General Science

Jaguars and more junk science

A new study, published by Cambridge University Press, “A systematic review of potential habitat suitability for the jaguar Panthera onca in central Arizona and New Mexico, USA,” claims that large areas of Arizona and New Mexico may be suitable habitat for wild jaguars.

From the study abstract:

“Here we present a systematic review of the modelling and assessment efforts over the last 25 years, with a focus on areas north of Interstate-10 in Arizona and New Mexico, outside the recovery unit considered by the USFWS. Despite differences in data inputs, methods, and analytical extent, the nine previous studies found support for potential suitable jaguar habitat in the central mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico. Applying slightly modified versions of the USFWS model and recalculating an Arizona-focused model over both states provided additional confirmation. Extending the area of consideration also substantially raised the carrying capacity of habitats in Arizona and New Mexico, from six to 90 or 151 adult jaguars, using the modified USFWS models. This review demonstrates the crucial ways in which choosing the extent of analysis influences the conclusions of a conservation plan. More importantly, it opens a new opportunity for jaguar conservation in North America that could help address threats from habitat losses, climate change and border infrastructure.” (Link to full paper)

The study has 17 authors, 14 of which (in my opinion) belong to radical environmental groups.

As stated in the abstract, the researchers did no on-the-ground research, but instead used models to “cherry-pick” previous publications. Reports of this study appeared in the Arizona Republic and in the March 19, 2021 print edition only of the Arizona Daily Star.

This study renews a very controversial topic. My take on the study is that the authors are campaigning for establishment of more critical habitat. Even if larger areas of Arizona and New Mexico could support Jaguar habitat, there is still no reason to formally establish “critical habitat” which would have many bad effects on property rights and natural resource production. The natural habitats in Mexico, Central America, South America are sufficient to provide for the species.

In my previous article on this subject Proposed Jaguar Habitat in Arizona and New Mexico Is Scientifically and Legally Indefensible, I provide a report from the Pima Natural Resource Conservation District (PNRCD): which “shows that the proposal by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate Critical Habitat for the jaguar under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is scientifically indefensible because it is based on flawed data, and it violates laws such as the Data Quality Act.”

PNRCD requested that FWS withdraw its proposed rule “because habitat ‘essential’ to the conservation of the jaguar as a species does not exist in either Arizona or New Mexico under any scientifically credible definition of that term, because designation of critical habitat therein cannot possibly help save jaguars, and because the economic consequences of adding yet another layer of regulation and restriction on national security, resource production, water use, hunting and recreation during the worst recession on record since 1929 far outweigh any possibly discernible benefit to jaguars as a species that might be gained by designating critical habitat for them north of the Mexican border where they are but rarely transient…”

“For Critical Habitat to be established under ESA, the FWS must show that the area in question is essential to the jaguars conservation and survival as a species, not merely whether the area in question could host or has hosted individual, transient jaguars.”

 

Bats of Western Abandoned Mines

From the Bureau of Land Management

See original here.

Below are parts of the infographic produced by the BLM. I had to divide it into pieces so that it is readable at this scale. You can click on the first graphic to make it easier to read.

See also: Creatures of the Night: The Bats

 

 

 

 

Wildfires Not Related to Global Warming

With the outbreak of large wildfires in California, the “mainstream” media is once again blaming it on global warming. However, the real evidence shows that the main causes are bad forest management, failure to clear brush near power lines, arson, and accidents. Note that ancient native Americans did controlled burns to manage the forest and make it more habitable for animals they hunted. But now, controlled burns and clearing brush are politically incorrect.

 

Here are some recent articles on the wildfires.

Irrefutable NASA data: global fires down by 25 percent

by Anthony Watts

Using satellite technology, NASA determined that between 2003 and 2019, global fires have dropped by roughly 25 percent. This makes the “climate change is worsening wildfires” argument completely moot. (Read more)

Minimizing California Wildfires

by Jim Steele

How do we focus our resources to minimize the devastation caused by California’s wildfires? First, we can reduce ignitions. California’s deadliest fire, the Camp Fire and California’s 2nd largest fire, the Thomas Fire were ignited by faulty powerlines during high wind events. California’s sprawling power grid has rapidly expanded since 1970 to accommodate the influx of 20 million people. Accordingly, powerline-ignited fires increased area burnt by five times relative to the previous 20 years.

California’s largest fire (Mendocino Complex), its 3rd largest (Cedar Fire), 5th largest (Rim Fire), and 7th largest (Carr Fire), were all ignited by accidents or carelessness. Uncontrollably, more people cause more accidents, suggesting California’s wisest course of action requires creating more defensible space.

In contrast, the August 2020 fires, which will likely rank in the top 10 of burned area of California, were all naturally started by an onslaught of dry lighting. (Read more)

Dr. Judith Curry on wildfires:

The mantra from global warming activists that manmade global warming is causing the fires, and therefore fossil fuels must be eliminated, is rather tiresome, not to mention misses the most important factors. More importantly, even if global warming is having some fractional impact on the wildfires, reducing fossil fuels would fractionally impact the fires but only a time scale of many decades hence.

