Monday, March 27, 2017

Ranchers' groups applaud Trump's signing of rule repeal

From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Public Lands Council:
President Trump today signed a congressional resolution directing the Bureau of Land Management to repeal their Planning 2.0 Rule. Wyoming rancher and NCBA and PLC member Joel Bousman was in attendance at the White House for the signing. Ethan Lane, executive director of PLC and NCBA federal lands, applauded the action and called it a significant victory for western ranchers.

“BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule would have caused a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing ‘social and environmental change’ over ensuring the multiple use of public lands,” said Lane. “When you couple the wholesale shift away from multiple-use with the elimination of stakeholder and local input, the rule was unworkable for western communities. We applaud the action by President Trump and look forward to working with the new Administration to bring together a streamlined planning process that works for livestock ranchers and the western communities that depend on the use of BLM lands.”

Friday, March 24, 2017

Company that owns RS calls for gun-related boycott

The USA Today wants the NCAA to punish the students, residents and businesses of Arkansas because their elected legislators voted the wrong way on a gun measure.

From Breitbart News:
On March 22 Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed campus carry legislation into law. On March 23 USA Today Sports suggested a boycott of NCAA events in Arkansas may be needed if students are going to be allowed to be armed for self-defense.

The USA Today Sports column begins:
A new gun rights measure signed yesterday could allow concealed weapons to be carried into Arkansas football and basketball games as early as 2018. Opposing teams should consider boycotting participating in these games should this become a reality in practice. Not due to any political motivation or stand against the law, but because there is a reasonable case to be made that this will put them in an unsafe position.
Breitbart reporter AWR Hawkins observes:
But [columnist Kyle] Koster does not look at the divide between law-abiding and criminal. Rather, he introduces a dichotomy–strained at best–where some athletes will go through the permitting process but others will not, thereby creating a divide between athletes. Additionally, Koster suggests athletes with permits will feel slighted if team rules require them to give up their guns in athletic facilities while fans are armed for self-defense. [...]

Koster eventually reaches for old arguments and intimates that armed students–although law-abiding, trained, and permitted–may lose control of themselves at a sporting event, endangering others.
USA Today is the flagship newspaper for the Washington, D.C., area-based Gannett Co., whose newspapers in the "USA Today Network" include the Record Searchlight.

Obamagate update: Is a 'smoking gun' imminent?

James Rosen of Fox News reports:
Classified intelligence showing incidental collection of Trump team communications, purportedly seen by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and described by him in vague terms at a bombshell Wednesday afternoon news conference, came from multiple sources, Capitol Hill sources told Fox News. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretapped him in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.

The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources.

The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration.

The FBI hasn’t been responsive to the House Intelligence Committee’s request for documents, but the National Security Agency is expected to produce documents to the committee by Friday. The NSA document production is expected to produce more intelligence than Nunes has so far seen or described – including what one source described as a potential “smoking gun” establishing the spying.

Some time will be needed to properly assess the materials, with the likely result being that congressional investigators and attorneys won’t have a solid handle on the contents of the documents – and their implications – until next week.
The Conservative Treehouse notes the emergence of a whistleblower and posts the relevant documents: They report:
Freedom Watch notifies congress of a “Deep State” intelligence community whistle blower, Dennis Montgomery, with hundreds of millions of documents showing CIA and FBI and Intelligence Committees were spying on, and conducting surveillance on, American citizens for political purposes.

Mr. Montgomery is trying to use a legal “whistle-blower” process and not follow the same approach as Edward Snowden.
From ZeroHedge:
Lt. Gen. Thomas Mcinerney weighed in on Devin Nunes' bombshell revelations that said the Trump team were being spied on by the NSA/CIA -- and it wasn't Russia related. The whole cover for the surveillance was supposed to be because Trump had a bunch of Ivans working for him, but that simply wasn't the case, or the concern, inside the Obama White House.
This isn't going away, as much as certain major corporate news organizations would like it to.

Next state snow survey set for March 30

As April 1 is considered the point at which the snowpack is at its peak, this is the survey that counts. From a news release:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will host the news media on March 30 for this winter’s fourth manual snow survey at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. [...] The survey will determine the water content of the snow at Phillips.

Water Year 2017, which runs from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, has recorded extraordinary rainfall and snowfall in the Sierra Nevada range. The three regions DWR monitors continuously for rainfall have had nearly twice their average rainfall so far this year.

The statewide snowpack’s water content as determined by electronic readings also has been far above since early January. The statewide water content today is 44.7 inches, which is 160 percent of this date’s historical average.

The Phillips snow course has been measured each winter since 1941 and is one of hundreds that will be traversed during a 10-day period around April 1 to determine the water content of the snowpack, which normally contributes about 30 percent of California’s water. Manual readings supplement DWR’s electronic data.
Watch here and at CapitalPress.com for updates.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Weather service: Wet pattern to continue into next week


From the National Weather Service:
The next storm system moves across tonight into Saturday. Similar precipitation amounts are expected with this storm as with the last storm. There is also the potential for urban and small stream flooding potential and windy conditions. Another storm system arrives Sunday night into Monday with lighter precipitation, but potentially lower snow levels and thunderstorms Monday.

