Mary does not rebuke the man, though she should because he appears to be drunken or mad. The Messiah! I am a carpenter’s beast, and to think that I could carry the mother of the Messiah on my back. Who would believe such a thing? “Good sir,” says Mary, “God be with you as well. We must hurry on, apace.”
Another day. The noise of the roads troubles my ears, the strange smells from the travelers fill my nostrils, and the flies make saltlicks of my eyes. Mary is silent. Joseph is silent except when he asks for directions from passing strangers. Dust gets into our eyes and throats, and my body is breaking down with weariness; a weariness I have never before felt.
I hear it before I see it, a viper in the road, sunning itself. But my brain is slow and I react before I think about where I am and the burden on my back. I begin to rear up at the sight of the snake, but then I remember Mary. I stop myself, but my back hoof catches on a rock, and my weight falls up on my fetlock. I stand quickly, but the pain is great. Mary grabs my mane as Joseph runs to her to help her down. I fall heavily on my rump as pain blazes up my leg. No! I think to myself. No!
“Joseph, He is hurt! Did the snake bite him? Will he die?” Joseph calms her, “No, he is not bitten, but he is lamed. He cannot walk.” There is fire in my leg. I bray for the pain, and I bray for the dark thought that I have failed Mary and Joseph, and my promise that God will help us get to Bethlehem has been broken. I am a foolish donkey. I am a broken donkey. If Mary was a queen of the Romans or of the Jews, I would probably be a dead donkey!
Joseph paces back and forth along the trail. He finds the viper and lifts it with a stick, flinging it far off into the brush. Mary looks at him strangely. “I shall not kill the snake, it is not guilty of a thing. And I shall not kill Lazaro, though he is no good to us. I must find a place to stall him, and a family to keep you, Mary, until I can meet you upon my return from Bethlehem.” Her words shake me with their power as she reproves her love. “No! No, you shall not leave me. We shall not leave this beast. There is a promise in his very name, there is a promise in the Name of the Child, Emmanuel, that God will be with us, God will help us.” Mary speaks through hard tears, “I believe the promise, Joseph. We shall ask God to heal his leg. Lazaro can be made whole. I know it. Please Joseph, pray with me in faith to heal this beast.”
My donkey brain, convulsing in pain and fear, is calmed as Joseph takes Mary’s hand, and they kneel beside me, Joseph’s hand on my tortured leg, their heads bowed in quiet prayer. I stop braying and close my eyes to listen. There are pleas, there are tears, and Mary and Joseph are talking to God as if He is beside them, like a Father come to their aid. Everything is peace and dark. I awake, for I have fallen asleep. There is an aching in my rear leg, but the fire of pain is quenched. Mary gives me a handful of sweet dates, and I am revived.
I stand, and now, acquainted with sorrow and pain myself, I recognize the same in Mary’s eyes. I walk a few steps. Soreness, yes, but I can walk. Can I bear the weight of Mary and the packs? I stop and look back at her, and grunt, “Get on, let’s go.” Joseph once more lifts her upon my back, and my mind is cleared of all thoughts of snakes and pain and stinking travelers and Romans on arrogant steeds, for the lights of Bethlehem begin to appear as we round the crest of the final hill.
The hills outside of Bethlehem are watched by shepherds with many sheep. They fold their sheep, but some stand dumb, looking to the East. Joseph looks to trace their gaze, and a strange smile comes to his face. We hurry on. Mary is quiet in her thoughts, her breaths fewer and deep. Many people are upon the roads. Some have set up camp along the paths. There are makeshift shops, coopers, potters, farmers and others have set up a bazaar for the travelers coming to Bethlehem from all directions. The smells are strange to me, there is filth on the roads, strange languages, and grumblings about “Herod,” and “Caesar,” and the hated “publicans.” When we enter the city the noise crowds upon my donkey ears and both Mary and Joseph gasp at the sight of so many people, many who are strange and dangerous looking. “Where will we stay?” Joseph answers Mary with, “I will try to find an inn. I didn’t expect…I didn’t know there could be so many people in the whole world, let alone Bethlehem.” I bow my head and watch my feet as Joseph leads us on. I must trust him, for my urge to bolt is strong. Dogs nip at my legs, cats, chickens and little children run along the streets. And it seems that every house, every inn, every space within the little town of Bethlehem is filled with travelers. Some of them stop for a moment to gaze, like the Shepherds, at the Eastern sky. Mary cries out, and we move.