Here are some of the more intelligent articles that I’ve seen on the California fires. (Read more)

See also: https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/california-burning/

 

This 1994 article from the New York Times (back when NYT still did journalism) puts things in perspective.

New York Times debunks climate-caused California wildfires

California can either manage its forests better or watch them burn for another 200 years, according to the New York Times. All you need to know about California drought and wildfires:

Beginning about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur. (Read more)

See also the following articles from my blog to gain more perspective.

Mega-fires in Southwest due to forest mismanagement

North American wildfires and global warming

Wildfires and Warming – Relationship not so clear

Claim: “Worsening Wildfires Linked to Temp Rise”

Media hype about forest fires and global warming

Cornavirus – politics and science

Here are some recent (as of Sep 4, 2020) stories about medical findings and politics concerning the way we should be handling the pandemic.

Coronavirus tests: which one should you take?

New coronavirus tests are being developed every day. The Trump administration just ordered 150 million rapid antigen tests from Abbott Laboratories, but how do they stack up against other tests like the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test? Top infectious disease doctors from Harvard and Johns Hopkins break down the differences between the two tests to determine which diagnostic tool might be better at curbing transmission rates.

Rapid antigen tests have around a 97% sensitivity to detect people in the first week of infection of symptoms. And that, we know, is when people are most likely to transmit to other people. An antigen test looks for proteins of the virus or the actual shapes of the molecules that make up the virus. The test is done with a nasal or throat swab at a hospital or doctor’s office, but the hope is that these tests will soon be available for home testing in the near future. The biggest benefit, some say, is the fact that the test costs $5 and can deliver results within 15 minutes.

The diagnostic tool that is considered the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. PCR tests, also known as molecular tests, are performed at a hospital or medical office. One of the biggest differences between PCR and antigen tests is the speed of the test. The sample taken during a PCR test is typically sent to a lab where results are turned around between 24-hours up to a week, depending on lab capacity. Although antigen tests may not be as sensitive as PCR tests, frequent testing will be key to staying ahead of the curve. (Read more)

Charts compare COVID deaths in countries that used hydroxychloroquine early and those that didn’t

By James Stansbury

The bottom line is that total deaths to date per million for countries using HCQ averages over 80% lower than in countries with limited use. (Read more)

The Big COVID Con Exposed

By Brian C. Joondeph, M.D.

In the past week, two pillars of the COVID Con collapsed: deaths and positive tests. The first crack in the pillar occurred in early May when task force member Dr. Birx claimed, “There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust.” She believed the CDC was inflating Wuhan flu mortality by as much as 25 percent.

The pillar of COVID deaths crumbled just days ago when the CDC updated their mortality numbers to reflect deaths “from COVID” versus deaths “with COVID.”

Death with COVID means that George Floyd is counted a COVID death because he tested positive at autopsy. This is similar to the case of a Colorado man dying of alcohol poisoning but the death was later blamed on COVID. Washington public officials counted gunshot fatalities as COVID deaths.

The new CDC statistics show that only 6,640 deaths are due to COVID alone, rather than the commonly reported 164,280 deaths allegedly associated with COVID. In other words, only 4 percent of media sensationalized deaths were due solely to COVID and not other underlying medical conditions. (Read more)

Dr. Fauci’s Hydroxychloroquine Denial

By Mikko Paunio

As an epidemiologist, I believe that America has been profoundly ill-served by the contribution of its public health authorities to the debate on the efficacy of treating vulnerable COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). It is a debate with a direct link to whether America’s schools should reopen next month. Even those who reject the World Health Organization’s misleading comparison of COVID-19 with the horrendous 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and its presumption that humans lack any immunity against SARS-CoV-2 would welcome improvements in our ability to treat patients with COVID-19, in order to reduce the risk in reopening schools.

Distinguished Yale epidemiologist Harvey Risch has written extensively on the meticulous research demonstrating the efficacy of the early administration of HCQ in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc. Conclusions from this research are based on criteria developed by British epidemiologist Sir Bradford Hill and Sir Richard Doll, two of the first scientists to discover the causal link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, criteria that laid the foundations of modern epidemiology and that are used to this day to determine whether an observed association can be ascribed to causation. (Read more)

It seems that the Wuhan virus’s risks have been grossly exaggerated

By Andrea Widburg

Without the Wuhan virus, the Democrats have no meaningful opposition to Trump. Not only have the Democrats weaponized the Wuhan virus to destroy the economies under their aegis, but they’ve also repeatedly claimed that Trump killed 161,000 Americans. However, new CDC data show that, of those Americans who died in the past seven months, only 6% died from the virus alone. The other 94% had serious comorbidities that (sadly) put them at a higher risk of death from anything that came along — and certainly from having sick people funneled into their nursing homes. (Read more) See also: The Latest CV19 Conspiracy Theory — Only 9,210 Dead

The vast majority of CV19 deaths would not have occurred without comorbidity risk factors triggered by the virus. But according to the CDC, there have been 9,210 deaths where no other risk factor or cause of death was noted. As the CDC page in question makes clear: “Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.”

Did China Commit an Act of War?