Impacts
Chain controls, slick roadways, increased traffic accidents, longer travel times
Urban and small stream flooding
Gusty winds may bring downed trees and cause power outages

Forecast Confidence
High - precipitation timing and amounts
Medium - wind speeds
Low - flooding potential

Timing and Strength
Today

Dry weather
Tonight-Saturday
Similar precipitation amounts to Monday-Tuesday storm
Urban and small stream flooding potential
Snow levels ~4500 feet
Windy with gusts of 30-40 mph in the Valley, 50 mph along Sierra crest
Sunday - Monday
Next system arrives Sunday night - lighter precipitation amounts but lower snow levels
Thunderstorms possible Monday

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Obamagate update: Trump team intel 'widely disseminated'

Here's a development that's been conspicuously absent today from major corporate "news" sites that have been wall-to-wall on the whole Trump-Russia narrative. From LifeZette:
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday told the White House and the public that he unearthed information that intelligence officials may have improperly spread information about President Donald Trump and his transition team.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters on Capitol Hill that “details with little or no apparent intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence reports.”

Typically when intelligence agents pick up incidental communications involving Americans while they are conducting surveillance of foreign targets, the identities of those citizens are disguised in reports in order to protect their privacy. Nunes said the names of Trump and members of his transition team following the 2016 election, however, were “unmasked” in those reports. [...]

“The unmasking really bothers me,” he said. “There has to be a reason for the unmasking.”
Joel Pollak at Breitbart News explains:
Much of that had been suspected, on the basis of mainstream media reports, but Rep. Nunes reported something new: that the surveillance did not involve the ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) inquiry into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Indeed, none of the surveillance had intelligence value, he said.

“I believe it was all done legally,” Nunes told a press conference. The question, he said, was why names of those swept up in the surveillance had been leaked. The collection of the intelligence appeared to have been legal, but the leaking may have been illegal.

Most of the activity occurred during the transition period from November to January. Furthermore, Nunes said, he did not know whether phone calls — including phone calls involving Trump — were among the communications captured.
John Hinderaker of Power Line observes:
Does this mean that President Trump’s famous tweets were right all along? Not exactly. Trump claimed that the Obama administration had his “wires tapped” in Trump tower. That implies that he or his associates were targets of licit or illicit surveillance, whereas Nunes says the government was spying on someone else and picked up Trump team members’ communications only incidentally.

Of course, this doesn’t rule out the possibility that, apart from incidental communications, the FBI or someone else was specifically targeting associates of Donald Trump for surveillance.

Closer to the heart of the matter may be Nunes’s observation that the identities of Trump associates subject to such incidental surveillance were “widely disseminated.” This “unmasking” is a federal crime, as House members discussed with Comey and Rogers on Monday. So, while President Trump may have been wrong in believing that the Obama administration directed surveillance at him or his associates–the jury is still out on that question–he was certainly right to be angry about the fact that information reflecting badly on his associates, collected through apparently legal surveillance, was leaked to the press in an effort to damage his campaign or his administration.

CVP allocation for San Joaquin will likely rise, officials say

In a media call today, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials said their 65 percent initial allocation for western San Joaquin Valley farmers will likely rise to at least 80 percent, and maybe more, as the season goes along.

Asked whether it is possible for the valley to ever receive 100 percent again amid today's environmental regulations, the officials said it is. But this year was preceded by five years of drought, which left little water to be carried over.

Farm groups aren't happy. From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
After the federal Central Valley Project reported today it expects to deliver only 65 percent of contract water supplies to its agricultural water contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said the announcement shows how operation of the state’s water system remains in need of an overhaul.

“In the alternate universe of California water, we can have floods, full reservoirs and a huge snowpack and still not have full water supplies. It boggles the mind,” Wenger said.

“Operation of our water system remains out of whack. We need to continue efforts to improve and expand the system,” he said. “In Congress, passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act last year marked an important step in addressing the system’s inadequacies. Congress must now follow through with measures such as Rep. David Valadao’s Gaining Responsibility on Water Act, which would offer longer-term ability to store and move water.”

Wenger said farmers and ranchers will also press Congress to modernize endangered-species laws, “to balance the goals of environmental restoration with the ability to provide the resources needed to grow food and farm products.”

At the state level, he said, California must move as quickly as possible to invest money from the Proposition 1 water bond into storage projects that provide the state with more ability to store water in wet winters such as this.

“Improved storage capacity, both above and below ground, is crucial to California’s long-term ability to withstand droughts, protect against floods and gain the flexibility needed to allow people and the environment to thrive,” Wenger said.
From Western Growers:
In response to the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation’s initial water allocation announcement of 65% today for farmers south of the Delta served by the federal Central Valley Project, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement:

“With record-level precipitation and flooding, and fear of more to come, a 65 percent Central Valley Project initial water allocation for farmers south of the Delta defies logic. While an improvement over the zero to five percent allocations of the past three years, the stark reality is inescapably obvious: Regulatory actions are depriving farmers and millions of Californians dependent on the farm economy of their livelihoods. Populations of the fish species these actions purportedly protect have not recovered, yet this year federal and state agencies will again redirect massive amounts of water out to sea while shorting farmers. Meanwhile, local water managers are struggling to create plans that comply with a state groundwater management law that prohibits excess pumping of groundwater while their main supply of water to recharge those basins continues to be throttled down.

“It is time for California to get serious about the building of additional storage capacity, as directed by the voters in approving the 2014 water bond. It is equally important for our elected officials to work with the appropriate government agencies to remove the punitive and unjustified regulatory chains jeopardizing the future of thousands of California farmers and the economic and social vitality of millions of our fellow Californians.”
Watch for my follow-up story at CapitalPress.com.