Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

BLM, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Red River

Posted: April 23, 2014 by ShortTimer in FedGov, Government, Texas
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As I’ve previously noted, I break with some on the right out of my own concern for rule of law, and I don’t have much sympathy for the Nevada rancher who’s simply disregarded the law because it’s inconvenient for him.  Every word written about that situation is one wasted that should be used to talk about the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma.

I certainly am very concerned for folks living on the northern border of Texas and souther border of Oklahoma, who are facing the BLM taking 90,000 acres that is and was always private land.

This story is much more black and white:

BYERS, Texas (RFD-TV) Most people think the border between Texas and Oklahoma is the Red River. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that, especially along the part of the river where Tommy Henderson and his family ranch.

Henderson lost a lawsuit 30 years ago that moved part of the northern Texas border over a mile to the south.

The Bureau of Land Management [BLM] took 140 acres of his property and didn’t pay him one cent.

Now, they want to use his case as precedent to seize land along a 116-mile stretch of the river.

“They’re wanting to take the boundaries that the courts placed here and extend those east and west to the forks of the river north of Vernon and east to the 98th Meridian which is about 20 miles east of us,” Henderson explained.

BLM, which oversees public land in the United States, claims this land never belonged to Texas.

This is an issue for the states to deal with.  As nice as it would be if the federal government actually did its job and made commerce regular by acting as a neutral party between disputes, the BLM has considered simply taking 90,000 acres of private land and making it off-limits.

“How can BLM come in and say, “Hey, this isn’t yours.” Even though it’s patented from the state, you’ve always paid taxes on it. Our family has paid taxes for over 100 years on this place. We’ve got a deed to it. But yet they walked in and said it wasn’t ours,” said Henderson.

It’s private property.  It’s not a lease, it’s not public land, it’s private, and has been since Texas was an independent nation.

The border pretty much is the river.  It isn’t that complicated… but it is a land grab.

Ever since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, there has been controversy over where Oklahoma ends and Texas begins.

In layman’s terms the boundary is the vegetation line on the south side of the Red River.

Over time the river moves. This movement north toward Oklahoma is the sticking point.

The sandy soils erode in a process called accretion, which wipes out the bank. So the property line follows the river.

BLM claims that the river moved by another process called avulsion. With avulsion, the land may be changed by flood or currents, but the property line isn’t. So BLM claims that when the river moved back north the property line stayed put.

It doesn’t help that Oklahoma defines avulsion differently than Texas and the U.S.

“Originally, here the river was out there where it is now and it eroded and accreted up to here, and then it eroded and accreted back. Well, their interpretation is that it eroded up to here but avulsed back. So when you listen to them it is always erosion to the south because the property line follows it then, but it’s always avulsion when it goes north. So the boundary can move south but it can never move back north,” said Henderson.

That the BLM could come in and just take 90,000 acres and rule it off-limits because the river moved is absurd and is not their function.  They’re not managing federal lands, they’re not dealing with delinquent grazing lessees, they’re taking land.

Sympathy and The Bundy Ranch

Posted: April 23, 2014 by ShortTimer in FedGov, Government, Nevada, Texas

I find myself again breaking from a lot of folks on the right on this issue, and mostly out of concern for the rule of law.

Powerline had this piece last week on the Nevada ranch standoff that’s worth reading for another viewpoint.  John Hinderaker argues that folks should feel sympathy towards the Bundys.  But he has to preface it with this:

First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

That’s why I can’t be on the side of the Bundys.  And no matter the cries for sympathy, I have find myself having no more for them than I would for yesterday’s example of a hypothetical where Reverend Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright used a church owned as a historic site by the National Park Service and then decided to ignore the law.

That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

I don’t think he does deserve much sympathy.  He’s broken the law for decades.  Rather than create a conflict back in 1993 when he “fired” the BLM (which would be analagous to you or I “firing” the IRS… or a traffic cop) by choosing not to pay them, and with the BLM derelict in enforcement, he just kept on breaking the law.  He didn’t make it an issue then to get the law changed, he just operated in violation of it because the BLM didn’t enforce it.  I don’t have sympathy for Tim Geithner when he forgets to pay taxes and the IRS doesn’t bother to enforce it for a long time, and I don’t have sympathy for an illegal alien who ICE doesn’t deport until they finally do, so why should I have sympathy here?

The argument that he was there first by virtue of his family being there is meaningless.  Working land that wasn’t yours in 1870 but before there was an enforcement structure for the owner to control it doesn’t mean it’s yours – especially when the owner of the land owned it since 1848.

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege.  The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one.

Like the Blaze article yesterday noted… maybe other ranchers were “chased off”.  Or maybe it’s part of Bundy’s yarn to make him the heroic last rancher standing.  Alternately, that could mean he’s just a monopoly in the region.

Reducing the number of cattle on federal land, whether due to tortoises, or due to the kind of drought that has been hitting the west for the last decade doesn’t really matter.  It’s not his land.  The key word is privilege.

