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Thursday, January 14. 2016
For years, I've been taught that 'win-win' solutions are the best. They certainly are, and I try to find them whenever possible. But in this vein, how is compromise necessarily 'win-win'? It can be, certainly, but it is not always and definitely. In my day-to-day life, 'win-win' is what I live for. It's what keeps business running. But it is no longer useful in politics.
My friends who are Democrats bemoan the Republican stance saying "How can they block Obama at every turn? Why can't they compromise?" I don't doubt their sincerity of motive, their desire for what's best. I know they want to do well and good for themselves, others, and the nation. All they hear are flowery stories of 'curing cancer' or 'feeding the poor' and decide "Hey! That's a great idea, and politicians say we can do it by taxing the rich."
But I prefer shrinking the government. So do many people in this nation. When a Democrat says "I want to grow government infinity, and you don't, so let's compromise and only grow it 10%" I immediately start to get angry. Only growing it a little less than you want still constitutes growing it, and I am opposed to growing it. Where do we compromise?
We used to. We shouldn't anymore. It's time to say no. It's time to push back and take back. Which is why I don't particularly like the methods used in Oregon, but I support them. After all, Eric Holder took part in an armed takeover while at Columbia. How was his 'good' and theirs 'bad'?
The only compromise from here on in, as far as I'm concerned, is to agree to grow a Democratic program while cutting a larger one somewhere else - or not agree to growth at all. It's time for these people to choose what's important, and not throw shit on a wall to see what sticks. Nearly every article in the mainstream is heralding the idea that Joe Biden is going to cure cancer. This is, without question, one of the most laughably stupid concepts I've heard from anyone, anywhere, anytime. 'Cancer' isn't one single disease that a silver bullet cure can be created for, and chasing all the cures needed is absurdly expensive and outlandish regardless of what the mainstream journalists say.
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I don't agree with the situation here in Oregon. There are multiple issues. The Hammonds who were sent to jail did indeed break numerous laws and much of what various bloggers have said about them and in their favor are either wrong or one sided.
Then there is the larger issue of the BLM. In Nevada the Bundy's were wrong, pure and simple. The BLM was right and they should prevail. I fully expect the senior Bundy to eventually go to jail for what he has done since he declared war on the BLM. As it relates to Oregon and the Hammonds, again the BLM is right. The Hammonds often acted provocatively towards the BLM kind of pushing them to see what they could get away with. Now introduce the wetland bird sanctuary issues which required the BLM to make changes to grazing and fencing and the Hammonds and other ranchers are not happy with the new rules. I do understand that; once they had it pretty good and now the land owner (the federal government) is doing something different with the land and the tenant (more accurately user who pays fees) is required to sign different grazing contracts with different rules. That's the way it is when the owner of the land decides to do different things with their land. The land in question does not belong to the local ranchers it belongs to the federal government (that means all Americans) and they set the rules.
The issue of Ammon Bundy and his stupid/suicidal associates occupying the refuge center is just stupid. It isn't a political demonstration anymore than Timothy McVeigh action in OK City. It is a crime. I would expect that sooner or later the Feds will pick him up when he isn't surrounded by his suicidal friends and he will stand trial and go to jail. I would expect that each of his suicidal friends will also be identified and brought before a judge and given an opportunity to explain their actions.
I can add that knowing a few ranchers that they tend to think of those BLM lands they graze their cattle on as 'theirs'. They have been known to chase off hunters and campers with bravado and bullying. It is, in other words, a common complaint among ranchers that the BLM is raising fees, setting limits on grazing, and sometimes putting land of limits. IMHO that is exactly the job of BLM. I assume if they are doing their job well that some will complain. But in the end the BLM manages the land for the federal government and all Americans and the ranchers do not own the BLM land, period.
A common comment will be something like: The ranchers are being pushed off the land and a way of life is being taken from them. This is simply not true as it relates to this sisues being discussed here. The land the Ranchers own is their land and the land they don't own but pay fees to graze their cattle on is not their land. It wasn't their land in the 20th century and it wasn't their land in the 19th century.
