Indian Reservations and Black Plantations Democratic Party Traditions

by Mustang

First, some background

Violent conflict didn’t suddenly manifest itself upon native people at the moment Europeans arrived in the Americas.  Native Americans (Indians) were at war with one another for thousands of years before the white man appeared, and if the reader has ever engaged a modern Indian in conversation, then they know that tribal groups continue to regard one another contemptuously.  When European settlers first arrived, they found a stone-aged people who were quite content with their lifestyle and long held stone age traditions.  Native people may have marveled at European technologies and trinkets, but beyond the use of the white man’s firesticks for hunting, against whites and other Indians, they had little interest in modernization until it was forced upon them.

Today, in the United States alone, there are 574 federally recognized Indian “nations,” which are variously referred to as tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, and villages.  The word “nation” and “tribe” are synonymous.  Indian bands are subsets of tribes.  The words band, clan, and village also have identical meanings.  Anthropologists tell us that it was common among stone age people to limit the size of their social groups, necessary as a tool for being able to house, feed, and/or control the group.

Indians found in the eastern regions and midland plain of North America were nomadic people.  Woodland and plains Indian bands usually consisted of no more than 50 people.  Whenever the band’s population grew beyond that, which is to say that whenever the birth rate exceeded the death rate, clan or band members were sent away to form new groups of their own.  By “sent away,” these new groups remained close enough to maintain their ethnic and cultural ties with the tribe, but far enough away so as not to impinge on the original band’s hunting grounds.

Indians in the west were more settled.  Navajo and some Apache groups constructed semi-permanent dwellings and established productive farms.  Most Indians, however, were hunters and gatherers, which means that they moved with the seasons — following the herds needed to sustain them, while gathering the vegetation that became part of their regular diets.  It was this continual movement of woodland and plains Indians that frequently brought tribal groups into conflict with each other.

As with all other human groups, adult men and women divided their labors to sustain the group.  The work of Indian men was to hunt for meat and protect the village.  Indians often had multiple interpersonal relationships which resulted in relatively high birth rates, but infant mortality rates were also high — which might explain Indian polygamy.  The traditional role of women (also, squaw) was birthing, raising children, cooking, making, or mending clothes, gathering firewood, hauling water, and tending to agricultural interests.  There was nothing easy about living in the wilderness, sheltered by little more than animal skin tents, or having to depend on migrating herds of animals as a food staple.

Indian leadership involved village/band headmen and tribal chiefs of which there were often several.  One “chief” might have had domestic responsibilities, another in charge of organizing and leading hunting parties.  A war chief to defend or assault external threats.  Indian leaders were often chosen within a governing council of elders; a head chief presumably led this council.  There were also influential medicine men or women whose wisdom and influence often rivaled those of the tribal or clan chiefs.  Together, Indian leaders supervised activities that achieved the will of the council of elders, maintained traditions, made judicial determinations.

The role of the war chief may seem self-evident, but it is important to note that there was no fixed tribal territory.  Indian tribes followed migratory sources of food.  They did not respect the claims of other tribes — and if the survival of the tribe depended on taking control of another tribes’ territory — so be it.  Indian conflicts were common enough to force tribal groups to form alliances and confederations for their mutual protection.  One example of this was the Algonquin and Iroquois nations, who detested one another with unbridled passion.

Despite their somewhat sophisticated tribal structure, individual Indian males retained their independence — no male Indian was obligated to comply with any ruling of the tribal council or chief.  A war chief, for example, could not force any brave to join a war party; it was more on the order of young men wanting to join the war party as a demonstration of his manliness and his courage.

On the other hand, if an Indian brave believed that his chief was weak, unwise, or dishonest, he was free to challenge the chief, free to pursue a separate agenda.  Note: this fact helps to explain the “renegade” brave who was free to create his own mischief with other tribal groups or hostilities directed toward white settlers.  The only consequence imposed on a renegade who did not wish to participate in various tribal activities was that he (and his women, if he had any) had to leave the band.  Tribal exile was the primary consequence of male independence, an understanding that was taught at a very young age.

Within this (general) structure, American Indians farmed, hunted, and raised their families.  Relatively speaking, native American populations were small — fewer than one person per square mile, overall— but competing tribes encountered one another quite frequently, particularly among the horse cultures.  Not all contact was hostile, of course.  There were trade relationships, celebrations, and marriages.  When conflicts did occur, it was likely to right a wrong, involving territorial issues, or the theft of a horse, perhaps.  If there was one thing the Indians excelled at, it was stealing.

Once hostilities erupted, however, they often lasted for decades.  The arrival of Europeans wasn’t immediately traumatic for the Indians, but it did introduce another dynamic into the Indian’s way of life — another human group that had to be dealt with.  Some Indian bands accepted white settlers as useful allies, while other Indian groups viewed the whiles as interlopers.  Indian alliances with Europeans became another source of conflict among Indian tribes/bands.

Where we are, and how we got here

The relationship between Europeans and Indians was always a prickly affair.  For nearly 200 years, the Spanish explorers/settlers in Mexico ignored the Texas/New Mexico Indians for as long as possible.  Until Mexico invited the Anglo-Americans to populate Texas, the Plains Indians always outnumbered Spanish populations and there was very little Spanish Mexico could do about the frequent Indian raids targeting Mexico’s northern-most settlements.  In New France, French explorers were well aware of their minority and more or less bent over backwards to accommodate native peoples.  The British were the exception.  The influx of Englishmen into the British Colonies produced two immediate effects: an effort by the British to form Indian alliances against the French and their Indian allies, and the movement of Indians from eastern areas into the western territories.

By the birth of the United States, government officials were used to dealing with Indians; Indian Agents became part of the early structure of the Department of the Interior and the War Department.  This was necessary because most founding fathers believed, in one fashion or another, that it was the United States’ manifest destiny to control the North American continent.  Unfortunately, the Indians were in the way.  Within the first fifty years of the birth of the United States, government officials decided that three things must happen to end their troubled relationship with the Indians.  Either these indigenous people would have to forsake thousands of years of their culture and tradition and assimilate European society, they would have to die by any means available, or they would have to agree to live on reservations.

The Indians would not give up their land, their right to live according to their own traditions, without a fight.  Since the Europeans were not going back to where they came from, conflict not only inevitable, but it was also more or less constant.  The further west these whites traveled, the more desperate the Indians became.  After 1830 and lasting well into the 1880s and 1890s, the American government adopted a no-nonsense Indian removal policy.  The Indians would either agree to live on reservations, with all the benefits promised to them by the federal government, or they would be killed.

Indians and Americans soon learned two things about one another.  From the Indian perspective, that whites could not be trusted to honor negotiated settlements.  From the American government’s perception, the Indian was a barbarian who depredations upon “innocent settlements” could not and would not be tolerated.

Indian Reservations

Life on Indian reservations was more difficult than it was living within the forests, along the rivers, or on the vast American plain.  Despite large tracts of land initially set aside for the Indians, which dwindled in size with each new treaty, the reservations were completely unsuitable to the Indian lifestyle because for the first time ever, the Indian lost his freedom of movement.

