Bundy Standoff, WikiQuestions

Seeking more information on the Bundy Standoff, I have turned to Wikipedia. Giving the benefit of doubt, Wikipedia’s article does a decent job of pulling together some of the less talked about details that are more important than the sound-bite distortions plaguing the mainstream media. OThe account is predominantly in-line with the version of events championed by the feds. It does not even address the blatant character assassination regarding his allegedly ‘racist’ comments which were really in support of minorities. Interestingly, there are a few breadcrumbs which invite one down the rabbit-hole.

There has been a bit of chatter about how Bundy should pay the fees like everyone else. According to Wikipedia, there are currently no permits for grazing in this area. The author does not explicitly give any indication as to why this may be. There is the statement that “Bundy asserts that the terms of land use changes in 1993 reduced his allowed cattle by 90%, capping it to about 150 animals.” This is a significant impact to his operation, and may very well account for the Bundies being the last non-recreational ranchers in the county.

Later in the article it is mentioned that “The regional off-site mitigation strategies of non-governmental organizations are also delayed for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone…” The Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone includes “increas[ing] law enforcement and monitoring activities to halt the trend in degradation of resource values; and (2) restore disturbed areas in the Gold Butte ACEC” which includes the areas Bundy and others have been grazing their cattle on.

The article and the court’s decisions clearly indicate that the federal government has owned the land since the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. What I am still trying to find out is why did the government not distribute the land among the people? Oftentimes homestead acts have been used to encourage settlement and development. In this case, the feds instituted provisions for people to stake their livelihoods on government permission to use the land at the government’s sole discretion. Now, the government wants to use the land for other purposes and these people, whose families have been producing on this land for generations, are being told to take a hike.

The question is not whether the federal government owns the land, but should they? These citizens have been reduced to pawns sacrificed for international corporatocratic interests. Of course it’s legal, but that doesn’t make it right.

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Reblog: The REAL Truth Behind Bundy Ranch Land-Grab in Nevada

An interesting post from Occupy Corporatism

This article lays bare grave concerns about public officials abusing government power to seize lands from citizens for personal and corporate interests. The embedded links go a good way towards piecing together the narrative.

I am struggling to see a concrete connection with the Wildlands Project, however. It seems evident that the Wildlands Project works by lobbying governments to apply regulations to the use of lands, essentially taking custody of the land, ostensibly in support of the Wildlands Project mission.  This can create opportunities for the government to turn around and make these lands available for pork. But it seems the solar farm and panel plant discussed in the post appear to be outside of the wildways described. I would expect the Nevada lands to be within the Western Wildway, but the map provided on the Wildlands Project website does not appear to include a significant portion of Nevada. Can someone supply the missing link?

Risks of Deregulation

I have quite enjoyed a recent conversation with Adam Magoon and Brandon Christensen on the former’s post, Risks Of Regulation. While my comments on the post were distantly spaced in time, the subject often came to mind in the interlude. At the present moment I would like to expand more upon my mental meanderings regarding corporate and government power, and will likely deviate beyond the scope of the original post. While on the subject of the original, I never intended to challenge the notion

“that these regulations were essentially written by the corporations who would be doing the drilling.”

As I plainly stated,

“I would bet dollars to donuts that the regulations cited in this article were developed and supported by corporate interests.”

I admit this was redundant within the conversation, as that point had been clearly made in the post and then repeated previously in (and within) the comments. It is a popular sentiment. I did not mean to imply that bankers should write oil regulations. I did mean to stand in solidarity with Mr. Amburgey’s remarks concerning unicorns and pixie dust. More specifically:

“But they weren’t doing anything they didn’t want to do anyway [see the point just above] they were just externalizing the downside risks. As Adam points out ‘If the site is not economically viable then there is no reason to drill there.’”

It is excellent that we are agreed that the State is a tool used by Capital to externalize its risks* thus creating an opportunity for profits from an otherwise undesirable venture. Mr. Magoon soundly makes an excellent point on this matter. To question the practicality of the proposal to end all regulation is not to misrepresent it, but to continue the conversation.

The State does not corrupt Capital so as to pursue a venture with such potentially catastrophic and damaging consequences. While severing State and Capital would partially disarm and so initially weaken Capital, it has no effect upon a human’s desire of the lower appetite contrary to reason. Lobbyists, bureaucrats, employers and employees are all human.