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Biological warfare, while it may kill the enemy, is generally designed to cause many casualties and disruption. Those surviving victims of the biological agents will need the attention of many other people and resources. Biological warfare may also cause panic and disruption of a region’s economy. These are some of the things I learned during my two years as an officer in the Army Chemical Corps where I was specifically trained in CBR: chemical, biological, and radiological warfare.

As the story goes, the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, was conducting research on corona viruses when by accident (?) some of the virus escaped into the city and infected some of the citizens. China immediately quarantined the city and stopped travel within China. They could possibly have prevented spread of the virus if they had also stopped international travel and warned the world of what happened. But they didn’t. Perhaps the Chinese Communist authorities realized they had an opportunity destroy the economies of western countries. Because international travel was not immediately stopped, infected, asymptomatic people carried the virus around the world. China lied and people died. People and governments panicked.

It seems that the Chinese Communist authorities were paying attention to Sun Tzu.

Much of the panic was caused by computer models which predicted millions of deaths. These models were based on bad assumptions and insufficient data (very similar to climate models). For more on that subject, see: The Danger of Letting Lab Coats Run the World

and: Fauci’s Song and Dance

and: Blinded by Doomsday Predictions Masquerading as Science

and: Imperial College model Britain used to justify lockdown a ‘buggy mess’, ‘total unreliable’, experts claim

See also: Coronavirus- The Truth (and Lies) Dr. David Williams

Repeal the EPA endangerment finding

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has send a 139-page petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them to end their 2009 “endangerment finding”  for greenhouse gases due to lack of evidence.

The press release notes:

Over ten years have elapsed since the EPA Administrator made this judgment in its so-called CO2 Endangerment Finding. During that time a considerable amount of scientific research has been conducted on the potential impacts of rising greenhouses gases on humanity and the natural world. The additional knowledge obtained from such research and observations reveal quite clearly that rising greenhouse gases do not represent what EPA identified in 2009 to be a current or future threat to public welfare.

According to the Center’s Chairman, Dr. Craig Idso, who is the lead author of the petition, “multiple observations made over the past decade confirm the projected risks and adverse consequences of rising greenhouse gases are failing to materialize. The truth is, in stark contrast to the Endangerment Finding, CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use during the Modern Era have actually enhanced life and improved humanity’s standard of living. And they will likely continue to do so as more fossil fuels are utilized.”

The 139-page petition by the Center highlights multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies in support of this thesis. In particular, the petition shows (1) there is nothing unusual or unnatural about Earth’s current warmth or rate of warming, (2) historic and modern records of atmospheric CO2 and temperature violate established principles of causation, (3) model-based temperature projections since 1979 artificially inflate warming (compered to observations) by a factor of three, invalidating the models and all their ancillary claims associated with greenhouse gas-induced warming, and that (4) key adverse effects of greenhouse gas-induced warming,
including extreme weather events, temperature-induced mortality and sea level rise, are not occurring despite EPA predictions they should be worsening.

The petition also presents compelling evidence that CO2 emissions and fossil energy use provide critical benefits that act to enhance health and welfare for humanity and the natural world. According to Dr. Idso, “Without adequate supplies of low-cost centralized energy derived from fossil fuels, few, if any, of the major technological and innovative advancements of the past two centuries that have enhanced and prolonged human life could have occurred. Additionally, without the increased CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use over the past two centuries, Earth’s terrestrial biosphere would be nowhere near as vigorous or productive as it is today. Rather, it would be devoid of the growth-enhancing, water-saving and stress-alleviating benefits it has reaped in managed and unmanaged ecosystems from rising levels of atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution began.”

Download the entire petition here:

Click to access EPAPetitionCO2ScienceMarch2020.pdf

Examining the Effect of the Border Wall on Private and Tribal Landowners

The following is testimony submitted by Arizona rancher James K. Chilton, Jr. to the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations, on February 27, 2020.

 

My name is Jim Chilton. I am a 5th generation rancher from Arivaca, Arizona. Arivaca is a small rural town approximately 55 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Our ranch is adjacent to the town and extends south to the international border with Mexico. The ranch includes private property, State School Trust lands and three federal grazing permits in the Coronado National Forest. Our entire family, my wife of 56 years, our two sons and their children, my brother and his wonderful family, are blessed to be able to preserve our western ranching customs, culture, and heritage dating back to our pioneering ancestors who drove cattle from Texas to Arizona Territory in the late 1800’s. Our family has been in the cattle business in Arizona for about 130 years. We have a long-term view of the necessity to be excellent stewards of the grasslands we carefully manage. We are honored to have received various valued awards for resource conservation and wildlife stewardship.

Chilton Ranch and the International Border

Our family ranch is located adjacent to the United States/Mexico boundary in a corridor identified as among the most active for drug smuggling and human trafficking in the Nation. My comments generally relate specifically to the portion of the border south of our ranch extending from Nogales, AZ to Sasabe, AZ.

The following is a map of our beef-producing family ranch. Please notice that the southern end of the eastern part of the ranch is the international boundary for about five miles. Mexico is just across the fence. Our ranch boundary goes north and west bordering three other ranches. Crossers on the western side go through our neighbors’ grazing lands and then through our pastures.