To pacify and encourage Indians to stay on the reservation (which were somewhat similar to the concentration camps of a later period), the US government promised to provide the Indians with food, shelter, goods, cash, and armed protection from other tribes and renegade whites.  Missionaries and educators worked hard to strip the Indian of his culture, tradition, and history.  Some of these efforts were successful, but most were not.  When it was impossible to convert the Indian to Christianity, some Indian agents gave them whiskey in steady dosages … to keep them docile and in place, to make the reliant upon the government … to enslave them to the good graces of the federal government.

Among government leaders, federal benefits were always subject to later modification, which the Indians correctly claimed as a breach of properly negotiated treaty.  From the Indian perspective, reservation life was disastrous.  Conflicts among reservation tribes increased, but worse than all these things, the government’s policy robbed the Indian of their spirituality.

Black Plantations (also known as ghettos)

Indian reservations today are as bad (or worse) than any urban slum — both created by Democrat administrations (federal, state, and city) under strikingly similar strategies.  I cannot say that purge is the goal of the federal government under Democrat administrations — it is certainly not their stated goal, but the effects of Indian reservations and Black plantations do seem to accomplish that very thing.  Let’s review:

  1. American Indians today are among the least healthy populations, followed by black Americans.  Together, Indians and Negroes are the least educated and the most addicted to alcohol and drugs.  Both own the dubious distinction of the highest per capita unemployment.
  1. Despite their racial and ethnic dissimilarities, Indians and Negroes live in squalor; they suffer the same health conditions.  17.4% of Indian populations are in poor health; 13.8% of blacks are in poor health.  The rate of HIV infection among Indians is twice the national average; 80% of African-American women are obese while 30% of Indians are likely to die from diseases associated with obesity.  Native Americans are three times likely to have diabetes and 2.5 times more likely to die from it; forty-two percent of African Americans suffer from hypertension. 

Living in hovels can’t help. 

People may wonder why Native Americans refuse to assimilate mainstream American culture.  They should also wonder about the lack of assimilation among African Americans.  That any human being living in the United States today should live in such filth as depicted in the above photographs begs more than a few questions, if we dare ask them: Who shall we blame for these unacceptable conditions?  What shall we do about it?

In both instances, Indians and blacks have become dependent upon the government for their income, their shelter, their sense of self, and their very survival.  It isn’t working.  It never has.  The only thing the federal government ever achieved in creating reservations and plantations is more human misery, less hope, and early death.  Democrat administrations (federal, state, local) have achieved far more than Republicans in increasing the misery index among blacks and Indians.

Yet, despite what the Democratic Party has done to these people (Indians and blacks) since around the year 1900, one stellar accomplishment has been to transform these miserable souls into dyed-in-the-wool voting Democrats.  I honestly do not understand it. 

For their part, Republicans ignore these problems, hoping that one day the troubles will simply disappear.  But this is far from being a problem of white apathy.  Indian leaders have ignored or taken advantage of their own people with as much regularity as black leaders have milked their communities for millions gained in personal wealth.  I don’t know where Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Jeramiah Wright live — but I’m pretty sure they don’t live in the squalor depicted in either of the two photographs, above.  Indian and black leaders are more than merely duplicitous in the conditions we find on reservations and plantations.  They are the largest part of the problem. 

Have state and federal governments intentionally created these conditions?  The answer is both yes and no … and, besides, there are as many whites living in equally deplorable conditions.  No matter what politicians and bureaucrats tell you, we will never rid ourselves of poverty in this country.  We will always have poor people, alcoholic people, drugged out people, sick people, angry people, and people who try to convince everyone that the solution to these issues is simple: just increase taxes for more trinkets, make more promises that you don’t intend to keep, and convince blacks and Indians that they deserve reparations for something that happened well over 150 years ago.

Conclusion

I would like to know what others think.  If you agree that Indian Reservations and Black Plantations are a stain upon our American character, then what is the one thing you would do, as President, to change our direction?

-END-

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Israel opposition parties agree to form new “unity” government

Consequences?  Consequences?  We don’t need no stinking consequences!

by Mustang

 

There is one thing that (on the surface) mostly effects self-loathing Jews who run the Eastern seaboard corporations, all of Silicon Valley, and 92.4% of the American media outlets: Joe Biden intends to take over the government of Israel now that Netanyahu is no longer Israel’s prime minister.

 Mr. Netanyahu (his friends call him Bibi) has been in office for around twelve years now.  He’s one of those tightly focused Israeli leaders who radical Islamists know better than to piss off — mainly because no one knows what Netanyahu will do in response to Islamic attacks upon innocent women and children.  But now Israeli politicians representing several parties have decided that it is time for Netanyahu to retire. 

They formed a coalition strong enough to force Bibi from office.  Not because the Israeli economy is falling apart, but more likely because some other politician wants to become prime minister.  Politicians, as you may recall, are egotistical enough to sacrifice the nation’s welfare for their own advancement.  It’s the same no matter where you go.  So, in a nutshell, that’s the deal with Israel at the beginning of June 2021.

 

Biden, when he isn’t fondling little girls on national television (without objection from anyone in the communist media) is looking forward to reigning in those damn Israelis.  Now, honestly, I am at a loss to imagine why any American president thinks that they have a right to dictate to the Jews what they should or should not do in their own country … but Biden and the Democratic Party (up front about hating Jews and loving Islamists) are just plain giddy about Netanyahu having to step down. 

Two things to think about: If Obama/Biden hate Netanyahu so much, surely, he must be one of the “good guys.”  Secondly, if Biden treats Israel the same way he treated Ukraine — you know, to get his way about how things are done in Israel — how many Israelis will have to die at the hands of a re-motivated PLO?  How many US servicemen and women will be placed in greater danger during their middle eastern assignments because of Biden’s inept foreign policies?

David Cameron at the Knesset in Israel

Knessett in Israel

 

The new Israeli guy’s names are (and I’m not making this up) Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett.  Lapid and Bennett have put together a coalition calling itself (I’m not making this up, either) the Rainbow Coalition.  It’s enough to make one wonder if Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are honorary members, or if half the membership is sexually challenged.  I wasn’t aware the Israelis had a sexual confusion problem. 

The thing about coalition governments, of course, is that they all work just great until its members can’t agree on something.  When a cat fight breaks out, coalitions don’t do quite as well.  How likely is this to happen?  Well, the coalition invited the United Arab List party to join them.  Should work out okay, right?

 Mr. Lapid formerly served Netanyahu as finance minister; Bibi fired him in 2014.  Mr. Bennett was Bibi’s chief of staff and quit his post when he didn’t get what he wanted in terms of cabinet posts.  Well, one thing the coalition agrees on for now is that they are all not liking Bibi.  Left unanswered is whether they will enjoy the political sex with Joe Biden.  I mean when Joe isn’t having fantasy sex with adolescent girls.

