January 29, 2016

LaVoy Finicum's Last Video

There are literally tens of thousands of blog posts, news op-eds, academic opinion essays, and so on floating around the internet right now filled with hatred and contempt for the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and their takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. As I reported a couple days ago ("LaVoy Finicum Killed, Bundy Brothers Arrested"), their leadership has now been decimated. This puts both the immediate and distant future of the movement in extreme doubt.

Many news organizations are now using LaVoy Finicum's YouTube videos to call this movement racist and accuse them of being disrespectful to the traditions and heritage of the Paiute People who once controlled the land around this wildlife refuge. There is even a museum on the refuge site dedicated to the Paiute Tribe. As the CCF inspected the site, they found thousands of Paiute artifacts in poor storage conditions, so naturally LaVoy Finicum made a video about it (Jan 20, Native American Artifacts). Organizations like the Huffington Post and Daily Kos are holding this video up as proof that the CCF leadership treated these artifacts in a disrespectful manner. The video itself is clearly a shoutout to the Paiute People, lamenting the poor storage conditions and asking them to open negotiations to create better storage conditions or even return the artifacts to the tribe. LaVoy Finicum's last video communicates the disappointment and frustration of the CCF at the extremely negative reaction they received from the Paiute People.

I grew up in California. Beyond a handful of brief, bloody battles that were small in comparison with the experiences of the plains tribes, natives in California were mostly left to their own devices. Small pox killed far more of them than battle. Even beyond small pox, starvation at the hands of the Spanish who controlled California early on is responsible for an untold number of native deaths. The Spanish declared all the tribes "Christian" without ever approaching them and offering Christianity as an alternative to their native beliefs. When Spanish soldiers, all of whom were Catholic by the way, went out into the land and encountered natives, any who did not declare for Christ were imprisoned in the "missions" and "educated" until they starved to death or converted. A very small number of Spanish soldiers, settlers, and even priests objected to this practice and either offered refuge to native groups or married into them, giving them the same rights and legal prerogatives as Spanish citizens.

I am not familiar with the history of the Paiutes in the Harney Basin, but according to Wikipedia,

"Because of its climate it received sparse white settlement and was largely left to the Paiute until the late 19th century. Settlement pressures and conflicts with the Paiute in other areas of Oregon caused President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 to create a reservation for the Paiute encompassing Malheur Lake and much of the basin. Growing settlement pressures, in particular the discovery of gold in the surrounding mountains, as well as the interest of white settlers to form ranches in the region, caused the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to abruptly terminate the reservation in 1879. The Northern Paiute would survive virtually landless until obtaining tracts of land near Burns in 1935."

This confuses me to no end. The federal government has clearly not been a friend to the Paiute People. Not even a tiny bit. Clearly the federal government has been a great source of antagonism and oppression, simply removing them from their land and leaving them homeless from 1879 to 1935. And yet, for some reason when the CCF offered them respect and consideration, the Paiute People responded with anger and disdain. Many of the liberal news outlets are gleeful in their echoing of how the Paiute People are demanding the federal government remove the CCF from the Malheur Wildlife Refuge immediately using whatever force is necessary to do so. This is Paiute land, not American government land. This entire issue began with ranchers objecting to the federal government trying to drive them out of the Harney Basin through coercion and astronomical increases in grazing fees. Why would the Paiute People not be willing to at least talk to the CCF and see what plans they have, if any, for the future of the Harney Basin?

Maybe I am unrealistic, possibly even delusional, but it seems to me that an excellent conclusion to this standoff would be for the Paiute People and the CCF to negotiate some kind of peaceful coexistence that sees the Harney Basin returned to the Paiute People with some allowance made for the ranchers. Such a negotiation could easily conclude with the grazing fees being paid to the Paiute People rather than the faceless bureaucracy of the BLM, with Paiute People even returning to live in the Harney BAsin to pursue ranching, farming, or eco-tourism. Local control that involved both Paiute representatives and representatives from the local ranchers, with all revenue raised on the land being collected directly by the Paiute People, would be a win-win situation for everyone and would remove the BLM from the situation entirely. Why is this idea not even open for discussion?