The following photo shows what the international boundary looks like on the southern end of our ranch. It is not signed or marked and mainly consists of a four-strand barbed wire cattle fence. Obviously, there is no wall and you would never know it was the international border by viewing it.

 

This is the U.S.-Mexico border. For approximately 25 miles, this is typical until it reaches the east end of the bollard-style modern wall built to protect the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. It is well known that the Mexican cartels use this 25-mile open door of rarely patrolled land with no border-paralleling road for their drug and people smuggling business.

The following photo shows the end of the wall about 2.5 miles west of Nogales Arizona and the point where the wall becomes an old pasture fence.

 

Jim Chilton: half in the U.S. and half in Mexico! Even an 80-year-young rancher can crawl under the current international border. As you can see, building an appropriate international border fence and road would be no challenge for American civil engineers. We laugh when we hear former officials say it’s such difficult terrain that, “no one in his right mind” would try it.

Border Patrol Strategy

The long-out-dated Border Patrol strategy is to focus on attempts at interdiction of rural area crossers ten, twenty, and over 100 miles inside the United States rather than at the international boundary. As a consequence, the federal government has de facto ceded hundreds of square miles of Arizona to the cartels. My neighbors and I strongly believe the Border Patrol must SECURE THE BORDER AT THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY. The fact that drug packers, MS 13 gang members and deported criminals desiring to re-enter the nation walk through our neighbors’ ranches and our ranch is dangerous for us and for our neighbors. We believe every nation has the sovereign right to secure and control its border and our nation is not succeeding in exercising that right.

We want to emphasize that we support and deeply appreciate the Border Patrol. The agents are polite, well trained and there is a sincere effort by the Sector Commander, his top officials and Tucson Station Patrol Agent in Charge to listen to and try to address ranchers’ border issues. We also appreciate many of the current Border Patrol efforts, including checkpoints, drug-sniffing dogs, and other strategies which certainly interdict highway traffic. We believe, however, these tactics are woefully insufficient to actually stem the tide of cartel operations flooding cross-country routes through border ranchlands of Arizona like ours.

Why is the entire Tucson Station of the Border Patrol with approximately 650 officers operating from a location 80 miles and about three hours from the international boundary at the southern end of our ranch? The Tucson Station has about 24 miles of the international boundary to secure, or 27 agents per mile. Currently, the Tucson Sector personnel report to work in downtown Tucson, check out weapons and vehicles and then drive approximately three hours to reach the border on our ranch. The waste of time and the high cost of each officer traveling to and from the border in his or her individual Border Patrol vehicle are outrageous.

National security demands that drug traffickers, terrorists, and previously deported people be prevented from entering the United States at the border. Asylum seekers and work seekers need to cross at the legal Ports of Entry. Currently, on our ranch all of the above often travel cross-country 10 to 20 miles before the Border Patrol even attempts to apprehend them. Why? Because the Border Patrol is not based at the border; old, slow, dirt roads have not been improved to the ranchland borders, and communications fail in the borderlands. We can work all day on the ranch and not encounter Border Patrol anywhere near the border.

Why is there a huge Border Patrol station located in Casa Grande when the city is located approximately 130 miles from the international boundary? Certainly we are pleased that thousands of cartel drug packers and cartel-led border crossers are arrested in Pinal County every year. However, we question the current strategy that lets these undocumented persons walk through our ranch or through the Tohono O’odham Reservation to the west of us to disperse so far into Arizona. This strategy allows, we believe, more than half of the crossers to escape detection. This capture percent is even deemed too generous by Border Patrol officers with whom we speak “off the record.” Would a football team ever win a game if, on defense, the team lined up ten yards behind the line of scrimmage?

Need to Secure the Border at the Border

Wouldn’t it make sense to have a Wall TO SECURE THE BORDER AT THE BORDER where linear miles can be effectively patrolled rather than leaving hundreds of square miles of southern Arizona crossed by a web of cartel trails and routes? Of course, square miles are more difficult and costly to patrol than linear miles!! Wouldn’t it be enormously more effective to have patrolled roads along a bollard-style wall (deemed most appropriate by the Border Patrol) together with 21st century communications, cameras and sensors plus 24/7 actual presence of the Border Patrol? Isn’t it called the “Border Patrol” and not the “Interior Patrol? Wouldn’t their presence at the border be a much greater deterrent to cartel offensives than the current backfield game plan?

There are tremendous advantages to closing the gap in the wall between Nogales and Sasabe and then continuing construction to the east end of the wall at Yuma. To achieve reasonable border control, and ensure that rural Arizona is not the “sacrificed route,” effective structures and strategies must also be implemented all the way across Arizona’s borderlands. Most importantly, the bollard-style fence must be conscientiously patrolled and must include forward operation bases, roads paralleling the boundary and surveillance technology. Congress needs to appropriate necessary funds to allow for the completion of the wall, roads and forward operation bases.