The land belongs to the federal government, not to Bundy.  It’s up to them how they want to manage their land – it’s up to us as the people who direct that federal government how we want to manage our land.

If the law passed by our elected representatives says no and we don’t like that, then it’s time to pressure our reps and change the law.  It’s not time to let one lawbreaker continue to violate it just because he’s managed to draw down on some BLM agents and wrap himself in some dramatic western martyrdom.

When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that?

Business models sometimes have to change.  If the landowner says “no more grazing”, then maybe it’s time to find some greener pastures, rather than just declare “these are my pastures now”.

Frankly, the Bundy situation smacks of the self-righteous entitlement of a general strike where communist workers claim the factory is really theirs because they work there.  It’s not the workers’ factory, and it’s not the Bundys’ land.

Hinderaker ends with this:

So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?

I’d like to have sympathy, but just because the Obama administration is lawless doesn’t justify actions of individuals who’ve been ignoring the law since the beginning of the Clinton administration.

The Bundy’s family’s way of life is on the outs because they refused to change.  Their business model didn’t advance because their cattle were grazing for free since 1993.

They didn’t need food stamps because they were feeding their livestock on taxpayer lands.  They’re no different than if Weyerhauser decided to start cutting down national forests without permission, and then cried that their lumberjack way of life was dying because the Forest Service finally told them to stop two decades later.

They subsisted entirely because of government subsidies.  They subsisted entirely because of regulations that hamstrung their competitors – the other ranchers who were “squeezed out” were legal – the Bundys just chose to break the law.

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Update: From a local Nevada news outlet, contrasting the Bundy claims:

…the 1998 opinion from U.S. District Judge Johnnie Rawlinson in a case where it was determined Bundy wouldn’t be allowed to use federal land for his cattle because of failure to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management. Rawlinson wrote that it wasn’t until roughly 1954 that “Bundy or his father or both have grazed livestock on public lands owned by the United States and administered by the BLM.”

Clark County Recorder documents show the 160-acre Bunkerville ranch Bundy calls home was purchased by his parents, David and Bodel Bundy, from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt on Jan. 5, 1948. The purchase included the transfer to the Bundys of certain water rights, including water from the nearby Virgin River. Cliven Bundy was born in 1946.

And federal grazing districts were established nationally in 1934 and in Nevada in 1936.

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Furthermore, every word written about the Bundys is a word not written about the Red River along the Texas-Oklahoma border, where the BLM is looking at seizing 90,000 privately held acres of land.

Really, it’s a much bigger story, and it is black and white:

BYERS, Texas (RFD-TV) Most people think the border between Texas and Oklahoma is the Red River. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that, especially along the part of the river where Tommy Henderson and his family ranch.

Henderson lost a lawsuit 30 years ago that moved part of the northern Texas border over a mile to the south.

The Bureau of Land Management [BLM] took 140 acres of his property and didn’t pay him one cent.

Now, they want to use his case as precedent to seize land along a 116-mile stretch of the river.

“They’re wanting to take the boundaries that the courts placed here and extend those east and west to the forks of the river north of Vernon and east to the 98th Meridian which is about 20 miles east of us,” Henderson explained.

BLM, which oversees public land in the United States, claims this land never belonged to Texas.

That’s not leases that they haven’t paid in over 20 years, that’s their own land.

I recommend reading this story for some background first.

From what I’ve read, neither side is doing much right in the Bundy case; and actually seperate, broader state vs federal land control issue is getting muddied because people are missing so much of the broader implications.

As I’ve read it, the rancher, Cliven Bundy, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993.  He tried paying some to the state and county, but the BLM owns and controls the land.  The bills he did pay to the state and county weren’t consistent with what the BLM charged for land usage fees.  Bundy’s lost a lot of court fights, and for whatever reason the BLM changed the grazing rules.  Regardless of why, if that’s part of the contract to graze, and he agreed to it, when they said “lose 90% of your herd or leave”, he simply decided to stay, and fought in court for decades, losing again and again.  He claims that since his family is there, he can graze where he wants, he claims that his improvements to the land mean its his, and he claims that the state should own the land and not the federal government, so BLM be damned.

There are a lot of folks taking his side because they’re blindly sick of fedgov overreach.  But I think a lot of it comes down to pictures of cows and cowboys, and some romanticized western visuals… and some folks hearing what they want to hear.

Why?

Let’s say Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright were in a church in Chicago that was owned by the federal government as a national historical site, and run by the National Park Service since 1848 when it was acquired by the federal government (like how the territory that long predated the state Nevada was acquired by the US government in 1848 due to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo).  Reverends Sharpton and Wright’s congregations rent out the church on a use-basis starting in 1884, and so they’ve been there 130 years.  Sometime around 1993, Sharpton and Wright decide that the National Park Service is racist against them for raising usage rates, and they refuse to pay any more usage fees.  They continue making a profit on the church’s operation, despite the church not being their property.  They install “improvements” that change the historical nature of the church, but it helps their bottom lines.

