I've been having a running debate with Luke Rudkowski on twitter about this whole Bundy Ranch thing. I've met Luke on the road and found him to be an amiable guy, but we have differences. Very stark, irreconcilable differences.
That said, he shot me over a video to watch on this whole BundyRanch hoo hah. He asked me to tell him what I thought of it, and since it is hard to respond to a ten minute video on twitter I thought a short post would answer him better.
The heart of the video: Senator Harry Reid and his son set out to screw Cliven Bundy for personal profit.
Snopes.com posted on this subject and rated the claim false, as in, the opposite of truth.
Now, Occam's Razor tells us that often the simplest answer to something is the most accurate, but before I get into that lets look at the claim that Senator Harry Reid is conspiring with the Bureau of Land Management to sell Bundy Rancher property to the Chinese to build a massive solar farm.
Somewhere along the way in the reporting of this brouhaha, the conspiracy theory arose that the showdown between Cliven Bundy and the federal government wasn't really about grazing cattle or endangered tortoises, but was actually about a deal between Harry Reid, the senior U.S. Senator from Nevada (and the current U.S. Majority Leader), and a Chinese company eager to build a solar plant on the disputed land . . .When Britebart thinks a conspiracy theory is too illegitimate to run with "despite the obvious partisan gain to be had" you have a problem. A big problem. And I know it involves Harry Reid and Solar energy, two thinks that conservatives aren't exactly big fans of, but let's think about this for a minute.
However, the theory that Reid's putative involvement in the Bundy dispute was motivated by a desire to somehow profit from the building of a solar plant falls flat in the face of two basic facts: The site that ENN Mojave Energy was planning to buy in order to build a solar plant is nowhere near the public land Bundy has been disputing with the government, and ENN gave up the solar project and terminated its agreement to buy land to house it as far back as June 2013 . . .
Even the conservative Breitbart site debunked this conspiracy claim, noting:Despite the obvious partisan gain to be had if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's son Rory (a failed 2010 Nevada gubernatorial candidate) had somehow been involved in a "land grab" affecting the Bundy family ranch operation — the facts just do not pan out as such. Indeed, Rory Reid did in fact have a hand in plans to reclassify federal lands for renewable energy developments. Just northeast of Las Vegas and Nellis Air Force Base, plans were drawn by Reid allies to potentially develop 5,717 acres of land for such use. While it would be fair to claim that such activity was in Bundy's relative neighborhood, the federal lands once leased by the family were more than 20 miles away, east of Overton, NevadaRead more at http://www.snopes.com/...
The simple answer: Cliven Bundy didn't want to pay grazing fees to us public land he does not own
Or the long answer: It's a conspiracy involving Harry Reid, the Chinese Government and Big Solar energy to screw over poor innocent Cliven Bundy, who could be just like your dad.
Slightly more below the fold . . .
Here is the link to the video I had mentioned earlier. I have already watched it so you don't have to. It begins by glossing over the reality where Cliven Bundy didn't pay his grazing fees while drawing a false left/right comparison before diving deeper into the notion that this is all about political corruption to enrich Senator Reid's family. The screwed up part is that stuff like that really does happen, so it's easy to think that this could be one of those things, except it's not. The land where the solar panels was supposed to be built is 20 miles away from the public land Cliven Bundy has been using, and even then the project was cancelled last year, but let's get back to Occam's Razor for a second because that is where the pertinent bit comes in.
Now I've seen my share of ten minute long conspiracy videos on youtube, it's the same kind of thing as those chain emails your Rush Limbaugh addicted uncle sends everyone in your family every few weeks. Because no conspiracy theory is every simple, it's always a long drawn out explanation involving a cover up and hidden evidence, and the bad guys are always the same, almost always it's the gubernment. This whole Bundy Ranch thing is just like that. The short answer is the correct one; Cliven Bundy broke the law. He refused to pay the same fees every other rancher has been paying to use public property. Cliven Bundy doesn't own that property, the public does. That's what the courts have said over and over. The Bundy Ranchers act as if Cliven Bundy doesn't have to abide by laws he doesn't like because. No reason, just because. Oh, I'm sorry, because he was there first. I can't wait for Native Americans to use that in court when they take back the Massachusetts because their ancestors were there first.
More to the point, this conspiracy theory has a few predictable bad guys in common with other right leaning conspiracies, a Democrat, a foreigner of some kind and non-fossil fuel energy. The simple answer is that Cliven Bundy broke the law and the BLM was seeking to enforce the law that was broken. The ridiculously contrived long answer that even Britebart thinks is too zany to run with is that this is all a grand scheme by that devious scoundrel Harry Reid to conspire with the Chinese to take away things that didn't even belong to Cliven Bundy, and it's not even about cows, it's about freedom, as in the freedom to profit off of something the public maintains without having to pay for it.
One again. This isn't some vast conspiracy. It is rather simple. Cliven Bundy refused to pay fees that every other honest cattle rancher pays. He lost at court, over and over, and when he was told that his cattle would be confiscated if he did not cease and desist he said screw you, I don't even recognize the Federal Government as being legit. Now he is facing the consequences. So of course every right wing crackpot along with AmericansForProsperity's Nevada branch jumped in. It's really simple. Cliven Bundy wants to be lawless, as if he can just wave his hands and pretend that the Federal Government doesn't apply to him. No wonder the Big Money conservative gasbags rushed to his side.
So spare me the long drawn out youtube videos about how we should all come together and not fall into the left/right paradigm so we can all blame Harry Reid for trying to screw over poor innocent Cliven Bundy.
The reality is Cliven Bundy should have paid his fees.
The reality is Cliven Bundy doesn't own that land. He never did.
And not only did Cliven Bundy refuse to pay the grazing fees required to use that public land, he didn't even want to recognize it was public land since he was "there first". As if I don't have to abide by laws enacted after I started doing a thing because I was doing it first. As if that would hold up in court (it doesn't), but so what, he don't recognize that court anyway, so that makes it okay I guess.
The reality that most of the right wingers and conspiracy theorists peddling this kind of stuff don't want to face is that it makes it extremely laughable that after years of calling President Obama "lawless" a lot of right wingers and conspiracy nuts are falling all over themselves to come to the defense of a dead beat rancher who refused to pay his grazing fees and imagines himself above the law of the land.
When your anti-Government stance is too crazy for Glenn Beck to support, it's time to rethink what you are doing. When your theory is too flimsy for even Britebart.com to run with it that's another sign.
Some of these conspiracy folks use the same logic as Beltway insiders do to justify their centrism. They assume if everyone on the left and right is mad at them they must be doing something right. Ahhh, but there's that Occam's Razor again. Most of the time you aren't right. Most of the time when everyone is backing away slowly from you, it's because you are absolutely wrong.
And I like Luke as a person, I am sure the next time I run into him we will have a beer and a good conversation, but on this one he is simply wrong.
I've said my piece. I leave the floor to you.
7:16 PM PT: Title fixed to remove the double negative. Sorry about the confusion, and thank you to the kind reader who brought that to my attention.