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EPA rejects $20.4 million in requests for mine spill costs

Clean Water ACT - EPA, CORRUPTION

PNP comment: Another great example of hypocrisy by our federal bureaucrats. Terrible, just terrible. — Editor Liz Bowen

Deseret News

By Dan ElIiott

Associated Press

Brennan Linsley, AP

FILE — In this Aug. 14, 2015, file photo, water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident in the spillway about 1/4 mile downstream from the mine outside Silverton, Colo.

DENVER — The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it will pay $4.5 million to state, local and tribal governments for their emergency response to a mine spill the federal agency triggered, but it turned down $20.4 million in other requests for past and future expenses.

The EPA provided the figures to the Associated Press a day after informing two Indian tribes and more than a dozen state and local agencies in Colorado and New Mexico.

An EPA-led crew accidentally triggered a 3 million-gallon spill from the inactive Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado while doing preliminary cleanup work in August 2015. The wastewater carried arsenic, lead, metal and other heavy metals and polluted rivers in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

The spill prompted utilities, farmers and ranchers to temporarily stop drawing from the rivers. The EPA said the water quality returned to pre-spill levels quickly.

Reimbursements for emergency response costs have been contentious. Some governments complained the EPA is rejecting legitimate expenses or taking too long.

Two bills before Congress are aimed at speeding up the reimbursement process.

The EPA said in a statement Friday it is following federal law that dictates what it can pay.

Separately, the Navajo Nation filed a claim with the federal government last week seeking $162 million in costs from the spill, including $3.1 million for unreimbursed expenses and $159 million to develop alternative water supplies, future monitoring and other costs.

One of the rivers affected by the spill, the San Juan, crosses the Navajo Nation. In addition to agriculture and drinking uses, the tribe considers the river sacred.

The EPA said the Navajo Nation had requested $1.4 million and would be reimbursed $603,000. The difference in the EPA and Navajo figures couldn’t immediately be reconciled.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865669021/EPA-rejects-204-million-in-requests-for-mine-spill-costs.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

 

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East Coast fishermen file appeal over cost of government-required ‘at-sea monitors’

Federal gov & land grabs, PRES. TRUMP

Dec. 2: David Goethel, of Hampton, N.H., speaks about the at-sea monitors aboard his 44-foot fishing trawler.

David Goethel built his life off the profits of cod, trolling the waters of New England for 30 years netting the region’s once-abundant signature fish.

“My slice of the American Dream was paid for from fishing,” Goethel said from behind the wheel of his 44-foot fishing trawler on a windy Friday afternoon in December. “Cape Cod house, two cars, four college educations – it all came out of the fish hole in this boat.”

But a controversial federal mandate is threatening to put him out of business, he claims.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, requires groundfishermen — those who catch cod, haddock and other common bottom-dwelling species — to carry on board “at-sea monitors.” The observers, hired by three for-profit companies, are third-party workers whose task it is to observe fishermen’s compliance with federal regulations and ensure annual quotas are not exceeded.

The dispute lies in the cost of the monitors and who should pay for them: Fishermen are billed on average $700 a day when a regulator is present.

NOAA, meanwhile, says monitors were placed on fishing boats like Goethel’s only 14 percent of the time in 2016 — and claims the fishing industry supported this system of regulation in 2010 when a vote went before the New England Fishery Management Council, an advisory board to NOAA that sets the rules.

“At sea monitors were originally supported by the sectors when we went from a days-at-sea form of management to a quota based form of management in 2010,” said John Bullard, the regional administrator for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office.

Goethel and other ground fishermen are suing the U.S. Department of Commerce, seeking to avoid paying the cost for the government-trained monitors. While many factors have led to an economically struggling fish industry in the Northeast, Goethel described monitor costs as “the final financial blow” to his business.

Related Image

Goethel 2 Expand / Contract

(Fox News)

A federal district court judge in New Hampshire ruled against the group of fisherman in August, but the Cause of Action Institute — a Washington legal watchdog representing them — filed an appeal last month. The nonprofit advocacy group is suing on behalf of Goethel and Northeast Fishery Sector 13, which represents groundfishermen from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

“It’s a lawless act by the government,” said Julie Smith, vice president of the Cause of Action Institute and the lead lawyer on the case. “If the government wants a catch monitored, the government needs to pay for the monitors — it’s that simple.”

The New England Fishery Management Council set groundfish catch quotas in May 2010 to prevent overfishing. NOAA claims it was determined then that the fishing industry would cover the cost of observers on board the vessels — their training, commute to and from the boat, supervisor salaries and other expenses.

In an effort to help an industry already suffering from economic hardship, NOAA said it agreed to subsidize those costs until 2012. The agency continued covering a portion of the costs until March 2016 when it ran out of funds to do so, a NOAA official told FoxNews.com.