They tell a story of how other churches have been shut down by the NPS, and they fight in court, all the while occupying the church.  They lose court case after court case, and finally in 2014, more than twenty years after they’ve stopped paying the usage fees to the National Park Service, they start saying the church is really community property and really bleongs to the city of Chicago.  They say they’ve tried to pay Chicago (which doesn’t take their money, citing the church as NPS-controlled federal property), and then finally the NPS sends people to remove the Sharpton and Wright staff and equipment from the church.

Sharpton and Wright summon like-minded armed community activists to their side, Black Panthers come from across the country, and an armed standoff takes place between the Sharpton-Wright group and the NPS.

Okay, now which side seems reasonable?  Sharpton and Wright, who are using public property for their own ends to make a profit and actively courting armed resistance after losing in the courts and making claims with no legal basis of ownership, or the NPS who are enforcing an order after two decades of leniency?

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That’s why I’m not on Bundy’s side.  He’s using public property that was never his, that was never even Nevada’s, that was never the property of any entity inside the US but the federal government.

He’s made a fanciful story and absurd claims of non-ownership draped in Gadsden flags and wrapped in patriotic rhetoric but it all boils down to wanting to run an industrial operation in stripping public land of vegetation (grazing) with photogenic biological machinery (cows) for the purpose of his own agricultural business.  As well, the “improvements” he’s made to the land, like water troughs and such, are simply improvements for his own business bottom line.  Watering cattle is good for him, but the second and third order effects of watering coyotes and any number of predators and invasive species that would otherwise not thrive so well in the desert distorts and changes the ecology.  As the federal government owns the land, and the BLM manages it, if they don’t want somebody building structures to water cows (and coyotes), that’s up to them – not to the non-paying renter.

Now, as for the BLM, I’m not on their side either.  Their actions that were reported at the end include shooting cattle, driving over the ostensibly endangered desert tortoise burrows, and basically being hamfisted and inept at best.  So the BLM sucked in this case, too.

What may suck even more is that supposedly one of Harry Reid’s kin is in charge of the BLM in Nevada and is out to push for an expansion of the desert tortoise habitat towards the leases Bundy had been squatting (but nobody really cared that much) on in order to allow for a Chinese-based solar energy farm in the desert.  Basically they rezoned the desert tortoise area and then the solar farm could be built.  That makes it a much more conventional land grab.

Now, as for western land control, there’s another problem.

State lawmakers are now gunning for control of federal land.

It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.

More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.

“It’s simply time,” said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. “The urgency is now.”

I don’t trust a leftist demanding a gun ban when they say “it’s simply time” and I don’t trust anyone else saying the same thing, no matter what letter is next to their name.

“Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands,” Fielder said, who lives in the northwestern Montana town of Thompson Falls.

“We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms,” Fielder said.

Translation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YBInZrRx5c

The state legislators want to take the land for their own purposes.

They want to give it to their own cronies.  They want to divide federal lands that might not be being actively used and sell them up to developers, to industrial groups, to investors, to any number of people who aren’t you.

All that federal land sitting there waiting to be snatched could easily be handed off to any number of groups that will make those lawmakers massively wealthy.  Of course, they’ll cut themselves a massive ranch out of that land for themselves, of course.

Federal land right now is difficult to utilize for big operations.  It’s difficult for businesses to use, it’s difficult for politicians to sell off to their cronies at the federal level.  With obnoxious regulations, it’s often more difficult than it needs to be, but the fact that it’s federal land also protects it from instant abuse, sale, and destruction.

If you want to see a land grab and a radical change in the American west, give land to the states.  Millions of acres will go not to you, the hardworking citizen who goes hunting on BLM land, hiking in national forests, and fishing in Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs, but to huge corporations that pay off state legislators, and to multibillionaire investors who pay off state legislatures.

George Soros will have his own 500,000 acre ranch.  You will not.

Jazz Shaw over at HotAir notes what will happen to state land almost by accident, and I’m not sure he realized he said it:

It seems, however, that even if we accept all of the above examples, there is still an argument to be made that public lands which are not being dutifully maintained to serve some valid purpose of the public would be better classified as state lands. There used to be a lot of state land, even where I grew up in rural New York. The state maintained control of such lands and could preserve it or sell it to residents as they saw fit.

Bold emphasis mine.

There used to be a lot of state land… and then somehow it all went away, as if by magic?  No.

Giving it to the states means there’s one less layer of protection for that land as public land, and giving it to state legislatures is just asking for it to be thrown around to their cronies.  That is the predictable and inevitable result.

Public lands in state hands will go away due to state-level corruption.

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States that were acquired by the federal government, and that didn’t enter the union as states of their own, still have huge amounts of federal land within them.  Could a more receptive fedgov lessen some restrictions?  Absolutely.  That’d be great.

Could the EPA go back to dealing with the ravens that are killing desert tortoises rather than mess around with public lands?  Yes.  Could we amend the Migratory Bird Act that protects the ravens so they can kill some and protect the tortoises?  Sure.  Could we amend the Endangered Species Act to recognize that some species are just on their way to extinction?  Sure.  Could we amend it to allow the free market to save those species?  Maybe have people adopt and own desert tortoises as pets in order to save the species?  Maybe.

