Tag Archives: montana

Montana, Oregon & Washington National Guard deploy to fight wildfires!

“The western fires are not stopping. They’re just getting bigger.”-James Casaus, Incident Commander

“If we don’t start managing our forests, the forests are going to start managing us. The fires burning across Montana are a catastrophe, and we need all available resources to combat this threat.”-Steve Daines, senator for Montana

On 13 SEP 2017, Montana’s Air National Guard deployed to fight at least 21 wildfires in The Treasure State.

Montana has so far spent $50-million USD in state taxpayer funding fighting fires!

NBCMontana: Wildfire update, 14 SEP 2017

On 09 SEP 2017, the Oregon National Guard continued another round of firefighting training conducted by the state Department of Public Safety.  So far five groups of Oregon National Guard personnel have gone through the training.  Oregon has so far spent 28-million state taxpayer dollars fighting 18 wildfires.

U.S. Army personnel chow down after helping to fight fires in Oregon, 10 SEP 2017

So far, the U.S. Forest Service has spent a record 2.1-billion federal tax dollars fighting wildfires across the western United States!

Video, Washington National Guard firefighting ‘mop-up’ ops 09 SEP 2017:



150 years, Montana Militia!

Fort Harrison, Montana, open house 08 JUL 2017.

150th Anniversary Montana National Guard:

90th Chemical Reconnaissance Detachment, 19th Special Forces, Montana Army National Guard parachute on Fort Harrison, Montana, 08 JUL 2017.

19th Special Forces, Montana Army National Guard, prep to jump 08 JUL 2017.

Oklahoma Militia responds to chemical attack

Snake River Militia (?) spends taxpayer money building hospitals in Central America!

05 April 2017 / 20:14 UTC-07 Tango 06 (17 Farvardin 1396/09 Rajab 1438/10 Jia Chen 4715)

Former National Guardsmen from Montana, now Army Reservists (but still wearing the patch of Idaho based Snake River Brigade), are in the Central American country of Belize building hospitals and schools under a U.S. Southern Command sub-operation called Double Head Cabbage.

Former Snake River Brigade member Sergeant Ramon Firestone, from Montana, measures a 2×4 for use in making roof supports in Belize

Belize was once a colony of the British empire, called British Honduras, gaining so-called independence in 1981.  In 2006 oil was discovered in the area known as Spanish Lookout.

Double Head Cabbage is part of a larger operation between United States and Belize, called Beyond the Horizon 2017.  Beyond the Horizon will provide free medical help to the people of Belize, at U.S. taxpayer expense!

Specialist Troy Hanson, from Montana. Defense Department reports say he’s with Army Reserve, but note the National Guard Snake River Brigade patch on his sleeve.

Interestingly the personnel from Montana claim to belong to a federal Army Reserve unit, yet they wear Idaho National Guard’s Snake River Brigade (116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team) patch (see pics above).

The Army Reserve unit the personnel claim to be from is known as the 672nd Engineer Company.  I discovered that the 672nd was deactivated back in June 1959, but reactivated in September 2008.

The Montana reservists are wearing the National Guard patch on their right sleeves to indicate they were deployed to a combat zone with the Snake River Brigade.  Recently rules were changed concerning the wearing of the ‘combat patch’.  For a long time the size of the unit you deployed with, how long you were deployed in a combat zone, and whether or not Congress actually declared war, determined the wearing of the combat patch.  Another problem has been that some brigade level commanders actually banned the wearing of combat patches.  The wearing of the combat patch is voluntary.




116th Snake River’s 2015 NTC Rotation

In 2015 the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (Idaho, Montana & Oregon) deployed to Fort Irwin, California, for Total Force Warfare training:

126th Engineers, backhoes & bulldozers:

126th Engineers explainer:

Logistics (lots-o-trucks), M2s and M1A2s arrive at Fort Irwin:



The 2015 NTC rotation also included National Guard units from Arkansas and California.  The last time the 116th went to NTC was in 1998, with yours truly.

1998 Desert Avenger certificate of appreciation


Like beer? Get ready for skyrocketing prices as Mother Earth kills off malt barley crops in three U.S. states! Corn harvest not as big as expected? Get ready for $40 bread, spuds & steaks?