More

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/09/east-coast-fishermen-file-appeal-over-cost-government-required-at-sea-monitors.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

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Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary wants to sell off public lands

Dept. of INTERIOR, PRES. TRUMP

PNP comment: This article is so left-leaning that I decided to use it to announce President-elect Trump’s fabulous pick to replace crazy Sally Jewell. Under the Constitution, when the Western states made their treaties with the federal guvernmunt, the feds were expected to relinquish control of federally-managed lands to the states. After the Civil War, this was not done and that is why there is so much anger in the Western states. Each state deserves to manage its own lands and multiple-use of public lands is the denominator for a robust economy and protecting the environment. All the reasons this article doesn’t like McMorris Rodgers are the same reasons I am thrilled, especially if Al Gore gave her an ‘F’ !!!! Have fun picking apart this lying piece of manure called journalism! –– Editor Liz Bowen

Think Progress

By   Samantha Page

Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ nomination is more bad news in an administration that will be terrible on climate.

Another climate-denying nominee will be named Friday for a key environmental position in the Trump administration, multiple sources are reporting.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will likely be tapped to lead the Department of the Interior, which oversees all of the U.S. public lands, including forest management, the Parks Service, and fossil fuel extraction.

McMorris Rodgers is strongly in favor of developing the United States’ fossil fuel resources. She has also opposed federal ownership of public lands and voted to make it more difficult for the president to create national monuments. McMorris Rodgers is the author of a bill that would have directed the Department of the Interior to sell off federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

The selection is not surprising, in what is shaping up to be the most anti-environmental administration — Republican or Democrat — in modern times. The Interior Department transition team has been led by Doug Domenech, the director of a pro-fossil fuels project at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.

McMorris Rodgers has repeatedly expressed her support for oil. She supports expanding offshore drilling, voted for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and voted against raising the royalty rates for oil and gas that comes from public lands.

The Department of the Interior includes the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, which permits offshore drilling and renewable energy. A proposed plan to include parts of the Atlantic in the bureau’s five-year plan was scrapped earlier this year after community opposition. If confirmed under the Trump administration, McMorris Rodgers will have a key role in shaping the next plan.

On the League of Conservation Voters scorecard, which tracks environmental votes in Congress, McMorris Rodgers has a lifetime score of 4 percent. Her 2015 score was zero. While she has not gone on the record about climate change often, a 2008 list of reasons she is glad she is a Republican included “We believe Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing.”

McMorris Rodgers spent much of 2011 tweeting about high gas prices, which she blamed on Obama and the EPA. McMorris Rodgers plainly equates more drilling with lower gas prices, at one point tweeting a FoxNews story about Shell’s decision not to drill in the Arctic, after the company was found not to have adequately calculated its environmental impact.

https://thinkprogress.org/cathy-mcmorris-interior-111c30319780#.d7i57znde

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Trump names Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general suing EPA on climate change, to head the EPA

Clean Water ACT - EPA, PRES. TRUMP

PNP comment: This is very good news for the environment. The EPA has been destroying the environment and wildlife in the name of global warming and saving species that are ridiculously single-managed through the archaic Endangered Species Act. — Editor Liz Bowen

The Washington Post

December 8, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of the oil and gas-intensive state of Oklahoma, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a move signaling an assault on President Obama’s climate change and environmental legacy.

Pruitt has spent much of his energy as attorney general fighting the very agency he is being nominated to lead.

He is the third of Trump’s nominees who have key philosophical differences with the missions of the agencies they have been tapped to run. Ben Carson, named to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has expressed a deep aversion to the social safety net programs and fair housing initiatives that have been central to that agency’s activities. Betsy DeVos, named education secretary, has a passion for private school vouchers that critics say undercut the public school systems at the core of the government’s mission.

Trump’s transition team announced the nomination in a news release Thursday, calling Pruitt “an expert in Constitutional law” and saying he “brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy.”

“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn,” the release quoted Trump as saying. He said Pruitt “will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.” Trump added, “My administration “strongly believes in environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt will be a powerful advocate for that mission while promoting jobs, safety and opportunity.”

Pruitt was quoted as saying: “The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

MORE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/07/trump-names-scott-pruitt-oklahoma-attorney-general-suing-epa-on-climate-change-to-head-the-epa/?utm_term=.c1e50306345a

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Bundy brothers refuse to attend US court hearing in Vegas

Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, cattle, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs

By The Associated Press
Follow on Twitter
on December 09, 2016 at 4:26 PM,

updated December 09, 2016 at 4:31 PM

 LAS VEGAS — Two sons of Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy refused to attend, and several co-defendants shouted an oath of defiance at the end of a Friday court appearance for 17 men accused of conspiring and taking up arms against federal agents near the Bundy ranch in Nevada in April 2014.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen decided not to order marshals to bring Ammon and Ryan Bundy to court by force, so the two Bundy sons remained in a nearby holding cell. Marshals were instructed to provide a speaker so they could hear audio of the court proceedings.