Should we go and give state-level corrupt politician X access to hundreds of thousands or millions of acres of land to give to his buddies?  No.

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What’s lost in the broader context is also that public land is there for everyone.  People who live where all land is private, or where “public land” means a postage-stamp sized park don’t understand.

For example, this is some public land that I went out used as a 900 yard range one day.

sw wy blm range 1a

There are some oil and gas sites out on that expanse of land, but they’re miles apart due to size.  There’s no water on that land except what nature provides, so it’s good for desert animals, but not so much for cattle.  It’s not land meant for cattle either.  It’s the kind of land the buffalo wouldn’t have roamed so much since there’s not much water out there.

But if you want to go hiking in old grassland or go sport shooting or go hunting, or ride your horse or drive your Raptor or just go see what the old prairie was, it’s still there.

If you’re a local and you wanted to graze your cattle there, you’d have to navigate the BLM’s mission that’s to prevent the tragedy of the commons, but you probably could.

And the hiker, the sport shooter, the horse rider, the hunter, the driver and the naturalist and the oil man could all still use that land – because it’s still public land.

If you gave control of that land to state congressman X, he’d sell the whole place to his pal in ConHugeCo Inc. in a heartbeat and instead of a “don’t make ruts and screw up the prairie” sign, there’d be this:

no trespass

This is just giving access to state legislatures to pad their nests with funds pilfered through sale of public lands.

The sale of that public land would radically change the nature and culture of western states.  Instead of the droves of retiring baby boomer leftists deserting California for Colorado and turning it disgustingly leftist, there’d be swarms of occupy leftists warping the entire western US into the same because there’d be so much “free” land available.

The cultural change would be utterly devastating, as states with low populations would be overwhelmed so rapidly they would never have time to adapt, nor to even understand how fast they were being changed.

This has to factor into any discussion as well, because the very nature of the Republic would be at stake as western states that are “deep red” and provide balance in the senate are often low in population.  Heck, Nevada even manages to keep Harry Reid in line with regards to Second Amendment issues.

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Folks from states that don’t have much public land for a plethora of historical reasons may not quite understand the significance, and some folks out west who think they’ll “get theirs” don’t necessarily think of the second and third order effects of the radical change of land ownership.

The questions always have to be “why?”, “what then?”, and “what happens next?”

If the why is to allow for better usage, that involves pushback against environment laws and regs.  That helps business and private citizen interests without compromising land access for the public.  We know the what then and what happens next still keeps that land open for all of us.

When the “time is now” answer is to give it to the states… well, like Jazz said, there “used to be” a lot of state land.  We know what then and what happened next.

WaPo’s guide on the story certainly isn’t everything you need to know, but it gives some interesting info, like the size and nature of Bundy’s family and the conditions of relations between the federal authorities tasked with managing the land and some rural residents who simply resent any outsiders.  It ignores that a longtime aide of Harry Reid’s just became the national BLM director, as well as Harry Reid’s stupid assertion that Cliven Bundy’s supporters are domestic terrorists (unless the WaPo stories about pipe bombs dropped at federal offices years ago are what he’s confusing here).

Of course, being aimed in on federal agents who have given twenty years of leniency to someone whose cows are grazing on taxpayer grass without paying before finally enforcing an order doesn’t exactly sound of good judgement, either.

Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge as protesters gather by the Bureau of Land Management's base camp near Bunkerville

Then there’s also the “put women and children up front first” angle.  It’s not domestic terrorism, but it’s a shady tactic used in order to precipitate a conflict that will look better for the Bundy family.

Via Breitbart, Eric Holder’s gunrunning ATF is planning to use drones:

Attorney General Eric Holder admitted Tuesday that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was in the process of looking at the use of domestic drones.  …

“Within the Department, the only component that uses these vehicles at this point is the FBI,” Holder explained. “The ATF in the process of working through to see if they want to make use of them.”

And via the Daily Caller, Eric Holder getting mad at being called out for being held in contempt.  Full video of the exchange between TX Rep Louie Gohmert and Mexican-cartel-arms-merchant General Eric “You Don’t Wanna Go There” Holder:

Gohmert is entirely too nice to Holder, and unfortunately seems to try to address a couple too many points as his time runs out.

Via Washington Free Beacon:

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday that gun tracking bracelets are something the Justice Department (DOJ) wants to “explore” as part of its gun control efforts.

Technological tricks are par for the course for anti-rights gun banning autocrats.  Technology becomes a tool to ban things – just mandate a feature for “safety” (especially when it’s the antithesis of safe) and suddenly all the things they want to ban can be banned in the name of “safety”.  Then soon enough the last thing wasn’t “safe” enough, and it can be banned, too.

What’s perhaps even more disturbing is the amount of money going into this:

The Justice Department has requested $382.1 million in increased spending for its fiscal year 2014 budget for “gun safety.”

