Sunday, 23 October 2016


    This blog is contributed by my daughter, Barbara Jagoda, a retired school teacher living on her 44 acre ranch with her horses. Over the years she has  rescued 9 horses either from  auctions where the horse was bound for slaughter, sanctuaries, or from private facilities where horses were found to be emancipated and starving.  
    The Management and mismanagement of our American wild horses and burros has  concerned and disturbed me ever since the mid 1950’s when a girlfriend and I heard the story of Wild Horse Annie. On her way to work near Reno, Nevada, Annie noticed a  horse trailer leaving a trail of blood on the road, Being concerned, she followed the truck until it stopped at a slaughterhouse, and discovered to her horror a load  of terrified wild horses so crammed together that one of them had been trampled to death on the floor of the trailer. My girlfriend and I were appalled and instantly became followers and fans of Wild Horse Annie. 
    In today’s world of multiple problems and injustices, the issues surrounding wild horses may seem insignificant to some.  However, at the heart of this matter lies the basic principles of respect and responsibility that we as earth’s most intelligent life form should demonstrate and honor in preserving the multitude of amazing creatures and features that our planet so generously affords. 
    It has been argued that because wild horses and burros are not native to North America, they should not have the same rights and protections as native species. On the other hand, a large part of our western heritage and attractiveness is due to the aura surrounding these animals. Like the bison, wild horses and burros are considered American icons. 
    Since it’s inception in 1946, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has been the overseer of our western lands and resources. Harry Truman actually created the BLM at that time by merging the General Land Office and the Grazing Service.  Wild horses were generally considered pests so they were legally hunted in any manner available including from four wheeled vehicles and from aircraft. When wild horse numbers decreased dramatically, public outcry accounted for a 1959 act called the Wild Horse Annie Act that forbade this practice. Annie and the public were not satisfied that this protected the wild horse enough, and in 1971 succeeded in getting the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act passed which was  designed to manage, protect and control these herds. Legislation included in this act also gave BLM authority to remove excess wild horses from the range in order to sustain the health and productivity of public lands. To accomplish this, the BLM established an “AML”(Appropriate Management Level) for each state and management area. 
     Today the  BLM manages 247.3 million acres of which ranchers lease 155 million acres.  There are 31.6 million acres of  wild-horse-herd areas of which the BLM supervises 26.9 m. acres. In 1971 wild-horse-herd area was 53.8 m. acres and the BLM supervised 42.4 m. acres, so there has been a dramatic drop in wild horse herd acreage.  As of August, 2016, the wild horse and burro (wild h&b) population was estimated to be 67,027 animals. The AML was estimated by the BLM to be 26,715 wild h&b. These facts supported the BLM’s position of helicopter round-ups to remove excess wild horses and burros. Records show that in the 4 years  from 2012 until 2015, 18,107 wild h&b were removed by BLM round-ups.  As of August, 2016, the total number of wild h&b held in holding corrals, off-range pastures and Eco-sanctuaries was 45,661 animals. In 2015 alone, the cost for maintaining these wild h&b  was estimated to be $49,000,000.  Another estimate  shows that it costs $50,000. to hold each horse for the rest of it’s lifetime. This is all paid for by tax-payer dollars. 
    The BLM continually pushes for  more round-ups. They are pressured by their job description which is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Pressure also comes from ranchers who hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing, from oil, gas, mining, and timber interests (there are 63,000 oil and gas wells on BLM public lands), by wind farms eager to capitalize on the new renewable energy push, by hunters wanting more land opened up to hunt, by groups and individuals clamoring for more land to hike, ski, 4 wheel, boat, and bike on, and the list goes on. 
      Just last month, the BLM advisory board passed an emergency resolution to euthanize  45,000 wild horses that were in BLM holding pens. This plan was  to be presented to Congress when  the Cloud Foundation and the AWHPC (American Wild Horse and Burro Campaign) caught wind of it and  filed a lawsuit to stop the BLM from proceeding with such an atrocity.
