Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sweden Blocks Wolf Hunt

A Swedish court gave animal right activists a temporary victory and saved the lives of countless wolves when it ordered a temporary ban on wolf hunting in parts of the country.  Activists were fighting a decision to authorize the culling of 46 wolves.  Two courts in Karlstad and Falun must evaluate whether the hunting permits are in conformity with EU environmental protections.  The country's EPA estimates there are 400 wolves in Sweden and recommends the population be controlled at that level by regulated hunting.  The season was set to begin January 2 and end on February 15th. Hunters argue the wolves are decimating other game animals such as moose and killing domestic animals.

The wolf has been protected in Sweden and is making a healthy resurgence.  So much so, farmers are fearing for their livestock.  The government compensates farmers for their losses and subsidizes protective (electric) fencing.  The dispute over wolves and their place in modern Sweden is prominent enough to reach televised political debates.  When Sweden went ahead with its most recent cull of 44 wolves, it received a warning letter from the European Commission.  The EU's executive body says Sweden has not adequately considered alternatives and failed to show controlled hunts do not pose a threat to the species long-term survival.

Two intrepid wolves from Russia made the arduous journey from Finland or Russia looking for a suitable home in the 1980s.  They were joined by others in 2007 or 2008.  Their numbers grew over the years from just five animals to the point farmers began protesting their presence.  The first hunt began in 2010.  EPA officials maintain that only the genetically weak are culled; they claim they have DNA from about 90% of Swedish wolves, but such reassurances are dismissed by advocates who say a sustainable wolf population should number 1500 to 3,000 to insure healthy genetic diversity.  They refer to stories of  wolf threat as "Little Red Riding Hood" tales; a human has not been killed by a wolf in 200 years in Sweden.  A spokesman for the Wolf Association of Sweden says, "the hate against the animal, a species such as the wolf, is like racism in people--it is absolute the same process of mind."  Indeed.

Monday, December 28, 2015

File Under Global Warming Myth

Why the box office earnings of the latest computerized fantasy from Hollywood should be making the national news is a bit of a paradox for US Person when stories like this are buried in the back pages. But then he is insolent! Forty-three people lost their lives in violent storms over the holidaze. States of emergency have been declared in several Midwestern states. Eleven were killed in Texas by tornadoes. Dallas County was particularly hard hit with more than 100 homes damaged or destroyed by winds in excess of 200mph. Thirteen people are dead from flash floods in New Mexico. Bad weather is expected to continue Monday with heavy snow forecast from New Mexico to Iowa along with high winds, rain and ice storms.

COTW: The Middle Class Squeeze, Continued

This map shows the shocking amount of hourly wage, considering the federal minimum is just $7.25/hr., needed to afford a two-bedroom rental in each of the fifty states:

You would think that a working class in such dire straits would naturally gravitate toward a socialist presidential candidate offering the chance for real structural reform instead of the inflammatory bigotry of a faux-populist business man running interference for the plutocracy (Trump: 'the minimum wage is already too high'). The key to understanding the disconnect between Bernie Sanders and poor white workers is its historical context as thoroughly explained by Theodore W. Allen in his Invention of the White Race. to combat any natural class solidarity between slaves and poor working whites, plutocrats embedded white workers (often bond servants themselves) with a sense of inbred superiority using a combination of legal and social policy preferences as well as racist propaganda. A similar technique was successfully employed previously in Ireland by British overlords to suppress Irish Catholics' campaign for Ireland's separation by giving preferential treatment in industrial employment and landowning to Irish Protestants to engender their loyalty to the Crown Of England.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

'Toontime: Schlongfest 2016

credit: John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune
Wackydoodle sez:  Takes one to know one!