Sometime in the very near future the remaining members of the CCF will be removed from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This removal might happen gradually and peacefully, or it might end with a bloody firefight. At this point, either conclusion is possible. In both cases, the Harney Basin will pass back into the full control of the BLM, with both the Paiute People and the local ranchers being denied any future involvement. Instead, radical conservation groups filled with individuals who have never set foot in the Harney Basin and who will never visit the Harney Basin, will enter into negotiation with the BLM and the Department of the Interior to bring about a "sustainable" future. Why has nearly two-thirds of our land been given over to people who have no interest in the land itself, who have never seen it, and who never will see it? Why are academics, activists, and politicians being allowed to exclusively define a "sustainable" future for American wilderness areas that they have no interest in visiting, exploiting, or maintaining? Why has "sustainable" come to mean allowing a return to paleolithic chaos where the land is allowed to experience massive, uncontrolled plunges between complete devastation by annual fires and cyclical extinctions?

Does no one understand that "sustainable" and "natural" are not mutually exclusive? Historically, the most biodiversity and best longevity are always experienced in lands where humans and nature work together to bring out the best in both. This kind of genuine sustainability cannot be achieved by abstract academic theories or distant management by bureaucrats who never seen the consequences of their decisions. Genuine sustainability can only be achieved through intelligent local control over both management of the land and exploitation of the available natural resources.

Mark my words, this 29th of January 2016, within half a century America's wilderness will be handed over to Chinese, Russian, European, and Australian mega-corporations for profiteering and massive destruction. The only way to prevent this apocalypse is to return American wilderness to local control by local people who have a vested interest in both living off the available resource base and passing that resource base on to their heirs. Some destruction will still occur, because some people are short-sighted, but this destruction will be minor compared to what is coming in the very near future if the federal government retains control over the people's wilderness.

America's natural lands need much less federal control and far more of this:
Local Farmers Earn Clean Water Awards

January 27, 2016

LaVoy Finicum Killed, Bundy Brothers Arrested

The takeover and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a group who eventually began calling themselves, "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom" has ended with the death of an Arizona rancher named LaVoy Finicum. He and the other leaders of the CCF were traveling to a nearby town when they were stopped by law enforcement. For some reason, shots were exchanged. Although no one in law enforcement was injured, Mr. Finicum is dead and Ryan Bundy was wounded. As I write this, all news reports agree that eight people in total have been arrested, including one person not at the site who was helping organize supplies over the internet from his home in a different state. That person turned himself in to local police after hearing of the shootout. It is unclear if the Wildlife Refuge has also been cleared or if some people are still occupying that facility.

Liberal bloggers and social media fans wasted no time littering the internet with expressions of self-satisfaction. People who flooded the internet with tearful, angry rants against oppressive police brutally murdering black youth are suddenly filled with exhilaration over the death of an elderly cowboy at the hands of law enforcement. At the same time, constitutional militia groups are sending out impassioned calls for readiness and in some cases, calls for assembly. Tension between America's most radical extremes is at an all-time high, bringing to mind the pamphleteering, petitioning, and letter writing campaigns in the months leading up to the Battle of Fort Sumter in the spring of 1861. 1860 was an election year, if you'll recall, and the attack on Fort Sumter was the first major crisis of the Lincoln presidency. Apparently election years bring out the worst in us.

Personally, I am torn. I feel profound sympathy for Mr. Finicum's family and friends. By all accounts, he was a good man trying to defend a future for his children and grandchildren that he believed the federal government was trying to steal. On the other hand, his videos during the siege are heavy with conviction that he had come to Oregon to die. In many ways, he was a man looking for a fight. His convictions led him to abandon his home in Arizona in order to make an armed stand against the federal government. Those convictions cost him his life. It is not up to me to judge whether he was right or wrong. I would not have made this stand at this time. In another time and place, under different circumstances, who knows? I hope it is not a decision I am ever forced to make. Violent revolution seldom ends well for anyone. Even if the revolutionaries win, the land they inherit is broken and bloodied to the point it can take several generations to repair. The United States of America is the one anomaly. It is the only nation in history that took a single generation to rise from the ashes of revolution to a position of global influence.