 Meanwhile, en route to the United States (right now) is the Israeli Defense Minister who will ask the US Secretary of Defense (Lloyd Austin, who used to play Token on South Park) for one BILLION for American made interceptors.  Biden couldn’t be happier about this because of the Israelis want our stuff, they have to play ball according to our rules.  Biden’s head is right now the size of a watermelon (without any red stuff, of course).

So, for all you folks out there who voted for Biden, give your kids an extra hug when they leave for boot camp because you’ve likely seen them for the last time.  Also, you might want to call your bank and see if they’ll increase your credit line so that you can afford gas at the pump.

Many of us keep wondering about the consequences of voting for X as opposed to Y in America.  If American mothers are tired of burying their children in national cemeteries because presidents and their incompetent appointees keep getting us involved in stupid wars, why do American mothers overwhelmingly vote for Democrats?  Yes, it’s true that Republicans have gotten us involved in foreign wars, but that depends on whether one considers either of the Bush’s conservatives.  They may have been Republicans, but not the American-loving kind.

What else results from our usual dismal decision about whom to vote for?  Oh, right … significant increases in unemployment because oil workers have all been laid off — to save the planet, of course; increases in the consumer price indexes, decreases in disposable income due to tax hikes on such things as gasoline, and food shortages.  The list is exhaustive.

 

Yes … there are consequences.  Don’t the communist voters ever get tired of them?

 

Good job, America (rolls eyes).

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Biden sick pedophile behavior – couldn’t help himself this past week.

Joe Biden has zero grip on reality and our enemies are laughing hysterically at us right now. Biden took a moment in his speech yesterday to say white supremacy is more dangerous than foreign terrorism.  Worse, he approached three young girls this past week with the same sexual overtones that he has exhibited in the past. The media remains complicit in covering his rapid decline other than a few bloggers. 

Plenty of creepy online videos emerged of Biden manhandling young children in the past. In these videos, Biden was shown grabbing young children who were attending the induction ceremonies of incoming members of Congress or the Obama administration. Plenty of women have complained as well and we have all seen the clips.

These images would have ended the presidential aspirations of any Republican candidate, but Biden persevered after pledging to improve his behavior. At the time, Biden claimed that he would “be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”

CMV: Joe Biden is a sexist, pedophile, and/or sexual predator. :  changemyview

PolitiFact | 10 most popular social media fact-checks of 2020

The holiday weekend proves he is not capable of inhibiting his behavior. First his bizarre remark regarding White Supremacy.

Can Joe Biden remind me of the last time a ‘white supremacist’ hijacked an American plane and killed 3,000 people with it?

And who burned down all the cities last year and is still doing so? Wasn’t white boys.

Here we go with yesterday’s ice cream lure of the day. Does he lure them into the WH to see his puppy? Right, the dog does bite.

This is what we have to look forward to at the end of the trail with Biden. Just think, all of this in one week. What is the world is she talking about?

That is the best of the swamp today.

Just what is “Progressivism?”

by Mustang

The word “progressive” has been so overused in the past thirty years that no one today is quite sure what it means.  In the 18th century Immanuel Kant defined progress as being a movement away from barbarism toward civilization.

Immanuel Kant (Prussian philosopher, 1724-1804)

Immanuel Kant

It included, of course, advances in science, technology, economic development, and social organization.  It evolved from the Industrial Era, a belief that economic inequities impeded social progress.  The argument was adopted almost entirely by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, two clever men who discovered how easy it was to divide societies for their purposes.

As with many words, “progressivism” has had many meanings.  In the early 20th century, American progressivism began as an intellectual rebellion against Constitutionalism, whereby enumerated powers limit government authority.  No modern progressive respects the Constitution, which has become the crux of socio-political disagreement in the 21st Century.  After Theodore Roosevelt, progressivism became identified with eugenics — the notion that human populations can be improved by excluding inferior groups and promoting people of “superior” quality.  No political party embraced this concept more than American Democrats and German Fascists.  Thankfully, we’ve managed to rid ourselves of the German Fascists; we remain plagued with Democrats, however.

More recently, American Democrats have cloaked their long-held belief of racial superiority within their demand for public policies that guarantee socio-political supremacy.  Claiming to represent the interests of “ordinary people,” modern progressives insist on more government control of nearly every aspect of American lifestyles, including the economy.  The juxtaposition, of course, is that progressives claim to champion the ordinary man while at the same time harboring deep resentment for populists.

Populists are the people who cling to their Bibles and their guns, who deeply resent the progressive elitists because of their haughty assertions that they know what is best for everyone else.  Populists passionately detest progressives because of their overwhelming repudiation of Constitutionalism and their embrace of communism/Marxism.  Mind you, many populists suffered the loss of loved ones and relatives who were combat veterans in wars against communism.

Despite two hundred years of “progress,” our world has not become a better place.  One would think that after two world wars (and numerous lesser-sized conflicts, albeit equally deadly to those who participated in them), Americans might at least have learned a few lessons.  For instance, progressive-minded people might have learned something from the collapse of the Soviet Union; they might have learned something about communism from the millions of innocent dead who were the victims of communism.  But — no.

No sensible person today anxiously embraces the horror of what communism presented to the world — which, I think, is my point.  We today find ourselves confronting a long line of irrational human beings, utterly incapable of knowing, much less understanding the essential elements of enlightened thought.  We must understand this, of course, in the context of their deep commitment to communism, where such things as freedom of speech, association, religion are as abhorrent to them as gulags and firing squads are to ordinary people.  There may be rational progressives, somewhere, but if there are, they have become grossly overshadowed by the supremely ignorant, foolish, and absurd.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands at the head of that line.

But at least now we know the enemy — which is the right word to use.  They are not “opposition,” as in polite discourse.  They are a dangerous enemy, but it is the civilized process of electioneering that must defeat them.  We can, of course, shoot them in self-defense, but we must not deny them their right to have an opinion or express it — no more than they are entitled to refuse populists their Constitutional rights, as established in the Bill of Rights.  But what must change are the people we choose to represent the American point of view in Congress.

First, however, we must know what the American point of view is, and then we must find people capable of articulating it.  The Republican Party no longer measures up to even our lowest expectations.  The Democrats have not embraced American values since 1828.  We must find a different way.

What say you, citizens of Bunkerville?

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Beware: The Trojan Horse Elise Stefanik looking to replace Liz Cheney in GOP leadership

 

Just who in the world is Elise Stefanik? We hear the drumbeat…..Liz Cheney must go…. and now the plan is hatched for her replacement. We keep being told and hearing that she is a favorite of the Tea Party? Really? Which Tea Party? Other than a few hearings where Stefanik supposedly made her bones we know zero about her. I wasn’t overwhelmed. The young new face. Is that what we want in a top leadership position? A Paul Ryan creation? How does one become, in her words, “a big tent conservative?” So let’s take a look. Her voting record turns out to be a whole lot like her “big tent” idea and not so conservative. She hasn’t been in Congress long so this won’t take much time. What caught my eye was her voting record.

