Why the feds chickened out on a Nevada ranch
By Kevin McCullough, OneNewsNow.com, April 15, 2014 12:27 PM
Let me obliterate a bit of confusion here: the Obama administration attempted to go to war with a rancher in Nevada. Let me amplify a little bit of truth: they tucked tail and have returned home. And let me add a bit of clarity: they had no choice!
As the nation began to become familiar with the plight of the family of Cliven Bundy, many of us harkened back to another standoff – way back in 1993 – in which the federal government attempted to bully its outcome: Waco, Texas and the Branch Davidian massacre.
It is telling that in the Nevada case the feds pulled out so quickly, given all they had indicated they were willing to do to resolve the matter to their satisfaction. They had set up a perimeter around the Bundy’s family land, ranch, and home. They had brought in extra artillery, dogs, and snipers. They were beginning the process of stealing more than 300 head of cattle that did not belong to them.
They did so – or so we were told – for the reason of protecting the desert tortoise. But then it was revealed that the Bureau of Land Management had shot far more desert tortoises than the Bundy cattle had even possibly destroyed. We were told they did it because the Bundys had broken federal laws by not paying what amounted to retroactive grazing fees to the federal government. But the governor of the state of Nevada told us that Bundy had paid every ounce of state tax, met the state requirements, and their family had been improving the property more than 100 years previous.
Finally, we were allowed to know the connection between a communist Chinese wind/solar power plant and its connection to that senator named Harry Reid. Evidently a plan had been hatched to use the Bundy property for a solar farm and instead of paying the Bundys, someone, somewhere in the administration believed it was easier to just take what they wanted.
That approach is at least consistent with the readily documented abuse of eminent domain where the government for any number of reasons – few of them valid – has taken to taking what doesn’t belong to them. Americans then watch as it gets handed over to some multi-national corporation for the “cause” of the “greater good.”
There were a few specific reasons why the feds chickened out in the Nevada desert though.
- Technology – As the Bundy family members were abused, cameras captured it. Not television network cameras, but dozens of cell phone video devices that gave witness to a Bundy aunt being shoved to the ground, and a Bundy son being tazed. All of this while threatening protestors with dogs, brandished weapons and vehicles was captured, uploaded and made viral to the watching world.
- States’ rights – As the drama unfolded it became clear that the governor of Nevada, and the sheriff of Clark County knew that Cliven Bundy’s family had not only not broken any state law regarding the land, but that they had gone to the nth degree to ensure compliance with Nevada laws on the property. The governor and the sheriff, to their credit, did not favor the feds as a more powerful party in the conflict. Though there must have been pressure from Senator Reid’s office, the administration via the Bureau of Land Management, and local officials who were bought and sold like the Clark County commissioner who told those coming to support the Bundys to have “funeral plans in place.”
- Grassroots response – As other incidents have transpired in the past, the amount of time it took honest information to reach the grassroots and thus the response to the action came too slow. In the massacre in Waco, most of the nation had been sold a single narrative from the limited media outlets covering the events. Similarly the events surrounding the abduction of Elian Gonzales from his family in Florida and deportation to Cuba took place in such a response vacuum that by the time Americans knew the real story, the damage was done. With the Bundy ranch, Internet outlets by the dozen had competing information with the limited “official news” being released by the networks, and in most cases the alternative sources had it correct and usually a full day or so ahead of the news cycle. By the time afternoon drive hit, when the network news rooms in New York were preparing their first stories, talk radio audiences had already been dialing their elected officials in Washington demanding action.
The majority of Americans saw through the efforts to spin the story in Nevada. Couple that with the leadership failures that the American people view the administration responsible for, from Benghazi to the Affordable Care Act, all it took was the unedited video of federal agents tazing Bundy’s son, followed by his pulling the wires from his chest and continuing to stand his ground for there to be comparisons made to the American revolution.
It’s also important to note that merely pulling back from the Bundy property hasn’t settled the matter for the American people either.
The feds have stolen 352 head of cattle, and will not confirm or deny if they euthanized some or all of them. Recompense must be made. And to be candid, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see if a few ambitious law firms don’t try to convince the Bundy family of the validity of litigation.
Fortunately for the American people, the feds were not able to ultimately bully a simple rancher, not for a tortoise, a solar power plant, or a dirty senator and his administration.
We owe the Bundy family a great deal of thanks for standing tall.
For if the federal government [ or any government at any level or any branch of any government – added by CftC ] is allowed to do it with one, then there will be nothing stopping them from doing it again.
Kevin McCullough (firstname.lastname@example.org) hosts “AFA Today” every weekday at noon Central time on American Family Radio. He also is the nationally syndicated host of “The Kevin McCullough Show” weekdays and “Baldwin/McCullough Radio” Saturdays (9-11 p.m. EST) on more than 600 radio stations. His newest best-selling hardcover from Thomas Nelson Publishers — “No He Can’t: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change”
Robert Knight | Apr 23, 2014
Anyone worried about the rapidly growing power of the federal government under President Obama and the militarization of federal law enforcers had to take heart last week.
It was quite a sight when hundreds of citizens, many of them on horseback, converged near the Mesquite, Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy in reaction to the federal government’s massive show of force against the cattleman.
At issue is Mr. Bundy’s refusal since 1993 to pay for federal permits to graze his cattle on land, some of it designated as protected for the desert tortoise. Mr. Bundy’s family had grazed cattle in the area since homesteading in 1877, and he insists that the land is owned by the state of Nevada, not the federal government, which now manages 87 percent of land in the Silver State. Mr. Bundy will pay Clark County for permits, but not a dime to the feds, who he says wrongly took the land.