Another defendant, Peter Santilli, blurted out that the Bundy brothers didn’t want to be shackled. Leen admonished Santilli that he didn’t get to speak on their behalf.

So began a contentious three-hour hearing during which the judge didn’t make immediate rulings on a range of arguments, including the government’s request to have three trials and defendants’ requests to be tried together or in groups of their choosing.

Trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 6. Leen called it “physically and logistically impossible” to try all 17 defendants together, and suggested it would be unfair for a 17th defendant to have to wait months or years to resolve his case if they were tried individually. She said she’ll issue a written scheduling order soon.

Leen also is considering multiple requests to dismiss charges; a plea for a change of venue to Reno or another city; a suggestion that federal officials shredded documents that would be relevant to the case as they packed up and left temporary offices near Bunkerville; and Cliven Bundy’s lawyer’s insistence that the federal government has no jurisdiction in Clark County.

Santilli’s attorney argued that he’s a journalist, and that his calls in Internet postings for supporters to rally to the Bundy ranch to lawfully carry guns and protest federal Bureau of Land Management action were constitutionally protected free speech.

At least two defendants, Ryan Payne and Scott Engel, stood the moment court was adjourned and loudly declared, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God!”

Santilli chimed in that he expected that when Donald Trump becomes president, he’ll intervene in the case on the defendants’ behalf.

Several people among about three dozen family members and friends responded with words of love and support as they filed out of the courtroom gallery under watchful eyes of U.S. marshals.

The protest-by-absence of Ammon and Ryan Bundy echoed the refusal by their father last March to enter a plea to federal charges that he led the tense armed standoff that stopped a government round-up of cattle on public land about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. A magistrate judge entered a not-guilty plea for him.

No shots were fired, and no one was injured in the standoff. But images of Bundy backers with assault rifles on a freeway overpass forcing federal agents to back off in a dry river bed below have become iconic in an ongoing battle about states’ rights and federal authority.

That dispute has roots a nearly half-century fight over grazing rights in Nevada and the West, where the federal government controls vast expanses of land. Calls for action have grown louder and more frequent in the Internet age, with bloggers protesting federal agency decisions to designate protected areas for endangered species and set aside tracts for mining, wind farms and natural gas exploration.

The Bundy case defendants face conspiracy, obstruction, weapon, threat and assault on a federal officer charges that could get them decades in prison if they’re convicted. They and two others who have pleaded guilty in the case remain in federal custody in southern Nevada.

Federal prosecutors want three trials, with the first to start Feb. 6 for accused conspiracy leaders Cliven, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Payne and Santilli.

A second trial would start in May for six alleged “mid-level” standoff leaders and organizers: Bundy sons Dave and Mel Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Micah McGuire, Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Jason Woods.

A third trial would begin in August for six accused “followers and gunmen.” They are Gregory Burleson, O. Scott Drexler, Todd Engel, Ricky Lovelien, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart.

Woods’ lawyer, Kristine Kuzemka, protested Friday that labeling defendants as “gunmen” is unfair because it suggests guilt or culpability.

Leen said a description used for now, during pretrial proceedings, might never be suggested to a jury.

Burleson’s attorney, Terrence Jackson, asked again for the judge to consider releasing his client before trial for medical reasons.

Jackson said Burleson, 53, of Arizona, is blind, diabetic and uses a wheelchair.

Burleson told Leen he isn’t getting medical treatment in federal custody.

“I don’t want to end up dying in here,” he said.

— The Associated Press

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/12/bundy_brothers_refuse_to_atten.html#incart_2box

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Liz Writes Life 12-6-16

Liz Writes Life

Dec. 6, 2016

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA.

There was good discussion at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting last Thursday night. Erin Ryan from Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s Redding office told us that the Veterans Administration has put a moratorium on internal bonuses and no Christmas bonuses will be going out for employees. During the past two years of investigation, LaMalfa learned that bonuses have been given without the employees doing the work to deserve them. In one instance, employees were caught shredding hundreds of veterans’ applications and then claiming they processed those applications. In most instances, the money was designated for veterans, which they did not receive and instead went to employee bonuses. She said it looks like the election of Donald Trump has the higher-ups worried at the V.A. Good. They should be as the V.A. has been running a shoddy corrupt ship for quite some time.

One of the bills Congressman LaMalfa has sponsored is HR 900, which will demand Congressional approval for monuments to be established, instead of the U.S. President signing them into law through Executive Order. This is good news for those of us that believe too much land has been removed from public use and this practice will continue if not halted.

Erin said it is significant that the Republicans increased the majority of the House and still have a majority, although it is slight, in the U.S. Senate. There seems to be a strong movement away from the liberal progressives as there were also more Republican candidates that won governorships in the recent election than Democrats.