 

File:Elise Stefanik, 115th official photo.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Elise Stefanik

 

Elise Stefanik, GOP conference chair favorite, voted with Trump less than Liz Cheney

 

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the favorite to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as the House GOP conference chair, voted with former President Donald Trump less than Cheney and has lower voting scores from top conservative organizations. 

According to a tool on the FiveThirtyEight website on “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump,” Cheney, R-Wyo., voted with Trump 92.9% of the time compared to 77.7% for Stefanik, R-N.Y.

The conservative group Heritage Action, meanwhile, gave Cheney a 91% score compared to just 56% for Stefanik during the most recent Congress. And the American Conservative Union, which hosted the extraordinarily pro-Trump Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this year, gives Cheney a 78% rating compared to just 44% for Stefanik. 

 

First a look when she was first running for Congress May 20, 2014, NY21: Is Elise Stefanik a fresh new voice or a carpetbagger?

Republicans Matt Doheny and Elise Stefanik have been locked in an expensive and sometimes bitter matchup that’s involved accusations of carpetbagging and dishonesty.

Martha Foley’s conversation about Elise Stefanik’s life story, her background, and her political ideas (read more about Stefanik’s political writing here.)

In the years since, Stefanik, now just 29, has worked hard to advance the policies and ideas of other Republican politicians, serving most notably under George W. Bush and Paul Ryan.

But there’s no evidence in the essays readily available online that she was particularly ideological, though she’s now favored by many Tea Party and Conservative activists. When former Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen, now the U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, was named to head the Institute of Politics, Stefanik praised the choice. “I think it’s very helpful to attract new women to leadership positions if you have a female director,” Stefanik told a Crimson reporter.

Stefanik also co-authored an essay with Shaheen urging college students, men as well as women, to become more engaged in politics following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The essay raised pointed questions about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2000, which “decided the outcome of a presidential race”

Stefanik moved to her parents’ seasonal home in Willsboro after leaving Paul Ryan’s 2012 vice presidential campaign. In the months since, she has described herself as a “big tent” conservative, with a center-right political brand. That may do well in the moderate North Country. Democrats and some Conservatives have tried to paint her as more ideological, more of a true “movement” or “tea party” candidate.

But as Stefanik continues to find her own voice on the campaign trail, these writings seem to hint at more centrist, moderate and even bipartisan instincts.

Stefanik is 29 years old, single with no kids. She’s a Harvard graduate and until last year, she spent much of her time in Washington, D.C., where she still owns a part-share in a home. 

Her main argument in the campaign so far has been that she’s a really new voice, a younger candidate with fresh ideas, that’s a notion she’s played up in her campaign advertisements.

Why has the GOP supported her so strongly in this race, over Matt Doheny? I mean, she’s a newcomer, he’s been around for years.

A conservative campaign for a bipartisan candidate?

One thing that’s interesting about Stefanik is that over the years she’s shown a much stronger bipartisan streak than you often see in modern Republican politics.  Stefanik even co-wrote an article with Shaheen.

Her Street cred:

Washington Post

Trump and many of his allies have rallied around Stefanik to succeed Cheney as chair of the House GOP Conference after the Wyoming Republican made clear she would continue to publicly challenge Trump’s false claims about the election and place blame on him for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

Appearing on Bannon’s show less than a week before Republicans are expected to vote Cheney out, Stefanik sought to cement her place in leadership by giving credence to unfounded theories about election fraud, including in Arizona.

I picked out some of the times she opposed Trump with her votes. 

A great place to check out your Congressman or Woman.

Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump

An updating tally of how often every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president.

Check our her record at FiveThirtyEight.

Favors Import-Export Bank

Opposed Trump removing the troops from Syria

Voted to overturn Trumps emergency declaration of Border wall fencing

Voted to ban drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Voted to block Trump from exiting the Paris Climate Change agreement

Voted to condemn Trump from calling on courts to invalidate Obamacare – Affordable Care Act

Voted yes toOverriding President Trump’s veto of a bill that overturned his emergency declaration for border wall funding (248-181)

Voted yes Overturning President Trump’s emergency declaration for border wall funding (245-182)

Voted yes Funding the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 28, without money for a border wall (231-180)

Vote yes Disapproving of the Trump administration’s plan to lift sanctions on three Russian companies (362-53)

voted no Making permanent the individual tax reductions passed in 2017 (220-191)

Voted no Limiting the ability of officials to search and read private messages collected incidentally as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (183-233)

Voted no Overhauling the tax code (final version) (224-201)

Voted no Delaying implementation of ozone standards (229-199)

Voted no Repeal of an FCC rule barring internet providers from sharing data on customers’ activities (215-205)

Voted no Repeal of a rule requiring energy companies to reduce waste and emissions (221-191)

 

That is the best of the swamp today.

 

 

A Man Reaps What He Sows

 

A Man Reaps What He Sows

by Mustang

Paul lectured us that the grace of God does not eliminate the principles of choice and consequence.  Every decision we make produces a peculiar result.  Some of these we can easily anticipate, if we exercise even a modicum of common sense — others are a bit more deceiving and, often, their consequences more severe.  The key to this is not lying to ourselves — particularly if we think that God will somehow excuse us from making poor choices.  If we think that, then we mock God, and this is a serious sin.

 

What we do in this life matters.  What we say matters.  The seeds we plant matters.  So, the question is, in matters of American democracy, what seeds have we planted?  We have planted the seeds of corruption.

 

Corruption is a complex topic; what makes it so is that corruption is often deeply rooted in our culture.  We see this in our political behaviors, and we see it in our “societal norms.”  The complexity of the topic may result from the fact that corrupt practices are difficult to quantify, and this is true because — in our multi-cultural society, corrupt practices vary from one ethnicity to another and from one region of the nation to another.  For example, if corrupt practices benefit us directly, we might assume that because they are beneficial, they are not evil.  If you don’t believe this, it is okay with me, but if you want to validate what I’ve said, just ask any Roman.

 

Corruption is destroying the American Republic.  The level of our corruption increases every year, and we are all so used to it that we give the problem very little consideration.  But make no mistake — if you think our government is corrupt, then you must be evil as well because it was you who helped shape that government.

This US Government Is The Most Corrupt In History | Mondialisation.ca

 

How bad is corruption in the United States?  To answer that question, one must consider its results.  Ask yourself about your well-being, how satisfied you are with life, how much you trust our government’s decision-makers, how much faith you have in our “hallowed” institutions.  What is the impact of corruption on our social development, economic growth, our quest for an egalitarian society?  If the question seems too broad, consider the effects of corruption on our political behavior. 

