Public Land Thieves Coming to Arizona Next?

ammon and lavoy

LaVoy Finicum (left) & Ammon Bundy (right)

Two primary figures in the recent armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon drove over from Arizona. Ammon Bundy, car fleet manager from Phoenix, AZ and unfortunately recently deceased LaVoy Finicum, Mormon rancher and father of 11 from Colorado City, AZ, wanted one thing, to steal public land that belongs to you and me. They shouted America and liberty and federal government and carried around the stars and stripes, and many in our meme and sound bite consuming society took the bait. You might say to yourself, “These are hard working, blue collar Americans standing up to the big, bad, incompetent federal government, right?” That might be what you’re hearing in your Facebook echo chamber, but nope, it is not the case at all folks.

Ranchers as a lot are hard working Americans, representative of the work ethic and grit that helped build this country, and the majority is not on board. Stacy Davies, the general manager of Roaring Springs ranches in Diamond OR, and also the marketing director of Country Natural Beef, a co-op of family ranches, had this to say, “We don’t support unlawful activity from people representing the ranching community. On behalf of Congressman Walden, I went to the refuge on that Monday morning and asked Ammon (Bundy) to leave.”

These wing bats are felons and would be thieves. They had a sweetheart deal going with us too but wanted more. They wanted the general public to subsidize their private business by letting them graze for free and if we didn’t, then screw us; they’ll just take the land by force. The lease rates private interests pay to graze cattle on public land managed by federal agencies is a modicum of what they’d have to pay a private owner to graze on similar land. This isn’t just the case in Oregon either; it’s the same all over the western United States. This was an act of greed and entitlement, plain and simple.

“Federal” has become a dirty word, especially here in Arizona. Our state is a hot bed of anti-federal government sentiment and would very likely be a coddling, cozy place for the extremists to set up shop next. You’ve either already heard, or will soon, ideas like “giving federal land back to the state”, “Arizona can manage it better than the feds”, “if the states own it your accesses won’t change”. It’s all a bunch of hooey. These lands belong to the American people, all of us.  The federal government is the manager. Proponents of privatizing America’s public lands see the current political climate as an opening and they’re trying to run through it like a running back who smells the goal line. Last April Governor Ducey signed House Bill 2658 which established a committee to study the feasibility of a public lands transfer. The committee isn’t studying the feasibility. They are putting together a propaganda campaign and strategizing how to get a land transfer bill passed.

This movement is not American. It’s a greed driven attempt by a few to steal from the many, and please do not make the mistake of marginalizing it.   This is an organized, well-funded, and on-going attempt to fleece the American public. Groups like the Bundy led occupants are attached to strings controlled by wealthy, entitled businessmen and politicians. Puppet masters who could care less about ranchers or the blue collar Americans they purport to represent dangle them out in front of cameras as a diversion. Pseudo-foundations like the American’s Land Council, led by CEO and elected Utah House Representative Ken Ivory receive “donations” from state and local governments to work on public land transfer legislation. These checks are written with our tax dollars. Connect those dots. Your tax dollars are being funneled to an organization that’s attempting to steal your land. How would you react if they slid someone a fifty to break into your house and grab your flat screen? Groups like the ALC also receive funding from private businesses giddy over the profit potential public land sales represent. Not hard to connect those dots.

Let’s imagine together that a parcel of sacred Native American land like Oak Flat or primo elk and deer habitat has valuable resources below it. This beautiful piece of what used to be public land, owned by all of us and managed for our mutual benefit has recently been sold to the state of Arizona. What do you think Senator McCain or Governor Ducey would vote to do with it?

I will not stand ideally by while my children’s birthright and legacy of public lands is sold off to benefit the greedy and entitled. This is not the America I want to leave for my daughters and their kids. How about you?