Joseph goes to an inn, it is filled. Another, and there is no room, even the stalls along the streets are crowed with people bedding down for the night. We reach the far side of Bethlehem, and there is a last inn. Mary whispers to Joseph, ” We must stop. The child is coming whether we have a bed or not.” Joseph steps away from us and knocks hard upon the door. A tired man answers, a cacophony of sound and smell come from behind the open door. “Sir, my wife is with child, and we need a bed. We cannot wait. There is no other place. Please!” The man ponders Joseph, steps out from the door and looks at Mary. His face grows pale. He runs back into inn, then returns with a woman and a boy. “I am Avda, this is my wife Hasna,” a boy of the age of Joseph when I first worked for him joins them, “and my son, Nahor. There is no room in the inn.” Hasna speaks to Mary, “This is no place for you…” Mary moans and a look of stern anger tightens Joseph’s face, but the woman continues, “… The travelers are filthy…” Nahor chirps, “…and stinky!” Joseph looks to the plains outside Bethlehem, “But where shall we go? Our child will be born this night! Can’t you help us? Just one bed, PLEASE?” Hasna, goes to Joseph. “There is a better place for you, a quiet place, without the dirt and noise of the strangers. Nahor, lead the beast to the stall. Avda, get a broom, I will fetch some robes.”
The woman orders us and we obey. On the edge of the city, within its rocky cliffs is fixed a cave filled with straw and feeding boxes for animals. Chickens roost along the mud shelves, a few ewes with new lambs rest in a corner, and an aged ox stares curiously as we enter. Avda sweeps and gathers out the old straw as Joseph helps Mary off my back. Nahor brings fresh straw and piles it up for a bed in the corner, Hasna lays some robes upon the straw and takes Mary by the hand and helps her to lie down. She again commands her husband and son, “Avda, bring water, Nahor, get more straw and meal for the beast, and put it in the manger. This young woman will bear a child within the hour.”
With sweet straw in the manger, I munch happily, save for the cries coming from Mary. The innkeeper’s wife lingers near Mary, and calms Joseph with words of instruction which I do not understand. But Mary’s cries are hard to bear. They are cries of deep distress, her body is erupting in agony, and I ache with her, I mourn the hardship with her. My burdens have been heavy to bear, but the coming forth of Mary’s child is a new and fearsome things to me. I wander out of the cave and stand on the path outside. The sun is a thin strand across the Western plains, but it is light, such as mid-day. Such a long day, I think, in my simple way, and the hours drag on so. But the day is night and a star in the East, so bright that it casts shadows, is defying the sleeping sun! Strange, very strange. I bray at the star, and see that I’m not alone in my wonderment. The people of the village have gathered outside their homes to gaze up. They murmur, some fearfully, some in reverence, and some kneel, whispering something about a “sign.” Mary’s cries grow quiet, and there is soft speaking in the cave, and then, the keening cry of a newborn babe! My masters’ son cries and Mary laughs in her soft fashion, thanking God that her hour of extremity is finished. “Praise God! Glory to God!” cries Hasna. Joseph is weeping softly, Mary and the baby wrapped tightly in his arms as he rocks them gently.
Avda and Nehor appear again. They bring food that smells delicious. “Here I have some bread for you Joseph, and a bowl of warm pulse for you, Mary. Eat and be strong,” says Avda. Joseph thanks them and wolfs his bread. “Would that we could do more for this child. Hosanna! Glory to God.” Avda and Nehor try to linger but Hasna urges them back to the inn.
I think to myself, so many strange things; a strange light, a village girl mistaken for a queen, an innkeeper’s wife crying out as if the Messiah himself has appeared! I am weary, and the aches of the day creep into my muscles. I lie down by the opening of the cave. The chickens, sheep, and old ox are strangely quiet, peace and darkness overtake my donkey brain and I sleep.