Why do we countenance a legal system that grants favoritism to the wealthy and influential — on drug use, for example — and a different standard to the poor black man guilty of the same illegal behavior as Hunter Biden?  One escapes official notice, even though the illicit behavior is well known, and one goes into prison for years.  Is this an example of an egalitarian society, or its opposite?  How do any of us justify it?  And, if we cannot abide by this blatant example of corruption, why do we allow it to continue?  How are we, a generally Christian society, able to ignore the crime of high-ranking politicians (McConnell, Pelosi, Schumer, McCarthy) and demand an accounting for the burglar or car thief?  It is the same behavior.  One generally accepted, one not.  Why?

 

If I’m wrong about this, please weigh in.  Tell me, where am I wrong?  How are modern Americans any different from ancient Romans, or how do we imagine that our society is in any way superior to that of the victims of Soviet society?

 

A final question: Why are we angered when we catch high-ranking officials stealing (John Kerry, for example, trying to avoid paying taxes on his yacht) yet continue to countenance his participation in the highest tiers of government?  Let’s not look away from the corrupt men who keep appointing men like Kerry, either.  How did Joe Biden, given all that we know about him in his public life, ever become President of the United States?  It wasn’t because Joe Biden is corrupt —  it was because WE are corrupt.

 

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

 

DOJ planned on arresting Chauvin and others immediately even if acquitted

Whatever happened to double jeopardy? And now they will put Chauvin through another trial? No doubt the Feds will make sure he gets a “hanging judge.”  One thing is for sure, no one will be willing to be a defense witness. That is the lesson that the government is giving.

Chauvin Case Takes Ugly Turn – Maryland DA to Investigate Defense Medical Examiner

A chilling turn is taking place with the Chauvin Murder Trial. A witness for the defense will have the full weight of the Maryland Attorney General’s office bear down to attempt to crush him. They are attempting to discredit him, dishonor him so that there will be few future defense witnesses willing to offer testimony in unpopular cases? For the remaining police officers involved in the Derek Chauvin case, the message is clear. Defense witnesses will be few and far between.

Even worse we learn 431 Doctors from around the country chimed in to the AG… “conclusions were outside the bounds of accepted forensic practice and all of his previous work should be questioned.”

The very basis of a murder trial is to present rebuttal to the charges. How many times have we seen opposing Forensic Pathologists duel it out… famous ones at that and highly paid.

This image from video shows the certificate of death of George Floyd that was entered into evidence, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over court Firday, April 9, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, at

Here we go:

Leading up to Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, Justice Department officials had spent months gathering evidence to indict the ex-Minneapolis police officer on federal police brutality charges, but they feared the publicity frenzy could disrupt the state’s case.

So they came up with a contingency plan: If Chauvin were found not guilty on all counts or the case ended in a mistrial, they would arrest him at the courthouse, according to sources familiar with the planning discussions.

The backup plan would not be necessary. On April 20, the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three murder and manslaughter counts, sending him to the state’s most secure lockdown facility to await sentencing, and avoiding the riots many feared could engulf the city once again.

Now, with Chauvin’s state trial out of the way, federal prosecutors are moving forward with their case. They plan to ask a grand jury to indict Chauvin and the other three ex-officers involved in George Floyd’s killing — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — on charges of civil rights violations, a source said.

H/T:  Star Tribune

For more on the Autopsy and trial:

Chauvin Case Takes Ugly Turn – Maryland DA to Investigate Defense Medical Examiner

Chauven – Floyd: Over what? ‘A little bit of money’

The very best of the swamp.

THE BUNKERVILLE WAR – The Fight for Land Rights -The Bundys, the Conclusion

The Bunkerville War — Part II

The fight for land rights

by Mustang

The Bundy’s

In 1848, as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (ending the Mexican/American War), the United States purchased from Mexico the entire southwestern region of the United States.  The federal government has since then owned much of the land that is now Nevada, including an allotment of land previously permitted to Cliven D. Bundy, which was called Bunkerville Flats, Nevada.

In 1861, the Nevada Territory was partitioned from the Utah Territory and, in 1864, Nevada became a state.  Nevada’s original settlers in the 1840s and 1850s were Mormons from Utah with a few small-time farmers from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi sprinkled in.  After the War of Yankee Aggression, much of the southwest land was settled by rural farmers, homeless squatters, and small-time ranchers from former Confederate states.  Most of these people sought to escape the ravages of war — some of them were fugitives from the law.  The ancestors of Cliven David Bundy (b. 29 April 1946) were Mormons from Utah.

Since 1934, federal land in Nevada has come under the management of the US Forest Service, BLM, or its predecessor, the US Grazing Service.  More than two-thirds of Nevada’s 70-million acres fall under the authority of BLM; nation-wide, the agency manages around 18,000 grazing permits and leases — in Nevada, around 700.  In every permit agreement, the federal government asserts its control over the leased land, so there is no question about whose land it is.

Cliven Bundy’s father, David Ammon Bundy, first obtained a grazing permit from the BLM in 1954.  Bundy maintained these permits until 1993.  Five years earlier, in 1989, the federal government declared the desert tortoise an endangered species and began to develop a plan to save this creature within Clark County, Nevada.

The government announced their project by asserting that its purpose was “to meet the needs of the tortoise and the people,” such as Bundy, who owned a permit to use the tortoise’s land.  In 1991, the US Fish and Wildlife Service approved a short-term conservation plan that set aside 22,000 acres of tortoise habitat around Las Vegas … and did so in exchange for strict conservation measures on 400,000 acres of BLM land south of the city.  This arrangement eliminated livestock grazing and imposed strict limitations on off-road vehicle use within protected areas.  Unhappily for local ranchers, the final arrangement in 1992 doubled the size of the conservation area, which by then included Bunkerville Flats.

But 1992 wasn’t the first time ranchers complained about the federal government’s control of western lands.  Following passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 came the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion — when cattlemen, miners, loggers, developers, and farmers argued that federal land ownership harmed their states’ economies and violated the principles of federalism and states’ rights.[1]

The Sagebrush Rebellion demanded that the federal government transfer its control over large amounts of this land to individual states, giving state legislatures the right to make their own decisions about land and resource management.  This “rebellion” was diffused when Ronald Reagan appointed James Watt, a Sagebrush Rebellion leader, to serve as Secretary of the Interior.  Watt devised and implemented a “good neighbor” policy to manage federal lands, a cooperative arrangement that seemed to appease the sagebrush rebels.[2]

After the government’s adoption of the Turtle Policy, it asked Bundy to return his grazing permit for a refund. Bundy refused, and as a protest of the government’s actions, he also declined to renew his “modified” permit in 1993.  In 1994, BLM canceled Bundy’s permit to access Bunkerville Flats.  Concurrently, however, Mr. Bundy asserted his “vested right” to graze his cattle on land that had been in use since 1954.

Photo:By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Cliven Bundy, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Bundy ignored federal court orders to quit the federal land; not only that, but Bundy also refused to pay his back permit fees or stop grazing his cattle at Bunkerville Flats.  Accumulating Fees and court-ordered fines soon approached $1-million.  In contrast, excluding Bundy’s fines and fees, ranchers’ total unpaid costs in arrears nation-wide amounted to only $237,000.

