Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

From Politico, a glowing retrospective on what a wonderful angel Eric Holder is and how everyone who questions his actions is racist.  Fast and Furious has been rendered a footnote to the left.

Holder, people close to him say, isn’t much hurt by the criticism over Wall Street, Gitmo, KSM or even the leaks; he remains confident that his decisions ultimately reflected the priorities of his boss. The same cannot be said for the 2012 vote by the GOP-controlled House to hold him in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over emails and documents linked to the Fast & Furious operation—a Justice-led gun sting that resulted in the death of a veteran Border Patrol agent in 2010. The vote was unenforceable. But no other sitting Cabinet member had ever faced a similar rebuke, and it remains the sorest of subjects with Holder.

Holder views the vote as emblematic of Republicans’ disrespect for Obama and himself, and he thinks that race is one, but not the only, factor in their attacks. Two people in his orbit told me he has described appearing before congressional committees as an experience akin to staring at a hostile “wall of Southern men.” (For the record: All of the 22 Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are white, 21 are male and more than half are from Southern or border states).

“It was all about politics and had nothing to do with law enforcement,” insists former Holder spokesman Matt Miller. “They wanted to get his head.”

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, and hundreds of Mexicans are dead because of Holder’s ATF.

fast and furious 2010 massacre teens

No one has been held accountable for those hundreds of deaths since Holder simply chose to stonewall.  The left said nothing about Fast and Furious until Holder was held in contempt, and then started lying about it and protecting the Obama administration and the “survivor” Attorney General.

Holder is so disgusted with Rep. Darrell Issa, the aggressive California Republican who chairs House Oversight, that aides find it hard to keep Holder sitting still during the necessary prep sessions. Holder often commiserates about his grillings, via text messages and email, with a group of supportive African-American journalists and public figures, including Rev. Al Sharpton; Juan Williams, the NPR commentator turned Fox contributor; former CNN analyst Roland Martin; Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post; NPR’s Michele Norris; and her husband, Broderick Johnson, a White House aide—a cadre that often encourages Holder to push back harder than his more cautious in-house advisers.

Issa, in a 2012 letter to Holder, denied any other motives than “legitimate Congressional inquiry” and accused Holder of stonewalling to prevent a “co-equal branch of government” from performing its “Constitutional duty.” Members of Issa’s committee have shown no signs of backing off either.

This is what Holder sent to the Oversight & Reform committee:

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

Thousands of pages of redactions with no information.  Lies upon lies upon lies, and Holder is mad because someone dares to hold him accountable for the actions of his department and the coverup he has engaged in.  Holder, a racist, screams “white people!” if someone questions him.  Holder’s feelings are hurt because he was called out for the hundreds of dead Mexicans and two US agents killed by his operation.  Yet the left’s violent ideological blinders only allow them to see Holder’s hurt feelings in a vacuum, as though nothing has happened.

The entire Politico piece can be best summed up with: “Holder is good.  Republicans are racist and hate him for no reason.  Everything else is a lie.”

The facts of the past are entirely rewritten by the left.

Via HotAir, from Government Executive:

Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently.

Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography.

It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.

In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

There are two possible explanations for this.

First explanation is that the EPA is hiring people from the third world.  It’s just possible.  It’s a common occurence at colleges where third world students are taken in who’ve never used flush toilets, aren’t familiar with indoor plumbing, and aren’t familiar with sanitation at all.  Signs like this exist for a reason:

sitting vs squatting on toilet sign

Some places people aren’t used to how toilets work.  Even people from places with public sanitation sometimes leave unexpected messes.  Some folks south of the US have flush toilets but low pressure, so they’ll throw used paper into a trash can next to the toilet, or just on the floor.  People from different parts of Asia and Africa frequently are used to squatting and often don’t know how flushing works.  A lot of folks in the Middle East… well, you just don’t use your left hand to shake there.   They’re really bad.

So this could be a matter of the EPA having really crappy hiring practices and pulling in people from remote third world areas that have failed to assimilate in even the most basic manner.  If you move to some remote jungle place, you learn to dig a cathole and squat.  If you move to the civilized world,  you learn to use a toilet.

Failure to learn how to poop in your host country is not only disgusting, but in this case these are people with regulatory authority who don’t even know how to shit.  If you’ve failed to learn the culture well enough to operate your own bowel movements, you should not be in charge of anything.

Second explanation, and the more likely one: These are filthy, disgusting EPA employees who know how to shit and are willfully crapping everywhere because they’re filthy, malicious animals.