     In recent years, the work of the BLM has  become more transparent due to the diligent work of wild horse preservation groups. In the past, the BLM reigned supreme and many wild horse roundups showed little compassion for the welfare of the wild horse. In recent years, the BLM wild horse round-ups have been monitored, photographed, and reported to the public. Videos of round-ups taking place in the heat of summer months have shown dead foals and old or injured mares lying exhausted and left behind to die after miles and miles of relentless helicopter harassment and herding. Stallions and mares have been photographed severely injured trying to escape dangerous and/or crowded enclosures. Terrified horses have been shown with heads hanging and sides heaving and dripping with sweat. 
    This past January, the BLM proposed horrendous, barbaric sterilization experiments on captured wild mares at a BLM Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. The experiment involved “ovariectomy via colpotomy”, an extremely dangerous surgical procedure in which a veterinarian makes an incision in a mare’s vagina, inserts his arm into the vaginal cavity, manually locates the ovaries and RIPS THEM OUT using an “eraseur”, a rod-like device with a chain on the end. The mare is then released to heal on her own in spite of 4-7 days of post-surgical care known to be required. Mares that do not die from the acute trauma of the procedure would most surely die from post surgery infection.  
      Because of the above events and much more, wild horse preservation groups have gained a lot of public support.  A recently planned round-up for this past October 18th of 500 horses from the Checkerboard in western Wyoming was stopped in it’s tracks when  AWHPC efforts resulted in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that  the BLM broke  2 federal laws when it rounded up horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard in 2014, which also made the 2016 round-up illegal. The Cloud Foundation and the AWHPC also filed successful lawsuits to halt the barbaric sterilization experiments reported above and the euthanizing of the 45,000 horses held in BLM holding pens discussed earlier in this blog.   
      Wild horses herds  left unchecked, can double their population every 4 years. There is only so much land and so much grass and water. The land must support other species also. The eventual crisis is clear and  inevitable: malnourished horses and eventually death by starvation or lack of water. How can a rapidly  increasing  wild horse population be humanely and wisely  monitored to stay in balance with the resources of the land?  BLM round-ups are far too cruel and result in captured horses penned up in holding pens which are completely foreign to these wild, free roaming, creatures. Also, the expense of maintaining these horses is  breaking budget limits. 
      One of the answers has been to offer wild horses up for adoption, but this too has it’s flaws. Only a small portion of horse lovers or possible adopters know how to deal with a wild horse. Also, in spite of regulations supposedly set in place to prevent adopted horses being sold for slaughter, in 2015 Tom Davis, a livestock dealer, bought 1,700 wild horses from the BLM and sold them for slaughter in Mexico. The worst of crimes against our federally protected wild horses had just occurred. Not only were these poor creatures slaughtered, but they endured horrific transportation ordeals into a country that has little respect for animals bound for slaughter. How many more tragedies like this occur that we never learn about?  
     Eco-sanctuaries intent upon offering a safe haven for wild horses have provided a home for some of the BLM horses. The Deerwood Wild Horse Sanctuary covering 4,700 acres of private ranch land west of Laramie is actually the first BLM certified sanctuary. This beautiful ranch supports a herd of 300 wild horses. The BLM, to it’s credit,  has actively  involved selected  ranchers with  providing large private-protected grazing areas for wild horses. Many ranchers are quite sympathetic to the plight of wild horses and this is publicized too little, I believe. 