30 September 2014 (09:32 UTC-07 Tango)/05 Dhu l-Hijja 1435/08 Mehr 1393/07 Gui-You (9th month) 4712

“There is no panic yet. Everybody has been telling us not to panic. There is carry-over from last year’s malt supply. Our prices are stable until January, but beer prices are going up.”-Tim Mohr,  Angry Hank’s Brewery in Billings, Montana

Bad news for beer drinkers, it’s being reported that the malt barely crops in Idaho, Montana and North Dakota have been nearly destroyed by unusually cool and wet summer weather (what global warming?).

Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors are dependent on those crops.  A report out of Montana said the crops sprouted too soon.  When the barely sprouts is crucial as it has to have enough sugar at harvest time to be used to make beer.   It also must be harvested before it germinates, and the abnormal rain caused most barely crops to germinate before harvest.

What this means is U.S. beer brewers must import their barely from other countries for the 2015 brewing season, which means it’s going to cost beer drinkers more money.

But it’s not just barely that’s going down in flames.  Hay, wheat and potato crops took a big hit as well, which means grocery prices are going up in 2015.

According to the University of Idaho, Idaho farmers lost at least $220-million worth of hay, barely, wheat and potato crops this year, due to excessive rain!

At the beginning of September the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared Twin Falls and Jerome, in Idaho, disaster areas.   This allows farmers to borrow money from the government to get them through next season, due to not having any crops to sell.   (it’s just another way to keep family farms in debt)

Last week, harvest results were being reported and it wasn’t good.  According to the USDA wheat prices are already inching up, as the spring harvest totals were below the five year average.

This is the beginning of the corn harvest and so far only 42% is mature.  The past five year average is 54% mature.   On top of that only 7% has been harvested, the five year average for the beginning of harvest is 15%.

The price of beef cows continues to go up.  And while the price of live cows goes up, the number of slaughtered cows goes down, ensuring the price you pay in the grocery store will skyrocket.  Another factor that will drive up beef prices are the failed hay crops in states like Idaho (which is a big cattle ranching state).

Late blight kills Idaho’s 2014 potato crops?


Idaho Wildfire Update, 10 September 2012: Canada joins the fight at Pocatello Tanker Base!

10 September 2012, the smoke just won’t go away, ’cause fires just keep poppin’ up!  So far, the year to date fire retardant used by fire fighting aircraft out of Pocatello airport (aka Pocatello Tanker Base) is 261,797 gallons (991,009.4 liters).

Little “seeders” 802 Air Tractors are the backbone of airborne firefighting operations out of Pocatello airport, but Neptunes, MAFFS C-130s and now Convair CV580 operated by CONAIR of Canada, are making appearances at the tanker base.

Click pics to make bigger.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are new fires in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Wyoming.  There are currently 34 large wildfires burning through the United States.

Idaho has seven large fires, with 640,881 acres (259,355.3 hectares) burned! California has nine fires, but with fewer burned acres, at 151,988 (61,507.36 hectares).

The most recent fires here in eastern Idaho were the Flint Canyon Fire south of American Falls, West Menan Fire and the Pickering Fire near Rexburg.

Regarding the now notorious Mustang Complex Fire, recently officials said the fire was so hard to get to that it would probably burn until the first heavy snowfall of winter!

The Mustang Complex Fire, burning along the Idaho/Montana border, increased by 20,000 acres (8,093.7 hectares) on 09 September 2012.  Mandatory evacuations were ordered.  The fire is now the single largest in the United States, at 281,000+ acres (113,716.6 hectares)!


What Economic Recovery? Full time employment down In Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Maine and Vermont

A report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while part time employment is going up, it’s being offset by a drop in full time employment!

The top five states for increased part time work are Montana, Oregon, Maine, Vermont and Idaho.  Montana leads the country with a 39% increase in part time work.

In Idaho there was an average of about 515,000 people with full time jobs in 2007. In 2010 that number dropped to 445,000.  At the same time, in 2010 the number of part time jobs increased 35%. 

As far as full time wages go, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average full time pay in Idaho, in 2010, was $666 per week.  That’s a piddly 4.6% increase from 2007, and it’s one of the smallest increases in the entire United States!