Erin gave us the proof of this: There are 3141 counties in the 50 United States. Hillary Clinton only won 57 of those counties! That is surprising. Yep, we rural folks also know that those 57 counties are urban areas packed with millions of people. But, still, that is an amazing stat on the division of our country and shows how many counties voted for Donald Trump.

Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor, said he was surprised the California recreational marijuana use law passed in Siskiyou County. It was just over 50 percent in Siskiyou, but it passed on a much higher percentage at the state level making it law for the entire state. Some of the fall-out that marijuana prescription holders may not know is the law actually changes how many plants an individual can grow. Currently, the Siskiyou County marijuana ordinance allows for 12 plants to be legally grown by an individual. The new state law reduces that to only six plants. So the Siskiyou supervisors will need to revise the current ordinance from 12 to 6. Some growers will likely loudly oppose this revision, but it is the new recreational marijuana state law that will mandate the change. The ban on outdoor grows is still in place, so those six plants must be grown indoors.

Regarding the use of marijuana and driving: There will now be a five-year study of THC levels, before the state will make rules on how “high” a person can be while driving and not get arrested. Boy, that seems a little long to me. There is no tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Shouldn’t it be the same for impaired driving while smoking pot?

Good news for Sheriff Lopey as one of the lawsuits against him – voter intimidation – was found to not have standing and was dropped.

More good news regarding ground water as the recharge in Scott Valley is a month ahead of the past several years. We did have quite a rainy October and certainly helped.

Ray said that county is quickly moving forward holding workshops with local water districts, Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee, and other groups in the three major areas of the county. Elizabeth Nielsen, Natural Resource Policy Specialist, is gathering information to meet the mandates of the newest 2014 California law affecting groundwater management. The new California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, dubbed SGMA, requires formation of new Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to manage groundwater basins throughout California.

Ray said that the County of Siskiyou is adamant about retaining management of groundwater and not allowing the state to take control. To do that, Siskiyou must create local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies by June of 2017.

Two informational meetings were held last week in Shasta Valley and Butte Valley. This next Thurs. Dec. 8, 2016, a meeting will be held at The REC at 11236 Hwy 3 in Fort Jones for the Scott Valley informational meeting. Anyone interested in groundwater is invited to attend.

The next discussion was about a proposed plan for a designated route that would create a mixed-use of county roads and off-road vehicle trails for off-road vehicles. Ray has received phone calls from ranchers and land owners about the proposed map that shows the extensive routes converge on private property. Oops, that affects landowners for a number of reasons, environmental and liability problems being at the top. Ray said the environmental studies and administrative processes have not been done and the agenda item on the supervisors’ meeting today at 1:30 p.m. will be a discussion item. Looks like it will be a lively conversation.

Rich Marshall, president of the Siskiyou Water Users Assoc., said that FERC, the Federal Energy Resource Commission, was asked by PacifiCorp to hold-off processing the four hydro-electric Klamath dams licensing to the new non-profit Klamath entity. Rich said there is continuing concern about the poor science and lack of FERC following the legal processes. Both Siskiyou County and the Siskiyou Water Users have submitted documents opposing the relicensing by FERC.

Parade

Remember to attend the Fort Jones Christmas Parade this Sat., Dec. 10, 2016 at 1 p.m. The fireman’s pancake breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and the craft fair will be held at the Scott Valley Jr. High gym starting at 9 a.m.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

# # #

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Veterans in the Klamath Basin — their stories

Klamath Basin Crisis.org, Veterans & soldiers

KBC News

BOR draft EIS Klamath Salmon Hearing 110916, *** Comments Due EXTENDED TO 12/12/16  since their website was not working for a few days. https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-II/public/action/eis/details ?eisId=219169 OR http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=22021

December 7, 1941

You can find more info about the veterans in Klamath Basin at below links, especially the “Homesteader”  page.

70th anniversary of Bly (Oregon) bombing recalled. Picnic outing turns deadly when Japanese bomb discovered,followed by Ceremony marks 70th anniversary of WWII deaths, H&N 5/6/15. “The killings were caused by a Japanese balloon bomb. About 9,000 hydrogen-filled balloons carrying 30,000 bombs were launched from Honshu, Japan, during a five-month period that ended in April 1945.”

December 7, 2016. KBC News: Today is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor; we honor our veterans! Klamath Basin is the home of survivors and their families of Pearl Harbor and WWII, of veterans who were invited by their government to farm here after their service to our country. Some survived being POWs in Japan. They won homesteads, and were given a barracks to live in from the WWII Japanese relocation camp near Tulelake. The veterans did not want the relocation camp to be located here, and they felt the camp was wrong. Today the descendants of the Japanese-American families who were relocated here are suing our airport managers to prevent a security fence from being erected around the airport, with the goal of shutting down the airport so they can claim their “sacred ground”.