Included in the proposal is $2 million for “Gun Safety Technology” grants, which would award prizes for technologies that are “proven to be reliable and effective.”

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal also calls for $1.1 billion to “protect Americans from gun violence—including $182 million to support the president’s ‘Now is the Time’ gun safety initiative.”

The same Department of Justice that sent guns to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels now wants a third of a billion dollars to spend to target you and your rights.  Eric Holder brought plenty of “safety” to Mexico and the border, and then hushed it up afterwards.

fast and furious 2010 massacre teens

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Suddenly a tech firm going after the American gun industry to consolidate it and control it and provide high-tech “safety” would be of even more interest to a government spending $382,100,000 on gun “safety”; with $2,000,000 for tech proof of concept.

There are numbers for different specifics within Holder’s PDF request, but considering the Holder DOJ’s established policy of lying, withholding information, and Holder currently still held in contempt of congress for stonewalling and lying, pardon me if I consider those numbers to be a huge pile of crap.

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Update: Katie Pavlich weighs in on the subject at Townhall, adding in an almost Colombo-esque “one more thing”:

As a reminder, Attorney General Eric Holder is sill in contempt of Congress for his stonewalling and failure to cooperate with the Oversight Committee Investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. Further, lets not forget Holder is also the guy who said we should “brainwash” people against guns.

She also notes Bob Owens breaks things down a bit more Barney-style, reminding folks that “gun tracking bracelets” really means “smart” gun technology like a radio-transponder bracelet-gun combo that is only activated when worn, but longtime readers probably remember this story where I broke it down here, and other folks probably already clicked on it above (the “technological tricks” link).  So it’s updated and noted now for folks who may be reading this on smartphones or devices where links are a PITA, rather than at a computer terminal.

HotAir has also picked up the story.

The IRS’s Peculiar Pie Charts

Posted: April 7, 2014 by ShortTimer in Government, Leftists, Tax, taxes
Tags:

From page 39 of the 1040EZ instructions form:

pg 39 1040 ez 2013

With their pie charts laid down, the selection of what to put up front gives the illusion of greater proportions going to or coming from specific outlays and taxes.  National defense as an expense looks huge because it’s featured up front.  Personal income taxes taken from the individual are hidden in the back when it comes to taxation.

When you put the outlays together vertically, without laying the pie down for distortion effects, one suddenly sees that almost 2/3 of government expenditures go towards some form of handout, from Social Security to “Development Programs” to “Social Programs”.  What’s missing is that a lot of “foreign affairs” that’s lumped in with national defense are also international handouts.

outlays 1040ez graph 1

On the other pie chart for federal income, corporate taxes get thrown up front, along with excise taxes, because people don’t think of those taxes as hitting them (until they buy a car and have to pay gas guzzler tax on both ends).  If they take up more visual space, that’s good because it hides the personal income taxes; and if they still look small up front, that’s also good because corporations are evil and excise taxes are only for evil rich people.

Borrowing to cover deficit is up front, but is seen by the left as a thing that’s bad because it’s an incentive and need to “raise revenues” (read: tax hikes on the bourgeois and “rich” and any other target classes).  Thus it’s allowed to be emphasized.

income 1040ez chart 2013

Could be reading into it, but the IRS leans so heavily left that targeting political opponents of the left is something they do naturally and as a matter of course.  So it’s not really a stretch that they’d make a graph that subtly promotes a leftist worldview.

Looking at an overhead view of the charts rather than a laid-down perspective suddenly makes some taxation and expenditures jump out for what they are.  It’s not like a pie chart is hard to make, either.  Using the laid-down pie chart offers a minimal advantage in space or ink savings in on the 1040ez instructions, but it can be handy for massaging data.

Remember Fearless Distributing, the ATF’s plan to create crime in Milwaukee?  Or the score of other crime-creating ATF programs in the last year or so?  Apparently just like the ATF’s Gunwalker Operations like Fast and Furious and Castaway, they’re just going to go ahead and never answer any congressional inquiries and simply expect to never be held accountable.

From FOX:

Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

Issa, R-Calif., claimed this week that the ATF has stonewalled him by withholding documents and shown a “complete lack of cooperation.”

“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

Yup, now is the time for coverup and the media to carry the Obama administration’s water.  For those who say FOX is a conservative news outlet, it’s worth reading how this story is written when it comes to the ATF’s actions.

Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

If you’re not familiar with it, read the Journal-Sentinel article.  There aren’t “missteps” that drew criticism.  The entire operation is based around the premise of creating crime in order to say they fought crime.

Details on problems with the program first emerged last January, when The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on missteps in Milwaukee under the program known as Operation Fearless. In that operation, thousands of dollars in merchandise, as well as several guns, were reportedly stolen from ATF agents.

Again, “missteps”, like this was Chevrolet launching a car with wipers that didn’t work.

Details of other similar operations in other cities later emerged, including claims that one operation was located across the street from a middle school. House committees are now investigating, on the heels of the controversy over the botched anti-gun trafficking Operation Fast and Furious.