The Battle of Bunkerville

On 24 March 2014, BLM announced its intention to close federal lands known as Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa, and Bunkerville Flats.  The purpose of the closure was to “limit public access, use, and occupancy during impoundment of illegal cattle to ensure the safety and welfare of the public, contractors, and government employees.” The closure project involved a jaw-dropping 802,571 acres of land, only some of which fell under BLM management.  According to federal officials, the confidential nature of on-going law enforcement operations prevented them from giving their standard 30-day notice of intended action.

Reportedly, the federal government offered to buy Bundy’s cattle, resell them, and provide him with the proceeds of the sale — no doubt, less what Bundy owed BLM in accumulated fees.  Mr. Bundy declined BLM’s offer.  Between 5 and 9 April 2014, federal contractors using horses and a small helicopter penned around 400 head of cattle on the closed range — ninety percent of those animals were Bundy’s.  During the roundup, six animals died, four of which the government euthanized because they posed a threat to contractors or employees.  One was a prized bull.  Ultimately, government officials suspended the roundup out of concern for the safety of the wranglers.

Cliven Bundy wasn’t taking any of this lying down.  At the end of March, he sent out notices asking for the help of fellow ranchers and other sympathetic organizations.  The media categorized these organizations as “right-wing” and “domestic terrorist.”  It was inspired rhetoric designed to incite violence between federal law enforcement officers and citizens who have complaints about the federal government’s perceived abuses.

Whether the complaints were legitimate is for the courts to decide, which they apparently did when they ruled in favor of the federal government.  Bundy, however, claimed that federal courts are always rigged in favor of the government and against the people.  One can understand how a citizen might develop this view given the fines assessed against Cliven Bundy, as compared to, say, the government’s refusal to prosecute Hillary Clinton for violating federal secrecy statutes.

But if there was any doubt about the Bundy family’s argument, Cliven’s son Ryan cleared the air in plain-spoken language: “If they are going to be out in the hills stealing our property, we will put measures of defense. And they have always asked us, ‘What will you do, what will you do?’ and our stance has always been we will do whatever it takes.  Open-ended.  And because of that, that’s why they are scared, because they don’t know to what level we will go to protect our property, but we will protect our property.”

In early April 2014, armed citizens from across the United States joined in peaceful protests against the government’s trespass-roundup in what has become known as the Battle of Bunkerville.  BLM officials were “concerned” that protests might turn into a twenty-first-century range war.  Accordingly, federal officers sought to limit these peaceful protests by establishing “first amendment zones.”  Nevada governor Brian Sandoval almost immediately stepped in and demanded the removal of these federal restrictions.

On 10 April, protestors impeded a BLM vehicle refusing to grant passage until federal officers explained what they were doing on Bunkerville flats with specialized equipment.  Addressing the protestors, Cliven Bundy doubled down by questioning the BLM’s jurisdiction, authority, and police power.  Cliven may have been a bit over-wrought when he added that Nevada ranchers were ready to take over the country.

Later, after protestors tied up traffic on I-15 for more than two hours, they converged on Gold Butte, where Bundy’s animals were being held against their will; a tense hour-long standoff occurred.  Protestors armed with high-powered rifles took up positions that gave them a good field of fire into the BLM’s position.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie (in office from 2007-2015) opined that escalation of the problem rested squarely at the feet of BLM, who largely ignored his advice on handling the matter. Gillespie’s under-Sheriff, Joe Lombardo (who succeeded Gillespie in 2015), stated that the standoff was volatile.  Angry armed citizens seemed anxious for a fight. “We were outgunned, outmanned, and there would not have been a good result from it [violence].”  The standoff at Gold Butte was resolved when the BLM signaled that the government would return Bundy’s cattle a short time later.

Officials and citizens from several western states seem to support Cliven Bundy’s claim that the federal government was acting beyond its constitutional authority.  Politicians in neighboring Arizona, for example, vocalized their support of the Bundy claims — one of whom characterized the Bundy standoff as being similar to the incident in Tiananmen Square.  It was a suggestion that the federal government had become as abusive as the Red Chinese in Beijing — an opinion shared by many conservatives throughout the country.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval sided with Bundy and the protestors, stating publicly that the federal government’s intimidation of the American citizen, its denial of constitutional rights to citizens with whom the federal government disagrees, is unjustified.  Members of the Nevada Assembly agreed with Sandoval and voiced their support of Bundy’s refusal to give in.  Michele Fiore thought that it was time that the federal government return all federal land in Nevada to the people of Nevada.

Politicians in Utah insisted that federal bureaucrats had become de facto paramilitary units and SWAT teams — they called for the disarming of bureaucrats.  In a letter to the White House,  Texas Congressman Steve Stockman accused the Obama administration of conducting unlawful paramilitary raids against the United States citizens.

There has been no shortage of infantile rhetoric on both sides of the Bunkerville War.  The political left claims that anyone who stands up for their Constitutional rights is a domestic terrorist; the political right responds by declaring the federal government under the Democratic Party in flagrant disregard of the U. S. Constitution.  The truth may lie somewhere in the middle of this petty speechifying but still, in 2021, there has been no overtures of peace from either side.  The matter remains “unresolved.”

Postscript:  The usual conclusion.  In this case Reid, his offspring, money and China.

Sources:

  1. Dick, E.  The Lure of the Land: A Social History of the Public Lands from the Articles of Confederation to the New Deal.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970.
  2. Ferrara, D. “Cliven Bundy Case Dismissal Upheld by Appeals Court.” Las Vegas Review-Journal.  6 August 2020.
  3. Gates, P. W.  The Jeffersonian Dream: Studies in the History of American Land Policy and Development.  Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996.
  4. Maughan, R. “A Brief History of the public lands, the BLM and grazing.” The Wildlife News online, 23 April 2014.
  5. Robbins, R. M.  Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1970.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1976.

 

Endnotes:

[1] On average, the federal government owns 60% of the land in twelve states within and west of the Rockey Mountains.

[2] The “good neighbor” authority allows federal land management agencies to enter into agreements with state land management authorities to accomplish projects critical to maintaining healthy and productive forests.  However, given the number of forest fires that develop annually in the western states, it would appear that work to remove dead underbrush — the kindling materials from which forest fires are conceived — has been less than effective … and perhaps intentionally so.

This is part II. For part 1:

The Bunkerville War – The fight for land rights

The Bunkerville War – The fight for land rights

The Bunkerville War — Part I

The fight for land rights

by Mustang

What initiated this fight was the so-called “Dust Bowl” — but to start there would be to begin a story halfway through the tale. It is a complicated story that seems to have been exacerbated in no small measure by an event occurring on the other side of the world.

Barren farm in Dust Bowl | 1936. Great Depression - public d… | Flickr

Background

At one time, the French and Spanish empires owned most of the present-day United States. Of course, the word “claimed” may be more accurate. Prolific Spanish exploration began in 1492, less than twenty years after the union, by marriage, of the Iberian kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. The territorial acquisition process set into motion a competition between the ruling families of Europe, primarily Spain, France, and ultimately, Great Britain.