The Constitutional Militia movement is not going away. It is here to stay and it is high time the rest of us accepted this simple fact. This was not an act of terrorism. Until their convoy was waylaid along an isolated stretch of backwoods highway, the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom had never raised a hand in anger, fired off a single shot, or planted a single bomb. True, they were fairly well armed for a citizen militia, but they neither brandished those weapons in a threatening manner nor used them to coerce local support. None of the members of the CCF were from Oregon, or at least, not from this part of Oregon. All of them were outsiders and as far as I can tell, very few people (if any) in the local community sympathized with their takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Relations between the locals and the CCF might not have been amicable, but they were calm enough that the CCF had full freedom of movement. They used that freedom to attend meetings aimed at propagandizing their takeover, negotiating a local alliance, or even negotiating an end to their occupation of the refuge.

An elderly cowboy has gone to his final round up. The leaders of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom are in jail. I don't know what has happened to the followers of the movement, but if they are still at the refuge then I suspect over the next few days they will disperse, returning to their various hometowns, farms, and ranches scattered all across our nation. I am glad this did not end in the massive bloodshed of Waco. I am saddened that one person is dead, one is wounded, and half a dozen more are now in jail. I am glad no one in law enforcement was injured.

Oregon Live: Oregon Standoff Spokesman Killed, Bundy Brothers are in Custody
Fox News: Oregon Standoff Ends in Shootout
Reuters: One Dead, Eight Arrested as Oregon Standoff Ends in Shootout
CNN: Ammon Bundy Arrested in Oregon, LaVoy Finicum Killed

January 14, 2016

Capitalism is not the problem, it's the solution

Last December, Mark Zuckerberg Vowed to Give 99% of his Fortune to Charity, or at least that is the headline everyone wanted you to believe. Last June, Donald Trump Announced his Plan to Run for President, and we all know what a circus that has turned into. Kanye West has just announced He Will Give Away One Free Song Every Friday for One Month. We all now know that Donald Trump is worth about $10 billion, Mark Zuckerberg is worth about $35 billion, while Kanye West is worth somewhere around $150 million. Together, these three men are worth a combined $46 billion, give or take a few million. One last footnote for numbers, just yesterday three people each won a portion of a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, giving them roughly $520 million each to use in any way they like.

It would cost roughly $10 billion to build a high speed maglev train from Baltimore to Washington D.C. Everyone who is anyone is demanding the federal government hand over that money to local state and city governments. Already, the Department of Transportation has granted $27.8 million to the State of Maryland for a "feasibility study". Most of that money will wind up in the pockets of private companies in Maryland who have friends working in the State Legislature. Those private companies will spend a few weeks doing surveys and then write a nice long report about their findings. If they are smart business people, half the money will wind up in the pockets of five or six survey company CEOs who will in turn use the money to build bigger houses and buy fancier cars, and just maybe send their kids to college (although it far more likely they will have the kids get student loans, off-loading that cost onto the government as well). Some portion of that money will then be given to a variety of NGOs and NPOs who will take the survey report and use it to develop an environmental impact statement. From the money they receive, about half will wind up in the pockets of the NGO/NPO leaders who will use the money for NetFlix, online games, and porn.

If Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Kanye West, and the three Powerball winners had any genuine capitalist ideas in their shallow, narcissistic minds, no one would be demanding money from the federal government to build a high speed rail. Mark Zuckerberg out in California would create a private interstate rail company, solicit the others for contributions, seek the Donald's help in organizing construction, use Kanye West's connections in Japan to bring in experts from Sony and NEC, and within five years we would have a transcontinental high speed rail line that would endanger the future of domestic airline profitability, run on pure solar power, and provide millions of jobs for everyone from janitors to engineers. Everyone who invested in the new rail company would make even more money than they already have, money which they could use to finance solar power companies, wind power companies, private schools for inner cities, free clinics in poor neighborhoods, and so on.