That’s much worse.  A cultural misunderstanding that comes from hiring some ignorant dirt farmer out of blind stupidity – and an ignorant dirt farmer who will be responsible for the interpretation of millions of rules and regulations that destroy American businesses with compliance costs – at least that’s just profound stupidity on the part of the EPA hiring department and profound ignorance on the part of the third worlder.

If culturally acclimated EPA employees from modern nations are doing this, they’re just filthy malicious swine who will shit where they work out of hate and contempt for everything.

A citizen petitioning the EPA to stop using their millions of regulations to crush them would be greeted with the stink of EPA peons’ anal creations and probably walls smeared with brown bureaucrat fingerpaint.  The EPA-crappers’ own coworkers must live and work in their filth whether diligent employees or lazy cretins.  The taxpayers and government funded by those taxpayers that paid for their building and pays their salaries is having steaming clumps of contempt flung at them – and at you if you’re a taxpayer.  It’s all because some disgusting primate has made his workplace – the workplace you paid for – into a sewer.

They’re tasked with Environmental Protection, have been granted the absurd authority to control CO2 – every breath you exhale… and they shit in their own workplace.

Longer version here.  Remember, this is the guy who actively said he will bankrupt the coal industry.

Now, here comes a mandate for 30% cuts in emissions, which are already low.

From WSJ:

WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a draft rule on Monday seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005, according to two people who have been briefed on the rule, setting in motion the main piece of President Barack Obama‘s climate-change agenda.

The rule, scheduled to be completed one year from now, will give flexibility to the states, which must implement the rules and submit compliance plans to EPA by June 2016. States can decide how to meet the reductions, including joining or creating new cap-and-trade programs, deploying more renewable energy or ramping up energy-efficiency technologies.

Either buy carbon indulgencies from Global Warming High Priest Al Gore or throw money at Solyndra or go out of business.  And soon the American people will be experiencing brownouts and blackouts and power loss that will be blamed on the greedy power companies.  There will always be kulaks or counterrevolutionaries or people who are not significantly revolutionary enough who are the cause of misery, never the actual tyrants who engineered it.

The Obama administration is already claiming credit for everything that was done by Bush 10 years ago and that is coming to fruition now.  The Chamber of Commerce (though reprehensible on amnesty) has already come forth warning that the new regulations will cost upwards of $50,000,000,000 for energy producers.  Watching the second Obama video above, he outright states “the companies will pass those costs onto their customers” – you will foot the bill for this.  The EPA is already setting up a legal bulwark to prevent anyone from assailing their new regulations – they’re spending your money to raise your power rates and cut your access to energy and now they’re spending your money on their lawyers to crush anyone who would oppose them.

As usual.

regulations grow freedom dies

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has  announcedthat it will be holding its second  public workshop on June 3 to discuss the implementation of California’s new lead ammunition ban, signed into law last year by Gov. Jerry Brown after being championed by the Governor’s personal dog walker and Humane Society lobbyist. While this simple public forum may appear benign, this law (AB 711) illustrates the duplicitous work of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

According to its website , HSUS is “the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization.” However, the group is not affiliated with your local shelter or dog and cat assistance agency.  …

Despite deceiving their donors into believing that they are supporting animal welfare efforts with their contributions, only 1 percent of its budget goes to local animal shelters.

I don’t want to steal the NSSF’s thunder here (I recommend reading the whole thing at the NSSF’s site here), but the HSUS uses virtually nothing for animal welfare and shelters, and it’s gotten so bad that states have issued consumer warnings because people didn’t know their money wasn’t going to help animals, but instead to hire lawyers and sink money into Carribean investment funds.

The big news is this:

Now, NSSF has obtained the HSUS playbook to ban hunting with traditional ammunition across the country. AB711 was the first key step in HSUS’s campaign to effectively ban all hunting through pursuing a ban on traditional ammunition.  The playbook says, “We have intentionally chosen to concentrate first on banning the use of all lead ammunition for hunting in California and pursuing a ban on federal lands owned by the Department of Interior in order to build momentum for the campaign and to spur change within the various ammunition manufacturers and state wildlife agencies.”