A retiring high-level Border Patrol official sat in our living room with all our neighbor ranchers and stated that “electronic surveillance alone only tells me what I missed.” He added, “…we can not respond in actionable time.” Any policy of reliance upon information on which no effective deterrent action can be taken is virtually useless. That perspective allows—even encourages and abets–the current abuse, abandonment, rape, mutilation and murder of would-be workers who are told by cartel operatives that this is the best route. They pay, suffer and are often used as decoys while the drug loads are routed around a different canyon or trail.

Advantages of Securing the Border at the Border

The following are some of the advantages to completing an effective, bollard-style fence with adequate patrolling and appropriate technology and forward operating bases:

First, U. S.Government Accountability Office and Judicial Watch have reported that people crossing the open border sections have been arrested from terrorist-sponsoring countries. How many crossers from terrorist nations actually got through and where are they now? How many successful crossers from the Middle East are connected to ISIS?

Second, it is outrageous that Mexican cartel scouts with satellite phones and other military-grade equipment are free to occupy strategically-selected hilltops for dozens of miles inside Arizona including on our ranch. As a consequence, the cartel scouts know where the Border Patrol is at all times so they can carefully guide drug packers–and people whom know they are not eligible for asylum–through the wooded canyons and along hundreds of smuggler trails on our ranches. Border Patrol officers apprehend fewer than half of the foreign migrants and smugglers according to national Border Patrol Council Vice President, Art del Cueto. Interdiction at the border would stop the occupation of Arizona border ranchlands by these cartel operatives.

Third, environmental costs of the current failure to effectively stop the flood of crossers are well-documented. Much of the unfenced minimally-patrolled Arizona border area includes national forests, conservation areas, monuments and wildernesses. These are exactly the open routes most used by the cartel-led operations. The Border Patrol reported at a meeting we attended that undocumented crossers have left a reported average of 8.5 pounds of trash apiece on these lands. It is estimated that over 25,000 tons of garbage have been dropped by crossers in the Tucson Sector alone since 1992. Just since June 2007 until March 2019 another 463,000 pounds of trash was collected along the Arizona border according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s Border Trash report. Additionally, just as of 2010, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument documented approximately 2,553 miles of wildcat roads and trails just on their portion of the border with Mexico.

Fourth, there are intolerable human tragedies and abuses faced by work-seeking border crossers, especially women. Work-seekers currently have no feasible option but to cross in the hands of the cartel. It is reported that over 2,500 border crossers have died just in the Tucson Border Patrol Sector since1990. Horrific human tragedies could be avoided by securing the border at the border and implementing a feasible, simplified, e-verifiable worker documentation program to provide a legal and safe alternative for needed workers.

Fifth, we have been burglarized twice by south-bound drug packers who, after depositing their drug load at GPS sites or safe houses, stole laptops, cameras, firearms, including historic pieces, and other valuable items they steal to carry on their return to Mexico. This is a typical situation for those of us near the border. Ranchers in the border area cannot leave their houses unguarded even for a few hours since their homes and ranch buildings are often broken into if someone is not on guard duty. It can be hours before law enforcement can respond to rural calls.

Sixth, Arizona borderland residents, ranchers and farmers have suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and personal loss due to major forest fires set intentionally or accidentally by illegal crossers. The human and property costs of these fires, like the Monument Fire, the Murphy Complex Fire, Chiricahua Fire and the Horseshoe Fires must also be figured into the cost of NOT securing the border at the border. We have estimated that U. S. Forest Service costs in one year to fight fires caused by border crossers just in Arizona borderlands were about $600 million.

Seventh, another cost of inaction never calculated by those who decry the “expense” of effective wall and border protection, is the financial and emotional burden placed on ranchers living in Arizona border counties. In addition to suffering losses from home invasions and burglaries, we shell out thousands of dollars each year in constant fence and water line repair and we and our cowboys all work armed. The additional, unquantifiable emotional cost to our families is summarized by noting we are all very much aware of what happened to Sue Krentz’s husband Rob when he went out to check his ranch waters and was killed (including his dog) by a drug packer who then escaped into Mexico.

Eighth, we have heard just this week that the Border Patrol has picked up Chinese crossers coming through our area. The possibility of increasing numbers of undocumented persons, specifically escaping areas where they may have been exposed to coronavirus, is a new concern.

Finally, what percent of the opioids flooding this country comes through rural trails? We know from our hidden cameras that marijuana packs were the dominant VISIBLE drug in prior years, but we have heard that much higher value, lighter-to-pack fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and other drugs are showing up in rural apprehensions now that high tech surveillance is more effective at the Ports of Entry. What is the cost to America of increases in cartel use of open routes like the ones in our area for hard drug importation?

To effectively secure the border, the Border Patrol needs to build the wall and be able to construct or improve roads, build helicopter pads and place forward operating bases at or very near to the border. Construction needs to be freed of the impediments created by federal environmental laws which chiefly benefit the cartels, not the wildlife, in Arizona borderlands. Every day that the U.S. border remains unsecured is another opportunity to allow all of the negative consequences that are so real to borderland ranchers and to this Nation at the present.