The kingdom of New Spain was established on 18 August 1521, following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. New Spain was a dependency of the Crown of Castile, but a kingdom rather than a colony, and always subject to the sovereignty of the Iberian monarch, who exercised sweeping powers in the so-called “New World.”(1 )The royal decree of 12 October 1535 created the Viceroyalty of New Spain — the viceroy being the Spanish king’s deputy.(2)

1.Funds for global exploration came from Queen Isabella of Castile. Isabella and her heirs not only exercised sovereign rights of the conquered territories, but the Crown also exercised property rights, as well, as sole proprietor of all Spanish dominions. Every privilege, every position, whether economic, political, or religious, emanated from the ruling monarch.
2 The Spanish Empire eventually involved all of North America south of Canada, including present-day Mexico, Central America (less Panama), most of the present-day United States (west of the Mississippi River), Florida, the Spanish West Indies (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Trinidad), and the Spanish East Indies (the Philippines, Mariana Islands, Caroline Islands, and parts of Taiwan).

Not until the eighteenth century did Spain realize that other European powers threatened its claims over North America — which the Spanish called their borderlands. Spanish authorities began to establish human settlements in the northern territories in the early 1800s, but it was already too late by then. Spain’s problem was that lands claimed for Spain, but left unattended, belied its territorial claim. The issue of establishing human settlements was further complicated because hostile natives already occupied the land claimed by Spain — Indians who did not recognize Spanish authority and had no intention of relinquishing their lands to European control.

The issue of territorial control by human settlement, which is to say asserting sovereignty, was not lost on the British, who claimed the territories of the eastern seaboard of the present-day United States and began to move westward. British colonists displaced native Indian populations and began to challenge French and Spanish claims in Canada and the area west of the Appalachian Mountains, east of the Mississippi River.

After the American Revolution, the United States’ emerging government incorporated British thinking into their land-management responsibilities. The United States could not claim sovereignty over land it did not occupy. Under the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the Revolutionary War, the United Kingdom relinquished to the United States a large tract of land west of the Appalachian Mountains, effectively doubling the size of the new nation. The next question was how the United States would incorporate these western lands into the United States.

The Land Acts

In 1785, the US Congress adopted a Land Ordinance; two years later, a group of land speculators who had organized themselves as the Ohio Land Company approached Congress with a proposal. Because the United States needed cash, the idea of earning revenue in the sale of western territory inspired the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Among its provisions, the Northwest Ordinance established a procedure for forming new states, guaranteed inhabitants civil and religious liberty, and set limitations on human bondage.

The key to Western settlement (and control) was the government’s encouragement of western migration. The availability of comparatively cheap land was one inducement to settlers, but of course, few people were interested in placing their lives at risk from hostile natives without the government’s commitment to protecting them.

In 1850, Congress passed the Donation Land Claim Act, which allowed settlers to claim land in the Oregon Territory (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming). Single white settlers could claim 320 acres of land (married couples, 640 acres); Congress repealed the act in 1855. The federal government sold these western lands for $1.25 per acre. Beginning in the mid-1850s, many politicians in Congress insisted that independent farmers deserved priority consideration for land acquisition in the western territories. Consequently, a fight evolved between Free Soilers and Republicans on the one hand and pro-slave/anti-immigrant Democrats on the other.

With the outbreak of civil war most Democrats withdrew from Congress, enabling Republicans to pass without further obstruction the Homestead Act of 1862. The effect of the act was to liberalize earlier land restrictions (1841), granting to citizens (willing to risk the adventure) up to 160 acres of land provided that they (a) improve the land and (b) file a claim deed. Persons over 21 years of age who had never taken up arms against the United States (including freed slaves and women) could own the land if they occupied it for five years and show evidence of land improvements.

Similar homestead acts followed in 1866 (reconstruction period), 1873, 1904, 1909, and 1916. The purpose of the Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916 was to allow livestock growers 640 acres of land. The government passed additional provisions in 1930, 1934, and 1938. In 1976, the federal government decided to retain its control of land rather than sell it, so homesteading was terminated by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

Initially, the federal government encouraged the settlement and development of the Great Plains region for agriculture. Westward migration increased after the Civil War, fueled again in 1869 by the completion of the transcontinental railroad. These migrants significantly increased the amount of land under cultivation. At the time, settlers used most of the land in this region for cattle ranching. Still, the adverse effect of harsh winter on livestock, drought, and over-grazing led many settlers to increase the land they put under cultivation. Subsequently, the government expanded land allotments to 640 acres in western Nebraska (Kincaid Act, 1904) and 320 acres elsewhere in the Great Plains (Enlarged Homestead Act, 1909).

Demand for land increased again in the early twentieth century as waves of immigrants flooded into the Great Plains region. Concurrently, the return of unusually wet weather seemed to confirm what government officials and farmers alike believed — that “rain follows the plow.” The advent of agricultural mechanization (along with the aforementioned mistaken belief) allowed farmers to operate larger properties without increasing their labor costs — and this encouraged even more cultivation.

The Catastrophes

World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914-21) decreased the worldwide production of crops; with increased demand for wheat and other crops, agricultural prices increased. Once more, the government encouraged farmers to increase the number of acres under the plow. The amount of farmland between the Llano Estacado in northwestern Texas and eastern New Mexico doubled between 1900 and 1920 — and tripled again between 1925 and 1930. Deep plowing and other soil preparation practices eliminated the native grasses that held the soil in place and helped retain moisture in the soil during dry periods. Cotton farmers left their fields bare during winter months (when winds in the high plains are highest), and they burned the areas to control weeds — depriving the soil of critical organic nutrients and earth retaining vegetation.

Beginning in the summer of 1930 and lasting ten years, the northern plain suffered extreme drought. Soil erosion and the loss of topsoil reduced massive agricultural fields to tens of thousands of square miles of fine dust, which, when combined with unusually high winds, created what we refer to today as the Dust Bowl. In 1934 alone, more than 12 million pounds of dust was pulled up from the Great Plains and deposited on Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Boston, New York City, and Washington, D. C. In terms of agricultural production and pricing, along with forced human migration, the Dust Bowl period was an epic economic disaster — and, given the stock market crash of 1929, it could not have come at a worse time(3).

In 1934, Congress passed the Taylor Grazing Act, which regulates cattle grazing on public lands to improve rangeland conditions and control their use. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated programs to conserve soil and restore ecological balance to the western environment. Included in Roosevelt’s initiatives were the Soil Conservation Service, Forestry Service, Resettlement Administration (Farm Security Administration), and Department of Agriculture. In 1936, the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act required landowners to share allocated government subsidies with their farm laborers. Under this law, the government structured benefit payments to control agricultural production and farming income. To stabilize prices, the government ordered (and paid) farmers to slaughter six million hogs.

