04.11.2014 0

Federal government fireworks and the targeting of America

fireworksBy Rick Manning

Americans expect fireworks on Independence Day, but this past week, they have broken out all over Washington, D.C. and beyond.

This past week has seen out and out war break out between the Republican majority and Democrat minority of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee as emails released from the IRS revealed that the minority, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, coordinated the IRS harassment of True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht.

The next day, the IRS harasser in chief, Lois Lerner, was found by the same House Committee to be in contempt of Congress on a predictable party line vote.

Earlier in the week, the House Ways and Means Committee demanded that the Department of Justice prosecute Lerner for her political targeting of tea party groups at the IRS.

Speaking of the Justice Department, Eric Holder who himself is under a congressional contempt citation for failure to comply with document requests related to his Fast and Furious gun running operation, got heated when Rep. Louis Gohmert pointed out that private citizen witnesses are compelled to clear up their contempt citations prior to testifying in a court of law.

Holder exploded, and the rest was YouTube history.  Of course, Holder failed to do the one thing that would make his contempt problem go away – actually comply with the document requests.

In separate news, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer stunned observers when he claimed to have never smoked pot eliminating one of the few plausible explanations for his voting history and brag from his younger days that he was a “tax, tax, spend, spend, Democrat.”

Iran accomplished something this week that the denizens of the Washington Post deemed impossible, brought Senators Ted Cruz and Charles Schumer together on legislation that prohibits issuing a visa to their UN diplomat choice, who was a leader of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.  The legislation passed both the Senate and House this week, and now rests on the President’s desk.

After embarrassing himself chasing a handshake with Iranian leaders earlier this year, it will be interesting to see if the rapidly deflating President signs the bill or vetoes it as a sign of friendship with the soon to be nuclear power.

But perhaps the most important news about the federal government is occurring at a remote ranch in an area of Nevada that is best known as the wasteland between Las Vegas and the Utah state line, and this one is deadly serious.

A rancher whose family has held the land and been grazing its cattle for more than one hundred years is facing armed federal agents and snipers who are stealing his cattle under the dual claim that he is illegally grazing them on federal land, and that there is a desert tortoise that could be negatively impacted by the grazing.

To give people a sense of the scope of the area that these 1,000 cows have been grazing, the Feds have shut down the equivalent of half of the state of Delaware to round them up.

The environmental argument that a small number of cattle doing what their forebearers have done before them for generations – foraging on desert shrubs is a threat defies credibility.

The fact that our newly weaponized federal government’s Bureau of Land Management is roping off protesters in so-called First Amendment zones is an outrage.

And the reach of a federal government that is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources to destroy the family legacy of one lone cattle ranching in the middle of the desert is frightening.

Apparently, no place is too remote for the long arm of the federal bureaucrat, who claims your property, your livelihood and your freedom.

Perhaps, this stark reality will finally wake up the slumbering American majority that rests in the false comfort that what happens in D.C. doesn’t affect them.  With all the congressional wrangling in D.C., it just might be a true western wrangler who finally forces our nation to recognize the federal government that we have allowed.

However if Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Elian Gonzalez didn’t awaken them, it probably is naïve to expect a sagebrush cattle rancher to catch their fleeting attention.  So, the rest of us can return our focus to the WWE show that goes on daily on Capitol Hill pretending that because that is happening inside the Beltway, we are immune from its effects.

Unfortunately, ranchers out west are learning that sometimes the fallout from the D.C. fireworks show can singe you, and in the process you can lose everything your family has worked for over generations.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.  You can follow Rick on twitter @rmanning957.

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