The last issue which is simmering underneath all of this but most aren't aware of it is that the federal government may well create the Steens Mountain National Monument. Most of that land is public land and some will indeed by private land. If you were to see the Steens Mountains I suspect that you would agree it is a national treasure and should be protected. I would support creating a national monument there and some people may not feel that way. But I would not be surprised to see it happen soon.
As I said, I disagree with their methods.
Ultimately, the issue isn't so much if they broke 'the law' (the law being whatever politicians choose it to be - and it's often not in the favor of 'the people'), but whether 'the law' is tilted in favor of one group over another for particular reasons.
It's quite possible these people did break 'the law' - I'm not debating that point. I'm debating the wisdom of 'the law'.
I also question the value of BLM, when it's very clear that BLM exists to benefit political cronies, but punish anyone who isn't willing to 'play the game' like many of the people you mention.
I do support preserving natural lands. One of the few areas I break slightly from pure Libertarian thought is the acceptance that State and National Parks are a general good. But I also believe they should be run like businesses, priced to market, and generally managed more efficiently than they are (which is incredibly hard to do, but absolutely necessary, in a public situation).
I have no problem with Bundy declaring war on the BLM. After all, that's what Eric Holder did (declare war on the government) and he's AG now. You may disagree with the methods he used back then, too, but they work when all the power is accrued heavily to one side in such overwhelming fashion.
I don't have a problem disagreeing with people on the issue of Malheur. As you point out, it's incredibly complex. But like most complex issues, the root of the problem is its simplicity. Complex situations are the result of relatively few overlapping, simple concepts.
If you can distill the simple concepts, the complexity erodes.
Do I agree with them on all the points and demands? No. But it's time to start listening more to people rather than telling them what the law is. After all, that was the British approach way back when we started...
Then the media and bloggers are covering this situation so poorly that no one understands the issues. I know the BLM in Montana is stacked with political cronies; my friend's brother got his job solely because his father was a top-level union member. We used to argue about them eliminating wolves from Yellowstone as, I contended, those animals were necessary to the food chain and maintenance of the riverbeds. He said the wolves irritated the ranchers, so he was just taking orders. Great.
Some reported that the Hammonds' backfire got out of control on a relatively (compared to the entire acreage) small area, which cost very little given that the weeds had taken over to the detriment of the land. They served one term for mishandling the burn, then later were charged with "terrorism" and had to return for lengthy sentences, especially difficult on the father. Is this true? It would be helpful to have a source of factual information vs. the heated politics propaganda.
The issue of double jeopardy (technically, it's not since one was a Federal case while the other was not) is one of the primary motivations. You did get that correct.
Another issue is the issue of mandatory sentencing in the case of multiple convictions (akin to the "3 strikes" law). The Hammonds paid to put out the fire (regardless of its size) and paid a fine. So why the jail time? Because it was a chance for government to get their shots in.
But there is much, much more at stake here. Nobody is really highlighting how government agencies have targeted ranchers (which has sparked their desire to 'push the envelope') for various crimes, or how government agents have killed cattle, burned or otherwise damaged private lands, etc. There are limited options when you have a complaint against government agencies. After all, the EPA just polluted a river and they are not going to be held accountable for it - it barely got any press at all! In fact, CNN covered it in notorious fashion - pointing out the EPA will not be held accountable, then claiming that most of the accusations against the EPA were not true, using some sleight of hand.
The point is, "it's good to be the king" and we have allowed the government to be "king" in our lives. While ranchers may have contracts with the BLM, the BLM doesn't work in my interest no matter how much they say they are. The BLM certainly doesn't work in the ranchers' interest. The BLM acts only in the interest of whoever happens to have the best contacts at the BLM and greases the right palms.
Have these guys broken the law? Sure. I wouldn't even dispute it. Has the law been perverted by corrupt bureaucrats and politicians? Well, even those supporting the government's case won't deny that! But let's not talk about that, please, let's focus on how awful these ranchers are! Because THEY BROKE THE LAW!