The problem is not the legality of Mr. Bundy’s actions. He might eventually win his case, but he’s already lost in federal court. The real problem is the Obama Administration’s overreaction. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sent a helicopter and a huge force of armed men in riot gear, including snipers, who seized hundreds of Mr. Bundy’s cows and set up a small “free speech zone,” outside of which someone could be arrested for speaking against the federal action. Neighbors say the feds destroyed property and shot two of 76-year-old Mr. Bundy’s prize bulls.
Now, here’s where the plot thickens.
On April 8, during the BLM’s round up of Mr. Bundy’s cattle, the U.S. Senate confirmed Neil G. Kornze as head of the BLM by a vote of 71-28 – including 15 Republican “yes” votes. Before his stint as principal deputy director of the BLM, Mr. Kornze worked for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on “public lands issues,” according to the Washington Post, which noted that the 35-year-old Kornze will be overseeing 264 million acres of public lands, mostly in Western states.
Nevada is to questionable federal land deals what New Jersey is to mob-related “accidents.” Last May, a federal jury found Harvey Whittemore, one of Harry Reid’s close friends and biggest donors, guilty of making illegal campaign contributions to Mr. Reid in 2007. Mr. Whittemore was sentenced in September to two years in federal prison.
In 2004, Mr. Whittemore benefited from a land use bill sponsored by Mr. Reid that gave him an easement needed to build a retirement community, Coyote Springs, 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas, according to the Los Angeles Times. Since 2000, Mr. Whittemore had donated $45,000 to Sen. Reid’s campaign and a Reid-run political action committee, and two of Mr. Reid’s sons worked for Mr. Whittemore. All four of Mr. Reid’s sons at one time have worked for the law firm at which Mr. Whittemore is a senior attorney. The project was delayed until the BLM did a land swap to relocate a habitat for desert tortoises, which have been designated as an endangered species.
In addition, The Washington Times’ Valerie Richardson reports that “Mr. Reid’s son Rory Reid, a former Clark County commissioner, represented ENN Mojave Energy, a Chinese-backed company seeking to build a $5 billion solar plant near Laughlin, Nev. The company ultimately dropped those plans….”
Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman dismissed what she called “conspiracy theories,” telling KLAS-TV in Las Vegas that the ENN project is more than 100 miles from the Bundy ranch. Another solar project whose ground-breaking Mr. Reid attended is closer – about 35 miles from the ranch, according to KLAS.
Let’s stop and examine several fascinating aspects. First, the citizens’ armed response in support of the 76-year-old father of 14 may have prevented a replay of the Ruby Ridge siege in northern Idaho in August 1992 that resulted in the deaths of Randy Weaver’s wife Vicki, his son Sammy, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan.
It may have prevented another massacre like that of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, after a 51-day siege following a gun battle on Feb. 28, 1993, when four Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and six cult members were killed. The FBI-led assault on the compound on April 19, 1993 with tanks and tear gas resulted in 74 more followers of cult leader David Koresh, including 25 children.
In Nevada, a better scenario has unfolded – so far. The BLM backed off and returned some cattle to Mr. Bundy. Negotiations are underway. But Sen. Reid told Reno TV station KRNV that, “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”
If only Mr. Reid felt that way about the lawlessness of the EPA and IRS, or the Justice Department’s bizarre behavior under Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Let the record show that Mr. Reid did refrain from accusing Mr. Bundy of being in cahoots with “the billionaire Koch brothers.”
Second, the incident shows the danger of allowing the federal government to become so powerful. As Ronald Reagan observed, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
Third, the involvement of people close to Harry Reid cries out for an inquiry, and perhaps more. Nevada has a law allowing recall of “every public officer in the state.” Nevada’s Secretary of State issued a 1977 opinion that the law doesn’t cover U.S. senators. But it’s never been court tested. Perhaps it’s time.
Tea Party leaders in 2010 launched an effort to recall New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for backing Obamacare. The petition drive was tied up in court until the New Jersey Supreme Court dismissed it as “moot” because Menendez ran for (and won) re-election in 2012.
Opposing worldviews: Bundy supporters ‘patriots’ – or ‘terrorists’?
By Chad Groening, OneNewsNow.com April 23, 2014
During a recent debate on Nevada radio station KSNV, the political divide between Nevada’s two U.S. senators became clear. Republican Dean Heller called the militia groups camped out at Clive Bundy’s ranch “patriots,” while Democrat Harry Reid labeled them “domestic terrorists.” The standoff in Nevada continues as the federal government wants to prevent Bundy’s cattle from grazing on public land in order to protect a desert tortoise. The government also argues the rancher owes grazing fees.
Robert Knight is a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for OneNewsNow and The Washington Times.
“You see a great divide here with Senator Heller … defending the response of the citizens as ‘patriotic’ and Senator Reid coming down on them as ‘terrorists.’ They say this nation is divided in terms of worldview; I think it’s on display right there,” states the columnist.
While Reid is steadfastly defending his “domestic terrorist” comments, Knight wonders where the Democratic senator was when convicted mass murderer Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.
“President Obama refused to call the killer at Fort Hood a domestic terrorist. [In fact,] the administration called it ‘workplace violence,'” he notes. “I don’t believe Harry Reid ever had any problem with that term – and yet he calls these American citizens who gather in support of their neighbor ‘domestic terrorists.'”
Knight believes Reid is angry that Bundy and his supporters are bucking the authority of the federal government, which Reid believes owns everything and to which citizens should be grateful for whatever it allows them to keep.