The post does not persuade me that regulation is not “a protective shield from the ‘dangers’ of the businessman.” If any businessman tells you that government regulations have not dissuaded him from dubious conduct, he is blowing smoke up your @$$. It is the invisible hand of the market that beckons sensuously, while the menacing hand of government threatens to slap at the wrist. It is also true that the hand of the market is a provider and comforter, while thugs wear brass knuckles of government might. The State, Capital and Labor are all states of Society in which Man naturally lives.

This is deteriorating into a metaphor about three-legged stools not wobbling… Of course there’s also the one about molecular bonding! Anyway, I hope you can grok my trip.

Afterword

There is something to be said for unions. They undoubtedly offer some restraint against abuses. It is quite unfortunate that they were compromised by organized crime so early. Of course, there’s also that pesky concupiscence thing about both the mobstersand union members.

*Have you ever encountered a situation where the State externalized its risks to Capital?

The War on Terror: an Itch We Need Not Scratch

The War on Terror is like poison ivy, an itch one needs not to scratch. Now, that is not to say “an itch one doesn’t need to scratch”, but “one needs not to scratch”. Don’t scratch it!

Generally, you get poison ivy by going someplace you don’t really belong and getting mixed up in stuff you don’t really understand. Anything that makes contact with the plant picks up the irritant, urushiol, light, clear oil that you are unlikely notice at all. That is, you don’t notice it until the inflammation starts. It often starts small, just a little itch and maybe a small bump.

You scratch it reflexively. You don’t realize that the oil is on your clothing, your shoes. Then it’s on your hands and furniture. You inadvertently spread it over more of your skin. It seeps into your lymphatic system and travels around causing outbreaks in new places. Now you know you have a poison ivy rash, but it’s too late. The itching is intense. Your skin boils and blisters. Scratching causes the blisters to burst adding the risk of infection. If the reaction is strong enough, compounds in the pus oozing from the wound will spread the reaction.

The US and other western powers got involved in places and business deals the people did not understand. American foreign policy and business have spread an irritant all over the world, at home and abroad. The reaction started with small itches: Iran, the Middle East, Central and South America to name a few. The US scratched: the Shah and Iraq, the Contras, Panama… Then the festering came: the first war in Iraq, embassy bombings, and the blisters burst on 9/11.

The US refuses to stop scratching; scratching names off the president’s hit-list; scratching more names onto the list. We fail to see that by doing this we’re spreading the irritant more and more. We’re opening wounds and risking infection.

Once you’ve had poison ivy, you learn fast how to handle it. You learn where it grows and what it looks like. You learn to recognize the symptoms earlier after you may have been exposed. After exposure, you thoroughly wash everything that might be contaminated. You learn how to treat the itching without scratching.

This is exactly what we need to do with our foreign (and domestic) policy. We need to recognize what we are doing as a nation to radicalize people against us and stop doing those things. We need to thoroughly clean up everything that has been contaminated by this exposure: the military, government agencies, and private corporations. We need to treat the itching with restraint and a soothing balm.

Conscience and Capitalism, too

There is an important social dialogue taking place throughout the developed world concerning the problems of capitalism. Unfortunately, two factors are severely hampering the discussion: the tendency to speak in shorthand, and the narrow polarity of the dominant paradigm.

The English language is filled with words that have many and/or broad definitions. The “-isms” tend to belong to this group of words. In the interest of time and not boring people to distraction before making a point, we tend to toss these words around lightly without taking the care to define exactly what we mean by them. We speak in shorthand, but we are not always speaking the same shorthand.

The narrow polarity of the dominant paradigm is a significant issue which deserves adequate treatment. However this is not the post for it. For now, in this context, let it suffice to say that the polarity is defined by capitalism vs. socialism. Rarely does one encounter another position, such as distributism or mutualism. That said, let us return to addressing the shorthand plaguing “-isms”.

It is important to recognize a distinction between respectable capitalist ideals and the bastard capitalism which is enslaving the world. Appendix Zain to “The Illuminatus! Trilogy” begins with four quotes:

Property is theft.” – P.J. Proudhon

Property is liberty.” – P.J. Proudhon

“Property is impossible.” – P.J. Proudhon

“Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The appendix goes on to discuss property1, property2, and property3. In short, property1 (= theft) is established by “artificial laws of feudal, capitalist and other authoritarian societies” and therefore requires “the armed might of a State to force people to honor it”. Property2 (=liberty), in contrast, would “be honored in a free society of rationalists”. Finally, the struggle between property2+1 (= property3 [taking some license with this elaboration]) creates so much conflict that society consumes itself and all property, making property impossible, at least insofar as property1 is present. The mistake of Objectivists is two-fold: to assume that property1 = property2; and Objectivism is Satanism. These mistakes are closely related.

