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We Americans are apparently so starved for a “homespun hero” that we’ll manufacture one from a deadbeat sociopath in a Stetson. Has it been so long since we’ve seen true bravery that we can’t discern it from simple garden-variety grandstanding?
I speak of course of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher making the news for non-payment of grazing fees, and allowing his cattle to trespass on public lands for which he has no permission to graze, while threatening the lives of law enforcement staff for removing cattle he disowned in court, from land he does not own and has no legal right to. Be still, my heart!
The mainstream media correctly identified this for what it is, a petty land use squabble with law enforcement, and they’ve dropped it. In the absence of truly organic news coverage, the “citizen-journalist” factions have manufactured hysteria and gift-wrapped it as news.
And their coverage of the events unfolding at Bunkerville Allotment is no more genuine than Cliven Bundy’s victimhood.
One might note that the media coverage for this crime spree shares some common threads. One is a taste for conspiracy theories, UFO stories, and sidebar ads offering to sell us a year’s worth of survival supplies in a barrel.
Well, okay. That year’s worth of supplies may be a good idea.
The other common thread of those celebrating the Great Trespass Lands Caper of 2014 is the backing by the Americans for Prosperity crowd, during an election year in which the Brothers Koch have already spent big in an effort to dislodge the Dem leadership and gain control of the nation’s 7th largest State. That Federal control was handed over by the Nevada State Constitution, in 1864, long before Bundy’s ancestors wandered over from Utah.
That Federal control is not just a problem for a cattle rancher who claims not to recognize the Federal government (while demanding the protections of its Constitution) – it also presents one hell of an opportunity for men who have been trying to get those public lands sold off to private interests for quite some time.
When looking for who is manipulating land deals in Nevada, it isn’t the Chinese we need to fear. Our master swindlers are home-grown.
Far be it from me to get between a good old-fashioned tar-and-feather campaign and Senator Harry Reid’s lily-white keister, but I gotta let the air out of the F-150 tires on this one. Yes, Reid’s former staffer Neil Kornze did manage public land issues for Reid’s office. He left in 2011 to join the Bureau of Land Management as Senior Adviser to the Director. He later became the Deputy Director for Policy and Programs in 2013. The U.S. Senate then voted 71-28 on April 8, 2014, to confirm Kornze as the new Director of the agency. So Reid is perfectly positioned to ask a friend for a favor.
And yes there is a Solar project in the area, as well as mitigation for another project. [See map, showing the Dry Lake Solar project on the WESTERN side of Lake Mead. Bundy’s range is on the EASTERN side of the lake.]
Rory Reid, Harry’s son, is the former Chair of the Clark County Commission (the Vegas area equivalent of OC’s Board of Supes) and in 2011 he was reported to have left that position to work for a law firm securing land rights for the Chinese company ENN Energy Group.
And yes, Harry and Rory Reid were both deeply involved in a deal with the Chinese-owned ENN to build a $5 billion solar farm in Laughlin, Nevada. Would anyone like to take a look at a map and tell me where the Laughlin project is in contrast to the Bundy dispute? Yeah…try again. [Click image for much larger pdf.]
In June 2013, having failed to find a buyer, the Chinese company, ENN, dumped the solar deal, which was never anywhere near the Bunkerville Allotment to begin with.
Now lest anyone out there claim it is the left debunking the tale of woe, that review of Reid’s involvement came from The Blaze, a site that recently ran an article entitled “Harry Reid is the Worst Human Being on the Planet”
Yet some will stick with the story that the BLM is endangering their own staff, and endangering nearby civilians who refuse to stay home, and choose to take offense at being told to “stand here to safely shout at us while avoiding the probable trajectory of gunfire” as a violation of their civil rights. And that the BLM is facing down armed (and/or videocamera-toting) Americans to defend some old deal that fell through, because MAYBE their boss Harry Reid could get another buyer? Santa, is that you?
Cliven Bundy stole public land when he stopped paying for the grazing rights he agreed to.
He then stole more land, when his cattle moved to a nature preserve.
Bundy has been told, repeatedly, to remove his cattle from land he has no right to. (see II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT.)
