All The World's A Stage, and Cliven Bundy is not the player.
The "standoff" in Nevada isn't about Cliven Bundy. It's not about "grazing fees." It isn't about "Freedom from Tyranny," the "First Amendment" or "Sovereignty." It isn't even about cows.
It's about money for two Billionaires with whom we're all familiar.
Two affiliates of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity are helping conservative media promote the cause of a Nevada rancher who has made violent threats against the federal government.* * *
Two of its local affiliates, Americans for Prosperity Nevada and Americans for Prosperity Colorado, have become active boosters of Bundy's actions.On Twitter through AFP:
AFP Nevada's Facebook page posted a graphic attacking the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for spending "one million dollars" to enforce the court order to round up Bundy's cattle on federal land. Another photo attacked the Bureau for creating a designated "First Amendment Area" for protesters to gather in near the property.
AFP Nevada has promoted the hashtag #BundyBattle, which supporters are using to showcase their message. In one tweet, AFP Nevada posted a graphic attacking the cattle round up and said they had a "bone to pick" with the Bureau of Land Management.Other AFP arms of the Kochtopus pushing the story:
Another AFP Nevada tweet attacked the "First Amendment Area" with a photo of cow manure and the caption "This is what we think about 'First Amendment Areas'."
AFP Nevada also promoted as a "must read" a blog post from conservative pundit Dana Loesch where she described the standoff as "harassment" from the federal government. The group also accused the BLM of "strategically regulating hard-working Americans out of business."
AFP Colorado has reposted several of AFP Nevada's tweets, and has posted commentary of its own about the issue. In one tweet, AFP Colorado has said that the "Fed militarizing of Nevada standoff is bound to fuel more sagebrush rebellion" and that "Feds turn from landlords to warlords when Nevada rancher won't bend his knee."To appreciate how churning the media wurlitzer on this suddenly "newsworthy" controversy benefits the Kochs, one only has to go back to 2012 when the Utah legislature passed something called the Transfer of Public Lands Act, legislation vetted and inspired by none other than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose chief funders include--you guessed it--David and Charles Koch.
AFP Colorado also reposted a tweet attacking the "First Amendment Area" from Paul Joseph Watson, a correspondent from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars.
The Transfer of Public Lands Act (TPLA), passed in 2012 and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, an enthusiastic backer, mandates that the Forest Service, with 15 percent of Utah land, and the Bureau of Land Management, with about 42 percent, relinquish their domain to the statehouse no later than 2015."Relinquish their domain to the statehouse" means that the lands would go from Federal to state stewardship. As pointed out by David Garbett, a lawyer with the nonprofit Southern Utah Western Alliance:
“The only way the Utah legislature can generate money from the public lands is to ramp up development and hold a fire sale to clear inventory. That means that the places the public has come to know and love will be sold to the highest bidder and barricaded with ‘No Trespassing’ signs.” Similar bills are proliferating in other Western states where most of the land is managed by a federal agency.The "Transfer of Public Lands" bills produced by ALEC are then hawked by industry-friendly local politicians and sold to the public as providing additional funding for non-industry purposes such as funding education, health and infrastructure improvements through "unleashing the energy" of public lands.
In other words, by selling them to mining, shale and oil interests, run by (among others) Charles and David Koch.
Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act is an updating of that old land-grabbing con game that has characterized the West. And it has powerful corporate backers. The legislation first made an appearance in a 2011 meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which works with state lawmakers to draft “model legislation.” Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which runs an ALEC watchdog unit, describes the group as a “corporate and partisan lobby masquerading as a charity, allowing some of the most powerful corporations and richest CEOs to get their legislative wish lists in the hands of politicians eager to please special interests.” ALEC’s agenda, befitting the concerns of its chief funders, the archconservative energy magnates Charles and David Koch, is to bolster corporations’ interests without publicly disclosing those corporations’ influence on the bills ALEC task forces produce. Graves describes this as “legislation laundering.”Nevada has followed a similar course.
On June 4, 2013, Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law AB227 Nevada Land Management Task Force, making Nevada the fifth western state to actively explore the transfer of public lands to western states.Legal scholars have largely concluded that these laws are unconstitutional. But with a fanatical, Federalist-society indoctrinated Supreme Court Majority bending over backwards to accommodate corporate interests in every conceivable manner, the Constitution has proved to be a flimsy protection against virulent greed. By milking and stoking the controversy, the Kochs seek to galvanize public opinion against the federal government, delegitimize the Bureau of Land Management that oversees public lands, and thereby impugn its stewardship of lands that Koch-run industries want to get their hands on. These include lands in Nevada, Utah and pretty much anywhere else they can dig, frack or mine. This isn't about some silly rancher's "grazing fees," to the Kochs and their business pals. It's about their desire to exploit, despoil and pollute lands that we, the public, own by virtue of our citizenship. That's not "freedom." It's greed.
In fact, it's almost tragic to see how the "militia groups" that pride themselves on their purported "independence" and "freedom" so willingly allow themselves to be duped by people whose only interest is to exploit the land for their own purposes. Whose self-serving greed wouldn't hesitate to gin up an armed confrontation in which people could conceivably die, simply for the purpose of lining their own pockets.
Did I sound like I feel sorry for the militia groups? I don't. If they were truly patriots I might feel sorry for them, but they aren't. Because true patriots would realize that the federal lands the Kochs, the oil, mining and energy industries are attempting to claim for themselves are:
[O]wned by every American – all 300-plus million of us. It is a peculiar property right we each have to this commons, as we acquire it simply by dint of citizenship, and what we own is spectacular. The marvel of the federal public-lands system is that it exists at all. During the 19th century and into the early 20th, much of the land was leased and sold off in a frenzy of corrupt dealings. Railroads, corporations, land speculators, mining interests, and livestock barons gorged on the public domain, helped along by the spectacularly pliable General Land Office, which from 1812 until its closure in 1946 privatized more than one billion acres, roughly half the landmass of the nation. The corruption was such that by 1885, The New York Times’ editorial page had denounced the “land pirates” whose “fraud and force” had excluded the citizen settler—the farmer, the homesteader, the cowboy—from “enormous areas of public domain” and “robb[ed] him of the heritage to which he was entitled.”That's what this controversy is really about.