Yes, that's a problem.
If you believe the bloggers the Hammonds merely set the fire to burn invasive plants or as a backfire to prevent another range fire from burning their fields. But that was a lie. The Hammonds poached 7 deer and did so while putting a group of hunters in danger. The Hammonds realized that the hunters had observed them poaching so they then set a fire to destroy the evidence. Two crimes one of them very serious with a mandatory minimum jail time. The judge in the trial made an error which the appeals court corrected. The Hammonds had a history of using fires to drive off hunters ON BLM LAND! Not their own land but on BLM land. The bloggers leave these things out because it might just make you think the Hammonds deserved what they got.
So what's with the "armed militia" actually being undercover FBI trying to create havoc. Country Fire Chief Briels has quit over this as county judge, Judge Grasty, told him to shut up and keep quiet.
Apparently land grabbing is an underlying issue here due to valuable mineral rights. Now that is a problem going back centuries and in every part of the country depending on whether one's talking coal, natural gas, oil, uranium, gold, water, etc.
As the Feds grow bigger and more powerful, the prospect for "compromising" with them is less likely as they have access to the DOJ, money and time. The average citizen can't readily access similar resources. we are supposed to be a union "of the people, by the people and for the people." Correct?
I do not know. If I had any info on that story I would be happy to share it. But it appears there might be a little truth and a little baloney. Burns itself is a very small town and everyone knows everyone. So all strangers stand out. But Burns is on a crossroads of two highways. Small highways to be sure, not a lot of traffic but on any given day probably 100-200 times as many strangers pass through town than there are residents in town. So did the ex fire department employee encounter strangers who were FBI people? Quite possible although he could have made it up to boost his creds. Were the FBI following and harassing towns people? This doesn't make sense, something doesn't smell right about that part of the story. An FBI agent in Burns would stand out like a Mormon missionary in South Chicago. Common sense would demand a somewhat low profile maybe to look like a tourist or someone passing through.
So I would guess this fire department employee is sympathetic to the Hammonds or the Bundys and is maybe even a wannabe militia and felt the need to be part of the story.
I'm aware of that charge, but there was another fire. And while one of the Hammonds' relatives testified they were poaching, there remains a bit of question about this from everything I've read. I'm not saying it DIDN'T happen, just that there seems to be mostly one person's word against another. There was no conviction of poaching, only an accusation. I saw nothing in the court reports beyond that.
However, there are several instances in which BLM offices were found to have been posting online accusations against the Hammonds - claiming they were committing all sorts of crimes. This is fairly well documented, but is largely ignored by the people who are bought and sold on their guilt.
The Hammonds were found guilty of setting 2 fires (the one which you said was about poaching, though this wasn't part of their conviction, and the one they set during a fire ban).
However, you've also failed to mention all the BLM incursions onto their property, all the restrictions on their property which the BLM has 'legally' put upon them to make their life miserable and difficult.
I compare the situation to the one I see my older son's fraternity in. They were recently kicked off campus for having parties. They never denied having parties. They followed the rules, registered them, etc.
However, the university has outlandishly difficult rules for all fraternities. If I stopped to list them, it would take too long, so let's just say even I roll my eyes when I read the university's guidelines. More than a little over the top. Completely legal, and completely within the bounds of what a university can demand.
The problem is, when you push people too far, you tend to get pushback. His fraternity was one of the last to finally push back. Several others prior to theirs were tossed for relatively minor offenses. So fraternities started ratcheting up the noise, the activity, etc. Whatever they could to tweak the university's nose.
I warned him that it was going to backfire, but that I totally understood his position. They were tired of kowtowing. They had followed the rules, which only allowed the university to heap on more rules. As it became tougher to follow the rules, it no longer paid to follow them.
This is what is happening out there. I don't blame them at all. Even if they were poaching. (which, having grown up in a rural area, I am familiar with more than a little...we had families in the 1970's who had little to eat other than what was poached. Poaching was also done by wealthy people because of ridiculous restrictions in the hunting laws. Everybody knew someone who poached. Is it right? Hard to say. I don't really have a problem with it - after all that's what Robin Hood was all about, wasn't it?)