The Wall, Humans and Wildlife

Border Patrol Agents apprehended fewer than half of the foreign migrants and smugglers according to national Border Patrol Council Vice President, Art del Cueto. Opponents of effective border control in rural areas advocate prioritizing cross-border wildlife-roaming over interdiction of cartel operatives. Essentially, their perspective is that the human, environmental and social cost of the illegal drug and people traffic is less of a concern than the creation of any impediment to the free passage of animals and wildlife connectivity with Mexico. This route through our portion of southern Arizona is today’s Ho Chi Minh Trail.
In spite of the environmental, financial and security impacts on our ranch, we have taken action to help prevent deaths of any of the crossers. I have installed safe-water drinking fountains on 29 sites where I have my 22 wells and water lines. We don’t want anyone to die of thirst.

Wildlife genetic diversity on both sides of the border can be achieved along with border security by legally transporting animals as scientifically deemed essential. Large mammals can be transported with safe capture to promote genetic diversity while birds can fly over and small animals and reptiles can easily slip through the bollard-style wall. In addition, American engineers can create wildlife friendly, effectively managed passages at some parts of the wall to facilitate wildlife connectivity with Mexico. Keep in mind the irony that the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge sought and obtained a bollard-style border fence and border-paralleling road because they did not want the danger, the wildcat roads, the trash and the fires nor “Wild Life Connectivity” on their border!! We neighbor them and we get all of the above re-routed onto our ranches! First, tear down the bollard-style wall with its patrol road on our Refuge neighbor—then talk to us about “connectivity.”

The following photograph shows the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service bollard-style wall and adjacent patrol road at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge along its border with Mexico—it adjoins the old 4-strand wire fence on our neighbor’s ranch. The refuge did not prioritize a concern for wildlife connectivity.

How can it be acceptable that residents of rural southern Arizona are not accorded the same protections provided to residents of the rest of the country? Our homes and ranches and our daily environment is treated as a no-man’s land exposed, by strategic federal choice, to armed foreign trespassers. The current strategy of minimal Border Patrol presence along large segments of the rural Arizona border leaves us unprotected and assures the continued flow of drugs, the abuse of migrants, and the trashing of border lands. None of this, including wildcat roads, trash, wild fires, human trampling, conflicts between drug packers and gang rip crews, could possibly be deemed favorable for wildlife. Persons opposing interdiction of drugs and undocumented crossers loudly cite the costs of securing the border and omit all mention of the human, environmental and security costs of NOT securing it.  END OF TESTIMONY

Related articles:

Rancher Jim Chilton Has To Police The Border Himself

A Petition from Southern Arizona Ranchers on Border Security

 

Why We Depend on China for Most of Our Medicines

The price of drugs has been a concern of everyone. But, the source of our medicines is not mentioned very much. Unfortunately, we depend on China for most of our supply. The following article is from the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness newsletter. See the original article at https://www.ddponline.org/2019/11/01/drug-dependence/

Drug addiction is devastating. Drug dependence may be unavoidable, as with insulin-dependent diabetics. Modern medicine depends on the availability of life-saving drugs. And the U.S. now depends on China for most drugs. The U.S. even lacks the capacity to produce penicillin, as Rosemary Gibson reveals in her book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Drugs.

In 1988, Oak Ridge National Laboratory published Expedient Antibiotic Production: A Final Report. This includes a how-to guide to build/rebuild antibiotic production facilities if they were damaged or destroyed. It has a map of the location of such production facilities in relation to a possible nuclear attack on industrial or military facilities.

Today, most of this capacity is gone, as manufacturing has been outsourced to the cheapest supplier. In 2004, the last U.S. penicillin production facility, in Syracuse, N.Y., closed. It was also making the starting material for cephalosporins. Launched in 1943, the facility had made 70% of the world’s penicillin until the mid-2000s.

In the 1980s, the Chinese government began to invest in the production of penicillin ingredients, and by 2001 had built vast industrial capacity. China had the great advantage of rules that tolerate massive air and water pollution, and antibiotic production is dirty industrial work. From 2004-2006, Chinese companies dumped penicillin ingredients on the global market at very low prices. After competitors were driven out of business, prices increased spectacularly in 2007.

Something similar happened to U.S. steel production, but the steel industry advocated for protection. No one advocated for protecting the antibiotic production base. “Antibiotic stewardship” is now urged to reduce usage in order to minimize development of resistance; why not stewardship of production capacity, Gibson asks.

After the 2001 anthrax attacks, the U.S. government bought 20 million doses of doxycycline. The European company that supplied the U.S. military obtained the starting material from a plant in China. The other antibiotic useful in anthrax, ciprofloxacin, requires a chemical for which China is the largest exporter. The active ingredient for vancomycin, needed for C. difficile and resistant staphylococcal infections, is also made in China.

The U.S.-China Trade Relations Act of 2000 removed tariffs on goods from China. Within 4 years, the last penicillin fermentation plant closed; the vitamin C cartel formed in China and drove U.S. prices up 600%; the last U.S. aspirin manufacturer closed when cheap Chinese product flooded the market; lethal heparin imports began.

After 80 patient deaths were tied to tainted heparin in 2008, Chinese authorities promised to crack down on suppliers, but illegal ingredients are still an open secret.