A common mistake in diabolical thought is to focus on one truth to the exclusion of all other truth. Ayn Rand makes many excellent points about the virtue of applying one’s skills and efforts to create value. That value is then traded for value to mutual benefit. Money stands as a symbol and vehicle of that value. These are all admirable and true values. Unfortunately, her experiences of persecution by the Bolsheviks seem to have pushed her beyond the middle way, and in reaction to the collectivist, communist evils seen in her youth she pushes hard into the equally dangerous territory of pure self-interest.

Along the same line of thought, I propose:

Capitalism1 is theft.

Capitalism2 is liberty.

Capitalism* is impossible.

Capitalism1 exalts wealth above all other values, moral, social, ecological or otherwise. Defining monetary wealth as the highest good justifies whatever means to the end of acquiring more wealth. This is the capitalism of the corporatocratic empire that has purchased the mainstream media (left and right, don’t forget about the narrow polarity) and much of the government. At the present moment it appears that capitalism1 has won.

But there is capitalism2, too. Socialism, and certainly not communism, is not the only alternative to capitalism1. Skilled and diligent work should reward both the entrepreneur and the laborer with its fruit. The capitalist2 is free to value morals, society, and the world outside of the “market”. The people are free to patronize commercial institutions that uphold their common values. This freedom is an opportunity to shift the values of our society in a positive direction.

Capitalists1 have purchased immense political power with the money the people gave them. As a result, the people’s votes at the polls are of little value. The votes that have value now are the votes that capitalists1 value, your money. If you want to encourage values beyond money, the current subjective reality demands that you invest money in those values. Capitalism with a conscience is capitalism2.

Related:

Reclaiming the Commons Appalachia

‘Social Streets’ and the mutual aid economy

Pope Francis, Does an Anti-Capitalist = a Socialist?

Do Distributists dream of electronic cryptocurrencies?

Dear Wall Street

End the War on Poverty!

I actually drafted this 2 nights ago and was thinking to hold onto it for a dry spell. Then I saw the Daily Prompt: Groupthink, and thought, “Sure, why not?”

We have a problem with poverty in the world: there are too many poor people. When we have a problem, what do we do? Wage war on it! War on Poverty! Don’t poor people have enough problems without having war waged on them?

The left says…

L: The problem with poor people is they ain’t got no money. We need to do something about this before they rise up and take us out of power.

R: You’re right, but we can’t just give them money.

L: We could loan it to them…

R: They can’t pay back the loans – that’s just giving it away.

L: Ahhh… We’ll loan the money to the government! The government will spend the money on social programs and entitlements and levy taxes to pay back the loans.

R: Now you’re talking. But about these social programs – they are not gonna work. We can make them look great and all, but if they do work then the programs will end and we won’t be lending money to the government anymore.

L: Sure, fine! We just need to pass some legislation with neat acronyms and big dollar signs. It’ll be fine.

R: Of course it’ll be fine. The government can’t pay back the loans either, but when they default we will own everything! Mwaa ha ha ha haaa!

L: Right on! But hey, the folks are getting restless again. Maybe we could pay them some more, tax them some more, and spend some more borrowed money, huh?!

R: I like the cut of your gib. However, to raise minimum wages, we’ll need to raise prices to cover the costs.

L: Whatever you need, man! Just raise the prices slowly, after the minimum wage legislation takes effect, and they’ll barely notice.

R: I’m getting bored. Let’s build something. How about a stadium? Or we could tear down someone’s country and re-build that…

L: That sounds great! We’ll build a temple to the goddess Nike who will bless us our plan for victory over the world! Or at least distract these poor bastards a little longer.

R: Yeah… whatever. Ummm… we could save some money by building it where all those poor folks live.

L: Perfect! That’ll increase tax revenues so the government can keep paying on that interest. Of course the folks living there now can’t really afford to move, so they’ll need government assistance. That means more loans.

R: I’m tired of making loans and collecting interest. I want everything now! The government has borrowed enough!

L: If you don’t loan more to the government so they can pay on the other loans and we, or they… whatever… default, the markets will crash and lots of money will simply vanish.

R: Good point. We’ll crash the market, then loan the government a bunch of money to bail us out. Plus, I can look more conservative by railing against government debt, spending and all that.

L: Brilliant!