Friday, April 18, 2014

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, April 18, 2014


Santa's comin'...!!!

SANTA'S COMIN'...!!!

(*PAUSE*)

(*SILENCE*)

Oh... no...? Not Santa...?!?!

OH...!!! The BUNNY is comin'...!!!

(Sorry about that, folks; it's been a long week...)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, April 17, 2014


Yep... anyone paying attention to the time-stamp... it's past 1:35 a.m.

Lots of good posts over the last couple days; found myself still blogging after midnight and so I figured I'd get an early start on Thursday's newsbites!

Enjoy!

And... learn...

Still Standing With Bundy


What can I tell ya, folks... I still stand with Cliven Bundy.

From Tuesday's Washington Times... Valerie Richardson reporting...

*  *  *  *  *  * 


Sending scores of armed agents along with helicopters and dogs to confront an elderly Nevada rancher over grazing fees may seem like overkill, but critics say it’s not inconsistent with the federal government’s recent approach to environmental enforcement.

* THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S RECENT "APPROACH" TO ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT... SELECT... POLITICIZED... ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT.

The simmering truce between the Bundys and the Bureau of Land Management comes after high-profile raids last year by armed federal agents on small-time gold miners in tiny Chicken, Alaska, and guitar makers at the Gibson Guitar facilities in Tennessee.

* REMEMBER GIBSON...?

* OR RATHER... REMEMBER GIBSON!

That doesn’t include more subtle threats, such as recent efforts by the Obama administration to raise grazing fees or pressure permit holders to transfer their water rights as a condition of renewal, said Ryan Yates, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau.

* DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOUR AMERICA MY FRIENDS... THE HOME OF THE FREE...?

“Some have called it a culture of intimidation,” Mr. Yates said. “It’s issue after issue, threat after threat. It’s becoming harder and harder to keep those operations in business.”

* HEY... WHO NEEDS FARMERS?! WHO NEEDS RANCHERS?! WHO NEEDS MINERS... OR NATURAL RESOURCES... OR FOOD...?!

(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)

The atmosphere was quiet but tense Tuesday at the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville, NV., just days after Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze pulled federal agents off the property and returned about 400 head of cattle to rancher Cliven Bundy.

* FIVE BULLS WERE SLAUGHTERED... PRIVATE PROPERTY DELIBERATELY DESTROYED...

* APPARENTLY BY "DOMESTIC TERRORISTS" CONTRACTED BY THE FEDERAL BLM ITSELF.

(*SHRUG*)

A BLM spokesman said the agency would work to resolve the dispute “administratively and judicially,” but so far Bundy supporters aren’t buying it. Patrols of armed supporters remained at the ranch on the lookout for the return of BLM agents instead of heeding calls from lawmakers to disband and return home, according to KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.

* REMAIN AT THE RANCH... ON PRIVATE PROPERTY... WITH THE OWNER'S CONSENT...

That may be in part because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Monday that “it’s not over.”

* HARRY REID IS A CORRUPT PIECE OF $HIT AND IF YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW THIS THEN I URGE YOU TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.

Meanwhile, former Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, told Fox News he worried the federal government could hit back hard at the Bundy ranch.

“The other thing is, governments don’t give up their power easily, and they may well come back with a lot more force, like they did at Waco with the Davidians,” said Mr. Paul, referring to the deadly 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound. “So I don’t know which way it’s going, but so far, so good.”

* WE'RE NOT TALKING THE DAVIDIANS. WE'RE TALKING THE LAST REMAINING RANCHER IN A COUNTY WHERE RANCHING USED TO BE A RESPECTED, LUCRATIVE, AND HONORABLE LIVELIHOOD - NOT TO MENTION BENEFICIAL TO THE COUNTY, STATE, AND FEDERAL ECONOMY!

Examples of hostile behavior by federal agencies prompted an Oct. 29 oversight hearing by a House Natural Resources subcommittee on “Threats, Intimidation and Bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies.” Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican, said in his opening statement at the time that the hearing would feature “a number of troubling cases in which federal land managing agencies have employed abusive tactics to extort rural families into giving up property rights or to bully farmers and ranchers into making concessions to which the federal agency had no legal right.”

* CRIMINALS WITH FEDERAL IDs...

While Mr. Bundy has been criticized for failing to pay his grazing fees, a move made after federal efforts to limit grazing after the desert tortoise was listed as threatened, the BLM’s over-the-top response has helped turn him into a sympathetic figure among rural Westerners.