The reason we have such huge problems in our country and around the world is not because of capitalism. The reason we have such huge problems with poverty, drug abuse, ignorance, and even terrorism is because all of the current crop of millionaires and billionaires are not capitalists. They never once stop to consider the positive changes they could bring to our world simply by directing their investments into profit-generating enterprises that also improve lives, clean the environment, and educate the next generation. Instead, they whine and moan and cry to the government to please increase the tax burden on everyone except them and then use that money to do the things they themselves should be doing! This is crony capitalism. When people who command the resources demand government solutions to problems they create, problems that would earn them even more money by correcting, and problems that don't impact them directly but make them feel bad when they watch the evening news, then we have moved from capitalism into an oligarchy that holds the seeds for a revival of isolated aristocratic families who pick one of their number and crown him king.

When people are asked what they would do if they won the lottery, their inevitable reply is self-centered. "Build a new house", "buy a new car", "quit my job", "move to Hawaii", etc. If I were to ever win a lottery jackpot that put me immediately into the ranks of the super rich, I would build a factory making musical instruments that were both high quality and relatively inexpensive, I would fund rebuilding and reequipping inner city schools, I would build rehab clinics in every major city, I would invest in robotics to help the disabled, I would fund research into solar roadways, and most important of all, I would be looking for other rich people to help me build an interstate high speed rail system between all of our major cities.

What is the real problem with the world today?
This is the real source of all our problems:

January 08, 2016

Disappointing Townhall by CNN and President Obama

Whitehouse.gov: Fact Sheet on Gun Violence EOs

Let me start by saying the batch of Executive Orders signed by President Obama the other day are probably going to withstand any legal action taken to remove them. They are very mild, and as far as I can tell, well within the powers assigned to the Executive Branch. There is only one point that is somewhat controversial: the orders to hire more ATF and FBI agents. That will be restricted by the willingness or unwillingness of Congress to fund the additional new hires.

Overall, I don't believe anything is going to change. The townhall resolved nothing, although it did provide a fairly balanced forum. Both people who supported the President and those who opposed him appeared to be given equal time to voice their opinions and ask questions. President Obama, as usual, carefully avoided any direct response to criticisms of his policies or the concerns presented by his opponents. The one time he altered course was to accuse everyone who fears the government will someday seek to confiscate firearms of being conspiracy nuts who have no grasp of reality. That was uncalled for, unnecessary, and will no doubt fuel further fears rather than relieve them. Likewise, although no one asked the question, President Obama took the time to label as unrealistic any and all opposition to funding CDC research into gun violence. Not surprisingly, the President simply omitted any mention of the very real abuse of this funding when it existed. The attitude expressed by the President will no doubt convince those who oppose such funding that their position is, in fact, both realistic and reasonable. I cannot help but conclude that from his perspective the American people who voted against his policies are not only his political opponents, they are his personal enemies as well. One does not encourage negotiation by labeling the opposition as unrealistic enemies.

Confiscation in America is neither delusional nor a paranoid fantasy. There are many influential voices in the gun control crowd who readily acknowledge that complete removal of firearms from American society is their long-term goal. Senator Barbara Boxer, Mark Kelly the husband of Gabby Giffords, the founder of the Violence Policy Center Josh Sugarmann, and countless others are on public record insisting that someday (and sooner rather than later) they want to see firearms completely removed from American life. Perhaps President Obama himself does not desire to repeal the Second Amendment, but many of his supporters do and if their voices are the only voices considered "rational" then someday soon firearm confiscation in America will be reality. As for "how could this possibly happen?", the answer to that is pretty simple. It would happen the same way it has always happened in the history of the world: local law enforcement would be the ones primarily responsible for confiscation and primarily at risk of violent opposition to confiscation. Mark Kelly's, "How could the government confiscate 350 million objects from 65 million households?" is completely bizarre. I don't have accurate statistics, and I suspect accurate statistics are not available, but it would not surprise me to learn 350 million search warrants are executed every single day in America and well over 65 million objects are collected as evidence in the process of developing a nearly infinite number of criminal investigations.

NRA-ILA catalogs and maintains a long-running series on the successful use of firearms in self-defense. (NRA-ILA - Armed Citizen). At one time I had about a dozen similar websites listed in my bookmarks but because I so seldom had time to visit them I eventually removed them. I wanted to gather some of them back up to list them here, but unfortunately, there is a built-in bias in the Google search engine (and it is the least biased of them all!) so when I enter, "successful use of deadly force in self-defense stories" all I could get in return is hundreds of pages specifically set up to debunk "Stand your ground" or "Castle doctine" laws! I contacted Google to complain about this, but I am certain nothing will change. The owners of Google and the vast majority of people they hire are adamantly opposed to firearms. Even locating websites dedicated to firearm sales or firearm manufacturing requires the use of very specific search terms such as the name of a firearm company.