The quality of political debate in 'Merica has reached a new nadir with the candidacy of Donald Trump. One thing he is good at besides making lucrative real estate deals with local politicians, is he knows how to manipulate the attention of the CMM that will substitute anything, including insults, for informed policy debate. For example, Bernie Sanders proposed reforming the private Federal Reserve which serves the interests of Wall Street banksters in a New York Times editorial. For all the attention it received in the mainstream press, he might as well have been handing out resumes on a street corner.
credit: John Coe, Scranton Times-Tribune
BC Idonwanna sez:  Too much beer and football rot brain!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

PNG wishes its readers season's greetings!

Japan To Restart Two More Reactors

Despite protests from residents, Japan has decided to restart two of its nuclear reactors in the quake-prone country. Kansai Electric Power company will restart Takahama No.3 and 4 early next year. The Fukui District Court removed an injunction preventing the restarts on Thursday. The two units will be the third and fourth plants to resume operations after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi meltdowns. Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai No.1 and 2 on Kyushu Island have already resumed operations under the new rules. The company announced it will begin loading MOX fuel into Takahama No.3 on Christmas Day. The restarts will be a big boost to the company's bottom line since Kansai is the utility most dependent on nuclear power generation. Reuters found in a survey that of the other 42 operable reactors, about seven are likely to be restarted in the next few years. Nine are unlikely to be put back into service according to the news service. Companies have applied to the nation's nuclear regulatory authority to restart twenty-five plants. Japan has been relying on record imports of liquefied natural gas to make up for its 26% loss in capacity during the nuclear moratorium. The Abe government has yet to find an acceptable site for disposal of highly-radioactive spent fuel waste.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Was Hot!

a future possibility?
Right now New York City is fourteen degrees above normal and the entire east coast is expected to experience record setting warm temperatures this holidaze weekend. A fitting exclamation mark to the hottest year on record according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Last November was a record setter for warm temperatures, the seventh month in a row for records; thirteen of the fourteen hottest years have occurred in the 21st century.  Record keeping began in 1880. Certainly this data is not mere coincidence, but is consistent with the predicted effects of climate change. This year is one of the strongest El NiƱos recorded, so that is also contributing to the strange winter weather affecting the US. When asked by the New York Times Bill McKibben, a well-known climate activist, said "We're are living through history, and not of a good kind."

One only has to travel to the Greenland ice sheet to know climate change is a reality. Greenland's ice sheet, supported by land, is literally melting away and rushing into the sea in fast rivers of flowing water.[video]  A complete melt down could raise sea levels by twenty feet. The federal government spends about $1 billion a year studying the changing conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic. It is money well spent because computer modeling of climate cannot give scientists a full understanding of the phenomenon that will affect the world for centuries. Incredibly that relatively modest amount of funding is under attack from climate deniers in Congress. Representative Lamar Smith of Texas is leading the fight to cut NASA climate research budget by $300 million, and began an investigation into fifty National Science Foundation grants. We will pay the price of deliberate ignorance.

Fishers Return to Washington State

Rewilding is a concept much in vogue among wildlife conservationists. As some habitats are better protected and even expanding, wildlife advocates search for ways to reintroduce native species to the recovery process. This month Washington state wildlife officials released seven fishers, Martes pennanti, into Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the South Cascades where they have benn mission for more than seventy years. A member of the weasel family, fishers were wiped out in Washington by the mid-1990s. Prized by trappers for their lush fur, the state belatedly declared the species endangered in 1998. After planning and consultation the Washington state wildlife department began relocating fishers from British Columbia to the old growth forest in Olympic National Park in 2008. A total of 90 animals were released, and according to state biologists the mustelids have dispersed and reproduced successfully in the wild.