Bundy disavowed ownership of the roaming cattle in question, when he was fined per head of cattle, per day, for their trespass, even claiming no knowledge of cattle photographed with his brand.
Is anyone really shocked that armed agents showed up to deal with him? There are no reports of anyone harassing him on his own land, which Bundy uses to grow crops knowing his cattle can drop their patties on our land rather than his own. The cattle being removed are on Federal land where the owner forfeited the right to keep them there, in his refusal to pay agreed upon fees. This is the ranch equivalent of constructing an unpermitted family room addition…on the sidewalk. Yes, you are going to be ordered to remove it.
As much as I would love to ignore Cliven Bundy and his cheer squad of “freedom fighters” responding to knee jerk reaction where reasoned, informed decision-making should be, I can’t.
Every time people like Bundy are presented by the media as somehow representing “conservative” views, it blackens the eyes of true conservatives who still believe we are a nation of laws. Every time we allow the extreme right like Americans for Prosperity to present Bundy as a victim or hero, we cheapen the real victims of government abuses, which really are taking place each and every day. Calling reactionaries with pickup trucks, a gun rack, and the GPS coordinates for Lake Mead “heroes” diminishes the true heroes among us.
The High Speed Rail Authority continues taking the private property of hardworking Californians by eminent domain, despite the court system making it clear that their actions are a violation of the trust voters placed in them in 2008.
At the southern terminus of what-is-unlikely-to-be-any bullet train ever, a family is scheduled to lose the hotel their grandfather literally built with his bare hands, in order to spare Disney from using their own property for the streetcar station that ties into the High Speed Rail’s fictional delivery of non-existent passengers.
What was supposed to be a transfer of passengers has become a transfer of wealth, taking place beneath the glass dome of “Curt’s Cornucopia” at ARTIC. This outrageous project, promised to pull in private funding, eventually diverted $200 million in road repair money, taken from each of us at the gas pumps, to line the pockets of the clients of the man who planned all of those projects. Harry Reid has got nothing on Orange County.
Abusive takings are likely to expand as government bond junkies unable to function without a fix of public funding are now using municipal dollars secretly slipped out the back doors of assorted City Halls, to write a Ballot Initiative resurrecting a shiny new Redevelopment agency. JEDI (Jobs and Economic Development Initiative) comes with such broad expansions of power that local agencies will be able to declare nearly all of California blighted.
The abuse of taxpayers is compounded by the abuse of individuals, whose own hopes and dreams for their properties must be sacrificed on the altar of “grand visionary” projects, and none of those people invited their troubles through non-payment of Federal fees or the public utterance of violent threats.
Every time Cliven Bundy and his gun-toting pals are held up as heroes it diminishes the very real heroes California finds in Nadia, Elizabeth, Rita, Sarah, Kathy, Pamela, Ted, William, Frank, John, Aaron, and so many others, who have committed 5 years of their lives to fighting a truly evil project and will not stop until the last brass surveyor’s button from the CHSRA is removed from the last piece of private property.
Real events like this can be wake up calls, giving us a good hard slap upside the head with a rolled up copy of the U.S. Constitution to remind us of how far we have strayed from its original intent. Sadly diversions only distract us from the fight ahead of us when Forde and Mollrich buy enough votes (using our money) to bring back Redevelopment like the zombie apocalypse that just never dies.
Mr. Bundy is not a freedom fighter, nor is he a victim of anything but his own delusions. He either badly misunderstands the law and has convinced his family and friends of his misguided legal opinions, or he knows he is full of cow manure but is making too much money selling cattle he has raised for FREE on our public lands, putting him millions of dollars ahead of his law-abiding competition, to care about how many people might be harmed in coming to his “aid.”
For now the Feds have stepped down, deciding to be the grown-ups in the room and consider public safety over the need to enforce land use regulations. Some have called this a “victory” and that the Federal government “surrendered” to American citizens. This is not patriotism, or bravery, it is anarchy, and it does not end well.
As true conservatives we need to demand that Cliven Bundy obey the law, or face the consequences. We need every ounce of credibility we can muster in order to face the real battles that are headed our way in California, as government positions for even more over-reach after the next election. We cannot afford to waste ammo on phony battles.