In 1946, the federal grazing service, within the authority of the Department of the Interior, merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management. The United States thus became acutely aware of the importance of environmental management.

Some Clarity

The American people have a vast land heritage — it’s the story of how the United States began its expansion beyond thirteen British colonies. But in terms of the United States’ size, the federal government owns thirty percent — around 650-million acres, including all National Parks, National Monuments, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, all Bureau of Land Management lands, all military bases, and Indian Reservations. Government officials assure us that they hold all but the last two for use by our citizens.

3 Only around 43% of migrants arriving in California during the Dust Bowl years were farmers from the American southwest. Nearly a third of all migrants were white collar professionals (teachers, lawyers, and small business owners) who lost their sources of income to Dust Bowl conditions.

There are federal lands in all fifty states, but most of these lands are in the western states, which is to say, west of the Missouri River. Of National Parks and Monuments, 84-million acres; of National Forests, 190-million acres. National Wildlife Refuges account for around 150-million acres. The agency managing most (247-million acres) of this federal land is the U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Some of these lands have become part of a dispute between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy (and his family). Bundy argues that the federal government is encroaching on land that doesn’t belong to them. Specifically, Bundy refers to land that he either owns outright or which rightfully belongs to Nevada.

Some of the BLM’s lands were private properties either purchased by or gifted to the federal government. Today, most of the federal government’s land was acquired by the United States through either the Louisiana Purchase or conquest (Mexican cession). The latter category has never been private, county, or state property. Until the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, these lands were generally called “the public domain,” and they were “unmanaged” commons. Some of the public domain land was granted to railroads to facilitate transportation and communication across the continental United States, and some deeded to the American people through Homestead grants. Privatization of public land has dwindled since the 1930s; today, most public domain land resembles an unkept vacant lot.

The problem with public domain as a common was that everyone was responsible for caring for it. In effect, however, this meant that no one was responsible.(4) The purpose of the Taylor Grazing Act, introduced by Congressman Edward Taylor, a Colorado rancher, was (a) to halt the injury to public lands by preventing overgrazing/soil deterioration, (b) provide for orderly land use, improvements, and development, and (c) stabilize a livestock industry that had become dependent on public ranges.

4 The Tragedy of the Commons describes a situation in which individual users, who have open access to land resources, which is to say unhampered by shared social structures or formal rules that govern access to and use of land, act independently according to their own self-interests and, quite often, contrary to the common good of all users, which causes depletion of resources through uncoordinated actions. This is a concept that originated in 1833 by British economist William F. Lloyd who explained his argument by a hypothetical argument involving unregulated grazing on common land.

To implement the Grazing Act, the government divided 80-million acres of land into grazing allotments and then issued use permits to private landowners. Private land ownership was a requirement because permit holders would need to keep their livestock off public land for part of the year. Federal grazing fees were charged on a per head basis — on average, $1.35 per head/per month. Given a herd of 300 cattle, permit fees would come to $4,860.00 annually(5). Permits expire after ten years. Rancher Cliven Bundy’s permit expired in 1992; he refused to renew it because the BLM had changed its rules. Since 1992, Mr. Bundy has been grazing his livestock on the Bunkerville allotment “free.” It was this issue that led to the confrontation between BLM and rancher Cliven Bundy.

Sources:

1. Dick, E. The Lure of the Land: A Social History of the Public Lands from the Articles of Confederation to the New Deal. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970.

2. Ferrara, D. “Cliven Bundy Case Dismissal Upheld by Appeals Court.” Las Vegas Review-Journal. 6 August 2020.

3. Gates, P. W. The Jeffersonian Dream: Studies in the History of American Land Policy and Development. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996.

4. Maughan, R. “A Brief History of the public lands, the BLM and grazing.” The Wildlife News online, 23 April 2014.

5. Robbins, R. M. Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1970. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1976.

Endnotes:

5 I used the number 300 as a hypothetical because all historic economic data shows that herds of less than 200 head are not profitable. No one goes into the cattle business in order to “go broke.” A livestock grower requires 18 acres of land to support each cow and her offspring per year.

FBI Raids Anonymous Safety Deposit Boxes, Requires Identity to Reclaim Stuff

Here is an interesting case that doesn’t quite pass the smell test. I would think that with all the FBI has to do now with investigating Trump and the rest of the Trumpsters in America, a little bit of “avoiding currency reporting requirements” would not be high on the list. But what the heck. The FBI grows stronger every day and isn’t that the point of this? Just how far can and will they go?

In a case that’s already sparked one lawsuit, a Beverly Hills strip mall business which rents private, anonymous safe deposit boxes was raided by the FBI last month – at which time the agency conducted a blanket seizure of hundreds of customers’ belongings.

To retrieve their valuables, customers will need to “identify themselves and subject themselves to an investigation to verify their legal ownership,” according to the Los Angeles Times, which noted that one customer has already gone to court claiming that the government overreached by confiscating the contents of every security box.

The FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency took five days to go through and process all the boxes after the raid began on March 22, according to court documents. US prosecutors argued on Friday that while the original warrant remains under seal, the magistrate judge who approved it thought that the sweeping seizures were appropriate.

“The government seized the nests of safety deposit boxes because there was overwhelming evidence that USPV was a criminal business that conspired with its criminal clients to distribute drugs, launder money, and structure transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements, among other offenses,” prosecutors claimed in papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The indictment was unsealed on Friday – just one hour before a court-issued deadline to respond to a lawsuit brought by a US Private Vaults customers who alleged that the blanket seizure was unconstitutional.

The unnamed customer, listed in court papers as John Doe, said the search warrant should not have authorized seizure of the jewelry, currency and bullion that he kept in his three boxes at U.S. Private Vaults, because there was no probable cause to suspect the person committed a crime.

“Just as the tenant of each apartment controls that space and therefore has a reasonable expectation of privacy in it, each of the hundreds of renters of safety deposit boxes … has a separate reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her separately controlled box or boxes,” the person’s attorney, Benjamin N. Gluck, wrote in the complaint. –Los Angeles Times

The customer seeks to stop the FBI from requiring anonymous customers to reveal themselves and undergo an investigation to verify legal ownership of their valuables – with attorney Benjamin Gluck arguing that the government is holding his  client’s goods “hostage” until he identifies himself. Gluck pointed to a statement by assistant US Attorney Andrew Brown describing the procedure for retrieving valuables.

“Though Mr. Brown perhaps deserves credit for his candor, his announced plan is grossly improper and manifestly unconstitutional,” wrote Gluck, noting that Brown had previously conceded in court papers that some US Private Vaults customers were “honest citizens to whom the government wishes to return their property.”

“But the majority of the box holders are criminals who used USPV’s anonymity to hide their ill-gotten wealth,” he wrote. “To distinguish between honest and criminal customers, the government must examine the specific facts of each box and each claim, precisely what the anonymous plaintiff wants to prevent by refusing to disclose not only his identity, but even the specific boxes he claims are his.”

Read more at Zero Hedge

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