After a successful reintroduction, attention turned to other suitable forest habitats. Canadian fur trappers are paid $600 for each animal, considerably more than what the would receive for just a pelt. The large weasels are fed donated roadkill in an animal sanctuary where their health is evaluated and they are implanted with a tracking device. Washington plans to release a total of 80 fishers into Gifford Pinchot and Mount Rainier national parks in the next two years, then move on to the North Cascades. The fisher is currently proposed for inclusion on the federal Endangered Species Act through its range, but the reintroductions in Washington seem headed toward repopulating the northwest's forests with their characteristic mammalian species after being devastated by mans' greed. Fishers are relatively small and do not create much opposition from exploiters of public lands.  The crunch will come when wildlife advocates attempt to return the grizzly bear to northwest forests.

Monday, December 21, 2015

US Extends Protection to African Lions

credit: UK Guardian
Five months after an American dentist caused an international incident by killing a collared lion outside the boundaries of a national park in Zimbabwe, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is poised to extend protections under the Endangered Species Act to African lions. Lions in Africa face a catastrophic population decline due to poaching, habitat destruction and human conflict so the change in legal status is long overdue. Under the proposed rules lions in southern and eastern Africa will be classified as "'threatened" and lions in central and western Africa will be classified at the highest level of protection, "endangered". The change in legal status will place tight restriction on the importation of carcasses as trophies into the US.  Although the US cannot regulate hunting in other soverign nations, it is closing down a market in the United States. Half of all lion hunting is conducted by American citizens.  Under the new rules, hunters will have to prove their 'souvenirs' were legally obtained in a country that has a "scientifically sound management program" in place that benefits lions in the wild.

That may be a difficult burden since studies show that African lion populations have plummeted to half since 1993 and another 50% loss in the next twenty years for populations in west, central and east Africa. Only in southern Africa are lion populations increasing under a program of intensive management.  the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates there are only 20,000 lions remaining in the wild. The US will join France which banned importation of lion trophies in November, Australia which banned lion parts in March and the UK which pledges a similar ban by 2017 if the hunting industry does not improve its conservation performance.

All of this action comes to late to protect a beloved lion king, Cecil [photo]. But the good news is his line continues in Hwange where his son, Xanda, has been seen mating. Cecil's grand-cubs are expected in March. May they live long and prosper!

Friday, December 18, 2015

'Toontime: Its All About Bernie (Really!)

credit: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
BC Idonwanna sez:  Bernie make big smoke!

If you can tear yourself away from the talking heads on the CMM (Corporate Mass Media) US Person suggests the presidential race is really about whether Bernie Sanders can mount a credible campaign (translation: money) that can withstand the capitalist naysayers in the Democratic establishment. He hopes the Repugnants are reactionary enough to nominate the bigot Trump because that will make a Democratic victory in November easier to achieve.

credit: Michael Ramirez, Investors Business Daily
Wackydoodle sez: Ms. Hillary drank too much Benghazi Punch!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Peru Shuts Down Notorious Wildlife Market

credit: NPC via Mongabay.com
Bellavista Street has operated as a flourishing wildlife market for over twenty years where wild animals were held captive in unsanitary, cramped conditions until they met an even worse fate after being sold. Think of it as a nightmarish concentration camp for animals. Activists and health officials have finally succeeded in closing Bellavista. The market, located in the city of Pucalpa, was razed to the ground by bulldozers last month [photo]. Veterinarians and members of Wildlife Conservation Society's Wildlife Health Policy Program visited the market repeatedly 2007 and 2012. What they found was abhorrent. They eventually convinced vendors to let them collect dead animals, collect samples from those still alive, and count the captives.

Despite that selling wildlife is strictly prohibited under Peruvian law, the market sold on average 42 animals a week, some of which are endangered species. The investigators discovered a wide range of diseases in the market ranging from yellow fever and hemorrhagic fever. Some of these were found in monkeys which could easily spread to humans because of our shared genetic heritage. One of the reasons officials belated decided to act is because of the threat the market posed to public health. Vendors show a extreme lack of human care for their living inventory. The market also served as a sort of callous showcase for animals secretly stored elsewhere in the city. At least four warehouses were known to researchers who avoided entering them to preserve their undercover work. It was clear to the researchers from their 'body counts' that corrupt officials were allowing some animals to 'disappear' into a shadow world of rapacious wildlife merchants who business it is to provide any rare species to a willing buyer. The fact that Bellavista was allowed to operate in the open on municipal land for over twenty years speaks testaments about the integrity of Peru's officials as well as the attitude of Peruvians towards their wild heritage. Although the market was destroyed in the middle of the night, no vendors were arrested.