Smart guns are also a big issue with this President. He does not understand why people oppose putting smart guns into the retail market. One very big reason is that there are a handful of states (including New Jersey and California) which have existing laws requiring that once smart guns become available in the retail market those will be the only firearms sold in their state. As long as such draconian laws exist, the possibility of reasonable people supporting the sale of smart guns in the United States will remain completely non-existent. As long as those who favor smart guns continue insisting that only smart guns should be allowed in the retail market no one who enjoys owning firearms will support allowing the sale of smart guns in the United States. These laws legislate the complete removal of the freedom of choice that proponents of smart guns keep insisting American consumers should have. If they honestly believe in freedom of choice, then the first thing proponents of smart guns need to do is insist that draconian laws requiring only smart guns in the retail market be repealed. Even Forbes, a notoriously anti-gun organization, has laid out the many problems with smart guns. (Forbes: Why Everyone Should be Concerned about Smart Guns)

So what does it all mean? As usual, I can only answer for myself and my opinions have not changed. I believe the real problem is the same problem it has always been: failure to enforce existing firearm laws. President Obama repeatedly fell back on the idea of a person who buys a number of firearms in Indiana then drives into Chicago and sells them on the street corner to anyone who wants to pay the price. This scenario occurs regularly in every city and state where firearms are tightly controlled. There are already numerous federal, state, county, and city laws all across our nation that can be used to prosecute such criminals. This criminal activity feeds the violence in places like Chicago and Baltimore, and so I agree that yes, this is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. The only way to address this problem is to locate these criminals, indict them, prosecute them, convict them, and lock them away. And yet, this is never the approach anyone who favors gun control recommends. Instead, they always have a huge catalog of laws they hope to implement, one gentle, "rational" step at a time, until finally the Second Amendment has been repealed and all firearms in America can be confiscated. All of these "rational, common sense" steps don't stop. They are only the first steps. Even the people who are proposing them acknowledge that this is only the beginning!

The problem is not this handful of Executive Orders. The problem is not the next ban on assault weapons that someone in Congress will propose sometime in the next few months. The problem is not even the draconian laws in California, Chicago, and Washington D.C. The problem is each step has a follow up and each follow up leads to another step. Time does not stop here today with this small handful of Executive Orders. Our nation and everyone in it is relentlessly moving into the future. We can either build a future where firearms are a core component of American culture or we can build a future where no private citizen in American owns firearms. One or the other. Assuming our nation and our society continues to thrive and grow, then sooner or later we will wind up in one of those two places. There is no other option. I will, until the day I die, work tirelessly to insure that we wind up in a future where every law-abiding citizen has free and easy access to the personal weapons of their choice regardless of whether those weapons are firearms, knives, swords, bow and arrows, or some future plasma-beam weapon that I cannot even conceive of at this point in time. The day the Second Amendment is repealed is the day the United States of America dies. It really is that simple.

A gun is not a car. A gun is not a bicycle. A gun is not a dog. A gun is not a chair. A gun is a weapon, a very deadly weapon. It is a tool that can save life or take life. Self-defense is a natural human right and the best tool available for self-defense is a gun, therefore, any effort to limit the access of free men and women to firearms is an effort to deny them their inherent natural right to self-defense. Crime is always a tragedy, but the gun is not the problem. The problem is there will always be criminals and every human has the right to defend themselves against those who seek to do them harm, regardless of whether the criminal who attacks them is an outlaw or the representative of an oppressive government. Access to firearms is not a privilege. It is a natural right.