Here are some key facts for your edification and use:

  1. The states never owned these lands. Each state, at statehood, was given parcels of land by the federal government. The states never owned the land within their boundaries. The remainder of land is held in the public trust and managed by federal agencies. It belongs to all of us. See the State Trust Land’s website here for more information.
  2. State trust land exists for one reason, to create the highest economic benefit for the public school system. Public lands are managed by federal agencies for multi-use – that includes both public recreation and resource extraction. Here is the first sentence of the Arizona State Land Department’s mission statement, “To Manage State Trust lands and resources to enhance value and optimize economic return for the Trust beneficiaries, consistent with sound business management principles, prudent stewardship, and conservation needs supporting socio-economic goals for citizens here today and future generations. “
  3. State Trust Land is NOT public land. The rules are different. Camping, hunting, mountain biking, target shooting – activities allowed on America’s public lands are either off limits or severely restricted on State Trust Land. Sale is also restricted on America’s public lands. State Trust Land can be liquated by the state to “benefit the public school system” or more likely to continue the pocket lining of state politicians.
  4. States cannot afford to manage these lands. The cost of fire suppression alone would bankrupt State Trust Land departments. Again, the pro land sale sect understands this math and intends to use it later as rationale for the eventual sale and privatization of these lands.
  5. Pro public land sale politicians and citizens have no expectation of these lands remaining open to the general public. Well, unless they are barren of resources and devoid of benefit to private business. If feasible, they will be leased, mined, or sold. Gates locked and access to me and you lost forever.
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Hardheaded Parents, Meet Twenty-Four Year Old NFL Retiree Chris Borland

Youth football teaches kids invaluable life lessons that cannot be learned by means other than two-a-days and runs through the gauntlet, both hands on the football. Huddling together clad in the familiar oft-recycled pads that their older brothers might have sweat and bled in a few years earlier, on one knee, absorbing the words of “coach”, values are instilled in these young men, work habits formed, the foundation of success is being laid. It all starts here on the humid, late summer evenings spent together as boys, training, working, to become men. Over-romanticized bullshit.

Chris Borland is your typical All-American stud, male athlete, literally and figuratively. He was a first team All-American linebacker at the University of Wisconsin. He is twenty-four, coming off a very promising season with the 49ers and entering the peak of his earnings potential as an NFL rising star. Despite the presumption of money and professional accolades in his future, Chris decided to hang up his cleats. He’s not coming off of season ending knee surgery or battling addiction. Roger Goodell hasn’t requested a one-on-one to discuss his off the field behavior. Nope, Chris is prime cut, can’t miss, quality beef in the eyes of most NFL scouts and execs. Only Chris doesn’t see himself, or his life, through their lens. Chris sees himself as a human being with more to offer the world than his raw aggression, speed, athleticism and his now internet-famous guns.

Chris retired today because he’s afraid for his brain, in particular, the cumulative effects of sub concussive blows to his head. Apparently Chris values the use of his brain going forward and put it to work researching and thinking about the risk-reward proposition of continuing to play professional football at the level, and in the manner, which he expected of himself and decided, “nope, no thanks.” Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, has been introduced only recently to the popular sports vernacular. Via the media coverage of the untimely deaths of Dave Duerson and recent NFL Hall of Fame inductee Junior Seau, the general public has just begun to be introduced to some of the current research and medical opinion regarding the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head.

We’ve also been introduced to some interesting data and right-thinking doctors exhorting the devastating effects of blows to the still developing heads and brains of youths. The net-net is that the effects are much worse than in a fully developed brain and that the hits early on, while the brain is still developing, put a person at a much greater risk for later in life brain related side effects than a person that did not get banged in the head repeatedly as a kid.

Take a prototypical twenty-four year old NFL player, say Chris Borland, for example, and assume he started playing football at nine years old. Chris has likely been the recipient of hundreds, if not thousands, of potentially damaging, sub concussive brain rattles. According to many Neurology experts, Chris the adult, is now far more likely to suffer “the hit”, the one that leads to crippling depression, memory loss and maybe suicide…or that he may have already suffered that hit and the manifestations just haven’t yet presented in any outwardly noticeable fashion.