It is far more expensive to inspect a facility located abroad. The average cost is $52,000 compared with $23,000 in the U.S. China may refuse access to inspectors, and producers in China may submit false documents and refuse audits.

Instead of using soybean oil to make the initial building block for cephalosporins, some producers used “gutter oil” from restaurant frying pans, grease traps, and sewage drains. A criminal racket sold 100 tons of it to unnamed pharmaceutical companies.

Censorship of unfavorable news is routine in China. In 2015, a massive explosion at a Tianjin chemical warehouse created fireballs so huge they were detected by satellite, raining down a toxic chemical brew. The FDA warned companies purchasing drug products from the area to check for contamination, but declined to reveal the contaminants to check for or the names of potentially contaminated drugs. An online search revealed that Tianjin Tianyao Pharmaceuticals makes prednisone and other anti-inflammatory products used to treat asthma, allergies, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Four months after the explosion, shipments of drugs contaminated with hydrogen cyanide were stopped.

Dangers of contamination and counterfeits notwithstanding, drugmakers cannot at present do without active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from China.

“If China stopped exporting [APIs] to the U.S., within three months all the pharmacies would be empty,” stated Guy Villax, CEO of Hovione.

In some cases, known defective medications have been left on the market because of a lack of alternatives to life-saving drugs.

Even if the drugs are safe, a highly centralized global supply chain may result in shortages. A diversified manufacturing base and a shortened supply chain are imperative as a matter of national security, Gibson writes.

Gibson recommends the online pharmacy Valisure, which tests all the products it sells for certain impurities and for correct dosage.

HIGH PRICES, ESSENTIAL DRUG SHORTAGES

The prices of essential medications, such as insulin and even of generics that have been on the market for decades, have been sky-high. Patients can pay more than $400/month for insulin that costs $18 to manufacture, three times as much as in 2002! Hospitals have also been experiencing shortages of critical drugs and supplies such as anesthetics and intravenous solutions.

“Doctors and hospitals are rationing drugs, and patients are being forced to use substitutes that are less effective or more expensive, or both,” write Robert A. Campbell, M.D., and Philip L. Zweig, M.B.A., of Physicians Against Drug Shortages. “Lately, this crisis has reached a new level of absurdity: the U.S. is now importing sterile saline solution (a.k.a salt water) from Germany, Norway, Spain, Brazil and Mexico, and sodium bicarbonate solution from Australia! Drug shortages and astronomical prices are nothing less than a public health emergency” (https://tinyurl.com/y32tqasj).

Reasons for this include coverage of pharmaceuticals by third parties, especially Medicaid and Medicare Part D, bringing in middlemen such as Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). In return for getting a drug placed on the formulary, PBMs receive a “rebate” (kickback) that is shielded from anti-kickback laws by “safe-harbor” rules. PBMs could add $100 billion per year to spending for prescription drugs. The higher the list price, the bigger the “rebate.” Single-source contracts negotiated by PBMs also help to drive potential competitors out of the marketplace (https://tinyurl.com/y6a962vl).

Three PBMs account for more than 80% of the market, according to the Council of Economic Advisors (https://tinyurl.com/ya62ukd6). More than 20% of spending on prescription drugs was taken in as profit by the pharmaceutical distribution system. The size of manufacturer rebates and the percentage of the rebate passed on to health plans and patients are kept secret. Insulins and drugs to treat hepatitis C have “rebates” of 66% and 62%, respectively (JAMA 4/23-30/19).

Another factor in high prices, CEA recognizes, is government regulations that prevent, rather than foster, healthy price competition. Additionally, the fixed cost of bringing a new, patented drug to market has increased rapidly, to about $2.6 billion. ☼

The Lyre Snake – just mildly venomous

The Lyre snake is named for a V-shaped marking on the back of the head. This marking is often more prominent on females. Dark brown saddles occur on a light brown to light gray back. The underside is creamy-white or yellow with scattered brown spots. At first glance the Lyre snake may look like the common king snake. But, the Lyre snake’s neck is narrow, making the head appear more triangular, similar to other venomous snakes. Also, the eyes have pupils that are vertical slits rather than round as are on non-venomous snakes. Lyre snakes can get up to four feet long.

The Lyre snake (Trimorphodon lambda) is usually a nocturnal hunter, but can be found basking in the sun in the spring and fall. The main prey are lizards and mice, but the snake also goes after other prey including birds (It does climb trees).

The range of this snake includes most of Southern Arizona, and extends to southern Nevada and Utah, as well as northern Mexico. It favors the lower rocky canyons and arroyos of hills and mountains from sea level to 7400 feet (2300 m). A rock dweller, it wedges itself in the many crevices and fissures that are abundant in rocky areas. This snake is an occasional resident of flat lands, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

According to the Tucson Herpetological Society:

Lyre snakes are not usually dangerous to humans. “When threatened, the Sonoran Lyresnake will often rattle its tail. It will sometimes raise the anterior portion of the body, and strike and bite if further provoked.” The Lyre snake does not have fangs. Rather, “Toxins produced in a Duvernoy’s gland are delivered to prey and attackers via elongated, grooved teeth in the rear of the upper jaw. A large individual is capable of delivering a venomous bite to a person. Symptoms range from none to local redness, itching, swelling, and numbness, particularly if the snake is allowed to chew.”