In its playbook, HSUS also reveals a tactic that should alarm every hunter who has viewed state and federal fish and game agencies as supportive of hunting.  Despite the fact that hunter license fees and excise taxes provide the vast majority of funding for these agencies, HSUS brags about infiltrating these agencies and expresses confidence in shaping their policies when it comes to use of traditional ammunition:

The HSUS has close working relationships with state wildlife agencies all across the country.  Our wildlife department staff and state directors regularly attend state wildlife agency meetings where they have presented to top level agency officials and developed close working relationships with wildlife law enforcement officers in the majority of states.  Our state directors attend department and commission meetings and have developed long-lasting relationships.  We are regularly contacted to participate in stakeholder meetings and asked about The HSUS position on pending proposals.  In fact, many of our staff serves on state wildlife agency appointed boards and commissions.  These existing relationships will go a long way in our campaign to end the use of lead ammunition.

We will be filing a petition to ban the use of lead ammunition for hunting purposes on federal lands owned by the Department of Interior (DOI)—which comprises about one-fifth of the total land area of the United States.

We are in a better position than other groups to spearhead this effort given our strong federal congressional and agency relationships, as well as our years of experience working through these types of reforms. We are currently in discussions with the DOI on furthering this goal, and we have great confidence—given our mainstream approach and our knack for strategy—that we will be able to achieve all or part of this goal.

The group claims they are “ushering in a new era of humane management” that will only work to outlaw lead ammunition, not ban hunting. However, in an interview posted this month an HSUS spokeswoman revealed their true agenda:  “We are the Humane Society of the United States, so we do not support hunting.”

It’s one more step in the long march.

Banning lead ammunition makes hunting more expensive, which pushes people away from the sport.  Banning lead ammunition on public lands and all DOI lands (which is quite a lot when you look at the agencies they run) pushes poorer hunters out of the sport… which is the point.

Change it from a normal tradition for Americans to one that’s expensive and marginalized and it can be slowly destroyed… as is their objective.

Via Jawa Report, from TheTruthAboutGuns:

An alert reader emailed TTAG central with news that Armatix GmbH – makers of the iP1 “smart gun” – filed a patent application that included a remote kill switch for the firearm. Click here to view patent EP 1936572 A1, dated 2006. (Not a bug; a feature!) I’m not a patent attorney or an electrical engineer, but as far as I can tell this is the bit (translated from the original German) that indicates remote disabling . . .

Preferably, the inventive device is designed such that the device or the activated identification medium authenticated in response to a signal transmitted from a remote station to the device wake-up and request signal, whereupon the remote station a logical and / or physical access or access to one and allows or prevents a target device . . .

Preferably, the apparatus of the invention can be controlled remotely, for example via satellite and can send information to a satellite.

From looking at it in German (ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch), the translation looks pretty well correct.

Can’t say this is all that unexpected.  For a while now, we’ve been talking about the tech tricks of gun banners that aren’t there for safety, but for control; the creepy silicon vally company that wants to change the gun world to all “smart” guns; and Eric Holder spending millions on “smart” gun technology.

Of course a remote shut-off is the next step, along with so many regulations that ownership becomes either criminal or only a luxury for the super-rich, as things are in other progressive nations.  This is a long march through gun culture for them.  Fortunately it’s still a difficult one for the most part.

Update 2: Looks like USDA this time is using them more exclusively for their OIG, which means they probably sit in a locker somewhere until those guys need to serve a warrant.  Either way, the rest of the post stands.

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A Breitbart story via HotAir, but it’s also around the internet:

A May 7th solicitation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeks “the commercial acquisition of submachine guns [in] .40 Cal. S&W.”

According to the solicitation, the Dept. of Agriculture wants the guns to have an “ambidextrous safety, semiautomatic or 2 round [bursts] trigger group, Tritium night sights front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore group) and scope (top rear), stock collapsible or folding,” and a “30 rd. capacity” magazine.

They also want the submachine guns to have a “sling,” be “lightweight,” and have an “oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.”

The solicitation is from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, and another of their solicitations submitted on the same day (May 7th) is looking for the “commerical acquisition of ballist vests, compliant with NIJ 0101.06 for Level IIIA Ballistic Resistance of body armor… Body armor is gender specific, lightweight, trauma plate/pad (hard or soft), concealable carrier, tactical vest, undergarment (white), identification patches, accessories (6 pouches), body armor carry bag, and professional measurements.”

The SMGs they’re basically asking for are things like the HK UMP 40 that several DHS components carry (USBP, for example).

oleg volk UMP40

Photo by Oleg Volk.

The Forest Service falls under USDA, and the Forest Service has to deal with things like this:

A marijuana farm with more than 3,000 plants — valued at about $9 million — was found in the Pike National Forest in Douglas County.