Our small airport services 40,000 square miles, providing ag and emergency services to our small communities dependent on it. Presently the Lava Beds National Monument, which is managing the Tule Lake Unit (over 1040 acres near Tulelake have been dedicated to telling the story of the Japanese relocation), wants to put millions of dollars, the most expansive plan of 3, into developing and resurrecting much of the camp which is now mostly gone, including acquiring more land from “willing” sellers. The lawsuit could cause our airport that services our homesteads to be a “willing” seller. Their story would not include stories of our veterans and their families and Pearl Harbor, but has been stated to include the “racism” and “war hysteria” by our white veterans and government.

Here is a recent article urging Japanese American sympathizers into voting to vastly expand the services and acreage “…As the Tule Lake Committee says, it is all hallowed ground, and visitors should be able to experience and walk on the lands where their families once endured incarceration and segregation — without the barrier of an 8- to 10-foot high fence around an existing airstrip that cuts through the heart of the old barracks ground..” http://resisters.com/2016/11/28/adopt-alternative-c-for-public-access-to-tule-lake/ . It continues,  “Under an incoming federal administration that threatens a Muslim registry and mass deportations if not incarcerations, the lessons of Tule Lake are needed more than ever.” Our community supports a museum and some tours and services on the land they’ve already taken, but not the decimation of our airport and remaining ag economy of our veteran families.

Here is our Homesteader Page.

www.klamathbasincrisis.org

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A Simple Tribute to the American Hero Next Door

Veterans & soldiers

Sent to us by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly

Dec. 7, 2016

A Simple Tribute to the American Hero Next Door

This story was shared on my FaceBook Page when I posted up a few words of remembrance of Pearl Harbor, a “date that shall live in infamy.” It is the truly inspiring and heartwarming story of John Unger, who personified the kind of courage and humility of those who serve this great country, and his extraordinary wife, Alice, who stood by him through it all. On this day of remembrance, let us thank God that such men and women lived!

Alice Unger, John Ungers’ wife of 74 years, passed away February 18, 2014. After a long illness, she woke, called for him, and with a last hug and kiss, she said she wished he could come with her. Through tears, John said he wished he could too. Then she passed on.
With work hard to find, John Unger joined the U.S. Navy in 1939. He met Alice on the island of Guam and fell in love with her. So in love, that he took leave, pulled her out of school, and married her that day. She was 17. He volunteered to go to Wake Island. He figured he could save some money being stationed way out there. So he moved Alice to their new home in Benicia, California, where she promised to wait for him. Not long after the Navy sent him to Wake, Alice gave birth to their first child.
He had only been on Wake Island for about 4 months when, on December 7, 1941 the Imperialist Japanese Navy bombed Pearl Harbor. John had just finished breakfast, and was in his gun position when the air raid siren called out. What most people don’t remember is, the Empire of Japan bombed Wake Island on the same day and at the same time as Pearl Harbor. The date of December 8, is only different because Wake Island is across the international date line. Alice heard the news, and waited. Just like she promised.

