Jan 01 2017

The Russians Didn’t Do This…

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

While, for good or bad, as the rest of the world literally marches on in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, there are those elitists on the left coasts who are still trying to figure out how Trump won. The overwhelming win in the Electoral College in the light of the fact that the popular vote would have dictated a different outcome prompts is hard for many to understand and precipitates calls to eliminate the college.

In a mid-December New York Times article entitled “Why Trump Had an Edge in the Electoral College” author Nate Cohn attempts to explain the situation in what started out to be unbiased fashion. He noted that “California sided with Mrs. Clinton by a vote margin of four million, or 30 percentage points.”

Had the election been by popular vote California would have dictated the presidency. Given the problems that state is suffering on a wide variety of levels, is that really the mind set we want our nation governed by? (My question… not his.)

Cohn went on to write: “Mr. Trump won for a simple reason: The Electoral College’s (largely) winner-take-all design gives a lot of weight to battleground states. Mr. Trump had an advantage in the traditional battlegrounds because most are whiter and less educated than the country as a whole.” (emphasis added)

Not satisfied with using this racial slur, after some more analysis, Cohn wrote: “There’s a real demographic reason for it: Most of the traditional battleground states are much whiter, less educated and particularly less Hispanic than the rest of the country.” (emphasis added)

The article rambles on for some time also blaming the Trump victory on just pure luck and or accidents of history in drawing state lines.

Fortunately Mr. Cohn’s point of view still lost the election. But the article does demonstrate the continued national divide between working people, those who shower after work, and those who seem to think they know better.

Sadly word came in late December that George Washington University is eliminating their requirement for history classes. Until we understand where we came from, we have no chance to plot a course for the future.

The ball is in your court…

Work at developing an affordable option for agricultural workers’ compensation insurance is pretty much at a standstill. In early September the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) initiated an effort to develop an agriculture self-insured program.

The first step in that effort is the completion of a feasibility study so that initial rates can be determined and a product can be put on the market. There needs to be at least 15 people who are willing to share some financial information with the company to complete the study. This information includes payroll and workers’ comp history if a ranch has carried the coverage in the past.

The information is private and secure with only the company developing the self insured program. Without having this information to complete the feasibility study, there will be no further movement. 

In the meantime, New Mexico’s farms and ranches are legally required to provide workers’ comp coverage for their employees. The specific requirement varies based on individual operations. The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration (WCA) has been patient in allowing people to obtain coverage. However that patience will not go on forever.

If the WCA determines that a farm or ranch does not have the legally required coverage they have broad powers in enforcement up to and including shutting down your business.

More Land Grabs

Just a week after the White House announced the withdrawal of millions of acres of Atlantic and Arctic territory from petroleum development, Big Government Alerts reports that during his Hawaii vacation, President Barack Obama has grabbed more state land for the federal government totaling more than a million and a half acres of land in two states bringing the total in eight years to over half a billion acres.

Breitbart filled in the story saying:  “President Barack Obama decreed two more national monuments on December 28, taking 1.65 million more acres of western land for management by the federal government.

“Obama has used his power to create 29 separate national monuments, using the Antiquities Act, but the Washington Post reports that he is expected to create one or two more in order to match or beat Franklin D. Roosevelt’s record of 30 designations.

“The new Bear Ears Buttes monument includes 1.35 million acres of Utah and the Gold Butte monument includes about 300,000 acres in Nevada.

“That makes a total of 553 million acres of national lands and waters that Obama has repurposed for conservation and protection using the 1906 Antiquities act, more than any other president, according to the New York Times. More than 80 percent of Nevada and about 65 percent or Utah is owned by the federal government, according to National Public Radio.

“Utah Republican leaders in Congress were furious after Obama decided to designate the controversial Bear Ears monument.

“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand,” Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee responded in a statement. “I will work tirelessly with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to honor the will of the people of Utah and undo this designation.”

“A November poll of Utah residents showed that 60 percent were opposed to the idea and only 33 percent supported it.

“Congressman Jason Chaffetz was also furious. “The midnight move is a slap in the face to the people of Utah, attempting to silence the voices of those who will bear the heavy burden it imposes,” he wrote, calling Obama’s actions a “major break with protocol” because it did not have the support of Utah’s Governor, the state’s Congressional delegation, nor local elected officials or state legislators who represented the area.”

