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article imageOp-Ed: Nevada stand-off looking like Occupy Wall Street with teeth

By Ralph Lopez     Apr 16, 2014 in World
There is something happening in America as the Cliven Bundy drama unfolds, and a grazing fee dispute in Nevada threatens to turn into a bloodbath.
The cattle rancher has riveted the attention of the nation, as U.S. President Barack Obama implements a no-fly zone to news helicopters. The spectacle has set the Internet aflame across the political spectrum, mostly with sympathy for the rancher, whether it be from the left or the right.
[UPDATE: Although Bureau of Land Management SWAT teams and other federal personnel can no longer be seen near the Bundy ranch, the no-fly zone imposed by the Obama administration apparently remains in effect. Last weekend Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who is the Senate Majority Leader, labeled Bundy and his supporters as "nothing more than domestic terrorists" and said that "it's not over." At the same time Reid claimed Bundy did not pay his income taxes, though Bundy, through his brother, denied that he owed back income taxes. According to the Associated Press, Reid said that a federal task force was being formed to address the Bundy situation.]
With Bureau of Land Management police already forced to back down in the face of hundreds, if not thousands, of armed citizens last week, the stand-off is starting to resemble Occupy Wall Street with teeth. Indeed, an Occupy Wall Street branch Occupy the BLM is organizing to bring protesters to the ranch.
The Bundy Affair has struck a nerve that the mainstream news is not reporting. The video posted on Youtube of last week's showdown has garnered over 600,000 views in two days. One observer has sent an email to myself and others. My source reports:
"Here's what the news won't say about what really happened in Nevada...From a person that went there, drove there from L.A...
The highway was almost empty until near Mesquite. Then it was a traffic jam. Motor homes, campers, ATVs running along side the freeway, motorcycles, vehicles, every thing you could possibly imagine. Everyone on their way to Bunkersville. Then it about stopped, just inching along. Word traveled down the traffic line that the feds had blocked the road just out of Mesquite and were searching vehicles for weapons and cell phones...As we got closer to the ridge, we were stopped by armed militia. We could not go any further. We could wait, or turn around and go back to the road. Men, that I suspect were special forces, had climbed the ridge from the back side and captured the [government] snipers. They were at that moment coming down the ridge to take them to Mesquite where they would be let go. They weren't prisoners, they were just going to be replaced by friendlies.
Because of the roadblock on I-15, people refused to be searched, and refused to turn back. They just pulled off the road and parked. It was like a dam backing up a river. Soon the feds were trapped between the Americans who had already gotten through, and the Americans that had been stopped on the highway. The BLM agents went into full panic mode and called for help. LVPD which had REFUSED to show up to help Americans HAD to show up to rescue BLM that was now trapped and helpless. The blockade was SEVEN MILES LONG!"
It's not that people don't understand that Bundy owes the federal government money. These sorts of disputes are fairly common in the American West. It may be that, at last, Americans one and all are fed up with what the Bundy episode is bringing into stark relief, in image after image: that America, more than ever, has become a land of kid gloves and coddling for the big dead-beats and SWAT teams and snipers for the little ones.
Why is it that when you owe $1 million to the American taxpayer, you are descended upon like a common terrorist, but when you owe $3 TRILLION, you get a special pass to the presidential inaugural ball? That money is owed to the American taxpayer every bit as much as Bundy is said to owe his million. But while he at least sweats in the blazing Nevada sun grazing his cattle for it, the bankers who still owe trillions to the US taxpayer worked no harder than entering the keystrokes to write the law for the US Congress to pass.
A dead-beat is a dead-beat is a dead-beat. The question is not one of whether he owes it or not. It is one of the double standard. Why aren't snipers on the roofs of New York with their cross-hairs on the front doors of AIG, until they pay up?