And here we get to a big one, and a whopper that somehow exists across the media.  Operation Fast and Furious was not botched.  It did just what it set out to do.  It armed the cartels, got guns to the cartels, blamed American gun stores, and got people killed… and when F&F guns were found at murder scenes, ATF supervisers were practically “giddy” (in the words of whistleblower John Dodson).

There was no “botched” about it.  Fast and Furious worked as intended – just the intentions are so insane that people refuse to accept it for what it was.

When congress began questioning whodunnit, the local ATF guys like Bill Newell gave non-answers, the higher-ups gave no answers, and the paper trail consisted of the DOJ issuing redacted blacked-out non-documents to congress while shredding the real thing:

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

The FOX story continues, but with watered-down treatment again:

ATF agents, though, have defended the storefront program, saying lawmakers overstate the problem.

“Putting this into context, there were deficiencies with the storefront operations, but there have been many successes and it still remains a viable technique when managed well,” ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon told lawmakers recently.

The operation in Milwaukee, despite its flaws, resulted in dozens of arrests.

“There were deficiencies?”  The ATF defends it, despite it being a crime-creating program, because people will report it without asking why, and without simply restating what it did and how it did it.

Dozens of arrests are meaningless as a statistic against crime, and dozens of arrests when a fedgov agency is off creating crime being used as a defense is horrible.

It’d be like if the Army said of the My Lai Massacre, “Putting this into context, there were missteps, but we got a body count of 347 probable enemy, so it still remains a viable technique”.

Again, keep in mind this is FOX that’s writing the bland media line about what the ATF did.  Other outlets simply don’t report it at all.

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The only reason this stuff has continued is because the press refuses to do their job.  And the few hard-nosed real reporters left are left hung out to dry for doing their jobs.

Keep in mind as you read this that New Jersey already has laws mandating computer-controlled guns be the only thing on the market in three years, even though everything about the concept of a “smart” gun is faulty.

Now there’s a tech firm called Global Digital Solutions, Inc. that’s come out of nowhere to try to buy all the American gun industry up in order to control it and force RFID chipped, RFID controlled gun control on the US.  They’re starting with an unsolicited bid on Remington Outdoors/Freedom Group, which comprises numerous individual firearms manufacturers beyond just Remington.

gdsi consolidation screenshot 4

Update 4: The Outdoor Wire reports that Remington thinks of this as a big PR stunt:

Remington Acquisition Announcement: Giant PR Stunt?

Executives with Remington Outdoor Company have described yesterday’s late afternoon announcement of plans by by Global Digital Solutions, Inc (OTC-QB:GDSI) to acquire Remington as “attention seeking in it’s worst form”. Officials at Remington say they will be addressing Global’s PR NewsWire announcement of their planned all-cash acquisition of Remington of nearly $1.1 Billion. The Outdoor Wire Digital Network will have the full story as it develops.

Whether it’s a big PR stunt to generate interest and capital from anti-gun-rights proponents who favor and have discussed this sort of thing before, or whether it’s just a cheap pump & dump of the stock, either way Remington doesn’t seem to take it seriously.  Unless there’s an announcement from Remington that they’re going sell this afternoon once all their big investors cash out.

But on the other hand, it looks like GDSI did buy Airtronic a year or so ago, who makes M203s for the US military.

If/when Remington puts out an official announcement, I might be adding a tin foil tag to this story.  Anyhow, the rest of the original story as follows:

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And they also favor human-implanted RFID chips:

gdsi human chipping

The announcement on the acquisition attempt, written in corporatese, from CNN Money:

PALM BEACH, Fla., March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Global Digital Solutions, Inc. (OTC-QB: GDSI), a company that is positioning itself as a leader in providing cyber arms manufacturing, complementary security and technology solutions and knowledge-based, cyber-related, culturally attuned social consulting in unsettled areas, today filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) providing information regarding three proposed transactions, including an unsolicited letter of intent to acquire Remington Outdoor Company, Inc., also known as Freedom Group, Inc. (“Freedom”).  GDSI has made an unsolicited offer to purchase freedom for $1.082 billion in cash.  Freedom has estimated that its net sales for 2013 will be in the range of $1.250 billion to $1.275 billion and that its adjusted EBITDA will be in the range of $235 million to $240 million.  The Form 8-K may be accessed at www.sec.gov or on GDSI’s website at www.gdsi.co.

Richard J. Sullivan, GDSI’s Chairman and CEO, offered several reasons for optimism regarding the proposed acquisitions discussed in the Form 8-K filing and the company’s overall strategy for profitable growth going forward:

“The GDSI team is extremely excited and confident about all three of these proposed acquisitions.  There are powerful synergies between Freedom and the two other companies that will fuel our future growth along with the transformation of the cyber arms industry.  Cyber-based technologies, coupled with enhanced digital product development and distribution, will be key factors in achieving results that could match – and probably even exceed – what we were able to produce at Digital Angel Corp and Applied Digital Solutions (“Applied”).  At Applied, we saw our market capitalization reach $2.5 billion, roughly five times revenue and nearly 25 times EBITDA.

