government over reach, civil disobedience, and the people may begin to push back
What do the recent events in southern Nevada tell us? We are referring to the stand-off at the Bundy ranch northeast of Las Vegas.
First, let’s briefly recap the events (as some of our readers are outside of the US).
Earlier this month, armed federal agents (from numerous federal agencies) with snipers occupy parts of this family’s land and adjacent areas. These approximately 200 agents take possession of some of the family’s cattle. (Most of Nevada is so-called “open range”. Due to the sparse desert vegetation, cattle are allowed to roam over wide, open areas that are usually not fenced off. As well, 87 per cent of the land of our nation’s 5th largest state in land area is “owned” or controlled by the US government. (Nevada became a state in October, 1864 while the Union was torching cities and forests in the South during the latter part of the US Civil War.) Nevadans endured the fall out from the above ground nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and early 1960s,) We hear conflicting reasons for this federal occupation. Radio news reports tell of an endangered desert tortoise species that the federal government is terribly concerned with. (It is odd that the federal government does not show the same level of concern for the health of our returning military veterans.) Later, we hear that Mr. Bundy has not paid nearly one million dollars for many years’ worth of grazing fees to the federal government. Bundy admits this, but counters that he has paid fees to the state of Nevada for his cattle grazing on land within Nevada.
The tension mounts as the federal agents use some type of stun gun (taser?) on one of the Bundy family members. The story of the tense situation goes viral over the Internet and the radio air waves. “Militia” members from various states mobilize (so to speak) and drive to southern Nevada to stand, literally stand, in solidarity with the Bundy family against the very heavy-handed tactics of the federal agents. Events, for the time being, reach a climax on Saturday, April 12, 2014. With hundreds of citizens, some armed and with their children, standing with the Bundy family, the federal agents are told to stand down (for now). The people who have flocked to the scene help with the freeing, “rescuing”, of some of Bundy’s cattle. The federal agents pull back. It is discovered that these federal thugs (the term is justified) have, while on Bundy’s land and in the vicinity, broken and damaged his system for supplying water to his cattle (water storage and pipes damaged or destroyed), damaged corrals, killed some of his cattle, and done other mischief and vandalism. (Another item of note: law-abiding citizens had been told to express their opinions in a government designated “free speech” area or zone far removed from the ongoing actions of the federal agents. They did not comply with that order. This same tactic is used on college campuses when “politically incorrect” groups (including Christians) visit a campus to voice their views on hot button issues. They are often ordered to go to distant areas far away from the students.)
There is more to the story, important and relevant background facts that we will briefly discuss below.
Does this strike you as a bit odd, or as a government power play? 200 armed federal agents participating, for what reason? To serve a citation or a summons for past due grazing fees? To try to seize the herds of cattle this family owns and raises as their means of livelihood? To protect an “endangered” desert tortoise? (This last one is in dispute as some say the grazing cattle do not threaten nor impact the tortoise.) Was this show of force in excess of any plausible cause really necessary?
Or, is this another show of excessive force to intimidate, if not provoke, the average man? It does appear that the federal government is bullying the citizenry and hoping thereby to provoke the people so that it has an excuse to flex its muscles and show us who is in charge.
When the government acts lawlessly, without restraints, the people begin to lose respect for, and confidence in, the law. It is rough living in US society these days. Is it not?
What might happen in the future, say over the next 4 or 5 years, if civil disobedience is met with government threats of violence and actual government violence (as we saw at Waco, Texas in 1993)? The sense I get is that more people are becoming alarmed and even exasperated with these government tactics. They are tiring of being abused, bullied and threatened. As they say “the price of liberty is eternal (read: ongoing and continuing) vigilance”. Sadly, it does not appear that this federal government can be reined in through the ballot box.
the Harry Reid connection
Harry Reid, who has been in the US Senate for nearly 30 years now, is re-elected every 6 years by the workers in the gaming industry (hotels, casinos) and by other unionized workers in the small businesses in and around Las Vegas. He is not very popular outside of Las Vegas. It is odd that so-called working families routinely vote for the Democratic party in every election. (Make no mistake: I cannot stand either of the major parties!) The last time the Democrats did anything substantive for the “working class” was in the 1930s with the passage of the Norris-Laguardia Act, and then the Wagner Act. (Although employed in white collar occupations throughout my adult life, I thought that I too was a working person, and that our family was a working family. My wife and me, we both “worked”.)