One of the greatest fictions perpetuated by the media which is now busily portraying Bundy as an "anarchist," is that most of the bank bailouts of the 2008 bank fiasco have been paid back, with interest. This is true only if one is talking about the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) of 2008. What they are not telling you, the same as they are not telling you what is really happening in Mesquite, is that TARP is but a small portion of the bailout programs which were passed on the theory that some banks were "too big to fail," and trillions are still owed by dead-beats who wear not cowboy boots, but Armani suits.
Now that they haven't failed, and bank balance sheets are roaring right along, these dead-beats owe the American people, at a minimum, $2 trillion, and probably more.
To put that number in context, an entire US budget for one year is about $4 trillion.
Not only have the banks not finished paying up even the small TARP portion of the bailouts; the Government Accounting Office has found that what they did pay, they paid with the non-TARP parts of the program. Fox News reported that:
"The GAO’s finding undercuts the Treasury’s prior statements that effectively assert the Troubled Asset Relief Program has earned a profit for taxpayers. Specifically, the GAO says that, according to its new review, “as of January 31, 2012, 341 institutions had exited,” TARP, almost half by repaying...with funds from other federal programs.”"
A look at the rhetoric being employed by the supporters and bloggers standing behind Bundy reveal grievances that run far deeper than local grazing rights. Some point to the increasing pace of acquisitions in key industries by China such as pork and high-tech, with China's recent acquisition of Smithfield Foods overnight making it the largest employer in many US cities. In addition the USDA has recently, for the first time, approved the import of Chinese chickens. Conservative radio talk show host Fabian Calvo says:
"It is just like where America was with England when we were exercising leverage over them around WWII because we were the largest creditor nation. Now, we are the largest debtor nation, and we owe all this money to the Chinese. In order to not have them dump our debt, we’re basically allowing them, through the Department of the Interior who is stealing rancher land and killing their cattle, they are selling out America.”
Calvo believes the BLM is confiscating and taking control of land for "future collateralization" of currency after a hyperinflation similar to Weimer Germany.
The Center for Media and Democracy in 2010 issued a report which stated that:
"the U.S. Treasury Department's ten TARP programs represent less than seven percent of the $4.7 trillion disbursed by the U.S. government in an effort to aid the financial services industry. Far more money has been disbursed by the Federal Reserve to prop up the financial system than by the U.S. Treasury, and those loans are still outstanding."
Untitled
Center for Media and Democracy
A table complied by the Center showed the breakdown of monies owed:
Outstanding Monies Still Owed to U.S. Taxpayers
Disbursed Outstanding
Non-TARP $4,4152. billion (93%) $1,815.8 billion (94%)
TARP $307.6 billion (7%) $117.7 billion (6%)
Total Bailout $4,722.8 billion $1,993.6 billion
And in a little-reported section dealing with the non-TARP bailouts issued in 2009 by the Special Inspector General for TARP, Neil Barofsky, Barofsky wrote:
"By itself, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) is a huge program at $700 billion. As discussed in SIGTARP’s April Quarterly Report, the total financial exposure of TARP and TARP-related programs may reach approximately $3 trillion. Although large in its own right, TARP is only a part of the combined efforts of the Federal Government to address the financial crisis. Approximately 50 initiatives or programs have been created by various Federal agencies since 2007 to provide potential support totaling more than $23.7 trillion."
Special Inspector Barofsky, in his July 2009 report, put the outstanding balance owed by banks to taxpayers for both TARP and non-TARP programs at closer to $3 billion (see table below, "outstanding balance.") Journalist Glenn Greenwald called Barofsky, who was forced out of Washington after his 2009 report: “easily one of the most impressive and courageous political officials in Washington.”
PDF OF SECTION 3 OF SIGTARP JULY 2009 REPORT, ON NON-TARP PROGRAMS
The champagne keeps flowing in the Washington lobbyist cocktail party circuit, for the dead-beats who owe you and me $3 trillion cash money every bit as real as what Cliven Bundy owes. No SWAT teams for them. Meanwhile Bundy, no role model but certainly no terrorist, stands to get his head blown off by some trigger-happy federal tough guy. That may be what has finally stuck in the craw of the American people.
RELATED:
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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