What’s that gibberish actually mean?  It means somebody with a lot of money and influence is going to try to buy out major manufacturers and force so-called “smart guns” on the American public – that is guns that are activated or deactivated by digital control, whether you want them or not.  Read on…

From GDSI’s website:

gdsi consolidation screenshot

They’re just going to buy things up – starting with Remington/Freedom Group, put RFID and control chips in guns, have them mandated by politicians, and then achieve gun control their way.  There is no customer demand for this.  The gun community does not want this.

A radio-controlled gun that is only enabled by an implated RFID chip, and one that can be disabled by someone with a jammer, is not something that anyone in the gun community wants.

The only people who want this are anti-gun politicians and anti-gun activists.  And in this case, anti-gun businessmen willing to play crony to anti-gun, anti-citizen, anti-rights forces.

From GDSI’s own website:

Personalized Gun Control –

Global Digital Solutions Announces GDSI Gatekeeper, A Revolutionary Suite of Technology-Enhanced Services That Offer Digital, Web-Based, Small Arms Safety and Security Solutions for Commercial and Military-Related Markets

PALM BEACH, Fla., January 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -

- Global Digital Solutions, Inc. (GDSI), a company that is positioning itself as a leader in providing cyber arms manufacturing, complementary security and technology solutions and knowledge-based, cyber-related, culturally attuned social consulting in unsettled areas, today announced GDSI Gatekeeper, a revolutionary suite of technology-enhanced services that offer personalized, digital small arms safety and security solutions in commercial and military-related markets.

GDSI Gatekeeper, which combines advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology with web-based wireless capabilities, will provide commercial and military customers with three essential safety and security benefits:

• Encrypted, password-protected, digital, trigger-locking capability;

• Secure, real-time online tracking; and

• Encrypted, cloud-enabled databases.

“We’re extremely excited about the potential for GDSI Gatekeeper,” said GDSI’s President and CEO Richard J. Sullivan.  “This revolutionary suite of services represents a real breakthrough by leveraging the power of web-based, digital technology to enhance safety and security in the small arms arena, both in the commercial and military sectors.  We think of it as personalized gun control and we believe the accessible worldwide market represents a multibillion dollar opportunity for GDSI.”

What’s all that mean?  Again, it means RFID-chipped “smart guns” controlled by (or overridden by) computers.  Control is their market.

According to recent reports from the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), an annual average of nearly 3.5 million firearms were manufactured in the United States over the past eight years.  GDSI Gatekeeper’s encrypted digital locking device could be easily retrofitted into existing firearms or it could be included in the manufacturing process itself.

And why would existing firearms need a system that’s ultimately one more piece of technology that could go wrong?  They wouldn’t.  But with such “smart” guns on the market, like New Jersey’s law already shows, they could be mandated.  And the process could be mandated for every existing company, especially if one major company controls enough of the market to say “it’s common”.  It wouldn’t take much to say it’s a “safety feature” that has to be implemented.

“Results like these truly represent the baseline of our expectations going forward.   As discussed previously, we plan to follow a similar acquisition strategy to the one we successfully pursued at Applied.  Under my leadership at Applied, the GDSI team successfully executed a private-to-public company roll-up totaling some 42 acquisitions and growing annual revenue from $1 million to $350 million over five years.

“This model, which takes advantage of market trends, technological advances and industry consolidations to fuel profitable growth, presents a value proposition that is perfectly suited to the military armament industry, an industry that is heavily fragmented and evolving rapidly toward a RFID/WiFi-enabled technology platform.  In this dynamic environment, we see enormous opportunity to consolidate this market with a program of targeted acquisitions, including the proposed Freedom transactionTechnological convergence is the future in the cyber/smart arms arena and we’re eager to leverage our proven history of success by helping Freedom and others navigate the transition from analog to digital.

Translation: They’re buying Freedom Group and Remington in order to change the marketplace.

They’re going to force “smart” guns on you whether you like it or not.  “Technological convergence is the future” means they are going to try to make RFID-chipped guns and gun control happen.

gdsi consolidation screenshot 3

That’s some impressive lip service in the middle of a company advertising human-implanted RFID chips and gun control as their main product and goal.  They’ll just make it so to be law-abiding, you have to buy their product.

And again, they’re going after other companies, too.gdsi consolidation screenshot 5

And this is no small part of both the plan and goal:

The company is confident that its Gatekeeper suite of advanced technology solutions will be successful because the team behind its development has a proven track record of impressive results while leading Applied Digital Solutions and Digital Angel Corporation, including:

  • The first-ever FDA-approved, human-Implantable RFID tags that continue to be used by several foreign militaries;
  • The first proof-of-concept implanted GPS-wireless tracking device which was successfully implanted in a sheep in 2002;
  • The first-of-their-kind GPS-wireless tracking devices still sold to and used by probation and corrections offices around the country.
  • In addition, Applied Digital Solutions was the subject of two Harvard Business School case studies that are still being used in the curriculum.  The first followed the company’s efforts to build a marketing plan for its Digital Angel GPS/wireless personal security device. The second study followed the successful merger of Digital Angel Corporation and Outerlink Corporation.