 

For more photos and a very detailed description, see an article from the Tucson Herpetological Society: https://tucsonherpsociety.org/amphibians-reptiles/snakes/sonoran-lyresnake/ .

More snake articles:

Arizona Coral Snakes – pretty and very venomous

The Coachwhip a colorful snake

Gopher snakes

Kingsnakes versus Rattlesnakes

Mexican vine snakes

Rattlesnakes

Speckled Rattlesnakes

 

50 years of failed environmental and climate predictions

The following is a review of failed doomsday, environmental predictions over the past 50 years that received much press coverage and inspired bad policy.  The information was compiled by Myron Ebell, and Steven J. Milloy,  of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The article shows original newspaper headlines and articles as well as graphs showing the folly of the predictions. Read the original: https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions

Wrong Again_ 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions _ Competitive Enterprise Institute

SUMMARY

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today.

None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true.

What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.

More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science.

While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.

1967: ‘Dire famine by 1975.’

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, November 17, 1967

1969: ‘Everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam by 1989.’

Source: New York Times, August 10 1969

1970: Ice age by 2000

Source: Boston Globe, April 16, 1970

1970: ‘America subject to water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980.’

Source: Redlands Daily Facts, October 6, 1970

1971: ‘New Ice Age Coming’

Source: Washington Post, July 9, 1971

1972: New ice age by 2070

Source: NOAA, October 2015

1974: ‘New Ice Age Coming Fast’

Source: The Guardian, January 29, 1974

1974: ‘Another Ice Age?’

Source: TIME, June 24, 1974

1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life’

But no such ‘great peril to life’ has been observed as the so-called ‘ozone hole’ remains:

 

Sources: Headline

NASA Data | Graph

1976: ‘The Cooling’

Source: New York Times Book Review, July 18, 1976

1980: ‘Acid Rain Kills Life in Lakes’

Noblesville Ledger (Noblesville, IN) April 9, 1980

But 10 years later, the US government program formed to study acid rain concluded:

Associated Press, September 6, 1990

1978: ‘No End in Sight’ to 30-Year Cooling Trend

Source: New York Times, January 5, 1978

But according to NASA satellite data there is a slight warming trend since 1979.

Source: DrRoySpencer.com

1988: James Hansen forecasts increase regional drought in 1990s

But the last really dry year in the Midwest was 1988, and recent years have been record wet.

Source: RealClimateScience.com

1988: Washington DC days over 90F to from 35 to 85

But the number of hot days in the DC area peaked in 1911, and have been declining ever since.

Source: RealClimateScience.com

1988: Maldives completely under water in 30 years

Source: Agence France Press, September 26, 1988

1989: Rising seas to ‘obliterate’ nations by 2000

Source: Associated Press, June 30, 1989

1989: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019

Source: Salon.com, October 23, 2001

1995 to Present: Climate Model Failure

Source: CEI.org

2000: ‘Children won’t know what snow is.’

Source: The Independent, March 20, 2000

2002: Famine in 10 years

Source: The Guardian, December 23, 2002

2004: Britain to have Siberian climate by 2020

Source: The Guardian, February 21, 2004

2008: Arctic will be ice-free by 2018

Source: Associated Press, June 24, 2008

2008: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013

But… it’s still there:

Source: WattsUpWithThat.com, December 16, 2018

2009: Prince Charles says only 8 years to save the planet

Source: The Independent, July 9, 2009

2009: UK prime minister says 50 days to ‘save the planet from catastrophe’

Source: The Independent: October 20, 2009

2009: Arctic ice-free by 2014

Source: USA Today, December 14, 2009

2013: Arctic ice-free by 2015

Source: The Guardian, July 24, 2013

The paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02550-9 (open access)

Gas hydrate dissociation off Svalbard induced by isostatic rebound rather than global warming

Abstract

Methane seepage from the upper continental slopes of Western Svalbard has previously been attributed to gas hydrate dissociation induced by anthropogenic warming of ambient bottom waters. Here we show that sediment cores drilled off Prins Karls Foreland contain freshwater from dissociating hydrates. However, our modeling indicates that the observed pore water freshening began around 8 ka BP when the rate of isostatic uplift outpaced eustatic sea-level rise. The resultant local shallowing and lowering of hydrostatic pressure forced gas hydrate dissociation and dissolved chloride depletions consistent with our geochemical analysis. Hence, we propose that hydrate dissociation was triggered by postglacial isostatic rebound rather than anthropogenic warming. Furthermore, we show that methane fluxes from dissociating hydrates were considerably smaller than present methane seepage rates implying that gas hydrates were not a major source of methane to the oceans, but rather acted as a dynamic seal, regulating methane release from deep geological reservoirs.

 

2013: Arctic ice-free by 2016

Source: The Guardian, December 9, 2013

2014: Only 500 days before ‘climate chaos’

But…

Sources: Washington Examiner

See also: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/29/a-brief-history-of-climate-panic-and-crisis-both-warming-and-cooling/