So what does this mean to parents of kids that play youth football? If you study the current research, or choose to remain willfully ignorant of the issues, and let your kid continue to bang his still developing brain around playing football, you’re an idiot, and more dangerously yet, an unfit parent.

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John Fox’s Grass

Green, dewy wet, its fresh clippings cling to his sparkly white tennies.

Hot, sticky. Sweet is the sweat that falls to John’s late summer proving ground

and pound

and marching by in a straight line goes the offense behind #6. #6 shouts at the top of his lungs

chugga, chugga, chugga, choo, choo.

He leads them on.


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I Have a Jay Cutler Problem

I have a Jay Cutler Problem

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. I knew this is how Jay Cutler, the Bear, would work out. It had to, right? They may as well have had unlucky #13 Rick Mirer pick him up from the airport for his introductory press conference. I thought he was going to fly in himself, on wings of gold or in a sweet orange and blue unitard, but instead we got, “He’ll flip you the bird! He’ll smoke on a plane! Oh NO, It’s Less than Super Jay!”

Cutty should have been the one, the guy, the man, the golden-armed, mobile, gun-slinging Vunderboy from Vandy, the Savior from Santa Claus. He was going to be the Bears first legit quarterback and he broke our damn hearts! Over and over and over again. Worse yet, he tricked me into taking my first hit off the “The Bears finally have a real QB” pipe. Nothing has been the same since – the sweats, nightmares, and self-loathing. Ahhhh. Who’s there? Cade McNown, is that you? Brett Farve, Aaron Rodgers, stop throwing stuff at me! Make it stop!

My name is Jarrett Babincsak and I have a problem. I’m a Jay Cutler apologist. I’ve never really able been able to get clean, though I’ve tried. Sitting here writing this tonight, beer in hand, crumpled tissues at my feet, I realize that no amount of back-foot throws, disengaged shrugs, not even his unbelievably, annoyingly daft, anti-vac, arm candy of a wife can make me quit him. If my teeth start to fall out and itchy scabs puss gunk all over my body, I will know that I did this to myself and I will be ashamed.

Fox and Pace have made it glaringly obvious, they want to cut the cord on Cutler.  Let’s face it, he’s kinda the QB equivalent of a breast feeding 9 year old.  The only problem with their plan? Ummm, reality?  Ryan Pace can keep his life size Drew Brees cardboard stand-up in his office at Halas Hall and sleep under his Drew Brees fathead at home, but neither Drew Brees nor his Proxy is walking onto the practice field in Bourbonnais this summer. Unless Pace has a real magic wand, he’s not turning this year’s #7 pick into, trading for, or finding in free agency, the idol at QB he covets for the Bears. Franchise QBs don’t grow on trees and the “keep swinging” approach only works if the pitching machine is turned on and is grooving 65 mph batting practice fastballs. That is not the reality of the NFL. Period.

Yes, yes, I know Russell Wilson was drafted in the 3rd round. Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round. Yeah Bears fans, there’s a plan for success. I liken this logic to the guy that plays scratch offs and Powerball every week but works a dead end job, and no retirement plan.

The Bears have proven that they can win with Cutler taking snaps. If this coaching staff is comprised of the leaders, and forward thinkers, that most think it is, then they’ll do what ALL good leaders do: Develop a plan that both leverages the strengths of their team and limits exposure to their weaknesses. Cutler can succeed in a play action, run first offense that leverages his athleticism and mobility. Cut the field in half and limit his reads. Put a better defense and a competent special teams unit on the field and you have a competitive NFL team.

Damn it, I did it again! Jay Cutler, I just can’t quit you!

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Who Really Sits at the Derrick Rose Final Table?

The Derrick Rose post injury day-to-day has been overanalyzed to a level unfathomable pre-social media and blogosphere. Regurgitated “fresh angles” abound, real and imaginary, bandied about by experts and fans alike. In all of the downtime during the first rehab, after the short lived return to action and throughout his 2014-2015 campaign of fits and starts, the story has been all about, what and the hell is wrong with Derrick?