So I totally know what you're talking about. I'm not ignoring it. I just don't happen to consider it particularly meaningful.
As to the general issue, I found it interesting that the establishment Republicans in the fall were complaining that there were too many Tea Party types "who just couldn't get to 'yes'," causing the split with Boehner. My first thought was "Actually, I'm more worried about you guys who can't get to No."
Of course there are times for compromise and "getting to yes," and sometimes we swallow more than we wanted to (or perhaps should) in order to achieve a longer-term goal. But sometimes, voters want to see that someone can Get To No, for something, somewhere. Hell, we even admire it when we disagree with it, so long as we believe the person is operating from principle, not getting along.
I an a NH (R) voter who is still very undecided. I'm not seeing any of the top ten being entirely motivated by principle and willing to take one for the team, and all of them have at least a spot here or there of drawing a line in the sand.
The first principle is to WIN!
All else follows from that.
To me, compromise is lose-lose. It vibes settle for less.
Each side must give something up to reach agreement.
One might also describe compromise as the lowest common denominator agreed upon to attain agreement.
I'd argue in the case of growing government, it's not lose-lose.
If you read the first linked article, the key point is this:
I want smaller government.
You want larger government.
We compromise, because you want infinite growth while I want to cut programs. What is our compromise?
1% growth, or 2% or 3%.
So I don't get cuts. I get growth - I don't want ANY growth.
You don't get infinite growth, but you get SOME growth, and every year you get more growth. Essentially, you get infinite growth, but incrementally over time.
I always lose. You always win.
So where's the compromise?
This is why it's time to start thinking about stepping back and just saying NO (as AVI says above).
I am not in favor of compromise. I see it as avoiding a conflict, not believing absolutely in a premise, hence willing to give something away.
Any conflict must be supported 100% and fought for; fear of losing shoud not be considered. Win or lose is preferred to settle for less.
That's my thoughts and I'm sticking to 'em.
As a married man, and as a businessperson, I've found that there can be compromises in some situations.
The key is to know what you want, ask for twice as much, and settle for what you want as part of the compromise. Old tactic, works pretty effectively.
There are some situations, particularly in negotiating a deal, where compromise (and giving in a little) is very useful. I'd say this is also useful in maintaining a marriage...
Liberals define win - win as a solution that as what they think is best for them and what they think is best for you too.
Forget compromise on growing a government that has not the slightest idea what it's doing, what's working, where the waste is…
My grandparents on both sides warned me that the world was growing too political and government too large to effectively support itself and would eventually implode into massive warfare where nobody won. How wise they were.
The best explanation of compromise was given to me in terms of marriage, but I think it applies in most situations. There's no such thing as compromise. If I want a red car and my wife wants a white car, we don't compromise and get a pink car. Somebody has to give in. Choosing your battles isn't compromise. It's a strategy for winning the war.
If you want a red car and your wife wants the white car, the obvious compromise is you get the white car.
I am reminded of Obama's approach to Republicans in Congress, which can be summed up as "Why don't you compromise and do it my way?" Too bad he wasn't as hard a negotiator with the Iranians as he was with Republicans in Congress. Perhaps the difference is that he agrees with the Iranian agenda.
Democrat: " I want to f*** your wife."
Republican: "Absolutely Not!"
Democrat: " OKay. she can just give me a BJ."
Current Republicans in Congress: " ohhh...alright"
The Hammond’s shot 7 bucks and did this while shooting over the heads of three hunters. Very careless or brazen. One of the hunters is a local guide and he testified at the trial about the shooting and the subsequent fire which they almost didn’t escape. The hunters identified themselves to the Hammonds and acknowledged that they witnessed the poaching. The hammonds response was to set a fire. For some reason only the grandson’s testimony is mentioned in most of the stories of this event so that lack of reporting is part of the reason for the misunderstanding of what happened.