About Global Digital Solutions, Inc.
Global Digital Solutions is positioning itself as a leader in providing cyber arms manufacturing, complementary security and technology solutions and knowledge-based, cyber-related, culturally attuned social consulting in unsettled areas.

You want to use your gun?  Enjoy putting an RFID chip in yourself.  And guess what – your gun and your movements will be tracked.

Another question – where’s a company with a stock that’s trading under a dollar coming up with the capital to buy Freedom Group and the dozen other gun companies they have as new targets on their website?

Update: One more question for anyone who can decipher it.  I can read a lot of legalese and corporatese, and I’ve got my suspicions, but what the heck is: “culturally attuned social consulting in unsettled areas”?  The way I read that is “company can give lip service to rural populations”.

Update 2: Keep in mind once again that New Jersey has already implemented a law that demands computer-controlled firearms.  Keep in mind as well that the same kind of mandates NJ already pushed and that GDSI wishes to foster in the market is the same kind of simultaneous gun control & corporate scam as mandating magazine disconnects and microstamping.

Update 3: The Firearm Blog just picked this story up, complete with non-political commentary, as they are a site about guns, not politics.

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It’s a reverse of the Pushkin poem.

«Всё моё», — сказало злато;
«Всё моё», — сказал булат.
«Всё куплю», — сказало злато;
«Всё возьму», — сказал булат.

- Pushkin

“All is mine,” said gold.
“All is mine,” said sword.
“I’ll buy everything,” said gold.
“I’ll take everything,” said sword.

This time gold is buying the swords and taking everything.

It would seem that no advanced civilization has yet developed without a government which saw its chief aim in the protection of private property, but that again and again the further evolution and growth to which this gave rise was halted by “strong” government.

Governments strong enough to protect individuals against the violence of their fellows make possible the evolution of an increasingly complex order of spontaneous and voluntary cooperation.

Sooner or later, however, they tend to abuse that power and to suppress the freedom they had earlier secured in order to enforce their own presumedly greater wisdom and not to allow “social institutions to develop in a haphazard manner” (to take a characteristic expression that is found under the heading ‘social engineering’ in the Fontana/Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought (1977)).

- F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

Hayek

He begins this discussion in Chapter 2 of the book and references classical antiquity and the trading societies surrounding the Mediterranean as a prime example of nations that went through that rise and decline, but as noted, modern society is going through much the same thing.  The Anointed, to borrow Thomas Sowell’s phrase, know better and begin to “nudge” society where they want it to go.  As Jonah Goldberg noted, American totalitarianism and government control comes with a smiley face, though they’re making pseudo-erudite academic arguments for more outright thuggery.

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

- Thomas Jefferson

Ukraine and Gun Rights

Posted: February 25, 2014 by ShortTimer in Government, Guns, Tyranny
Tags:

The last few weeks and months have been rough in Ukraine, to make a gross understatement.

But one thing it has shown the world is that an unresponsive government doesn’t have to care about citizens who can bring no force to bear on that government.  Ultimately, an armed populace is one that governments have to respect; and in a nation where the people are armed, governments are more responsive as they can be changed by force… and by having mutual respect, are much less likely to have to be changed by force.

From Katie Pavlich:

The Ukrainian Gun Owners Association has released a statement saying, “Today every citizen of Ukraine understands why our country has hundreds of thousands of policemen. Last illusions were crushed when riot police used rubber batons and boots at the Independence Square on peaceful citizens. After such actions we realize that it is not enough to only adopt the Gun Law. As of today Ukrainian Gun Owners Association will start to work on the preparation of amendments to the Constitution, which will provide an unconditional right for Ukrainian citizens to bear arms. People should have the right to bear arms, which will be put in written into the Constitution. Authorities should not and will not be stronger than its people! Armed people are treated with respect

And they’re correct.

The proposed Ukrainian gun rights amendment is thus:

Amend Article 27, paragraph four as follows:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of owning a firearm to protect their life and health, housing and property, life and health of other people’s constitutional rights and freedoms in the case of usurpation of power , the encroachments on the constitutional order , sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine . Exercising the right to free possession of firearms is governed by applicable law and may be limited only by the court on the individual. “

Frankly, I think that’s still worded as to be very, very restrictive, but it’s still an improvement, and shows an understanding that governments are a threat.  Given Ukraine’s history and the Holodomor, one would think they’d already understand that free, armed men aren’t oppressed as much.

To quote fellow USSR oppression victim Solzhenitsyn:

What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, polkers, or whatever else was at hand?

And what would it be like if the men being arrested were armed, if it didn’t take a half dozen people with axes and hammers, but the one victim with a firearm?  And if every single victim of the state were armed?