    For various reasons, some Eco-sanctuaries have not been as successful.  Madeleine Pickens (Iraqi by birth and ex-wife of  Boone Pickens who was  a wild horse advocate himself and also owner of champion racehorse, Cigar) has invested millions of dollars and a great deal of time and effort, attempting to provide a protected haven for the surplus of wild horses that the BLM claims over-taxes the range and it’s holding pens. With the initial blessing of the BLM, Madeleine purchased 2 large ranches only to be told that they were not acceptable. She then purchased more ranch land and proceeded to implement all of the requirements the BLM laid out for her. She also built the very deluxe and popular tourist attraction, Mustang Monument, which offered beautiful,  furnished Teepees and wild horse safaris in an effort to help her herds become self sufficient and literally pay for their keep. It was a plan that would save tax-payers million of dollars and alleviate the BLM of many of it’s problems. However, the BLM  has thwarted her at every turn. They have  not allowed her to adopt a single wild horse from their lands or pens. The most terrible of  tragedies occurred this year when a  criminal trespass of her Spruce Mountain Ranch in Elko County, Nevada, saw a number of wild  horses Madeleine had rescued from slaughter houses die a slow and agonizing death from lack of water. Trespassers had cut her fences and turned off, or destroyed, all water sources.  
     The ISPMP (International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros) in South Dakota was founded in 1960  by Wild Horse Annie (Velma Johnston) and was home to 650 wild horses. It has just been charged with claims of 30 wild horses enduring unthinkable-tragic deaths from starvation.  Many more wild horses were found to be severely suffering from neglect.  What Wild Horse Annie had founded as a safe haven for wild horses became after her death an uncontrolled, free-breeding, operation that resulted in too many horses and not enough money to feed them. Sometimes even the best of intentions need monitoring.
     PZP (porcine zona pellucida) is a vaccine that  was developed to prevent pregnancy in mares for approximately one year. Although this seems like a viable option for  controlling wild horse populations, the problem  is that it is a vaccine.  How do you vaccinate a population that is wild  and roams over an extensive area?  More round-ups?  Although catch pens using grain or hay as bait have been suggested, how many mares could be caught up?  If this needs to be a yearly process, the magnitude of the operation and the  trauma to wild horse herds, the locating and catching enough wild horses, the man hours and expense required etc all seem too formidable.        
    There doesn’t‘ appear to be any easy fix. There is only so much land and so much grass and water. Cattle are allocated 5 times the public grazing lands compared to wild horses and ranchers pay a mere $1.69 per cow-calf unit per month.  Should ranchers deserve less land and/or pay more?    Predators are nature’s way of population control, but there aren’t any. Man has determined that. Why not bring wolves back and restrict hunting on cougars so at least a partial balance of nature could be re-instated? The BLM needs an overhaul, new blood with environmentally friendly ideas, and more transparency. They have meeting after meeting only to try the same approach over and over again. What they say in public doesn’t seem to match what they do in private. Why are they really opposed to Madeleine’s proposal and what involvement does the county and ranchers have in the BLM’s stance?  Would Madeleine’s  proposed sanctuary  just postpone the inevitable starvation problem if uncontrolled breeding is allowed? We definitely need more monitoring of Eco-sanctuaries etc to make sure Wild Horse Annie’s good intentions don’t go astray. 
      We have to continue to  explore new avenues  and options and discuss the pros and cons of each. We also need to be realistic. There are limitations. There is only so much land, only so many resources. (Does this sound like an issue we humans also face?)   Can we attain a balance and if so, how?  We need open minds.  Communication lines need to be encouraged and be respectful  among all  wild horse factions. No easy task to be sure.  But, perhaps in trying, we can be an example  of co-operation and positive direction, something that is much needed these days. 

Friday, 14 October 2016


    I really cannot blame you for skipping the U.S. presidential debates, but you left it for Amy Goodman to donate a few hours of her PBS “Democracy Now” program to allow Jill Stein of the Green party to air good views on vital issues that were overlooked by the moderators and debaters who connived to bar debating rights from smaller parties.  But, Truth, you have been goofing off far too much when we need you desperately.  And there is such a gnawing sense of urgency.  The future beckons with so much promise while threatening with so much danger.  You are forcing me to purchase the works of scores of honest dissidents, a few of whom I will list at the end of this blog.