A new market has been opened, but vendors must be registered, comply with rules, and the market is covered with a single entrance making illegal sales more difficult. The overdue destruction of Bellavista is a welcomed development, but Peru's participation in a robust, illegal and international wildlife trade is by no means at an end. For pictures of some the rescued animals go to Mongabay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

COTW: Your Future Beneath the Sea

In a stunning series of maps, cartographer Jeffery Linn shows us what some cities could look like if all the world's ice sheets melted--something is that nor just science fantasy: it is a sobering glimpse into a radical possibility. What was once Portland, Oregon is a peninsula jutting out into shallow seas-- the Sea of Tualatin and Willamette Sea--full of islands named for dry locals:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a sea level rise of between 1.7 and 3.2 feet. Some scientists predict 10 feet by 2300. So these maps depict an extreme scenario. Nevertheless, it is sobering to think what even a 2 foot rise could do to coastal cities around the world.  Below what was once the dry-land megalopolis of Los Angeles is completely submerged below the waters of the "Bay of LA" and the "Sea of Orange County".  Knots Berry Farm is now "Knots Oyster Farm".  LAX becomes "Ex-LAX".  Hilarious, if not scary.

Monday, December 14, 2015

'Toontime: Public Relations-In-Chief

More: According to one observer a technical error almost derailed approval of the agreement and a change had to be made from the podium to prevent the Repugnants in the US Congress from vetoing the agreement. The error would have made carbon reduction goals legally binding instead of just aspirational.  That provision would have made the agreement subject to a politically motivated veto by Repugnants in an election year.  The lack of legally enforceable emission standards is the biggest criticism coming out of the Paris negotiating marathon. Holding the world to a temperature rise of just 1.5℃ will be difficult without an enforcement mechanism. Such an ambitious goal will require more reductions than represented by the current post 2020 proposals put forward by 189 countries, recognized by the agreement itself in paragraph 17. The agreement contemplates follow-up "dialogues" to facilitate further reductions in Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). A piece of good news is that the cost of renewable energy technologies is coming down very fast. For example, the cost of energy-efficient LED lightbulbs has shrunk from $5 each to a little over $1 in 17 months in India. Best of all the agreement represents a global "no" to the fossil fuel industry and their political handmaidens in Congress which has been doing their level best to sow doubt in the public's mind about the existence of climate change and dire consequences of unlimited burning of fossil fuels.

{13.12.15}Latest: A deal has been reached in Paris, but some critics say it is full of promises and very little action. James Henson, the former NASA scientist that irked the right-wing with his early climate change witness, told interviewers that the Paris agreement is a "fraud really, a fake, it's just bullshit..." According to Hansen without a universal tax or fee for burning carbon, the planet cannot avoid the worse ravages of global warming. He fully expects sea levels in some places to rise in excess of five meters putting half the world's coastal cities at risk of flooding because of the melting Antarctic ice sheet. In a July paper Hansen and his co-authors call the 2℃ target "highly dangerous". Other scientists are not so quick to dismiss the Paris accord. In is in fact a historic moment when 195 nations can come together and agree on anything, no less than refraining from using the world's predominant source of energy that has been fueling industrial development for 300 years. Hansen is obviously disappointed in his own country's leaders on both sides of the political divide.  He says Obama has not "been particularly good" at explaining to the public the need for a fee on carbon, while Repugnants like Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have been simply "embarrassing" Hansen adds, "after a while you realize as a scientist that politicians don't act rationally."  Hansen is pinning his hopes on China, whose air pollution problem is so bad their leadership, mostly trained as engineers, scientists, and technicians cannot ignore it.  The Paris accord can be a beginning to a sustainable tomorrow for Earth.  It may just be the planet's last, best chance, but the devil is in the agreement's implementation.