Government Incompetence, What Economic Recovery? Reports say Congress will let Postal Service default on December 16

“It feels like Helena and Cosby are caught in the cross hairs. There is a big battle going on and we are the ones that are going to suffer.”-Marianne Price, Montana resident who relies on the U.S. Postal Service

Recently, the President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fred Rolando, said certain actions by Congress, or lack of action, could put the USPS into a “…death spiral…”.

A CNN Money report says political analysts have reason to believe the U.S. Congress will not consider any more bills to save the U.S. Postal Service, until after the 2012 elections.  That guarantees the USPS will default.

The U.S. Postal Service, which does not use taxpayer money to operate, employes 557,000 people directly.  Several companies, like FedEx, also provide service under contract.  South eastern Idaho postal workers told me that if the USPS defaults, at least 200,000 postal workers will immediately lose their jobs!  It will also mean cut backs for those contractors working for the Postal Service.

The USPS is actually a contractor itself.  Under President Richard Nixon today’s Postal Service was created (it was the Postal Department before then).  The Postal Service operates on money that comes from you and me buying postal products (not taxes).  Under President Ronald Reagan stamps were added to the list of products the Postal Service could make money from (before that the government got the money from stamp sales).  The only tax money used for postal services are for mail for the blind, for mail in election ballots sent from U.S. citizens living overseas, and, for providing address information to state and local child support enforcement agencies.

For reasons not publicly known, some elected officials, and the main stream media, are misleading the public into thinking that cuts to the USPS would save taxpayer money. It won’t!

A Cornell University professor says the U.S. Congress is fully to blame (as I’ve stated in past postings): “A lot of these decisions are fundamental business decisions about quality and frequency of service, and they should be in the hands of the executives running the Postal Service. But Congress won’t let them do that!”-Richard Geddes, Cornell University associate professor

While many officials blame the Postal Service management and the unions, the fact is that USPS management and unions have been working together to make drastic cuts. Their latest agreement could cut $20 billion in postal worker health care benefits, but Congress has to sign off on it.

Just a couple of weeks ago, President Barack Obama extended the deadline for default by the U.S. Postal Service.  The new deadline is December 16.  If the CNN Money sources are right, then bye bye USPS (unless Obama just keeps extending the deadline)!

It’s official: Idaho’s internet services suck!

After decades spending millions of dollars to get Idahoan’s connected to the World Wide Web, Idaho has the slowest connection speed in the U.S.

Pando Networks surveyed 4 million internet customers across the country, and found Idaho’s average connection speed to be 318 kilobytes per second, with 83% completion rate.

Idaho’s northern neighbor, Montana, and eastern neighbor Wyoming, also made the slow connection list.  Wyoming actually has a slightly faster connection rate, than Idaho.

Two of Idaho’s other neighbors, Washington and Oregon, made the top 15 fastest rates.

So who’s number one in the United States for internet connection speed?  Tiny old Rhode Island: 894 KPbs!

Montana Judge restricts Marijuana use law restrictions

A judge is blocking parts of Montana’s medical marijuana use law, not because of the marijuana, but because of too many restrictions.

The Montana marijuana law bans commercial for profit sales of marijuana.  Under the law marijuana is to be sold as a not for profit product, among many other restrictions.

Judge James Reynolds argued that Montana does not restrict any other business, so why marijuana?  “The court is unaware of and has not been shown where any person in any other licensed and lawful industry in Montana – be he a barber, an accountant, a lawyer, or a doctor – who, providing a legal product or service, is denied the right to charge for that service or is limited in the number of people he or she can serve.”

Reynolds also said the law made marijuana legal, and he sees no reason for all the restrictions placed on the law.  He argued that all the restrictions actually make it hard for people, who need it for medical use, to get it.

The law was passed by voters in 2004, but was overhauled by state lawmakers this year.  The new restrictions were supposed to go into effect on Friday.

The overhaul came after Federal officials conducted some raids, and came down on the state government.  Among those restrictions include a ban on advertising, limiting distributors to just three customers, and automatic investigations of doctors who prescribe marijuana to more than 25 patients.

The restrictions were immediately challenged in court.  Judge Reynolds did not block all the restrictions, just those he thought violated state and federal constitutional rights.