The dangers, that have always been with us, seem to have become uncontrollable: over-population, global warming, water, war profiteers, prejudices, inequalities, gun proliferation, debt, penal systems, energy needs, mobility costs, environmental abuses, greed, widespread fraud, educational inadequacies - the list is endless.
The promises of human ingenuity are also endless, provided we use extreme care in choosing the paths we take as they can easily conceal unknown fatal traps.  Truth, is your absence due to the fact you can not breath as you are engulfed in a tsunamis of lies?
Today, we have new human gods among us capable not only of building robots in our human image but of imparting to their individual, human-made, brains all the data we have collected since the invention of writing, 5,200 years ago.  This could easily ensure our own extinction, as Stephen Hawking warns.  Do we have adequate knowledge and ability to build in safeguards?  Whatever gods, or forces, built us humans did an amazingly good, and an amazingly bad, job.  Are we humans any better at being gods?  We could be, but?
Since Homo sapiens evolved 200,000 years ago (ya) in Africa, spread to Asia 100,000 ya and Europe 60,000 ya, groups of humans have organized themselves into co-operative associations to survive in both beneficial and harsh environments.  This has allowed biological and cultural evolution not to be too much out of step.  Emerging from the hunting and gathering economy to sedentary farming is a mere 12,000 years old, so cultural changes have leaped well ahead of biological catch-ups.   The rapid growth of villages, towns, cities, nations, and alliances have resulted in an ever-growing parasitic human element that had been well contained in tribal associations where the survival of the group demanded the contributions and empathy of each member.  In the Americas, thousands of European settlers chose to flee their European cultures to be absorbed into tribes.  Our current generation suffers from an alarming increase in fraud among governments, businesses, and individuals.
We, in what we call the West, or Free World, are fortunate in that investigative reporting and dissidents are  allowed to exist and are relatively free of persecution.  But our complicated world does demand a fair knowledge of history and current world affairs in order to sort out what the truth is and who reveals, and protects, it best.   In spite of my 2,400 books and another hundred on my Kindle,  all dealing with science or world affairs, I consider myself still a novice, welcoming free discussions and realizing I would learn nothing if everyone agreed with me.  I get frequent Jehovah Witness callers and less-frequent Mormons.  I invite them in, read their literature, and seek discussions, offering some of my own literature, hoping to encourage thinking.  They are all pleasant people and some couples have made repeated visits, but only once did I get other than chapter and verse from the bibles they carried or contained on their i-pads.  One day a middle-aged woman arrived with her mother.  Well into their arguments I mentioned the larger, and more peaceful,  period of history when we had  female gods, explaining a few of them.  As they were leaving the mother said to her daughter, “I like this guy.”
I live in a pleasant area of Colorado Springs inhabited mainly by military, business, and government retirees, quite content with their generous pensions and no need to worry about the less fortunate.  During the lengthy run-up to the 2004 election, Republican signs dominated the area, so I installed two Obama signs on my large corner lot.  In the morning I learned just how generous Republicans are.  They gave me a free year’s supply of toilet paper.  All I had to do was unwind it all from the numerous trees that grace the yard.  I had to replace my uprooted Obama signs five times. Obama did win so, maybe, my persistence helped a little.  But my desire for informative, peaceful discussions took a beating.  I was frightened to discover that several of my likable neighbours do not believe in evolution or man-made global warming and have little in-depth knowledge of the outside world.  Today, they admit their dislike of Donald Trump but will vote for him anyway, thus risking 
endless wars and extinction.  This city has a large military presence, so when I stayed after reaching the then-compulsory retirement age of 49 from a rich and varied RCAF career to accept a teaching career, I believed I would have a wealth of discussions because many of my students had accompanied their parents on world-wide assignments.  While I did have many top-notch students who did elicit me donating much overtime work, I had far too many who benefited little from their overseas tours as they remained on base in US housing, learning nothing outside their U.S. school curriculum.   So, here are 52 of the many books that have helped me:
Allawi, Ali: “The Crisis of Islamic Civilization”, 2009, 304 pages.
