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DuBois column - Senate skullduggery, Trumpírole, straight lines, and the Bundy case again
THE WESTERNER ^ | 2/6/2019 | Frank DuBois

Posted on 02/07/2019 9:30:07 AM PST by cowpoke

More Senate skullduggery, Trump’s role in this, straight lines, and the Bundy case again

Senate chicanery

Last month I wrote of the skullduggery applied by both political parties in trying to pass a 680-page federal lands package in the waning moments of the last Congress. Up stepped our hero, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) who just wanted to add two words to the legislation. Alaska and Wyoming are by statute exempt from the Antiquities Act that has been so abused by recent Presidents. Senator Lee wanted to add “and Utah” to that statute. The leadership said no to his amendment, and Senator Lee said no when they tried to pass the bill by unanimous consent. There was talk they would include the federal lands package in the budget resolution, but as we all know, the last Congress adjourned without passing a budget.

That meant the bill would have to be reintroduced in the new Congress, and I began thinking of ways to delay or amend the bill in Committee. The bill was reintroduced as S. 47. I then went to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s website to see what the schedule for hearings or markup might be for the bill. In the introductory statement by Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) was this jewel, “The lands package was placed directly on the Senate calendar yesterday through the Rule 14 process for expedited consideration. Murkowski and Cantwell, along with committee members Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., reached agreement with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., late last year to consider the package early in the new Congress.”

That’s right sports fans. The bill will completely bypass the Committee (where Senator Lee is a subcommittee chairman) and is directly placed on the Senate Calendar for the leadership to call it up for a vote at any time. I can only surmise the fight over the budget is the only reasons it hasn’t been called up already.

Remember S. 47 would create 12 new Wilderness areas in New Mexico, 10 of which are in Dona Ana County and one of the largest designations comes within 5 miles of our border with Mexico. Keeping that in mind, look what happened a week or so ago: Four humanitarian volunteers were convicted by Judge Bernardo Velasco of placing food and water in the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness area in Arizona.  Now with all the Arizona lands bordering Mexico, why would these humanitarians pick this particular place to provide food and water? Because that's the corridor the illegal immigrants are using to enter the United States. Why? Because 803,418 acres of this 860,000 acre wildlife refuge have been designated as Wilderness. No motorized vehicles or mechanical equipment is allowed in Wilderness Areas. Which means? The Border Patrol cannot by law patrol these areas except on foot or horseback. Naturally, that is where the human and drug traffickers have the best chance at a successful entry. The Cartels in Mexico understand this. The humanitarians in the U.S understand this. However, NM's two US Senators apparently don't.

S. 47 is on the fast track, so the key question now is what is President Trump's position on legislating these virtual sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, where federal, state and local law enforcement are prevented from fulfilling their duties?  If the President is willing to shut down the entire government over the crisis we face on the border and his strong belief in national security, would he then turn around and sign legislation that hamstrings the Border Patrol and other law enforcement entities from protecting the health and safety of our citizens?

I understand there is bipartisan support for this 680-page bill. However, President Trump should advise Congress that 9 of those Wilderness areas in Dona Ana County should be stricken from the legislation or he will veto. Let the proposed Wilderness Area in the Organ Mountains stand. There is a lot of local support for that part of the legislation and those areas pose little if any impact on border security issues. Nevertheless, he should insist the other nine areas be removed  or he will not sign the legislation. Signing the legislation as is would be totally inconsistent with his current efforts to shore up border security and protect our sovereignty and safety.

Brian Steed, Deputy Director for Policy and Programs at the BLM, had previously testified on the southern NM portions of this bill that “we believe it is not the appropriate time to permanently encumber Federal borderlands with restrictive designations."

We agree and genuinely hope that President Trump does also. 

Straight Lines 

Dr. Jerry Schickedanz with the Linebery Policy Center at NMSU has written an interesting paper titled A Common-sense Criterion in the Evaluation Of Wilderness. Here are some quotes from that paper:

Straight lines are contrary to nature—they are the product of humans. There are few examples of straight lines occurring in nature. Nature has a pattern, but it generally does not revolve around straight lines. Straight lines are generally from the handiwork of humans. Examples of human-made straight lines occurring in the landscape include fences, towers, corrals, pipelines, dams, dirt tanks, transmission lines, vegetation changes due to ripping the ground for pipelines, and roads.”

“Humans like straight lines; however, in the natural setting that is the basis for wilderness, they should not be allowed. The straight line should become a primary reason for disallowing wilderness recommendations or including these areas to be classified as lands with wilderness characteristics.”

“The straight line detracts from the area’s naturalness and demonstrates that the presence of humans is not substantially unnoticeable.”

Now mull that over. It makes ultimate sense and should be adopted by all federal land management agencies.

The Bundy case

Thought it was over? The Nevada judge threw the case out because of “flagrant misconduct” by the prosecutor. However, the assistant U.S. attorney for Nevada has just announced their effort to appeal the decision has been approved by the Solicitor General and would be filed by February 6th.  The Bundy’s attorney has accused the feds of “circling the wagons” and says, “It’s all about protecting their own” 

The Solicitor General who approved the appeal is Noel Francisco, who was placed in that position by Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter who the President is, this demonstrates once again that government attorneys will protect government attorneys, and the Constitution and the public be damned.

Until next time, be a nuisance to the devil and don’t forget to check that cinch.

Frank DuBois was the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003, is the author of a blog: The Westerner ( and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship and The DuBois Western Heritage Foundation

This column first appeared in the February editions of the NM Stockman and the Livestock Market Digest 

TOPICS: Agriculture; Outdoors; Politics
KEYWORDS: alaska; antiquitiesact; arizona; bernardovelasco; blm; borderpatrol; briansteed; bundy; cabezaprieta; chuckschumer; colorado; corygardner; donaanacounty; frankdubois; jerryschickedanz; kentucky; lisamurkowski; martinheinrich; mexico; mikelee; mitchmcconnell; montana; nevada; nevertrump; nevertrumper; nevertrumpers; newmexico; newyork; noelfrancisco; oregon; publiclands; ronwyden; senate; stevedaines; upchuckschumer; utah; wyoming

1 posted on 02/07/2019 9:30:07 AM PST by cowpoke
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To: cowpoke

-—the “swamp” is wide and deep—impossibly so—

2 posted on 02/07/2019 9:43:06 AM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the media or government says about firearms or explosives--)
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To: cowpoke

Thanks. A lot of folks just aren’t paying attention.

3 posted on 02/07/2019 10:03:32 AM PST by Cincinnatus.45-70 (What do DemocRats enjoy more than a truckload of dead babies? Unloading them with a pitchfork!)
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To: cowpoke

Thanks for posting this article.

4 posted on 02/07/2019 10:24:23 AM PST by KC Burke (If all the world is a stage, I would like to request my lighting be adjusted.)
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To: cowpoke

Even with POTUS Trump, the swamp will never be drained unless drastic actions are taken. I find it pure insanity that President Trump never purged the DOJ and FBI as Clinton and Obama did as Executive Branch precedents go. Not “draining the swamp” may lead to 2020 re-election being a pipe dream.

5 posted on 02/07/2019 11:19:51 AM PST by shanover (...To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.-S.Adams)
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To: cowpoke

Gloria Navarro denounced the persecutors [sic].

Jefferson Sessions defended them.

Nuff said.

6 posted on 02/08/2019 2:46:45 PM PST by YogicCowboy ("I am not entirely on anyone's side, because no one is entirely on mine." - J. R. R. Tolkien)
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