As you represent it and as it is represented in various blogs it would appear that Hammonds were innocently ranching and the BLM were abusing government power to harass them. But as I understand it it is actually the exact opposite. The Hammonds set more than one or two fires and they had a habit of setting the fire ‘on their land’ but adjacent to the fence to the BLM land where the fire would spread to. Understandably this caused problems between the Hammonds and the BLM. The Hammonds would also remove fences put in by the BLM, again on BLM property. For whatever reason the Hammonds followed a trend of harassing the BLM. Was the BLM always in the right? I truly don’t know. BUT many of the things the BLM is accused of doing that bothered the Hammonds were decisions made not by some paper pusher in his zeal to harass ranchers but simply under mandate by Washington to improve the conservation area. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is kinda unique. It sits in the high desert and no matter which direction you approach it from in the Summer you are in desert. Then suddenly you are in wetlands and it is a huge wetland with birds and deer and every native animal in Oregon. Bounded on the South and East by the Steens mountains it is a bowl that collects water. It is a huge oasis. Over the last 50 years the government (both federal and state) have been making changes to incorporate more lands into this and to improve it. Many of those things have indeed harmed ranchers. BUT the harm they experienced was that before they grazed on public lands without any limits and now there are limits, ditto for the water. In the big picture I suspect that the government is doing the right thing. The person on the ground making these changes and enforcing them is a BLM employee. So most likely the Hammonds and other ranchers complaints have some validity but it was not some poor BLM employee willfully trying to be a jerk with them. They should take it up with congress. However I can tell you that I don’t see anyone in government reversing this and turning this huge wildlife refuge into rangeland. If you were to see it I suspect you would agree it should be preserved and improved.
I have never poached a deer. But I have to admit if I owned a 1000 acres in the high desert and thought I could get away with it I might. The poaching wasn’t serious. They would have been fined, lost the guns they used, the game and lost their hunting license for a few years. But what they did was conspire to commit a felony i.e. arson to cover up a crime. That is what they were charged with not terrorism or poaching.
I have nothing against the Hammonds and would be quite happy if their sentence was reduced to time served. I would be happy if they and the authorities buried the hatchet and the Hammonds lived happily on their lands raising cattle. My only dog in all of this is that I too believed what I read until I looked into it. For whatever reason the various blogs have lied or at the least left out everything that
I'm not sure why you keep repeating these facts. I never denied them. I never even said the Hammonds were innocent, let alone not guilty. All I said is while I disagree with the methods utilized in Oregon, I don't disagree with having to do 'something'.
In fact, in the article I never even mentioned the Hammonds. You brought it up in comments, and I didn't say a single thing you mentioned was wrong or incorrect. All I said was that it's a complex issue.
The point about poaching, as I pointed out, is immaterial. It may have been raised in the trial, but it didn't have an impact and they weren't convicted of it. All that happened is some people said they felt the fire was a 'cover up' for poaching, though that seems a bit odd.
My only point has been BLM has persisted in making things difficult for ranchers. Using the argument "the ranchers broke the law" is fine - except the law in many cases is pretty stupid and it's full of crony-supported BS. Give advantage to this group, hurt another, as long as the right palms are greased.
I personally don't care one way or the other about Bundy OR the Hammonds. I think the 'double jeopardy' issue is unfair and unjustified even if it isn't technically double jeopardy. I also find minimum sentencing laws to be punitive and uncalled for.
Neither of these things have to do with the Hammonds directly - though their situation is a catalyst.
All I'm saying is that I have no problem with the desire of some people to 'take back and push back'. The BLM and FBI have engaged in dirty tactics, have engaged in fraudulent activities, and in some cases could be called out for utilizing entrapment. So at this point you can't say "the government is right and good here while the people taking over the building are not" - which is, essentially, what you're saying.
My point is simply that both sides may be flawed. But in that situation, I will always side with the individual over government.
I agree that mandatory minimum sentences are a mistake. The judge and jury should decide with the facts and in the same place the crime occurred. I think mandatory minimums were a feel good law to make victims and victims families feel better.
I don't have a problem with push back. If they are right I will be behind them.