When the planes first flew over Wake, many of the Marines thought they were ours and waved to them, until they started shooting. Then the bombs dropped, taking out all 8 of the Wildcat fighter aircraft on the ground. The remaining 4 were on patrol, but didn’t see the attack coming due to poor visability. After that, Japanese planes bombed them every day. Wake isn’t very big, so every bomb felt like an earthquake. John Unger kept running through the attacks because he was a pharmisist’s mate, and people were getting hurt.
One day, John was called from his 3″ gun position to go to the 5″ gun position. Just before he got there, they were hit by Japanese dive bombers and fighters. A Japanese plane came shooting right at John. He ran as fast as he could and dove, head first, for the nearest bomb shelter. He dove hard, pelted by dirt thrown up by enemy aircraft bullets strafing all around right next to him.
He dove in so hard and fast the people inside thought he was a bomb, and were stepping all over him trying to get out. He felt lucky because a Japanese bomb had taken out the 3″ gun position he had just left, but also destroyed all of his gear, and his favorite bottle of Jack Daniel’s whisky that he was saving for Christmas.
John Unger and the understrength contingent of U.S. Marines on Wake Island had done nothing less than repel a surprise attack by the mighty force of the Japanese Navy, along with it’s invasion landing force. This was the very first Japanese defeat of the war, and it was the last time in history that a forced landing attempt was repelled by shore batteries. Alice heard American news reporting ‘when asked what was needed for resupply Commander Cunningham said “Send more Japs!”, and she waited for John. Just like she promised.
So the Japanese Navy sent major reinforcements. Ships and Japanese Marines from the failed invasion, plus 2 of the aircraft carriers that attacked Pearl Harbor, plus 1,500 more Japanese marines assembled around Wake Island, and the second invasion attempt came on December 23, 1941.
U.S. Marines fought so fiercely, that the Japanese had to beach some their converted destroyers at speed in order to land their invasion forces. Americans killed a lot of them, so they burned their own ships to keep their own Japanese Marines from retreating. After a full night and morning of fighting, the U.S. Marines did not want to surrender, but the Navy did, and the Navy was in charge. So the Wake garrison received orders to surrender.
The U.S. Marines lost 47 killed and 2 MIA during the entire 15-day siege. There were 3 U.S. Navy personnel, and 20 civilians killed. Japanese losses were recorded to be up to 900 killed, with at least 300 more wounded. Navy Commander Cunningham and Marine Major Devereux took John Unger with them to surrender to the Japanese. The thinking was the red cross on his arm might keep the Japanese from shooting them.
American P.O.W’s were bound, hands behind their back, with communications wire. The hands were then forced upward, a loop of wire was wrapped around their neck, and tied off to the wire binding the wrists. If the men fell asleep, their arms would relax, pulling down on the wire around the neck, choking them to death.
John and two other men sat back to back. Taking turns, two of them would reach back to hold the arms of the third man while he leaned against them and slept. That is how John Unger spent his Christmas on Wake Island. He and his fellow prisoners slept in shifts to keep a man from choking to death from the weight of his own arms.
Alice heard news reports that the Japanese always killed all prisoners. She hadn’t heard it from him, so John Unger wasn’t dead. Not until he said he was. She found a job, went to work, took care of their son, and waited for him. Just like she promised.
The U.S. Navy established a submarine blockade and the Japanese garrison on Wake was starved. The Japanese moved the P.O.W’s to camps in Japanese occupied China. They kept 98 American civilians on Wake Island to do forced labor, building bunkers and fortifications.
John Unger volunteered to stay on Wake Island to help the civilians but he was moved with all U.S. military personnel. On October 7, 1943, Japanese Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara ordered the execution of all 98 civilian workers. They were executed with a machine gun.
The Japanese sailors beat them with baseball bats as the prisoners were brought aboard. The holds of the prison ship were not big enough for all of the prisoners to lay down, and they had only 1 bucket to go to the bathroom in. Every day, every single day, the Japanese sailors would come down into the holds with their baseball bats and beat the prisoners. John Unger volunteered to bring that 1 bucket topside for emptying whenever that was needed, and did his best to keep his fellow prisoners wounds sanitary.

After some time, the P.O.W.’s were moved from China to Japan. John and the rest were marched from the ship dock to coal mines in the north. Japanese civilians would line the streets and throw rocks at them. By this time American planes were bombing the Japanese Homeland. John could hear the bombing. They weren’t at the coal mines for very long, 4 or 5 months, and the Atomic Bomb was dropped.
Suddenly the prisoners received more food than the single cup of rice per day they had received during 44 months of captivity. One day, a Japanese officer suddenly appeared and read a statement aloud in perfect English. “Due to the dastardly Americans’ dropping the Atomic Bomb, Japan surrenders”. The officer gave an order, and the Japanese soldiers turned their rifles over to the P.O.W.’s, and said the camp was theirs. They were stunned. So surprised, that nobody even celebrated.
They stayed there for about a week, as American planes dropped food, supplies, and a radio into the P.O.W. camp. Then the beautiful sight of a flight of American P-51 Mustang aircraft flew by, calling them on the radio. They were to march to the nearest rail station, where they would be taken to the nearest airport, and those American P-51 Mustangs flew escort over them the entire time.
The march to the rail station took about 3 hours, and John was getting sick. On the plane to Tokyo, he started throwing up. After surviving 2 invasions of Wake Island, and 44 months as a prisoner of war, John Unger was dieing from an attack of appendicitis. The plane radioed ahead, an ambulance was waiting, and they took him straight into surgery.
Everyone else got to fly home, John had to go by hospital ship, and nobody told Alice. She met the plane that was supposed to bring him home. When the plane was empty, and no one else came off, she went back home. She went to work, took care of their son, and waited for him. Just like she promised. Because, John Unger wasn’t dead. Not until he said he was.
When the hospital ship finally arrived in Oakland, California, he was transferred to Oakland Naval Hospital. After a few days, they issued him a new uniform and some money, and gave him convalescent leave. He hitch hiked to Benicia, California, and then hired a taxi to take him home.
During the drive, the cabbie noticed his uniform. John mentioned that he was a returning war prisoner and the cab driver asked John if he had called home. “Things change” the driver said. Other women had remarried after the fall of Wake Island, hearing news reports that the Japanese always killed all prisoners. John chose to go home. She had promised to wait for him, and he wasn’t dead. Not until he said he was.
Walking up to the house he remembered being his, and hoping it still was, John opened the door and walked in. Yup, there were pictures of some kid on the wall, and pictures of him with Alice. John Unger was home. There was a sound, and then a kid came bounding down the stairs. “Are you my daddy?” the boy asked. “I guess I am” said John.
Another sound, and a woman came out. It looks like Alice. Oh, no, it’s not Alice. It’s her sister, who was babysitting while Alice was at work. Excited, the sister phones, and Alice abruptly leaves work. She never did go back. She had waited for John. Just like she promised. Because, he wasn’t dead. Not until he said he was.
Her enduring faithfulness, and love for John Unger was never a question. Now, after 74 years of marriage, Alice has passed away. She wished John could come with her, and John wishes he could too. She will wait for John. Just like she promised.
May God Bless the Soul of Alice Unger.
Amen.
(Story shared by Bill Wrigley, a family friend of John and Alice Unger).

