I write regularly that the battle for liberty is over the middle 40% of America. We won’t change the minds of the 25-30% of the evil anti-liberty folks, and they won’t change our minds. The real battle consists of making the middle 40% not see us as the enemy. The anti-liberty folks are actively engaged in that war, and we are pretty much ignoring it.
We have to realize that for the anti-liberty folks, government is merely a tool. They don’t love or hate the government. They use it to accomplish their goals. Sometimes government resources are useful tools to accomplish their goals. Sometimes they use other means to accomplish their goals.
Looking back for the past 20 years of grazing lease issues, the incident at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, the incident with the Hammonds, and the Burns occupation, it seems like there is something else at play here. Unlike us, the elites have great patience and take the long term view on everything.
This is a scenario that seems plausible.
Imagine, if you will, that the recent Burns occupation was an event to support the anti-liberty folks, and that the occupation was a setup. But it wasn’t a setup for us. The primary goal had nothing to do with us in the liberty movement – it was about demonizing ranchers.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages/issues 21,000 leases a year. Leases are for a myriad of uses, but they are the method which funds the BLM. In fact the BLM proudly proclaims that it is one of the few federal agencies that produce more income than it costs to run the agency.
18,000 (86%) of these leases are for grazing. 3,000 (14%) are for minerals, oil, coal, etc. Imagine, if you will, that there are some that want these numbers to change. Maybe as little as 50-50, perhaps as much as 0% for grazing and 100% for something else.
In this day of crony politics, there is potentially far more money to be made in areas other than grazing on federal land. So, there needs to be a method to decrease the number of grazing leases that are issued. The first attempt to do this was by invoking the primary mission of the BLM, which is the preservation of natural resources. Using new and varied environmental edicts, much land was transferred out of the lease program.
Despite their best efforts, this did not get enough land taken out of the grazing programs. They could not however be too “heavy handed” with ranchers. They couldn’t push the politicians too hard with the ranchers. This of course was not out of kindness or benevolence, but due to public opinion.
America has always had a love affair with its farmers. Most folks don’t know any farmers, and couldn’t tell you how farming works, but they’ve seen TV shows and movies.
People believe that farms are all small, family run organizations that live on shoe strings. The reality of large, corporate farming just isn’t understood or realized. Heck, the Farm Aid concerts started by Willie Nelson in 1985 are still held annually!
In order to achieve the goals of reducing the number of grazing leases, the public opinion of farmers had to be changed. The American public (middle 40%) had to see that the ranchers with their leases were evil folks, who took advantage of the American taxpayer.
Cliven Bundy was the first big target. Having declined to actually pay for his leases starting in 1993, by 2014 the BLM decided to make an example out of him. Bundy was a devout Mormon and claimed to desire a peaceful settlement of the issues between him and the BLM. When the BLM came in force, many Americans came to his aid. The resultant standoff caused the BLM to back off. Many in the liberty movement saw this as a victory.
In many respects, it was. The middle 40% became sympathetic to the Bundys, the armed citizens who supported them, and to ranchers in general. Heck Cliven Bundy still hasn’t paid for his land leases and Americans don’t seem to care.
What most people don’t realize is that this event came very close to a bloody shootout between the BLM and the Bundy supporters. Folks who were trying to get public opinion changed to demonize the ranchers planted a number of provocateurs into the situation. Well trained, they got very close to the Bundys. Once they were situated as confidants to the Bundys, they took over the “defense” of the ranch.
Based on many reliable sources, Ryan Payne tried very hard to get the people at Bundy ranch to actively engage the BLM folks. That’s right, it was designed to be a blood bath to discredit Cliven Bundy directly, fellow ranchers secondarily, and liberty lovers tangentially. But, despite the best provocations of Payne and his group of organized undercover folks, it ended peacefully.
In a sort of mixed reaction, most in the liberty movement hailed it as a success for liberty. The government backed down. Many clear heads that were on the ground were quick to point out that the Paynes, Blaine Coopers, Pete Santillis, the Ritzheimers, and others were dangerous at best. They pointed out the dangers of what they were promoting. Very detailed exposes showed what the backgrounds of these folks really were up to. Sadly, it was ignored by most.