* FOLKS! THE GRAZING FEES WERE SUPPOSED TO GO TOWARDS ASSISTING RANCHERS, NOT PUTTING THEM OUT OF BUSINESS! AGAIN... DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! THE FEDS ARE USING REGULATIONS AS A WEAPON AGAINST RANCHERS AND FARMERS! READ (OR RE-READ) MY STAND ALONE POSTING "I STAND WITH BUNDY" AND READ (OR RE-READ) THE LAST TWO DAYS WORTH OF NEWSBITES!

“I think there are many people who object to someone not paying grazing fees but who also find the federal government’s behavior in this situation in particular, and with regard to management of the enormous federal estate in general, to be increasingly indefensible — intimidating, destructive and cruel,” said Heritage Foundation senior adviser Robert Gordon.

As Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval put it shortly after the BLM’s arrival, “No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation, which currently exists, nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.”

* SANDOVAL SHOULD HAVE SENT STATE POLICE - AND IF NECESSARY HIS NATIONAL GUARD - TO PROTECT BUNDY... HIS RANCH... AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.

 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, April 16, 2014


So... looking out the window at snow... on April Friggin' 16th... what's a man to do but skip the gym, pour a slug of Irish into his coffee, and get bloggin'!

(*HUGE FRIGGIN' GRIN*)

I Stand With Bundy


Folks, I was taking a bit of a break from blogging during the "active" phase of the BLM vs. Bundy stand-off. That said, I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to any of you that... I stand with Bundy.

Overall... the media reporting has been dismal. One really has to dig in order to find answers, and even then... questions remain.

John Hinderaker - attorney and co-founder of the Powerline Blog - published a piece the other day that may shed some light on the greater issues at play here for you. Of course, I "barkerize" it... throw in my own questions and two-cents worth of opinion... but bottom line... Hinderaker's piece throws some much needed light upon the broader issues at play.

Here goes...

*  *  *  *  *  *


On Saturday, I wrote about the standoff at Bundy Ranch. That post drew a remarkable amount of traffic, even though, as I wrote then, I had not quite decided what to make of the story. Since then, I have continued to study the facts and have drawn some conclusions. Here they are.

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.

* FOLKS... TO UNDERSTAND THIS STORY YOU'VE GOT TO ASK QUESTIONS. I'M GONNA BE ASKING SOME... ASK YOURSELF IF HAVING ANSWERS WOULDN'T CLARIFY THINGS!

* FIRST QUESTION... BY WHAT RIGHT DOES THE BLM CHARGE GRAZING FEES AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE?

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.

* BUT HOW AND WHY IS MOST OF IT FEDERALLY OWNED...??? DID THE STATES SELL THE LAND TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT? THIS IS WHERE CLARIFICATION AND HISTORY REALLY NEED TO BE BROUGHT INTO PLAY.

Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

* BUT IF THE ARGUMENT IS SO CLEAR... WHY ISN'T THE HISTORY AND LOGIC OF THE FEDERAL LAND OWNERSHIP THE FOREMOST CENTER OF THIS DEBATE...???

* AND... FOLKS... NOTE... WE'RE TALKING THE EARLY 1990's... WHAT WAS THE NORM OF UNDERSTANDING THE LEGALITIES OF THE PRESENT SITUATION IN... SAY... THE NEAR 140 YEARS PRIOR TO THE BLM ARRIVAL ON THE SCENE...??? (I MEAN... WE'RE ALWAYS TAUGHT PRECEDENT PLAYS SUCH A LARGE PART IN THE LAW...)

[W]hy 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.

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.

* THINK ABOUT THAT, FOLKS... Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one.

* THINK ABOUT THAT, FOLKS... 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.

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?

* GOOD QUESTION! (AND QUESTION... WHAT EXACTLY IS THE OFFICIAL PURPOSE OF THE BLM? SURELY IT'S NOT TO DESTROY AMERICAN CATTLE RANCHERS? AND WHAT PRECISELY DOES THE ENABLING LANGUAGE OF THE GRAZING FEE LEGISLATION SAY THE PURPOSE FOR THE FEE IS? IS THE FEE BEING USED FOR THAT PURPOSE? IF NOT... THEN WHO EXACTLY SHOULD BE IN TROUBLE FOR BREAKING THE LAW...?)

The bedrock issue here is that the federal government owns more than 80% of the state of Nevada.

* WHY...?!?!

This is true across the western states.

* WHY...?!?!

To an astonishing degree, those states lack sovereignty over their own territory.