Update: The Current Occupant called his Chinese counterpart in an attempt to squeeze out a climate deal in Paris. Negotiators have switched to behind closed door sessions and put off a plenary session that could become uncontrollable. The deadline for an agreement is now Saturday when activists plan to hold more peaceful demonstrations in support of a global agreement to reduce warming. Despite the direct contact between the US and China, deep divisions reported remain between the US, India and China. The UK's Guardian newspaper identifies six key obstacles to an agreement.

Negotiators in Paris are working through the night in an attempt to finalize an agreement on limiting climate change. The draft has about fifty provision that remain to be negotiated, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the climate conference chair, expressed confidence negotiators will be able to close the remaining gaps in the twenty-seven page draft. Some climate advocates are already disappointed in the proposal, saying it denies "climate justice" to poor countries. Others are more positive saying the agreement affirms the need for quantifiable funding goals for the years after 2020. It is hoped that a final agreement will be reached on Friday at a plenary session. Now is definitely not the time for half-measures as satirized in this cartoon because catastrophic climate change is as large a threat to global security as terrorism is.
credit: Brian McFadden, Daily Kos

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Japan Resumes Whaling

After a temporary setback last year in the International Court of Justice that declared its alleged research whaling program unscientific, Japan has resumed commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean under a new rubric. Whale advocates thought the decision represented the end of commercial whaling by Japan--not. Instead of the illegal JARPA II program, Japan cynically created another acronym NEWREP-A to describe a research program that is commercial whaling by any other name. Experts from the international Whaling Commission have already said their is not enough information in the documents to determine if the program is acceptable under international standards. Japan countered by unilaterally declaring the proposal sufficient to proceed with whaling. Japan's defiant response has been declared "a slap in the face of the International Commission." Nevertheless, sale of whale meat that is harvested under lethal scientific research programs is legal under IWC rules. Japan is exploiting this loophole to the maximum extent. In October Japan said it would no longer accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice on maritime resources to avoid more embarrassing litigation over its whaling activities. Opposition is bound to heat up over the Japan's controversial hunting.

Australian courts have been somewhat sympathetic to whaling opponents. The Australian Federal Court fined Japan $1 million for breaching an earlier injunction covering Australia's declared whale sanctuary. Japan, however, does not recognize Australian jurisdiction over part of the Southern Ocean within its declared exclusive economic zone. Australian greens have called for Australia's navy to shadow the whaling fleet and collect evidence of any illegal activities. The Australian government is unlikely to comply with this demand for direct intervention, choosing instead to engage Japan on this issue at the diplomatic level.

Without a legal platform Japan is willing to accept, there is little except direct action that can bring Japan's whale hunting to an end. The conservation group Sea Shepard has mounted harassment campaigns in the past that have reduced the size of the catch substantially. Recently computer hackers told the press that they crashed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official website to protest the resumption of whaling. Japan's fleet left port on December 2nd bound for the Southern Ocean. The whaling fleet plans to take 333 minke whales--a lower quota than in previous years. No public word yet on what Sea Shepard's response will be this season.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

New Wolf Pack in Washington State

 curious member of the Lookout Pack, credit: High Country News
Washington state now has its seventeenth wolf pack that moved into the state from Idaho and Montana.  Once again nature proves that if given half a chance, it will restore balance to the land. The new pack has taken up residence near the towns of Twisp and Omak in Okanogan County. Federal and state wildlife officials confirmed the pack's location after a flurry of wolf sightings from the public. They will attempt to collar a pack member this summer in order to follow their travels. A least six wolves are estimated to be traveling together. The state recently counted a minimum of 68 wolves, up from 27 just four years ago. Recovery obviously depends on human reaction to their presence; gray wolves are protected by the state east of Highway 97 and federally protected in the western two-thirds. Nevertheless, at least a half dozen wolves have been poached since 2012.