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Rep. LaMalfa Releases Statement on California Water Supply Language in Water Resources Bill

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

Dec. 5, 2016

Washington, DC –  Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today released the following statement in support of the California water resources language included in the California water supply language included in a bill to be considered in Congress this week:

After years of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, we’ve reached an agreement to modernize water supply in the short term and invest in storage projects to secure California’s economic future,” stated Rep. LaMalfa. “This agreement improves water supply for all Californians, North and South, while using the latest science to provide more water without harming wildlife.”

 

For the North State, this agreement achieves several major goals: it secures the region’s senior water rights, improves supplies for junior water right holders, and will authorize construction of Sites Reservoir, a key project needed to prepare California for the future.

 

“While this bill is a step in the right direction, as a negotiated agreement it does not reform environmental restrictions or dedicate resources to storage to the degrees I believe are necessary,” LaMalfa added. “My colleagues and I remain committed to continuing to working on this issue and expect the President-elect to be a much more willing partner in those efforts than the current administration.”

Key North State components of the House amendment to S.612, which may be read here, include the following:

–          Ironclad protections for the North State’s senior water rights and language ensuring that any additional water provided South of the Delta is not taken from North State allocations. (Title J, Section 4005)

–          Significant improvements in deliveries for less senior North State water right holders, ensuring that even in droughts they receive at least 50% allocations. (Title J, Section 4005)

–          A new system of authorizing surface water storage projects, including Sites Reservoir, that will speed construction of the infrastructure 67% of Californians voted for in passing Proposition 1 in 2014. The bill also directs $335 million in federal funding toward storage projects. (Title J, Section 4007)

–          Language ensuring that businesses impacted by new storage projects are not only compensated fairly, but have the opportunity to construct replacement facilities on federal land. This provision is intended to protect marinas, resorts, and others who could be impacted by a raised Shasta Dam. (Title J, Section 4008)

–          Requirements that a greater portion of South of Delta water supplies be diverted and stored during winter storms, when doing so does not impact North State supplies or the environment. The current system pits North and South against one another for access to Lake Shasta and other reservoirs during California’s dry summers. Now, the South will be able to store additional water that was never available for use by the North and has no environmental necessity. (Title J, Section 4003)

 

 

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.

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Trump chooses Retired Marine General John F. Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security

Veterans & soldiers

PNP comment:  I didn’t know anything about Gen. Kelley and heard about this article in The Weekly Standard. His son was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2010. This article is worth the read. It was written Nov. 9, 2016. This is the right kind of man to lead the security of United States homeland. — Editor Liz Bowen

The Weekly Standard

A Family Affair

Marine general John F. Kelly retires.

Nov 09, 2015 | By Aaron MacLean

In March 2003, as the 1st Marine Division raced up Mesopotamia toward Baghdad, two Marines-turned-writers—Bing West and retired Major General Ray “E-Tool” Smith—accepted a helicopter ride from the assistant division commander, John F. Kelly. Though zipping over the battlefield at 150 feet was infinitely preferable to bumping up a highway in nausea-inducing tracked vehicles, there were complications, as West and Smith later wrote in their book The March Up.

Over the town of Al Budayr, a regional Baath party stronghold, the helicopter came under heavy machine gun fire. As it dodged and twisted in flight, the door gunners engaging in duels with the Fedayeen below, Kelly and the two former Marines (both hardened veterans of close combat—Smith didn’t get the nickname “E-Tool” because he was good at digging holes) shouted instructions at the crew, trying to call out enemy locations and in the process talking over each other a great deal. After the immediate danger had passed, Smith let off some steam, marveling, “He had us cold. .  .  . It takes skill to miss something this big right in front of you. Thank God for piss poor shooters.”

Responding to his slightly unsettled passengers with the compassion and solicitousness for which Marine generals are famous, the Boston-born Kelly said, “I thought you guys were used to that!”

This seems to have been one of the lighter moments of the campaign for Kelly. Most of his time was spent doing the drudge work of an invasion: investigating why regimental convoys were being held up, monitoring underperforming officers, and insisting that civilians be looked out for despite the constant threat of suicide attacks. Kelly, who retires later this year as commander of U.S. Southern Command, was serving alongside a remarkable group of officers who would go on to lead the Corps and the U.S. military in the decade ahead: Joe Dunford Jr. (another Boston Marine), Jim Mattis, James Conway, and Jim Amos all had Marine commands in the march on Baghdad.