Al Aswany, Alaa: “On the State of Egypt”, 2011, 192 pages.
Bacevitch, Andrew: “The Limits of Power - End of American Exceptionalism”, 2008, 209 pages.
Baldwin & Heartson: “Ukraine -ZBIG’s Grand Chess Board - How the West Was Checkmated”.
Black, William: The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, 2005, 329 pages.  
Blum, William: “America’s Deadliest Export - Democracy”, 2013, 284 pages.
Bobbit, Philip: “Terror and Consent - Wars for the 21st Century”, 2008, 674 pages
Carter, Jimmy: “Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid”, 2007, 264 pages, “We Can Have Peace in the Middle East”,     2009, 229 pages.  
Chatterjee, Pratap: “Haliburton’s Army”, 2009, 284 pages
Chomsky, Noam: “Hegemony or Survival?”, 2003, “The Essential Chomsky”, 2008, 515 pages,  “Gaza in     Crisis”, 2010“, “Profit Over People”, 2011, “Was  There an Alternative?”, 2011, 177 pages, “Western       Terrorism”, 2013, “Who Rules the World?”, 2016. 
Eland, Ivan: “The Empire Has No Clothes - US foreign policy”, 2008, 264 pages.
Erlich, Reese: “The Iran Agenda”, 2007, 222 pages.
Feinstein, Andrew: “Global arms trade”, 2011, 673 pages.  
Ferguson, Charles: “Predator Nation  - Corporate and Political Corruption”, 2012, 369 pages.
Franken, Al: “The Truth”, 2005, 336 pages.
Fry, Douglas: “Beyond War”, 2007, 331 pages.
Gerges, Fawaz: “Obama and the Middle East”, 2012, 291 pages.
Greenspan, Alan: “The Age of Turbulence”, 2007, 531 pages.
Harding, Luke: “The Snowden Files”, 2014,
Hiro, Dilip: “After Empire - Birth of a Multipolar World”, 2010, 348 pages.
Junger, Sebastian:   “Tribe” 2016, 168 pages.
Khalidi, Rashid: “Brokers of Deceit”, 2013
Klein,: Naomi, “Shock Doctrine”    “This Changes Everything”, 2014
Leamer, Laurence: “The Price of Justice - A True Story of Greed and Corruption”, 2013, 433 pages.
McQuaig, Linda: “It’s the Crude, Dude”,    “Holding the Bully’s Coat”, 2007, 296 pages 
Moore, Mike: “Twilight War - The Folly of US Space Dominance”, 2008,  390 pages. 
Nasrallah, “Sayyed Hassan: “Voice of Hezbollah”, 2007, 420 pages.
Nikiforuk, Andrew: “Tar Sands - Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent”, 2010, 249 pages.
Parsi, Trita: “Single Role of the Dice - Iran”, 2012.  284 pages.
Perry, Mark: “Talking to Terrorists”, 2010, 251 pages.
Petras, James: “The Power of Israel in the United States”, 2007, 191 pages.
Rashid, Ahmed: Taliban, 2001, 274 pages, “Descent into Chaos”, 2008, 484 pages.
Rosen, Nir: “The Triumph of the Martrys - Occupied Iraq”, 2006, 272 pages.
Rosenberg, Elliott, “But, Were They Good For The Jews?”, 1997, 309 pages.
Scahill, Jeremy: “Blackwater”, 2007, 550 pages, “Dirty Wars”, 2013, 673 pages.
Stone, Merlin: “When God was a Woman”,   1976, 265 pages.
Suskind, Ron: “The Way of the World”,  2008, 415 pages.
Suzuki, David: “Everything Under The Sun”, 2012, 282 pages.
Vidal, Gore: “Imperial America”, 2004, 181 pages.
Wiss, Ray: “A Line in the Sand - Canadians in Kandahar”, 2010, 401 pages.
Woodward, Bob: “Bush at War”, 2002, 377 pages.