It is encouraging to note that some ranchers are taken a proactive approach to potential conflicts.  Range riders are helping to track wolves and livestock to get  more reality-based data on clashes between wolves and livestock. Undeniably the natural return of the wolf after decades of persecution has opened up a deep political divide in Washington. A survey conducted by the Washington wildlife department found that almost two-thirds of respondents favored wolf recovery, but the same survey showed those supporters are from the liberal corridor along the Interstate 5 corridor.

The rural, conservative east side of the state are where the wolves now live and people are more ambivalent about their presence. Washington's wolves had to cross hundreds of miles of agricultural land to reach the dense forests of the south central Cascades where elk still roam. In order to help the wolves reach undeveloped areas where they are at least tolerated, state wildlife officials have placed emphasis on non-letha control methods such as subsidizing the ranger rider activity, guard dogs and and other methods. But only 14 ranchers have signed on to the program. Wolves are still killed by Washington state if they are confirmed to be cow killers. It takes at lot less for private citizens to resort to killing wolves. As one cattleman from Stevens County put it, " I don't like them [wolves] and I think the state has too many of them." State biologist think there will not be enough wolves--15 breeding pairs for at least three consecutive years--in the state until 2021 to remove them from the endangered species list. Meanwhile, trigger fingers are getting very itchy.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Beijing Issues Red Alert for Air Pollution

credit: Getty Images
The city of Beijing issued its first "red alert" for air quality on Tuesday lasting until noon, December 10th. It is the first such red alert issued by the government for a city with notoriously bad air quality. Some industrial activity will be curtailed and school cancelled. Citizens are advised to curtail outdoor activity. The pollution is less intense than last week when government officials kept the warning level at orange despite the level of particulates reaching 666 micrograms of PM 2.5 in Tiananmen Square [photo]. That is twenty-five times the World Health Organization's recommended levels. The smog is expected to peak Wednesday. Vehicular traffic is Beijing's main smog source because emissions levels are exceeded by about 10 or more of the city's traffic.

Friday, December 04, 2015

'Toontime: Disarraied States of America

credit: Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant

The radicalized Muslim couple in San Bernardino who slaughtered fourteen colleagues were able to amass an arsenal of weapons in their home with only their co-conspirators knowing about it. Such a situation in only possible in 'Merica where its citizens are willing to put up with regular mayhem in their schools, workplaces and homes. 'Mericans are paying in blood for an 18th century ideal that is no longer fits in a 21st century world.  Our politicians are simply reduced to on-lookers who spend their time searching for scapegoats.

credit: Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
Wackydoodle axes: Wanna hold my machine gun, boy?

Update: The Current Occupant has decided he can no longer safely ignore the slaughter that is occuring in 'Merican cities practically eveyday (the statistic: over 365 shooting incidents since last January). He has an uphill battle against the entrenched gun lobby in an election year in his attempt to convince his fellow citizens that the right to amass private arsenals is not constitutionally protected, at least not in an age of mult-trilion dollar standing armies. The Second Amendment was written to insure that nacent nation would have a source of armed men available for national defense because the Continental Army was only a temporary organization that always had difficulty raising men and munitions from the states. The Supreme Court, in deciding that the amendment represents a personal right and not a artifice of national soverignty made an ideologically driven misinterpretation of history that is costing us blood. It can only get worse as the "Long War" drags on into its fifteenth year.

To end this post on a positive note, US Person encourages his readers to sign this petition supporting Bernie Sanders' proposal to reinstate postal banks. US has written before about the benefits of a source of low-cost, convenient credit not under the direct control of Wall Street available at your local post office. {23.02.15} It appears Bernie agrees.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Climate Deniers Winning Battle?