* AND JUST ON THE FACE OF IT... WHEN YOU THINK UPON IT... HOW IN HELL CAN THAT PASS CONSTITUTIONAL MUSTER?!

Most of the land is federal. And the federal agencies that rule over federal lands have agendas. At every opportunity, it seems, they restrict not only what can be done on federal lands, but on privately-owned property. They are hostile to traditional industries like logging, mining and ranching, and if you have a puddle in your back yard, the EPA will try to regulate it as a navigable waterway. (That is only a slight exaggeration.) One could say that Cliven Bundy is just one more victim of progress and changing mores.

The federal government has gotten more environmentally-conscious, and now we really, really care about desert tortoises. (It was the designation of desert tortoises as an endangered species that gave BLM the opportunity to squeeze Bundy in the early 1990s.) But here’s the thing: the Bureau of Land Management – the federal government – is not necessarily anti-development. Rather, its attitude depends entirely on what sort of development is in question.

Thus, BLM has developed a grandiose plan to develop vast solar energy installations on federal land across the Southwest. Wind power projects are favored, too. In fact, the same BLM that has driven Nevada’s ranchers out of business has welcomed solar projects with open arms. Some have claimed that Harry Reid is behind the BLM’s war against Cliven Bundy, on the theory that he wants the land for a solar project in which his son Rory is involved, along with the Chinese. I don’t believe this is correct. The solar projects are located north of Las Vegas, 30 miles or so from the area where Bundy ranches. But the connection is nevertheless important in two respects. First, BLM has promulgated a regional mitigation strategy for the environmental impacts of the solar developments.

Let’s pause on that for a moment: the excuse for limiting Bundy’s rights is the endangered desert tortoise. But wait! Don’t they have desert tortoises a few miles away where the solar projects are being built? Of course they do. That’s where they get to the mitigation strategy, which may involve, among other things, moving some desert tortoises to a new location:

Second, the Gold Butte ACEC is preliminarily recommended as the best recipient location for regional mitigation from the Dry Lake SEZ. This ACEC is located 32 miles (51 km) east of the Dry Lake SEZ. Gold Butte is the area where Bundy ranches. There are a few problems with the Gold Butte location as a mitigation area; one of them is that there are “trespassing” cattle.

So it is possible that the federal government is driving Bundy off federal lands to make way for mitigation activities that enable the solar energy development to the north. But I don’t think it is necessary to go there. Rather – this is the second and more important point – it is obvious that some activities are favored by the Obama administration’s BLM, and others are disfavored. The favored developments include solar and wind projects. No surprise there: the developers of such projects are invariably major Democratic Party donors. Wind and solar energy survive only by virtue of federal subsidies, so influencing people like Barack Obama and Harry Reid is fundamental to the developers’ business plans. Ranchers, on the other hand, ask nothing from the federal government other than the continuation of their historic rights. It is a safe bet that Cliven Bundy is not an Obama or Reid contributor.

* BOTTOM LINE.. CRONY CAPITALISM... PUBLIC-PRIVATE "SOCIALISM"... WHATEVER YOU WANNA CALL IT. BUT BOTTOM LINE, IT'S POLITICAL... AND IT'S CORRUPT.

The new head of the BLM is a former Reid staffer. Presumably he was placed in his current position on Reid’s recommendation. Harry Reid is known to be a corrupt politician, one who has gotten wealthy on a public employee’s salary, in part, at least, by benefiting from sweetheart real estate deals. Does Harry Reid now control more than 80% of the territory of Nevada?

If you need federal authority to conduct business in Nevada – which is overwhelmingly probable – do you need to pay a bribe to Harry Reid or a member of his family to get that permission?

Why is it that the BLM is deeply concerned about desert tortoises when it comes to ranchers, but couldn’t care less when the solar power developers from China come calling?

Environmentalists have asked this question.

Does the difference lie in the fact that Cliven Bundy has never contributed to an Obama or Reid campaign, or paid a bribe to Reid or a member of his family?

Based on the evidence, I would say: yes, that is probably the difference. When the desert tortoises balance out, Occam’s razor tells us that the distinction is political.

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?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Well, folks... happy income tax day!

Mary... happy birthday, my love!

Government... local, state, federal... go f--k yourselves you incompetent corrupt bastards!

So... here's the news I wake up to this morning:

Not only did I blow one expensive snow tire via the Jersey side of the PIP on February 28th, but this morning when Mary went to have the remaining snow tires dismounted and radials put back on our mechanic informed us that unbeknownst to us, the two snow tires we'd kept on the front were shot too - one with an inside bulge, the other an outside bulge - all from "normal" winter driving.