“He is here! Wake up, wake up! The angel of the Lord has told us, He has been born.” I awake as lads run up and down the village roads, banging on doors and calling to the people. “The King has been born. The star! Come see the star, for it is the sign.” The villagers are restless, for the strange star, brighter far than a full moon, has disturbed their sleep. And now these lads are using their shepherds’ crooks to knock upon doors and call out strange words. The lads begin to gather near me by the cave. They whisper, “Can you see him? Is the mother pretty? Does the baby look like a king?” Patient Mary sits up on her bed of straw and lifts the tiny babe so the shepherd boys may gaze upon him. They are nearly silent, but for some deep sobs and whispers of, “Praise be to God! Hosanna in the highest!”
What of this king? The babe is a carpenter’s son. Mary is an ordinary girl. What is this all about? But as I, Lazaro, ponder upon these strange things in my simple way, I remember the old man upon the road, the blind man who talked of a king carried in Mary’s belly. He talked of a Messiah. Could it be true? A healing prayer that took away my lameness. Is Mary the mother of the promised Messiah? Is Joseph the chosen father of the Son of God? As I think about these things a great warmth enters my heart. The desire to worship God consumes me, and with irresistible joy I step onto the road and bray, in my own language, “Praise God! The chosen Messiah is born! I am His beast! I carried the mother of the King of Kings on my back! Glory to God in the highest. Hosanna to His name.” A cock fluffs his neck feathers and joins me in praise, crowing loudly. My braying wakes the sheep and ox. The chickens begin to cluck, and from the stable cave there arises a joyous noise as the world of animals joins in worship of the Newborn King!
“Lazaro! You mad beast! Quiet now, Mary must rest,” comes Joseph’s voice from the cave. “It’s alright, Joseph. He knows. Lazaro and the other animals know, just as the shepherd boys know. This is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
I hear Mary and Joseph talking and so, hush my braying. The cock settles down and the hens return to their nests. Mary calls to me and I step softly toward the manger from which I had earlier eaten sweet straw. The babe, wrapped in swaddling robes, opens his eyes and makes a strange sound. I snort, and he smiles. “Lazaro, you silly beast,” Mary speaks to me in the same gentle tone which has always pleased my ears, but now with utter certainty and consummate love, “you kept your promise to me and my little family. You carried us here, to Bethlehem. Thank you Lazaro. I know that God chose you, you silly donkey, to help bring His Son into the world. Never again shall you be called ‘foolish beast.” I watch, my head bowed, a sweet peace warming me through, as Mary and the babe fall asleep. Joseph leaves the cave to do the business which brought him to Bethlehem. He rubs my neck vigorously and says, “Lazaro, you have proven yourself. Wait and watch here until I return in a little while. You are a beast with great heart. Now keep Mary and my son safe.” I will, Joseph, I will, I think in my simple donkey way, I will because God is with me.
by Marjorie Haun 12/23/15
December 22, 2015
This is a heartfelt tribute from one of our favorite contributors, Vietnam veteran, author and friend, Forrest L. Gomez.
ODE TO THE BEST OF ALL CHRISTMASES
Down throught the years, through all the days, I have experienced Christmas in many environments, and in many and varied circumstances. I remember the wonderful, warm, colorful, happy days of my childhood, when my dad – veteran of World War II and the Korean War – did his very best to give our poor family a happy Christmas. A child of the Great Depression himself, he wanted us to have the Christmases he never had.
I remember Christmases when I was at war, two in Vietnam and one in El Salvador, saying without prejudice that it is just not the same celebrating that holiday of holidays with the locals, and with GIs just as lonely as one’s self.
I have spent two Christmasses in the hospital, three on staff duty while in the Army, and one incredibly lonely Christmas when my wife of 19 years had left me the month before. After I gave my life to God in 1979, it was thrilling to share Christmas with a church family, people I knew I could depend on to care about me and pray for me when Ineeded it. I remember Christmas of 2001, when we looked to the future with a bit of frightened anticipation, not knowing what the followups would be on both sides to Nine-Eleven,
And I remember Christmas of 2009, when I had met Cathy just prior, the woman I would propose to on Valentine’s Day 2010, and the unmatchable lady who would become my wife on 4 September 2010. The Christmases with Cathy have been glorious, even though she spent one in the hospital herself.
I know I’m rattling on, but I’m an old guy, and tradition says I’m allowed to. My point is that I have learned some important things that God tries to teach us through His Word, and through our experiences. Most of you probably already figured this out, but I’m going to say it anyway. Might be some folks out there even slower than me.