We’ve heard a lot of interesting conjecture and insider info about D Rose’s personal, professional and business lives, and how they’ve co-mingled and cross pollenated to create today’s reality: BJ Armstrong’s puppet mastery and vicarious living arrangements, Derrick’s unwillingness or inability to put his dipstick brother in timeout, the Adidas Effect, his grave concern for comfort at future family functions, the masseuse power play (look for Jen on the Hawks bench very soon), was it stubbornness or feeble-mindedness that kept him from playing games when the docs cleared him for action…blah, blah, blah. OMG! Enough already!

Here’s the real scoop of Neapolitan with sprinkles folks: Derrick Rose is poker buddies with Lance Briggs, Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler. According to Aaron Kromer they get together every Thursday, live when possible, at an online, chat compatible cyber table during season, sometimes on Brandon’s personal plane so they can get treatment and play. Nothing breaks up their game and Derrick sees these guys as his conciglieres. The rest of his entourage is superfluous. I know, a total “ah ha” moment, right. It all makes perfect sense now.

Lance to Derrick on the topic of in-season rehab, “Watch out for the clock in the meeting room son, that thing will annoy the hell out of you if you keep looking at it.”

Marshall on press conferences, “Don’t sweat it D, just say whatever comes to your mind.   You’ll be great. You can make stuff up too as long as you say it with authority. If you think they’re on to you though, just cry or say God a lot.”

Jay on fans, “f#ck them.” Jay on building the D Rose brand, “f#ck that.” Jay five minutes later, “You signed a $185 million dollar deal with Adidas, right. So why all the f#cking questions?”

670 the Score talk show host Dan Bernstein often referred to the Trestman-Emery-Phillips-McCaskey front office as an “echo chamber”. Every time he said it I imagined all four of them in space suits, no helmets, in that big metal room with the giant fan in the ceiling from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you know from the scene where Charlie and Grandpa Joe steal the fizzy lifting drink, almost end up floating into the fan but fart and burp their way down to safety? Trestman’s comb over always gets pulled toward the fan, Emery cries and mutters gibberish. Priceless.

Anyway, can you imagine the echo chamber that this weekly card game has spawned?   Peer back into time through the lens of this new revelation and see each Derrick Rose moment since the first knee injury.   Everything comes into focus.

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Livestrong, Lance & Did He Give Himself Cancer?

I keep seeing these “keep supporting Livestrong” pics pop up on social media sites. Every time I do I throw up in my mouth.

Give this some thought folks and do a little research before assuming that because it looks like a cancer NFP it has to be a good thing.

Livestrong is a sham. Did you know that at one point the NFP actually changed from .org to .com because Lance was using it as a front to funnel money that honest people thought was actually being given to a legit non for profit organization designed to fight cancer? Now that the truth about the worlds largest dbag, Lance, is out, they are completely separate entities.  However, they still look very much alike to me.

Also, every dollar that went to Livestrong over the last decade would have been better invested in another charity, so in essence Livestrong actually slowed progress in the fight against cancer by taking money away from the cause to beef up Lance’s private coffers. At the low point, less than $.15 of every $1 donated to Livestrong was actually being invested in research. The NFP average is around $.70.  Some (volunteer only orgs with no administrative overhead) operate at closer to $1 for $1.

Lance also invested millions of Livestrong donated dollars to litigate and ruin the lives of former friends, teammates, etc. that were telling the truth about his drug use. I hate cancer as much as the next person but PLEASE give your money to any other cancer research organization if you actually want to see it do some good. The people running the .org at the time stood idly by and let him do it.  Some of those same people could still be in leadership positions there today…

One glaring point that no one is talking about, because I suspect people don’t understand how steroid and synthetic hormone usage works and are hesitant to make this leap, is that Lance likely could have given himself cancer and than used his “fight”, for decades, to scam the general public.

Lastly, I hope the “Overhaulin” crew drives over to his place and takes back the car that they restored for him…while Cheryl crow kicks him in the balls repeatedly, breaks a mich ultra bottle over his head and than open hand slaps him until he cries.

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