Announcing this week’s drawing winner and a smoky rant on the side. Cough, cough.

Cameron Yount’s name popped up in this week’s drawing. The number was 1599. I’m not checking on eligibility anymore. I’ll do the checking after the chosen party claims they are eligible.

And now for the rant.

This week I started smoking. And I didn’t even have to buy a pack.

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Usually you can see for 30 or 40 miles from this vantage point. But today’s smoke that the Dept. of Ecology should be protecting us from has dropped visibility to a half-mile.

WA State residents theoretically should soon be receiving $4.5 million per man, woman and child in fiscal stimulus from our northern neighbors, via the Dept of Ecology. Unfortunate for us, they’ll probably drop the ball. When it suits them, they drop it. And when it suits them, they do their darnedest to do make life hard for some of us.

A friend of mine got a ticket a few months ago while cleaning his yard. He was burning a pieces of wood and some tumbleweeds just as an official from the Dept. of Ecology was driving south on Hwy 395 from Spokane to the Tri-Cities. This observant pseudo authority was scanning the horizon for smoke and violators and hit the jackpot, thanks to my friend Nate.

Nate got fined $2500 for his grave injustice to the ecosystem. In reality, Nate’s cleanup was bothering no one. The five-minute plume of smoke was gone before the ink was dry on the ticket. This story is absolutely true.

These non-producing blood suckers rub me the wrong way. It almost makes me want to return to the cowboy and Indian days. I can guarantee both the cowboys and the Indians wouldn’t put up with Ecology’s shenanigans. The first ticket written out for a smoke-signal infraction would be the last written out by that ecological wanna-be manipulator. In addition, he would no longer have need for a barber.

One of the biggest and baddest is the ever tightening death-grip Big Brother uses to choke farms, small business and anyone else who is trying to tiptoe around or through their maze of regulations.

Living here since 1957, I have seen many changes.

We have always burned fields, weeds, wood and other flammable stuff that needed to go. Nowadays, if you light up your sack of trash in a burn barrel, the dudes in Spokane are checking their satellite photos on an hourly basis and schedule immediate visits to the land owners of violating coordinates on their screen.

The next action that follows is the ordering of more deposit slips from the Dept of Ecology’s bank to deposit all the fines and penalties they have rolling in. It’s a little much, akin to taxing the tea on the boats in Boston Harbor in my mind.

A few years ago two ladies in Spokane bellyached until they got rules passed that shut down all grass seed stubble field burning that had been going on for generations in the state. Proliferation of insects and diseases now run amok while productive farming practices have been squelched and buried, thanks to these two vocal minorities.

Last year I burned some weeds around our potato storage and a few days later an Ecology official stopped by. He was very upset about the “Burn Scars” that were scattered on our private property. Burn scars? I’m going to see if I can find my dad’s old branding iron and show that guy what a real burn scar is.

A letter arrived soon after with the threat that if any more burning was detected by their agency, we would be fined $10,000 a day for each violation. These guys operate on fear and legalized plunder.

During this same visit, he saw a rusty barrel and excitedly walked over to inspect the prospective burn barrel and question us. He was licking his chops but was visibly disappointed when he learned that that was where we dumped the ashes from our wood stove in the shop.

Which brings me to the punch line. If my friend got nailed for $2500 for burning the equivalent of .001% of the lumber in an average tree, I’m thinking Ecology should hit the road heading north tomorrow morning and investigate the burn scars that Canada is generating. If they ticket Canada at the same rate as my friend got nailed, the Canucks will be on the Washington State Department of Ecology hook for approximately $25 trillion. We’re talking American dollars, not Canadian.

This is one time the state should quit taking and start giving…to it’s residents. According to my calculations, if they did the right thing, this Canadian windfall would result in a return of $3,571,428.57 to each WA citizen. If I then took my check across the northern border and cashed it in for Canadian dough, I’d net a tidy sum of $4,464,285 minus the hundred bucks it took to make the trip to the border.

This is the only way Big Brother’s screwy regulations would make me happy. I hear story after story of cities, counties, states and feds going crazy with nonsensical tactics that smash the little guy. They do little more than hurt anyone in the business of producing goods and providing services.

While pecking this story out, I’m reminded of the Fed Fish and Game’s attempted intrusion in the Columbia Basin. They used a weed called the Bladderpod  to propel them into alarming and drastic control of private property. This is something they do on a regular and ongoing basis throughout the country.

I’ll save that story for another day.

I’ve always thought that if we had no bureaucracy, 50% of the “work force” would be out of work. Giving them the title of “work force” is a stretch. The other 50% would immediately start becoming more productive than they already are because all the red tape would be gone.

My wife hates it when I go on one of these tirades.

 

 

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