“These grow operations are believed to be connected to the Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) that have proliferated on public lands throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Utah, and are now being found in the northeastern, southeastern and southwestern states,” said U.S. Forest Service Special Agent in Charge Laura Mark.

usfs grow op raid 1

The criminals with grow operations tend to guard their crops:

One of the wardens who went to the site found makeshift huts and crude rooms hidden under tarps and disguised in trees. There were rifles and pistols. In other similar illegal drug grow operations, the warden said booby traps and other devices have been used.

This tends to fly under the radar, since it’s out where no one sees it.  While DEA or FBI or some other agency could make a special “arboreal operations unit”, the Forest Service already works those areas, knows the areas, and will be the first to respond, and has the jurisdiction and specific enforcement authority protection of national forests.

Again:

Marcos Solano Farias, 32, and Joe Miseal Avaia Talavera, 20, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to charges of unlawful manufacture with intent to distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants. They also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and damage to government property.

Police raided two outdoor marijuana growing operations in the forest a few miles from Highway 21 in Boise County on Sept. 11. The two men, Mexico nationals, were taken into custody at a camp located next to the grow site on Rabbit Creek.

A total of 1,411 live plants, along with several hundred plants that had been harvested, were confiscated. Officers also seized two semi-automatic handguns and a rifle.

And an official “awareness” warning from the USFS:

Illegal drug operations, such as marijuana gardens and methamphetamine production sites, threaten public safety and also damage the environment.

For many years, the Forest Service and other law enforcement agencies have worked together to identify and clean-up illegal drug operations on National Forest lands in Michigan. In recent years, these illegal activities have increased.  For example, 2010 marked the first time that authorities found marijuana grow sites on Michigan’s National Forest lands operated by large drug trafficking organizations.

Thing is, it’s their beat, and USFS law enforcement is who works those areas and who has to be the first one on the scene.  If they get a call that a hiker stumbled over a meth lab on an old logging road and got shot at by the meth cook, they’re the ones who have to go deal with it and have to act because they’re the ones on-scene, and the ones with the knowledge of the area.  If they personally stumble over it, they’re the ones who may have to deal with it immediately.

So there’s little reason they shouldn’t have the option to carry an SMG that’s lighter weight than a rifle, more handy, and convenient.  It’s not as if submachineguns are a new thing for law enforcement.

them trooper with smg

While a fictional example there, no one batted an eye decades ago to the idea that law enforcement working in remote locations with no backup (like, say, rural highways, remote borders, and national forests) should have the option to carry something to at least get themselves out of a bad situation.

Or maybe I’m just the only person who’s seen Without A Paddle and remembers anything from it?

without a paddle 1

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While it’s pretty much always good to be skeptical and critical of government, this one, much like DHS’s ammo purchases, may not be so crazy if you assess it a bit more and if it’s USDA procuring weapons for a specific group of law enforcement with a dangerous task.

Unless this is for the anti-raw milk task force.  Then all bets are off.

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Update: Minor point that I’ve seen some folks asking is why SMGs in particular, why not rifles (or shotguns)?

Because SMGs are lightweight, they have ease of use, share ammunition with pistols which makes for ease of logistical use, and are compact.  There are all kinds of organizational advantages to have just from those positives alone.  Plus the agencies may already have rifles, and just want to add one more option for their personnel to carry.  Anyone who’s carried a rifle all day can tell you they get heavy.  Anyone who’s not used to carrying a rifle all day is going to really appreciate the saved weight by going from a rifle or carbine to an SMG.  Same goes for shotguns, but they have more limited ammunition capacity, slower reloads, recoil, and other negatives.  So why not have the option to use any of the three?

There have been a lot of stories about this in the last couple of weeks.  Frankly, it’s disgusting and traitorous to the citizenry who care about the nation.

First you have the suicidally stupid GOP senators saying they’ll pass amnesty if they get back the senate (via HotAir):

no matter how much the GOP blathers about border enforcement and security, what they’re really interested in — both for political reasons and to please their masters in the business lobby — is legalization.

“I certainly think we can make progress on immigration particularly on topics like modernizing our legal immigration system, improving our mechanisms for enforcing the law and I think if you did those things you could actually make some progress on addressing those who are illegally,” Rubio said Wednesday evening of the prospects of passing immigration reform in 2015.

