Sunday, April 13, 2014

U.S. government backs down

Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge as protesters gather by the Bureau of Land Management's base camp, where cattle that were seized from rancher Cliven Bundy are being held, near Bunkerville, Nevada April 12, 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Saturday said it had called off an effort to round up Bundy's herd of cattle that it had said were being illegally grazed in southern Nevada, citing concerns about safety. The conflict between Bundy and U.S. land managers had brought a team of armed federal rangers to Nevada to seize the 1,000 head of cattle.
REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Faced with a swell of sometimes-armed resistance, the federal Bureau of Land Management released 400 of a Nevada rancher's cows it had been rounding up because the rancher's right to graze on federal land had been revoked and because he had failed to pay the taxes other such ranchers pay.
Hundreds of states' rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' return to rancher Cliven Bundy. Some protesters were armed with handguns and rifles at the corrals and at an earlier nearby rally....Bundy, 67, doesn't recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the small town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines....
It's the latest skirmish since the 1980s when the Sagebrush Rebellion challenged federal ownership of Nevada rangeland ranchers said was rightfully theirs....
[A BLM spokesman said] This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public-lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.
Meanwhile, at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, former Arkansas governor and presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee told an adoring conservative crowd Saturday that getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service might be a good idea.
'It is the one type of entity in America,' he complained, 'where you are guilty until you can prove yourself to be not guilty.'
A shift in the law away from income taxes, and toward taxes on sales and consumption – what advocates call the Fair Tax – 'would rid us of the IRS,' he said.
Huckabee, like all politicians, outlines what deserves to be critiqued. Like other politicians, he waves the red-white-and-blue of the 'nation's interest' in the public face. Men like Cliven Bundy hear him loud and clear. And yet when politicians -- any of them -- like Huckabee are asked to lay out a concrete and detailed plan for what TO do, as distinct from saying what ought NOT to be done, they grow vague and humble and hide their cards because either 1. they haven't got a clue or 2. they know damned well that any positive plan will be used as fodder against them ... and the national interest can go fuck itself when compared with their desire to be in the limelight. Will Huckabee help to patch the interstate highways or assure the safety of bridges or keep up national parks. Somehow he, like other politicians, looks too fat to do such work.

And I doubt that Huckabee and his ilk have the spine to either stand with or stand against Cliven Bundy.

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