(As for the remaining 3rd snow tire... heck... I assume it's still good but I'll have to have it checked. It had been quickly dismounted and stored back in February... it too may be shot but at the time no one noticed since the attention was on the blown tire getting Mary back on the road.)

Folks... America is literally falling apart. This winter - and the incompetence and corruption of various arms of government which either can't (or simply won't) properly fulfill their basic missions - has cost me $500... $600... perhaps as high as $700 which will be payable this fall when I'll need to purchase at least three (and perhaps four) new snow tires.

Hey... folks... as I wrote above, we only found out about the two "compromised" snow tires upon their dismounting! You folks reading this might wanna check your own tires... and suspensions... sooner rather than later.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

AND I LOVE... MIKE LEE



* TO COMPARE AND CONTRAST TO THE "BUSH" REPUBLICANS...

* BY "TEA PARTY" REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATOR MIKE LEE

For five years now, the Republican party has attacked the economic policies of President Barack Obama as “crony capitalism.” And with good reason!

From the stimulus to cash-for-clunkers, from the bailouts to cap-and-trade, from Dodd-Frank to ObamaCare, every name-brand initiative of the Obama era has distorted public policy to privileged, well-connected insiders and elites at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.

(*NOD*)

Republicans have slammed all this “corporate welfare” and “venture socialism” for unfairly “picking winners and losers in the marketplace.” In 2012 - for the first time - “crony capitalism” was even singled out for condemnation in the Republican party platform.

(*APPLAUSE*)

Policy privilege corrupts the free market by rewarding political connections over competitive excellence. It subverts the rule of law by codifying inequality. It undermines social solidarity by pitting citizens against one another, twisting cooperative communities into rival special interests. The [Establishment] Right’s [verbal] resistance to corporatism is a welcome development. Special-interest favoritism represents a uniquely malignant threat to the economic, political, and social ecosystem that makes America exceptional.

Obamanomics has delivered record corporate profits but sagging middle-class wages and an anemic, jobless recovery. It has promoted and exacerbated inequality. It has isolated the poor and squeezed the middle class.

* ALL TRUE!

It has also exposed the president’s party to extreme political vulnerability. But to seize this opportunity — to fix what’s broken in Washington and our economy — a still-distrusted GOP first must end cronyism in our own ranks. The GOP has to close its branch of the Beltway Favor Bank and truly embrace a free-enterprise economy of, by, and for the people.

(*STANDING OVATION*)

Imagine a reformed Republican party seizing the moral high ground against political corruption and economic dysfunction. Imagine its leaders, advocating populist, free-market reforms to restore jobs, growth, and fairness to the economy. Faster than you can say “TARP” we could pin the Left between their egalitarian facade and their elitist agenda, and force them to choose between K Street and Main Street. That Republican party could not only unify and excite conservatives, but appeal to hardworking families in the purple and blue communities that President Obama’s special-interest favoritism is leaving behind.

(*NOD*)

For three years now, Republican leaders have challenged anti-establishment conservatives to come up with a viable plan to make principled conservatism inclusive and popular — to grow our party into a national majority. Well, here it is. The question is whether Republicans’ Obama-era opposition to policy privilege has been sincere or situational.

* SITUATIONAL...

(*SIGH*)

One test will be this summer’s expiring congressional authorization of the federal Export Import Bank.

* WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLOSED DOWN LAST YEAR!

The Ex-Im Bank exists to dole out taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to help American exporters. Most of the benefits go to large corporations that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world.

* YEP...

In short, Congress allows the Ex-Im Bank to unnecessarily risk taxpayer money to subsidize well-connected private companies.

* YEP...

President Obama himself called the program “little more than a fund for corporate welfare” back in 2008, when total taxpayer exposure to Ex-Im Bank guarantees was less than half its size today.

* BUT NOTE... OBAMA ISN'T LISTED AS A CO-AUTHOR OF THIS PIECE...

(*CHUCKLE*)

* AS HYPOCRITICAL AS THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT IS... THE DEMS ARE - BY AND LARGE - WORSE.

Whether the beneficiaries of particular Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees are respected, successful companies like Boeing or crony basket cases like Solyndra is irrelevant. Twisting policy to benefit any business at the expense of others is unfair and anti-growth.

* HEAR! HEAR!

Whether congressional Republicans say so — and do something about it — during the coming Ex-Im Bank debate will tell us a lot about what, and who, the party really stands for in 2014 and beyond.