Like these men, Kelly would earn four stars, capping a career that began with his enlisting in the ranks in 1970, followed later by college and a commission. After Baghdad fell, he was appointed to lead an ad hoc force that continued north to seize Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. When the 1st Marine Division returned to Iraq in 2004, he helped oversee some of the fiercest fighting of the war in Ramadi and Fallujah, before returning to the country for a third time in 2008, now commanding all Marines in Anbar and seeing the “Awakening” there through to its successful conclusion.

Despite the remarkable accomplishments of the units he headed, Marines who know Kelly say they cannot remember him ever taking credit. Inspired by his example, Kelly’s two sons, John and Robert, followed him into the Marines. The Kelly family was not an anomaly: It is increasingly unusual for someone serving in the military not to have been preceded by a father or other close relative.

Robert—who enlisted immediately after graduating college and became an infantry officer—deployed to Afghanistan as a platoon commander at the peak of the fighting in Helmand Province. Before dawn on November 9, 2010, General Kelly opened the door to his home at the Washington Navy Yard to see Joe Dunford, then serving as the Corps’s assistant commandant, standing on the porch in his service uniform. Robert, said by a Marine who served closely with him to be “just like his father,” someone who “was humble, knew his trade, was physically fit, tough as nails, charismatic, funny,” someone who had “a genuine concern for the well-being of Marines,” had been killed in Sangin.

Notifications of families of Marines killed in action are always done in person, and Dunford had decided to tell Kelly himself. What came next was, if possible, worse—as Kelly later put it to a reporter from the Washington Post, “I then did the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life. I walked upstairs, woke Karen to the news, and broke her heart.”

Kelly had earned the terrible distinction of being the most senior American officer to lose a child in Iraq or Afghanistan, and not a soul would have begrudged him taking some time. But November is when the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday, and Kelly had been invited to speak at a celebration in St. Louis four days after. He attended, and there delivered one of the most powerful American speeches of the last decade and a half of war.

Even though most in attendance knew about his loss, as a courtesy it was not mentioned by the officer introducing him, who opened instead with the jaunty anecdote, “Let me share my favorite line from General Kelly when we were in Iraq. .  .  . ‘We’re the United States Marine Corps. We took Iwo Jima. Baghdad ain’t s—.’ ” Taking the podium to raucous applause, Kelly drew a clear moral line from 9/11 through to the fights in both Afghanistan and Iraq: “Our enemy fights for an ideology based on an irrational hatred of who you are. Make no mistake about that no matter what certain elements of our ‘chattering class’ relentlessly churn out.” Kelly expressed dismay about weak support for the war, and about how small the proportion of Americans who served was, before turning to the character of the current generation of Marines.

And what are they like in combat? They’re like Marines have been throughout our history. In my three tours in combat as an infantry officer, I never saw one of them hesitate, or do anything other than lean into the fire and, with no apparent fear of death or injury, take the fight to our enemies. As anyone—and many of you have—who has ever experienced combat knows, when it starts, when the explosions and tracers are everywhere and the calls for the Corpsman are screamed from the throats of men who know they are dying—when seconds seem like hours and it all becomes slow motion and fast forward at the same time, and the only rational act is to stop, get down, save himself. But they don’t. When no one would call them a coward for cowering behind a wall or in a hole, none of them do.

Kelly paused a number of times, clearly fighting back emotion, but never succumbed. He then made the only reference in the speech to Robert: “Like my own two sons who have fought in Iraq and, until last, this week in Afghanistan, they are also the same kids that drove their cars too fast for your liking, and played that Godawful music of their generation too loud, but have no doubt they are the finest of their generation.”

Both a video of the speech and a draft of the remarks are available online. In the text, which was presumably written before November 9, the above line reads, “Like my own two sons who are Marines and have fought in Iraq, and today in Sangin, Afghanistan, they are also the same kids .  .  .” Surely that is the cruelest edit that ever had to be made before the delivery of a speech.

Characteristically, Kelly moved away from his own concerns and those of his family, and devoted the end of his speech to the story of two young Marines who died facing down a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2008. When Kelly sat down, the officer who had introduced him stood to present the customary gift for traveling to St. Louis to speak, but was too overcome with emotion to complete his own brief remarks. Kelly stood, took the gift, and pulled the officer in for a hug.

Since then Kelly has led the combatant command for South and Central America and become a voice for gold star families. Whatever comes next for Kelly in retirement, and despite the toxic elements of our politics that he highlighted during his speech in St. Louis, his career and the service of his family—and of countless families like his—highlight something that remains one of the nation’s strengths. The business of defending our democracy, the mastery of a trade as grim as it is exciting, and the willingness to die, if necessary, for the freedom and safety of others: Those guys are used to that.

Aaron MacLean, a former Marine Corps infantry officer, is managing editor of the Washington Free Beacon.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/from-the-weekly-standard-archives-a-family-affair/article/1055654

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

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