A recent government funded study by Michigan State University of 1600 persons shown conflicting news articles about global warming reveal skeptics are swayed more by stories also skeptical of the existence of the man-made phenomenon. The study confirms anecdotal evidence. A Fox News poll only 3 percent of voters listed global warming as their top concern.  It is no surprise that terrorism tops the list. Conservatives have successfull framed the issue as a conspiracy of the left against business interests.  But there is no denying that 14 of the last 15 years have been the hottest in recorded history; nevertheless right wing politicians like Ted Cruz were able to cherry-pick available data in the 2013 IPCC assessment report to declare a warming hiatus after 1998. The discrepancy most climate scientist think  can be put down to an underestimate of the warming that has already occurred and gaps in data. In fact an updated analysis of global surface temperatures in Science shows actual warming trends are higher than estimated by the IPCC, possible double the previous assessment.  Since the late 19th century temperatures have risen about 1.6F and could rise another 10 degrees by the end of the century.  According to large multinational study,Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective, of twenty-eight large climate events that occurred in 2014, fully half are attributable to man-made climate change.

For decades social psychologists have emphasized the effect of "motivated reasoning" If people are motivated--in this case profit--to not believe something, they will work hard to find a way not to believe it. Conservatives who consider the bottom line sacred, are doing just that and taking the rest of us lemmings with them over the climate cliff.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Arizona Border Recon Upholds Vigilante Tradition

credit: J. Milano
America's west has a long history of vigilante action. It was once a lawless frontier and peaceful citizens  needed substitute for the lack of official law enforcement. Hardly the case nowadays, but Arizona's Border Recon, an armed
group of ex-servicemen and law enforcers is keeping the tradition alive. These men perceive a need to patrol the desert wastes along the Mexican border that is often marked by nothing more than a waist-high metal fence backed with barbed wire--hardly enough to keep out a determined jihadist bent on bringing terrorism to US soil once again.

The group of about 200 men was started by Tim "Nailer" Foley, who "got off the couch" to do something about what he sees as a serious problem-- an insecure southern border. Foley lives about 400 yards from the border.  He dismisses the usual criticisms of being a "gun-nut" and a nativist extremist, by referring to the recent terror attacks in Paris. His group patrols a six to eight mile perimeter 24/7 armed and equipped with night vision equipment. Foley claims they have video of non-Mexicans crossing illegally into the US.  He identifies them as "Pakistanis and Afghanis". Of course the official Border Patrol does not endorse the private action of armed civilians, and "strongly encourages" private citizens to contact official law enforcement agencies. Official records list three Afghans and twenty-six Pakistanis attempting to cross illegal in the period FY2013-2015 (July). Recently the FBI confirmed that five men from Pakistan and one from Afghanistan were captured trying to cross the border, but found no derogatory information on their records. So the amateurs consider themselves to be rendering more service to their country in a time of war. Foley points out that people who want to participate in their patrols must pass a background check and abide by strict rules of engagement. Foley was checked out by FBI when someone tipped the bureau in 2011 that Foley had been accused of leaving pie bombs on heavily trafficked trails. The sheriff of Santa Cruz County told Al Jazeera America Foley is a troublemaker and too gung-ho. His organization attracts a "lot of crackpots" according to that sheriff, and Foley is, "going to get us into a lot of trouble".

Foley, who lost his comfortable life as a construction foreman earning $40/hr in Phoenix after the crash, formed Arizona Border Recon in 2011 as a response to corruption. Since then the group has run five missions a year in which it has detained hundreds of people at the border. They concentrate on trails under less official surveillance, often used by drug mules. When asked if he would ever return to a more routine life in Phoenix, he replied "I've taken the red pill" in a reference to the popular science fiction flim, "The Matrix". "You know why they call it the American Dream, Foley asked his interviewer, "Because you have got to be asleep to believe it."