Whoever was behind these provocateurs took the “loss” in stride and made plans to continue on with the mission. Ryan Payne became a confidant of the Bundys, almost like another son. A son who pumped up the Bundys with the notion that they were the chosen ones to save the BLM land for the ranchers.
Those who funded the provocateurs knew they were doing the right thing though and continued their funding. The mission remained to discredit ranchers in the west that had grazing leases from the BLM.
The plans were to use the Bundys for their name recognition. They created an event that was both far enough away from potential supporters, but also at a time and place that was environmentally inhospitable. They added all sorts of white supremacists, convicted criminals, sovereign citizens, etc., to the core group. And these folks had records that were very obvious and easy to confirm.
The conviction of the Hammonds in Oregon provided the perfect rally cry. It wouldn’t matter if anyone really cared about the Hammonds. The original participants in the rallies were very well intentioned, but that just helped sell the narrative. It didn’t matter that the specific land around Burns wasn’t very useful for other uses. What did matter is that they could use a place that had no significant local support for the occupiers, was conducted in the middle of winter when it was inhospitable, and people were unlikely to come out in droves to support them.
Despite being pumped up by Payne and his folks, Ammon Bundy wasn’t a very good figurehead for the occupation. His stated goals were ambiguous and evolved almost daily. But that didn’t matter. He and his brother were the perfect stooges for the plan. They truly believed that the cause was just and that they were the chosen ones to lead the revolution.
Santilli with his “live TV” provided “prompted responses” to questions that were bizarre even to folks that supported liberty. These live streaming videos showed daily that the occupiers were naively dangerous at best and deliberately dangerous at worst. Objective analysis of much of the video reveals a scripting and prompting for badness that was very well done. The FBI’s criminal complaint was virtually all copies of scripted social media that the provocateurs collected and posted on social media.
The best provocateurs are well trained con men. They have good people believing in the cause. A well scripted story that is based on pieces of the truth convinces even the most skeptical. They practice hitting all of the right buttons. And we saw the results. A good man died.
If this was all an organized provocation, the first question is:
Who is behind the provocateurs?
It’s easy to say it’s the government. If the purpose was to attack liberty lovers, that would be a logical source. In this case, with the goal being demonizing ranchers, it probably isn’t the government per se.
In fact, I doubt that it was.
Lots of big money folks are the ones who desire a change in the leasing contract system. Politicians who want to support the changes may have made it clear that they couldn’t take political action until the ranchers are demonized. This could be a corporate action to make money.
Law Enforcement agencies could merely be unwitting co-conspirators. There is no logical reason for the lower level agencies to be made knowledgeable of the overall goals. They might only see the liberty movement part of this action and treated this as a law enforcement action with the bonus of identifying and collecting intelligence on the liberty movement.
The more important second question regards those in our movement that aggressively supported the Burns occupation.
Were they co-conspirators in the provocation or were they duped?
There were many commentaries in the blog world regarding the Burns occupation.
- Many thought the occupation was not something that needed to be supported.
- Many others offered support, even as little as moral support.
- Yet others virtually “directed” folks to go out to Burns and give physical support.
We may never know completely, but I am very suspicious of some in our community that “pushed” the cause very hard, and despite being able to go to Burns (close proximity, no employment issues, etc.) came up with a myriad of reasons not to actually go themselves.
Did their handlers want them to support the cause but remain far enough away so they wouldn’t be arrested and lose their value to the handlers?
We may be able to come to a better decision on whether or not these supporters were co-conspirators, by looking at what their actions have been now that the occupation seems to be coming to an end.
Many of those same folks that “directed” support have come out and are actively pushing for folks to take direct actions in support of the occupiers.
Draw your own conclusions, but it seems that folks who won’t take actions themselves even when they can and then continuously promote others to put themselves in harm’s way are fools at best and provocateurs at worst.
It seems like this one wasn’t about us. We were used to accomplish other plans. And sadly one of us paid the price.
This was a very well funded and organized effort to make money.
The more BLM land that can be diverted from grazing leases to other more lucrative leases, the better it is for folks who can make lots of money off of the taxpayer’s land. Big government is out of control and probably can’t be brought back under control.
We must not think that only the government is our enemy. There are many sources of evilness towards the lovers of liberty. We need to stop helping them achieve their goals on our backs.