January 05, 2016

Bundy Ranch and Burns Oregon are only the beginning

Context is everything. If you haven't done so already, please take an hour or so and read this webpage:

A Long History of Abuses

Here are some very important historical markers leading up to the standoff in Oregon:

The Atlantic, January 1996: The Rancher Subsidy
Range Magazine, Spring 1998: Bah, Bah, Bruce
Texas Almanac, 2006-2007 Issue: Ranching in a Changing Land
The New York Times, October 2013: Vision of Prairie Paradise Troubles Montana Ranchers
Newsmax, April 2014: Chinese Solar Power, Harry Reid's Son, and the Bundy Ranch Standoff
Reuters Insight, May 2014: A Collision Between Ranchers and a Tortoise
Watchdog.org, July 2014: NM Family Ranch vs. Federal Government

(All of those links, the video interview, along with countless other sources far too numerous to list here, have helped form my opinion. So if you find this blog post difficult to understand or lacking in hard facts, you'll have to go back and read all that material because what I am doing here is strictly interpretive.)

I went to high school in Calistoga, California, the heart of the Napa Valley Wine Country. I graduated in 1979. When I started high school, any available top quality vineyard land around my hometown was just under $1000 an acre. When I graduated from high school that very same land was selling for $100,000 an acre or more. In one case, a five acre vineyard with a three bedroom stone chateau and 500 bottle a year winery sold for $5.5 million only a few months after I graduated. The family who owned it at the time had bought it in an estate sale for $250,000 the year before I started high school. Family homes that sold for $35k-$50k in 1974 are now worth half a million dollars or more, which is only half of the peak values they reached in the months leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the 2008 financial crisis.

This is happening all across our nation. Farmland that just a few decades ago sold for less money per acre than a factory worker's weekly paycheck is now only available to corporations and billionaires. The amount of land available has not changed. The biggest change has been in the easy availability of farm subsidies paid out to people who buy farmland for investment but never farm it coupled with a brutal estate tax that forces small family farms to sell off land in order to meet their federal and state obligations. So while the USDA report linked above claims that less than 1% of American family farms are subject to inheritance tax, what it fails to mention is that less than 1% of the family farms that existed only fifty years ago are still in the hands of hardworking farm families.

Farming has become a massive corporate operation that instead of putting fresh food on American tables focuses on filling the ever-growing demand of corporate food processors like Tyson, Kraft, and General Mills (2014 Top 100 Food Processing companies). I am a firm believer in free market capitalism, but food production in America has become a system of crony capitalism with large corporations operating independent of federal regulators while small family operations struggle to meet ever more stringent demands made by federal regulators coupled with the enormous financial burden imposed by hyperinflation in taxable land values. In a very real sense, the death tax on family farms is funding the subsidies used by movie stars and professional athletes to fund their lavish retirements, driving up agricultural land values in an ever escalating hyperinflation.

How did this happen? It's simple really. Americans became more urban and better educated. As they did so, their view of nature shifted from seeing nature as a source of food and materials into seeing natural surroundings as only suited for peaceful vacation spots where they can hike, camp, water ski, barbecue, and recharge their psychic batteries for another grueling work week sitting behind a desk, manning a telephone, and attending management meetings. Nature changed from a source of livelihood to a source of leisure. This meant two things: natural areas must be preserved as pristine as possible and the agricultural economy is the enemy of modernization.

American voters, office workers, government bureaucrats, and politicians all began to view farms and ranches as impediments to their ability to enjoy their leisure time. As a result, no one complained as more regulations were passed that only applied to agriculture while taxes on agricultural families grew until they became vital support for state tax larders feeding wealthy retirement plans for government workers. Since everyone in a decision making position assumed that farming and ranching was part of America's past, they also assumed anything which could hasten the end of a primitive agrarian economy could only help hasten the bright technocratic utopia of the future. This is one of the core inconsistencies in utopian thinking. Those who believe in a golden future assume that endless factory food will somehow replace natural food, therefore, in the future there will be no need for agriculture. It never occurs to them that factories which make food products need fresh meat and vegetables to process into the foods they buy at the supermarket or enjoy in their favorite restaurant.