Arizona’s Response to Utah & Nevada Designations

The Arizona Game & Fish Department posted a letter from that state’s Governor Doug Ducey that  read: “In response to President Obama designating two national monuments this week in Utah and Nevada, Governor Doug Ducey issued the following statement requesting that the president respect Arizona by not designating the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument:

“Western public land agreements have established a legacy of multi-use that have provided a recreational, environmental, conservation and economic balance that has served our state and nation well.

“In the early 1990s Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Congressman Morris Udall worked appropriately through congressional action to create a massive footprint of designated wilderness in our state. Arizona also already hosts the most national monuments of any state in the nation. Those monuments more than suffice for enough acreage set aside for elevated public lands management. That work is now complete.

“Our state needs no further designations. Designations done by decree have already negatively impacted our state’s ability to manage wildlife, held in trust for the people of Arizona and our nation. Proof of this fact is seen in the decline of desert sheep in the Sonoran Desert Monument, where access closures impeded our ability to maintain water catchments to grow these herds. Forest management also suffers in special designation areas, and my fear with the proposed designation is a catastrophic fire that would damage this area for more than a century.

“I have long joined Senators McCain and Flake, the majority of our congressional delegation, more than 20 sportsmen/women organizations, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and thousands of Arizona citizens in steadfast opposition to this unneeded and poorly thought-out presidential decree that will permanently damage the recreational, environmental, conservation and economic balance that is so important to our state.

“I request that the president respect the wishes of our state’s leadership and the Congress of the United States, which is where the real authority for public lands designations resides. The intent of the Antiquities Act gives the president limited authority to set aside the smallest amount of land possible to protect the artifact; this proposed designation of 1.9 million acres of land would be a clear violation of that intent.

“If designated by the president in his waning hours, Arizona will take every step necessary—legally and legislatively—to stop it. My hope is that the president respects our wishes.”

But there is hope…

Just before the New Year the Wall Street Journal ran a story headed “Trump Can Reverse Obama’s Last-Minute Land Grab.” The White House is trying to lock up millions of acres, but no president can bind his successor.

Meanwhile in New Mexico…

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is quietly amassing money from large corporations and national organizations to impact water in New Mexico and Texas.

The WWF purports to be an organization that is dedicated to saving species and their habitats (emphasis added). The organization presently has a donor campaign to raise funds for African species. Examples of this are found on their website (http://www.worldwildlife.org) or by watching their ads on television. Everyone wants to save the animals; few understand the full impact of “saving” habitats.

New Mexicans and others have learned the hard way via numerous threatened or endangered species including many aquatic and mammal species that have cut off access to water including the ability to raise crops and livestock.

The WWF website has a tab for Places. Hitting that tab will take you to a drop down that lists several locations of WWF projects. Hitting another link will take you to a world map identifying 18 “priority places.” Only three of those are in the United States. The Chihuahuan Desert is the one of concern to New Mexicans at this point in time.

According to the website:

The Chihuahuan is the largest desert in North America-stretching all the way from the southwestern United States deep into the Central Mexican Highlands. WWF’s conservation efforts focus on the Big Bend region of the northern Chihuahuan Desert, which includes important parts of the Rio Grande/Bravo watershed in the U.S. and Mexico. Because of the region’s high altitude (3,000 to 5,000 feet) winters and nights are cool while summer days can reach temperatures over 100 degrees. Very little rain falls in the area, but underground springs, small streams and the Rio Grande River provide precious water. (emphasis from the website http://www.worldwildlife.org/places/chihuahuan-desert )

The magnificent landscape is threatened by an ever-increasing human population, water misuse and mismanagement, overgrazing by cattle and goats, (emphasis added) and a lack of knowledge regarding the desert’s ecological importance. For more than 15 years, WWF and its bi-national partners have been working in the northern Chihuahuan Desert to protect and bring back freshwater and grassland ecosystems for the benefit of wildlife and people.

It is worth noting that the WWF is following an international lead of the IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature (www.iucn.org ). According to the IUCN people are the biggest threat to the world followed by agriculture and energy development. New Mexico’s ag and energy communities have spent well over a year minimizing the impact of a state wildlife plan based on the ICUN threats.

The New Mexico State Game Commission is owed a debt of gratitude for balancing the needs of the people with wildlife and the environment.      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, January 2017