Yeah, they’ll import some more Democrats, and cheap labor for their cronies, and alienate every conservative and American who actually cares about their citizenship and nation.

Speaking of their business cronies, the head of the Chamber of Commerce demands importing more illegal aliens or else! (also via HotAir)

This guy’s only saying what the entire Republican leadership thinks.

Maybe the “joke” is that he’s pretending to care about the political implications of amnesty and the fate of the GOP when all he really wants is cheap labor.

“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”…

“You think Congress can get immigration reform done this year, in an election year?” moderator Eamon Javers asked Donohue.

“Yes, yes,” Donohue replied.

National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons said he also thought immigration reform could pass this year, perhaps in a lame-duck session.

Of course they’ll do it in a lame-duck session, when there are no electoral consequences.  Besides, there never will be electoral consequences since the Democrats will be elected in perpetuity.

The shortsighted greedy clowns in the Chamber of Commerce will be strangled by regulations and taxation to pay for the social welfare costs of an imported underclass of “cheap” labor – except for the biggest of big business cronies, of course.  Speaking of biggest of big business cronies, internet multibillionaires are already celebrating the importation of cheap labor for their own enterprises:

The immigration reform advocacy group co-founded by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg notched a win in Tuesday night’s GOP primary in North Carolina.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who has backed “earned legal work status” for people who came to the country illegally, beat off a primary challenge from former Wall Street trader Frank Roche, in a race seen as an early indication of the role immigration would play in this year’s GOP primaries.

Ellmers, elected to Congress amid the Tea Party wave in 2010, was the favorite in the race for the 2nd District, but had drawn opposition for her stance on immigration reform.

“Despite being attacked by those opposed to commonsense immigration reform, Congresswoman Ellmers consistently articulated a solution to fix our broken immigration system, and tonight her constituents made clear their support for her leadership by overwhelmingly voting for her over her anti-immigrant primary opponent,” FWD.us president Joe Green said in a statement.

“Congresswoman Ellmers’ commanding primary victory makes clear: the time is now for House Republicans to bring immigration reform legislation to a vote.”

The FWD.us affiliate supporting conservatives, Americans for a Conservative Direction, had backed Ellmers with a $200,000 TV ad calling her a “conservative fighter for North Carolina” earlier this year. The ad outlined her efforts to fight the federal deficit, support for North Carolina military bases and “fix our broken immigration system once and for all” while still offering “no amnesty, period.”

Yes, the leftist globalist corporatist group called “forward” has a puppet called “Americans for a Conservative Direction”, and even throws hundreds of thousands of dollars out to say how conservative she is and how she’ll never pass amnesty, she’ll just pass comprehensive “common sense” immigration reform… so the child multibillionaire can have his way at your expense.

>Lame Duck "Immigration Reform" - Amnesty

And then of course, there’s White House chief-of-staff puppetmaster Valerie Jarrett saying that Boehner will pass amnesty (via Breitbart):

“I think we have a window this summer, between now and August, to get something done,” Jarrett said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We have a commitment from Speaker Boehner, who’s very frustrated with his caucus.”

Addressing attendees at an event described as conference where “investors and elite political donors” along with “hedge fund managers, political and business leaders and celebrities” can “speak freely,” Jarrett said that the Senate’s bill would pass in the House if Republicans brought it to the floor.

Translation: “The super-rich who are insulated from society will do this to you.”  This is the kind of thing that goes on in oligarchies around the world, not in a representative republic.

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And as a couple more notes, the Obama administration has told US schools to accept illegal alien children regardless of documentation or lack thereof, and of course there’s this bit that Mark Krikorian at National Review discovered:

More interesting, though was this bit from the article:

The administration is also reportedly looking at shortening the time an immigrant is considered new, and therefore a removal priority. A recent immigrant would go from someone who entered in the last three years, to someone who entered in the last two weeks.

Although I disagree as a matter of policy, the idea that an illegal has put down roots here after three years, and thus shouldn’t be deported, at least makes a certain kind of sense. But to exempt an illegal alien from deportation simply because he snuck in at least 15 days ago is surreal. Or, more accurately, it’s proof that the Left has no intention whatsoever of enforcing future immigration laws, even if all the illegals here today get amnesty.

The goal of “comprehensive immigration reform” isn’t the fixing of any particular aspect of immigration law. It’s the abolition of immigration law.

Of course.

And the idea that someone has broken into your house and chosen to squat… does not make it theirs.  It makes them an intruder.

BLM, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Red River

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

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.