There are payoffs in life if we allow ourselves to experience them. These payoffs are not things like big bank accounts, slick cars, sexy members of the opposite gender in our lives, lots of things, etc. The payoffs are things that can be intangible if we don’t focus on God’s plans for each of us. Think about it: the world may think you’re a nobody, but to somebody, you are the world! Have you watched your child, or the child of a relative or friend, come into the world? Does not your dog or cat, or some other pet, love you all the time, without qualifications? The vast majority of us have friends and loved ones that would cover our backs, even take a bullet for us. How did you feel about that kid waving his hat in the breeze after a game, or our military personnel overseas?! These are real blessings, and I have only scratched the surface.
My church had its last service before Christmas today, of course. Please once again put two thoughts together for me, brothers and sisters. There were many times when I did not think I was going to live long enough to have a family, and I could have died without God in my life. Most of you know that I have grand children, Praise the Lord. I thank God every day that I am still with the living.
Today (not for the first time by any means), my grand son Connor was on my right as we walked down the center aisle of our church, ushers, in the Abundant Life Fellowship Church of Tacoma, Washington. Some of you may remember that this kid chased off a prowler at our place a couple of years ago. We hae received many compliments for ushering side by side like that.
This is the payoff folks. Thank you, Jesus, for my life, my splendid wife, my children, my grand children, my church, my church family, and for my salvation. Life is SO good, just thinking about God’s blessings!
Brothers when you see an obstacle in life, look beyond it, and open your eyes and hearts. You will see the Lord.
Merry Christmas, everyone! To our Jewish brothers and sisters, Shalom!
Reposted with permission of the author by Reagangirl.com 12/22/15
December 16, 2015
Ladies, did you ever find yourselves strangely attracted to the rugged virility of Yukon Cornelius? Get all the dirt on him and Mrs. Santa here. 5 Newly Uncovered Weird Moments in the History of Christmas!
The “Green Pants Revolt”
5. Scientist will tell you that penguins are endemic to the Southern Hemisphere, but that’s not the whole truth. In 1827, penguins of all sorts were driven from the Arctic in what has come to be known as the “Green Pants Revolt.” Penguins were once found in dense populations at the North Pole, attributable in-part to Santa Claus’ daily deliveries of smelt, shrimp, and Cracker Jack (a penguin favorite) to the bustling colonies. The sleep-deprived elves, relegated to a scant 3 hours of sleep per night due to a rigorous schedule in the toy factory, complained to Santa that the squawking birds were keeping them up at night. Legend has it that Santa urged the elves to be patient until they could take their annual post-Christmas junket to Cancun, but the irritable elves had other plans. In a midnight raid the elves captured the penguins, boxed them up in chicken crates, and sent them, via slow boat, to Patagonia. And that, kiddies, is why there are no penguins at the North Pole.
No Forgiveness for Mrs. Claus?
4. What is the origin of Santa’s jolly “Ho, ho, ho?” The year was 1950 and a dauntless Arctic frontiersman named Yukon Cornelius passed through Christmas Town while filming a documentary titled, “Finding Bumble.” The ruggedly handsome Yukon Cornelius lodged in the guest house located on the grounds of the Claus manor. Finding the warm hospitality of Mrs. Claus irresistible, he stayed on as a gamekeeper. Tabloids of the day speculated that Santa and Mrs. Claus were experiencing marital problems, and that she found excitement and really great sex in the hairy arms of Yukon Cornelius, thus fomenting a scandal of polar proportions. Overcome by wanderlust following the Christmas rush, Cornelius packed up his video equipment and left in the dead of a January night. Mrs. Claus, heartbroken, and Santa, depressed and beset with eating disorders, sought marital counseling. It is believed that they made amends and renewed their vows in a Las Vegas ceremony, and that Santa’s jolly “Ho, ho, ho!” was heard for the first time in the days following the Claus/Cornelius affair. One must wonder, however, whether Santa’s “Ho, ho, ho” was the exclamation of a happy man, or the rumblings of a bitter old fellow who just couldn’t seem to forgive his wife for errors of the past.
