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Tuesday, January 5, 2016


SURVIVAL (tough, and well-armed)

Wednesday, 9:00 AM.  28 degrees F at the ferry dock, 24 on the back porch.  Wind SW, calm to very light.  The sky is overcast, the humidity 89%.  The barometer is falling, currently at 30.17".  It looks and feels like snow showers today.  The city is extremely quiet this morning.
   Harkening back to the discussion concerning the standoff in Oregon:  my suspicion is that this confrontation has been going on locally there for many years, that the rancher now in prison has been a "thorn in the government's side,"  and that they have been laying in wait, trying to pin something on him.  Over the years I have seen this happen, and it is always the citizen who loses, and the punishment severe, so as to warn others of his station in life not to be rebellious.  More than five years for a disputed burning of a minor acreage of cactus and sagebrush?  That is akin to the King making a draconian example of a peasant for snaring a rabbit in his hunting preserve!
   Let me theorize as to what may be the root cause of this matter.  The rancher pays taxes, takes risks, and works his tail off.  He is barely holding on in country that is marginal grassland.  He tries to improve his own land by selective burning (a proven method of encouraging rangeland grasses and eliminating invasive species).  The fire gets away and burns a few of the millions of acres of BLM land, that the BLM is attempting to "restore" to pre-settlement conditions.  No matter that the pre-settlement conditions supported little in economic benefit to anyone, including the Indians.  For that matter, the ecologists at the BLM would just as soon put the Indians in an outdoor museum and manage them, rather than the ranchers, if they could.  Remember the academic  debate of twenty or so years ago over whether the West should revert to being a Buffalo Commons, without settlement?
   The BLM folks are enraged by two such incidents of interfering with, of defying, their romanticized, unworkable, uneconomic policies, and vow revenge.  They trump up some charges, find a venue, and prosecute the culprits, for whom they have no respect and consider their enemies.  And, when the sentence is too light to assuage their revenge, they find a hanging judge to appeal to. "We'll try them over and over again, until they're convicted and get the punishment we want them to have."  Sounds like double jeopardy to me, which is unconstitutional.
   Ironically, and simultaneous with putting unwary American citizens in prison on highly theoretical charges of "terrorism," true terrorists are being released by the President from Guantanamo Bay, so that they may go back to committing murder and mayhem.
   The standard question in cattle raising has always been, "How many acres of range does it take to support one cow and its calf?" I propose the question should rather be, "How many acres of desert does it take to support one BLM employee?"
   Ranchers pay taxes and grazing fees.  BLM employees pay neither, since they produce nothing tangible and are paid by the tax payers.  Now we may need government standards for various aspects of land management, but they should be reasonable and take into account the ability of the people who actually live on (and off of) the land to comply with and to pay.
   A very wise man I knew, now long gone, once said to me, "Everyman's's land soon becomes No-man's land."  If the ranchers weren't  on their land, taking care of it and watching over it, how long would it take to be infested with actual poachers, outlaws, drug lords and  terrorists?  And, how many BLM federal employees and US Marshals would it take to try to control it?
   The federal government owns fully half of the western lands.  If it is impracticable to sell it or homestead it to put it where it belongs, in the hands of the people, at least mandate it back to the states so it can be better and more closely managed by their own citizens, who occupy the land.
   Some aspects of my theory may be wrong, but I'll bet it's not far off, and I'll abandon it when the actual facts prove me wrong.

2016 rendition

Oh, give me a home
Where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Now I have a home
Where the scientists roam
And the BLM plagues me all day
Where dubious their cause
And oppressive their laws
Turn the beautiful skies all to gray

So here I do stand
With my gun in my hand
You'd think it was centuries ago
Protecting my land
From some outlaw band
'stead  of some of the folks that I know

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