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Even a dumb prosecutor could come up with a litany of charges against Cliven Bundy, at least some of which would stick anywhere, everyday. Then there's the certain reality that what Mr. Bundy is currently getting away with poses clear and potential danger to cause huge future damage to our society.

Which makes me wonder if there might be more to this story.

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Tue Jan 20, 2015 at 12:03 PM PST

This Obama? This Obama!

by oldpotsmuggler

If you've seen one State of the Union Address you've seen them all. The visuals anyway. A pronouncement. The camera pans. One side grumpy, one side happy. My personal impression after watching years and years worth of these is that it's been most typical for The Chief Executive to throw bones to the opposition about 30% of the time, while feeding the faithful the other 70%. Call it "bipartisanism".

Typically red meat for the base has been rationed, I've thought. Try to get in and out of the House Chamber without any open fist fights breaking out. Or something.

Tonight, seemingly not so much.

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Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 07:24 PM PST

The Problem with Las vegas

by oldpotsmuggler

And I'm not trying to do anything exhaustive here. Just trying to, hopefully, help explain why garden variety logic never quite works when the subject is "Vegas", or oft times even "Nevada", etc.

L.V. exists at all only because of an anomaly in the old time federal mining laws. For many years, to take "Public Lands" private required only making a "mining claim", and then doing the minor red tape to take the claim "to patent".

Where the problem came from is whether the definition of "minerals" included common, ordinary, every day gravel. Because much, or most, or maybe even all of the Las Vegas metro sits on top of gravel. Gravel/land, land/gravel until not really all that long ago (approximately the fifties) used to belong to "We The People" (aka "Public Lands").

But, anyway, the "loophole" was capitalized on, and the mob, and no one knows who all else piled on to get rich off of we taxpayers. Vegas cost literally nothing originally, which is how, I'm sure, that place was leveraged into today's version of crazy .

Ask anyone to pay a fortune for a gravel pit, and there will be no takers.

Ask anyone to pay a fortune for some piece of "The Strip", and those with the right connections will even up the ante.

So Cliven Bundy, et al.?



This is kind of a shorty.

Upon getting elected, the Republican Candidate for the 4th U.S. Congressional District of Utah would (or, really, will, but what the hell) be the first Black Woman ever elected to Congress as a Republican. Ms. Mia Love should have a walk in. Two years ago, in her first ever attempt at any important political office, and riding the coattails of Utah favorite son M. Romney, she very very, very nearly defeated long term Dem/Blue Dog incumbent Congressman Jim Matheson.

But this time it ain't Jim v. Mia, and Romney is barely still on the radar screen. It's Mia Love v. totally untested, and nearly unknown Doug Owens. Yeah, his old man went to Congress as a Dem. when I was very much younger than now, and I voted for Wayne Owens at the time, but even I had never heard of the offspring Owens before he announced, but here he is apparently putting a scare into the R's.

The local newspaper today has an article about a news conference called by nearly the entire R. Utah Delegation, Sen. Hatch., Rep. Bishop. Rep. Cahffetz, and Rep. Stewart (only Sen. Mike Lee missing) to bad mouth Owens for bad mouthing Love. And her fundraising beats his by a huge multiple.

But tons of Utahns ain't voting for a Black (we had a Rep. woman in Congress some years ago "Enid Greene").

And some polls show that Mia Love ain't cutting it this time even though she has everything going for her but skin color.

How else to explain the unprecedented show of support from "The Brethern"?

I agree that Doug ain't going to win, but both Mia and the Utah Republicans already lost just because this intervention happened at all.


She was really a cousin, but when hardship drove the sister of the mother of my wife to drop her young daugther off to be raised by others, my wife came to feel like it was the younger sister she never knew. Unless, of course, you count the two young nieces also being raised in that household where children were welcomed to live when the part of the family who has almost nothing is still so much better off than the members who have nowhere near even that much. Can you imagine a place where the little girl walks barefoot more than a mile to go to school, has a lunch or snack only when someone else shares, and needs to ask a classmate for something as simple as a piece of paper because the school really has no supplies for anyone? And as that child, my wife still knew that things could have been far worse.

So now let's fast forward.

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For the unintiated, a "hunting club" is a place where "hunters" go to kill without actually having to hunt first. Clearly a fraud, but "no harm, no foul" because everyone but the animals being killed are in on the scam. And, perhaps not uncoincidentally, by far the majority of the killers, in my experience, are men.

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With due respect for David Waldman and Tom Begnal, some gun craziness, some gun fails are just so egregious that they scream out, asking to be noticed as widely and as broadly as possible.

"A 9-year-old Richfield girl was in serious condition Wednesday, a day after she was accidentally shot in the stomach by her 8-year-old male cousin.

Richfield police said the incident occurred just before 4 p.m. Tuesday when the boy, sitting with the girl in the back seat of a car traveling on Main Street near 500 South, apparently found a .45-caliber handgun.

While he handled the firearm it went off, a single round going through the girl’s abdomen."

Richfield, Utah? You leave the Salt Lake City-Ogden-Prove metroplex, drive about two hours south into rural Utah and you hit Richfield. Or let me put it this way, leave Richfield on I-70, headed east towards Denver, and you come to the sign that tells you that the next gas station is 100 miles on.

What you gonna do with your big caliber pistol in tiny Richfield? Obviously you can't leave it at home, so why not throw it in the back seat of the family car and just forget about it.

I mean, what the hell, these things aren't dangerous or anything, are they?

I swear, some people pay more attention to where they throw an empty aluminum beverage can these days than to where they last put their "2nd Amendment self protection entitlement".

Is this what we've come to as a society?