Here are some additional facts to be aware of. There is a foreign (Chinese) company that wants to build a very large solar energy project in the desert of southern Nevada. This may not be so close to the lands that Bundy’s cattle are freely roaming across, but big business is not going to put up with the nuisance of any ranchers or others that may get in its way. (Perhaps, an example had to be made of Bundy.) We have heard that the new head of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management, a part of the US Department of the Interior, and responsible for controlling or managing the federal lands in Nevada), Neil Kornze, is a longtime aide to Reid. As well, one of Reid’s sons, Rory (who, thankfully(!), was defeated in his bid to become governor of the state in November, 2010) is a lobbyist for this foreign company with the planned solar project. (Just now, while drafting this essay, we did a quick search of the Internet and found a few relevant articles that we will link to at bottom.)
Is all this just coincidence?
Or, is it an obvious, glaring example of conflict of interest and corruption?! If this solar energy project endures the same fate, the same delays, that the eco-fanatics in the government are currently inflicting on the proposed Keystone pipeline, Reid’s son, Rory, may not get paid much for his unsuccessful lobbying efforts. As well, how does Harry Reid benefit? If this major solar project goes through, does the Senator stand to gain significant campaign contributions (legal or not) from this foreign entity? (We dare not raise the specter of an actual “bribe”, so we will not.)
A word of friendly advice to our neighbor to the north, Canada: Transport your oil to your Pacific port of Vancouver and sell it to the waiting buyer, China. The US is too stupid to see the benefit to both countries of the Keystone pipeline.
a larger, lurking concern
There are some who invoke the term oligarchy to help to explain the troubling actions of the government. Basically, these folks assert that a small number of very powerful entities really control our government. This oligarchy consists of a few super large and powerful multinational corporations, mega banks, and some politically active billionaires. The corrosive influence upon our country of billionaire, George Soros cannot be trivialized nor ignored. (Of course, ideas in this area are all over the board with terms such as Bilderberg group, the Illuminati, Free Masons, the Council on Foreign Relations, plutocratic elites, etc. thrown around quite frequently.) The fact that big (reckless) banks get bailed out at taxpayer expense while millions of average citizens suffer unemployment does make one wonder if this controlling oligarchy really does exist.
Let me be clear. I am for a free market, capitalist economy. The free market does not work perfectly, but when the government does not get in the way, such a free market economy serves to produce wealth for all those willing to work for it. I am for the small business person, the entrepreneur. However, this incestuous relationship – between the largest multi-national or trans-national corporations, ego-maniac billionaires, and elected government leaders – works against our democratic principles, and the traditions of our republic. We no longer truly have capitalism (nor truly representative government). Instead, we have what is called “corporatism”, and the 2 are not the same.
Armed (paramilitary) federal agents being effectively commanded by corrupt, lawless politicians ought to alarm you. If it does not, then, sorry to say, you are part of the problem. Ignorance and apathy aid those who are now aggressively moving to take our freedoms away. Specifics of this particular instance aside, more and more we see a federal government that is quick to give us a show of large scale force in attempts to have its way. Can use of that force be far off?
For the possible benefit of new readers, we include links to 2 of our earlier essays that may be of some interest.
Links to articles about the Bundy ranch and the federal government:
A long history of Reid’s interaction with this foreign company:
Thanks for reading. And, we will see all of you in the month of May – spring time north of the equator, and autumn for our readers in Australia and South Africa.
Copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com