There is a broad, all-encompassing assault on the family farm or family ranch in the United States of America. I see it in action in the Ohio corn country where I now live even as I saw it gaining steam in the wine-producing town where I went to high school. Every week the local newspaper in Wooster, Ohio lists a dozen or so auctions from family farms that are selling off land and equipment to pay estate taxes. Sometimes those lands and equipment are bought up by other farming families looking for an inexpensive way to expand their operations, but sometimes everything is bought up by corporate farms seeking to reduce "genetic pollution" from local farmers who grow heirlooms instead of hybrids or who specialize in organic products. The tension and competition between family farms and corporate farms is a very real element of life in Wooster, Ohio; especially when family farms are forced to transform into corporations in order to survive.

But the farmers and ranchers themselves are just as ignorant of life in the city as city people are of life in the country. They do not see the bright, technocratic future that scholars, business leaders, and politicians are driving toward and using the federal government to hasten into existence. The only thing they see is a monolithic and massive federal government hell-bent on destroying their way of life by any and all means necessary. They grow the food that feeds the nation and in return, the nation does everything in its power to destroy them. From the perspective of the family farm or ranch, there is no bright technocratic utopia in the future. The only future they see is bankruptcy, starvation, and children who are forced to work on the staff of a corporate farm inside of knowing the joy of producing food for themselves while offering their surplus to the market. If self-satisfied bureaucrats in both public and private employment cannot learn to appreciate the importance and value of families dedicated to producing the finest, most abundant food in the world, then standoffs like the one at the Bundy Ranch or the one taking place right now in Burns, Oregon are going to increase in both frequency and violence.

This inability of people in the city to appreciate the hard work and incredible intellectual capacity required to produce safe, nutritious food is leading our nation down a road that can only end in civil war. It far past time to reverse this trend and to remove this unfounded and unrealistic bigotry toward country living. We must put in place a political and economic structure that provides incentives for family owned agricultural operations to both continue and prosper. If we cannot secure the future of family farming in America then we risk both a breakdown in civil order and a collapse of American agriculture. Greater and greater monolithic farming practices have historically always led to environmental collapse. There is no historical exception. At just about the 250 year mark in the history of every great civilization, reliance on monolithic farming to feed a rapidly expanding civil society always precedes collapse of that agriculture followed by famine, civil war, and social collapse. This was true in Sumer, in Egypt, in multiple successive dynasties in China and India, it was true in the great Islamic civilization that spread from Vietnam to North Africa, it was true in the Roman empire, and it was true in the Persian empire.

We stand on a precipice of social collapse. It is not some mythical "global warming" or "New World Order" that threatens us. Our collapse is being brought about by the same forces that have always brought about the collapse of great civilizations: ambitious bureaucrats and unrealistic demands on agriculture. It will not take some evil shadow society to destroy us, nor will our industrial byproducts poison us into extinction. Long before that happens we will go to war with ourselves because too many bureaucrats (both private and government) are disdainful of farmers and condescending to ranchers. As long as the decision makers are determined to wish into existence some dreamy ideal of a technocratic utopia instead of facing the very real damage their dream is inflicting on everyone around them, our civilization will remain a slowly ticking time bomb that could explode at any moment, destroying us just as we stand on the threshold of greatness.

Civil war is coming. Whether it will be triggered by religious extremists, disgruntled urban poor, or bankrupt country folk with nothing left to lose, remains to be seen. The problem is not in the zeal of ISIS, the poverty of the inner city blacks, or the poor management of family farms. The real problem is everyone who stands around pontificating about "sustainable social progress" when they have never in their life picked up a shovel, planted a crop, put in a 12-hour factory shift, or served in the military. The ignorance of the highly educated is rapidly bringing on a civil war that will destroy the livelihood of everyone both rich and poor.

This is the year of the Red Fire Monkey and his mischief has already begun.

(same day, several hours later)

I just learned there are valuable mineral deposits beneath both the Bundy and Hammond ranches. I hate the thought of it, but this could very well be a major factor behind the BLM harassment of these two ranching families.

USGS Report 1740b: Mineral Resources of the Pueblo Mountains, including Harney County, Oregon and Humboldt County, Nevada


(January 6, 2016, 5:00am)

My apologies. I posted the last update just before going to bed. Humboldt County is in California, not Nevada. The Bundy ranch is in Clark County, Nevada and the appropriate USGS Survey for the Bundy Ranch is 1730d, which is here:

USGS Report 1730d: Mineral Resources of the Lime Canyon Wilderness Area