That's insanity!


Dude made it into my newspaper the other day in what I consider to be the hard way. Offed himself in prison. And my only connection with that is that I once did a year in the same joint he died in. And I can't say as I blame him really. Not a name I recognize (oddly) but a U.S. soldier type who got convicted for raping a girl (Afghanistan, Iran?, they now run together for me) and then shot up her family. I'm not really knowing how much time he would actually have done, but he died in the federal prison in Black Canyon City, a little out past the outskirts of Phoenix. And then I started to think about how he might have gotten there.

FCI Phoenix has three "units", a womans camp, the level five part (meaning very high security) where I and most of the folks who pass through their rested our heads at night, and the next door, but a world apart place, that we "affectionately" called "The Cheese Factory". Why not Leavenworth, Kansas, in the military side over there?

Well, I know that he didn't go to Leavenworth, so I'm thinking security risk. To him, and not the prison. This ain't Hollywood. And the Phoenix women didn't get him. So now I'm wondering about The Cheese factory ("Rat House", or whatever you want to call it). It ain't a great place from all I heard, but give up some heavy weights and at least you stay alive. God, I guess that murder over there can get you dead over here. Somehow.

And next I had a flash of nostalgia that I thought I'd share (neither here nor there, really, just a Saturday night story.)

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At 14, as I recall, I was first age eligible for a big game license, and shot, skinned, butchered, and ate a mule deer (with assistance, obviously, but still). The rule of capture applicable to this version of licensed killing back then was that we citizens "owned", collectively, huntable wildlife up to the point of the "harvest". Then the "tag holder" clearly and without controversy, converted the remainder of that once life form into an item of private property.  And this was totally egalitarian, by the way.

So, fast forward to the present and we discover the modification engineered by the 1% to advantage their own (because none other will ever be the highest bidder) in the pursuit of trophy animals that previously required only some combination of luck and skill for first come to participate in the hunting of. But now our wealthiest citizens need only to first hunt for a tax deduction before going on domestic "safari". And, really, the animals that were ours in life, ought to remain collectively owned, should they not, if we're all paying taxes to make up for the taxes avoided by the 1% in their embarking on this new form of recreational pursuit?

I mean, since we Kossacks (along with the rest of our brothers and sisters) have bought a small share of "The Spider Bull" (478 5/8 Boone and Crockett points, 13 points more than the previous world record for a "nontypical" Rocky Mountain bull elk, and taken on a $150,000 "Auction Tag" in Utah in 2008) now hanging on the trophy wall of one Mr. Denny Austad of Idaho, shouldn't that illustrious gentleman allow those of us Kossacks so inclined to at least drop in occasionally for a quick glance at the natural wonder that we helped pay for him to acquire?

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Today is a couple of days away from two years since I was laid off from the last job that I've so far been able to obtain. No paychecks since then, unemployment insurance long since ran out, job retraining resulted in a government paid for AAS (Associate of Applied Science) in Energy Management that, so far, no one wants to give me a chance to prove my worth with.

On the other hand, I'm a 66 year old ex-con, so pickings are slim.

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Of course, Rhinos and Elk are not the same, but, thanks to "one percenter conservationism" they gain more similarities every year. Consider this! The permit to kill a Black Rhino in Namibia, auctioned at the Dallas branch of the Safari Club the other day, sold for $350,000 (sadly, though, the articles I've seen, including the ones at Dkos, don't say whether this is before or after the $125,000 that the horn of the "beast" can be sold on the Chinese black market for). Permits for killing "Trophy Elk", on the other hand, given by state governments to outfits like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are now auctioning for sales prices in excess of $100,000. A bargain, I'm sure, in a certain sense, because of both the difference in proximity, and because all bids are certainly placed in coprorate names, obviously qualifying for tax deductibility.

But you just wait. Given all of the obvious local advantages, when we do finally make our Elk as endangered as the Rhino, I bet you that we can gain a price advantage of at least ten to one over African "conservationism" (as there is an effort afoot currently at Dkos to define that term").

You, me, and everyone else, even if we wanted to, will never be able to afford these prices, but the boys with the big bucks will be loving it.


First a short quote from a news piece I just read on the Huffpost:

"Twenty-seven bodies, all unidentified, were among the latest to be recovered under debris in typhoon-stricken coastal areas including the hardest hit city of Tacloban, said Maj. Reynaldo Balido, the spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The overnight tally pushed the overall death toll to 6,009 while 1,779 others remain unaccounted for, the government agency said, making the typhoon the deadliest natural disaster on record to hit the Philippines.

Balido said that 20 to 30 bodies were still being found every day. Identifying cadavers in the advanced stage of decomposition and matching them with the missing is a difficult process and the reason why the number of the missing remains unchanged, he said." This one also contains an estimate of 16,000,000 persons with damaged or destroyed housing, and a damage rebuild period of three years.

On the local front, the area of the family of my wife (though not yet their particular property) now has electricity restored. When I asked about when the house would receive phone service again, she said no one wants it. It's just too expensive. The cell service never died, and with cheap phones and cheap plans no one is even hoping to get the old service back. Service that we worked so long and hard to bring them not all that many years ago.

Finally, we had a small fund raiser here, and were able to have handed out five hundred pesos each to the poorest 32 families in that neighborhood. 16,000 pesos total, and the recipients were so grateful that one not knowing local conditions would be surprised to learn that exchange rates mean that the donations only amounted to twelve dollars U.S. per family. Still, everything is relative and those 500 pesos were the only cash given to any of these folks since the typhoon first hit.

Imagine poverty so extreme, and conditions so grinding that even $12.00 looks like a ray of sunshine!

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