I will disagree about the taking over of the building. In my opinion it was a stupid mistake that could end with violence or more likely with the perps going to jail.
Ah, but that mandatory sentencing is one of the reasons for the takeover.
And as I said, I disagree with their methods. I think the takeover is a bit extreme. HOWEVER, now that it's happened, it's one of those things which I understand. More importantly, if perspective is important (and it is) our AG took part in 2 takeovers while at Columbia (one was armed). He did not go to jail, and the groups achieved their goals.
So maybe armed takeovers aren't such a bad thing? Or only if you're an 'oppressed minority'? If that's the case, then I'd accept ranchers making a claim as an oppressed minority.
So far, Bundy has only made 2 demands. One is that the mandatory minimum for the Hammonds be reduced (I'm assuming to 'time served', since they already did a stint in jail before being told to return to jail to fulfill mandatory minimums). The other is that the refuge be relinquished by the government so private owners can reclaim their resources. That's a bit more questionable and it's the main reason I said I don't agree with all their demands.
I can see no reason why the Hammonds should finish a mandatory minimum, in this situation. The second point is a bit more hazy.
I agree with Bundy's claim that government mismanagement is a problem. That's pretty clear, and it's a point I'd agree with. But he wants all the land returned to locals - and the federal government owns 53% of Oregon, near as I can tell. Returning all of that would be time consuming and while I agree probably more economically beneficial, it also imposes some severe costs, both in terms of real cash and general preservation.
The "Tragedy of the Commons" was a very real thing and it's still very real. The claim "this land belongs to everybody" is bullshit. It belongs to those in power, to be dispensed with in whatever manner certain cronies see fit. It is a modern day tragedy.
However, there is a good case to be made for preserving land. The problem, as I see it, is how much should be preserved and how severe should the regulations be? It's gone overboard.
Since 1900, forested land in the US has increased dramatically, even as we've become more industrialized. So this isn't a tradeoff between trees or business. I believe Maine is the most heavily forested state in the union, 90% forested. The government owns only 6% of this. Large industrial and investment landholders own about 57% of it. So clearly private ownership isn't a hindrance to preservation.
I like a suggestion on compromise I heard a while back. There are 20,000 gun laws in this country. For a compromise with those who want more, I propose to repeal 10,000 of them, as a 'good start'.
You have increased the scope of your position. I am opposed to breaking the law period, especially while armed.
Mandatory minimums are problematic but I don't really think Bundy gives two cents about the Hammonds he was simply seeking a sympathetic audience, politics on his part pure and simple.
Give the land to who??? I live in Oregon are they gonna give me 1000 acres? The land you are talking about has NEVER belonged to anyone other than the federal government (since 1848 or so, before that it was the Indians). I am not in favor of giving the land to anyone. It belongs to Americans NOT to congress or Obama it isn't theirs to give. I for one don't want to 'give' it away to ranchers or anyone. I can assure you that even in the state of Oregon if this exact issue was brought to a popular vote it would lose by at least a 2/3rds majority.
As I stated before it you saw the refuge you would agree it should be 'saved' not drained or the water used for irrigation and not 'grazed' but as a place for the native animals to flourish. I see nothing on the horizon that will change this, not Bundy and not congress. In fact I fully expect to see the Steens Mountains and the surrounding deserts and perhaps the adjacent refuge be designated a national monument. Should it be instead used as a kind of welfare for rich ranchers to graze more cattle??? Makes no sense to me.
I know a rancher who owns close to 10,000 acres and pays fees to graze on about 10,000 acres of BLM land. He too complains bitterly about the fee increase and new rules. He took action and bought a 300 acre flatland farm and now grows 300 acres of hay to supplement his grazing. He now rears more cattle, makes more money and all this in spite of the BLM rules he complains about. I begrudge him nothing, it's his money, his work and his land. But I siimply do not agree that he should somehow inherit the BLM land he has been using all those years. It was never his, it still isn't his and his actions proved there is a solution for all cattle ranchers that doesn't involve welfare or stealing America's lands.