3.The year was zero, and a caravan of nomadic Wise Men were traveling from the Orient, westward to the Mediterranean region then known as Judea. The organizers of the caravan, Hopscotch, Bindlestick, and Flapjacket, all wise kings from Eastern countries, rode patiently atop their dromedary beasts-of-burden for months. Following an exceedingly bright star that appeared night after night, they made their way toward the place where they believed they would find the King of Kings; the prophesied Son of God. Bindlestick’s camel, however, had an odious weekly ritual of announcing that it was Wednesday by repeating, “Guess what day it is…” and carrying on in a most annoying fashion until, near madness, one of the wise men would scream, “It’s Humpday!” Somewhere on the plains of Syria, Bindlestick’s camel met an unfortunate end when Hopscotch, having reached the end of his proverbial rope, choked the poor beast to death precisely at 11:59 p.m. on a Tuesday night. The Wise Men entered the land of Judea minus one camel, but having rescued their sanity.
Santa Psyops over Germany
2. The Allied Forces had invaded Europe and were beating back Hitler’s Army, and freeing millions from the oppression of the Nazis. It was the spring of 1945. But Hitler’s propaganda machine was still going strong and Germans felt confident that Der Fuehrer would win the war for the homeland. The American Office of Special Services (OSS) planned to conduct a massive psychological operation (psyops) in German cities and villages that would cause the people to question Hitler’s ability to lead them to victory. The OSS, the forerunner of today’s CIA, created pamphlets to be dropped from the skies over Germany, but conventional aircraft would be detected and possibly engaged by the enemy. A silent, nighttime drop was required, but there existed no airplane, at that time, sufficiently quiet to go undetected. Clive Weedle, a savvy young OSS agent from Humptulips, Washington, decided to give Santa Claus the call, and assign the dangerous mission to him and his intrepid team of flying reindeer. Santa, being a supporter of the Allied Forces and a freedom-loving patriot, accepted. During the dead of night in mid-April of 1945, in the silent skies over Germany, Santa, his team of flying reindeer, and three elves dropped, from an altitude of 1,500 ft., 20,000 pamphlets, complete with colorful illustrations, which said, “Hitler ist ein Daumenlutschen Transvestit!“ Translated: Hitler is a thumbsucking transvestite! History informs us that the devastating pamphlets dropped by Santa had a profound psychological effect upon the German people, especially those in Hitler’s inner circle. Just days after the Santa psyops pamphlet drop, Hitler killed himself inside a fortified bunker in the heart of Berlin. It is said that when his body was recovered, he was wearing a bra, panties, fishnet stockings, and pumps which belonged to his wife, Eva Braun.
Santa Claus at Valley Forge
1. Valley Forge served as quarters for George Washington’s Continental Army during the brutal winter of 1777. Despite the fact that most of Washington’s troops had been good little boys during the months before that terrible December, they were disqualified from Santa Claus’ delivery route because of age restrictions. But Santa was concerned about the fledgling republic for which the Americans were fighting and he wanted to help without breaking his own rules. George Washington, exhausted and disheartened by the unspeakable conditions at Valley Forge, took to the drink and was spending his hours lolling about, drunk, in the livery stables. Alarmed, Santa Claus took a sabbatical during the peak toy-making season, to fly down with a few trusted reindeer and have a heart to heart with the general. Concerned that the men would give up if their leader lost his hearty optimism and faith, Santa donned Washington’s uniform and sat in his stead for a few days. Santa tended to the men, and dined alongside them, eating their typical fare of cabbage and vinegar soup. The team of reindeer flew George Washington to Mount Vernon for a much needed weekend with Martha. Upon his return, Washington asked Santa Claus in what manner he could repay the kind deed. The story goes that Santa simply asked the sober and reinvigorated leader of the Continental Army to promise that once they had won independence for the colonies that he would establish a nation where people would be free to live their lives and produce lots, and lots of children. Santa then introduced the general to an old friend from Prussia, named Friedeich Von Steuben, who proved instrumental in Washington’s eventual victory over the British. George Washington took the tales of the secret meetings with Santa at Valley Forge to his grave, and the lone witnesses to the events, Martha Washington and General Von Steuben, provided only cryptic indications in their diaries about how Santa helped win the Revolutionary War.
by Marjorie Haun 12/16/15