In the wake of the now-infamous federal abuse unleashed on the Bundy ranching family and its supporters in Nevada, defenders of the heavy-handed terror tactics employed by the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management are finding themselves increasingly marginalized as potentially violent extremists. That is especially true for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (shown, D-Nev.), who after launching a series of bizarre tirades against the ranchers and their friends, is being widely criticized and ridiculed — especially for his dangerous attempt to equate American citizens who protest government with “domestic terrorists.”
As The New American and much of the national media have been reporting for weeks, the Obama administration, led by a former Reid staffer who took over the BLM, descended on the Bundy ranch with heavily armed agents. Making matters worse, officials even tried to corral protesters into an unconstitutional “Free Speech zone,” sparking nationwide outrage. The David vs. Goliath-style violence and abuse by the feds, much of it videotaped and posted online, shocked the conscience of ordinary Americans.
Incredibly, amid the operation to remove so-called “trespass cattle” from supposed “federal” land, BLM agents even tasered and assaulted some members of the family and its supporters, hundreds of whom came from across America to stand with the beleaguered ranchers whose family has been there since the 1800s. The feds also came under severe criticism for unleashing a dog on a pregnant woman, assaulting a cancer victim, tasering a rancher, and aiming sniper rifles at peaceful protesters. Outrage is still growing.
The supposed reason for the federal intimidation and violence against the family surrounds alleged unpaid grazing “fees” and a desert tortoise that the federal government claims to be trying to protect. However, as The New American and many other publications have documented, there is almost certainly more to the story. Sen. Reid and his family, for example, are being accused of corruption yet again for having multiple financial conflicts of interest, perhaps explaining their fanatical reaction to the standoff. Many lawmakers, though, say it is part of a much deeper problem.
“This is not an isolated incident and is part of a broader war on rural America,” Washington State Rep. Matthew Shea, who is working with other Western officials to evict the feds, told The New American. Another lawmaker seeking to wrest control over the almost 50 percent of land in the West claimed by the U.S. government, Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, said: “What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem.”
Either way, the extreme reaction by the Obama administration and supporters of the federal machinations in Nevada has sparked a potentially historic backlash that is growing quickly. Indeed, after the Bundy ranch standoff, the issue has become one of the major concerns facing liberty-minded Americans, earning non-stop media coverage for weeks that has still not died down. In Congress, though, it is increasingly becoming a partisan subject among the lawmakers who have commented, with radical Big Government advocates exposing their true colors — and their dangerous violent tendencies.
For instance, Sen. Reid, already facing multiple scandals and possibly about to lose control of the Senate, has increasingly marginalized himself as part of the lunatic fringe amid the debacle. “Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They're nothing more than domestic terrorists,” the controversial Senate majority leader said last week after the BLM decided to back off from the highly questionable operation at the Bundy ranch. “I repeat: What went on up there was domestic terrorism.” It was not clear what exactly the senator viewed as “terrorism” or what definition of the term he was relying on.
Still, consider very carefully the implications of what Reid is saying — especially in light of the ongoing terror war, in which the Obama administration claims the authority to unilaterally murder or indefinitely imprison anyone, including Americans, without even charges or trial. Indeed, some of the most deranged and fanatical elements of the far Left have even called for federal drone strikes to assassinate the Bundy family and their supporters. Others on the violent pro-Big Government fringe were even hoping for a Waco-style massacre.
On the other side of the aisle, though, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested, cooler heads have largely prevailed. Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, also of Nevada, for example, defended the Bundy family and its supporters across America, blasting the feds’ effort to “march an army” in there to cut off access to the land. “What Senator Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots,” Sen. Heller added on KSNV-TV in Las Vegas. The senator also reportedly spoke with the BLM boss to express “great disappointment” and urge the agency to make changes to “preserve Nevadans’ constitutional rights.”
The governor of Nevada was also alarmed by the federal agency’s trampling on the unalienable rights of his constituents. “No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” Gov. Brian Sandoval, also a Republican, said about the fiasco. “The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly.”
Some of the harshest remarks came from U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas, another lawmaker developing a reputation as a firm supporter of the Constitution and his oath of office. In a letter to Obama, extremist Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewel, and BLM boss Neil Kornze — the former Reid staffer — Stockman lambasted the administration’s lawless constitutional violations and demanded an end to the out-of-control operations.
Stockman also discovered that the feds’ extreme tactics employed at the Bundy ranch are not authorized by law — let alone the Constitution. “Because of this standoff, I have looked into BLM’s authority to conduct such paramilitary raids against American citizens, and it appears that BLM is acting in a lawless manner in Nevada,” he wrote, citing limited powers granted to the federal government and the fact that even under U.S. law, the BLM has no authority to exercise police powers.
“The federal government must not only stand down, but remove all federal personnel from anywhere near the Bundy ranch,” Rep. Stockman continued in his stinging rebuke of the administration’s bizarre and dangerous behavior in the Nevada case. Instead, if the federal government has legitimate business somewhere, it should rely on local law enforcement, which does have authority in its respective jurisdiction. In the Bundy case, that would have been the county sheriff, who critics said should have been arresting rogue BLM agents for their lawless violations of rights under color of law.
Outside of Congress and the political realm, similar trends are taking place in the media. On one side, Fox News, many newspapers, and most of the alternative media have taken a balanced approach to the story. At the same time, some Big Government propaganda outlets have joined the Reid family’s extremist crusade against the American people.
The fringe leftist MSNBC, for example — perhaps the most extreme national (despite its rapidly imploding market share and credibility) media outlet in the nation — in a fit of bizarre paranoia on the Chris Hayes show, even claimed the ranchers and their supporters were “insurgents” somehow engaged in a “little insurgency.” Consider, again, the implications of those violent statements in light of how the U.S. government has been treating so-called “insurgents” and “terrorists.” Already, the federal government has made clear that it considers Americans and veterans with mainstream political views to be potential terrorists, too.
Still, outside of the most extreme pro-Total Government “media” hacks, Reid’s outlandish comments were earning the controversial senator fierce rebukes from across the political spectrum. Even some stalwart establishment media outlets such as the Washington Post blasted the senator’s derangement in referring to American citizen protesters as “domestic terrorists” — as well as the frightening implications of such extreme rhetoric.
“The comparison is as noxious as it is absurd,” observed Post columnist Marc Thiessen on April 21 in a stinging piece lambasting Reid’s extreme comments. “It would be easy to dismiss Reid as a buffoon with a chronic case of logorrhea.... But instead of painting conservatives as extremists, Reid is only painting Democrats as enemies of the Western way of life.... Calling his opponents ‘domestic terrorists’ won’t solve his political problems — it will only make them worse.”
With radical Democrats in Congress and the press becoming increasingly marginalized as potentially violent extremists in the wake of the Bundy fiasco, now would be an excellent time to rein in the federal government. Good first steps, critics say, would be to strip it of its unconstitutional land holdings across the West once and for all, reining in its various violations of the Constitution in other areas, along with disarming its swarms of heavily armed storm troopers.
Already, as The New American reported this week, a fast-growing coalition of lawmakers and elected officials from Western states are rising up to do just that, and they are optimistic about eventual success. With enough public pressure — and with extremist Democrats expected to get crushed in the upcoming mid-term elections — the American people have an excellent opportunity to start restoring constitutional government.
Photo of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): AP Images
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, environment, politics, and more. He can be reached at