Nearly two years ago when a Mormon rancher who hates the federal government he had been stealing from for 20 years prayed for guidance that led to a seditious armed standoff, Republicans claimed it was because he was a patriot. It was the same story when the Mormon rancher’s son obeyed the same “celestial being” and seized federal property in Oregon with armed assistance; again it was a “patriot” seizing public land he claimed the federal government had no right to manage. Like his Mormon daddy, Ammon Bundy claimed that federally-owned public land purview belonged to rich private Americans’ to enrich other wealthy private Americans.
The Bundy’s actions were never about the federal government’s overreach; it was always about seizing the American public’s land and turning it over to corporations. Now, Republicans in the House are introducing three pieces of legislation to allow states to seize all manner of public lands to turn over to corporations to mine, log, and drill for oil. The mining, logging, and drilling operations are all to benefit the billionaire Koch brothers who have used the Bundys, Utah Mormons, and so-called patriots to incite congressional Republicans to create legislation giving the Kochs free access to the American people’s pubic land.
These Republican legislative efforts echo the Bundy Mormons’ demand that the federal government immediately cede ownership of all national forests and public lands to the states to hand over to private interests. Republicans would likely have written legislation forcing the government to hand over its land directly to the Koch brothers, but that may have raised suspicions among Americans that Mormon Republicans exist in Congress to enrich the Kochs.
Since the armed Mormons doing the Kochs’ bidding are now in federal custody, a small group of conservative Mormons led by the House Natural Resources Committee chairman and Mormon Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) is using legislation to accomplish what the Mormon Bundys failed to deliver; America’s public lands, national parks, national forests, and wilderness areas to Koch Industries’ control. What may have seemed like a religious welfare maniac’s attempt to get out of paying rent was always a Koch-Mormon war against Americans having access to their own public lands.
The Bundys may be in jail, but their war rages on with the Koch brothers’ substantial political network stepping out of the shadows and directly into the battle to seize all public land. At least the Bundys pretended their sedition was borne of a twisted anti-government mindset. Now, the Mormon-led escalation is admittedly a war to seize public land solely for private corporations to mine, log, and drill for oil.
To ensure the Kochs will never have to worry about any federal regulations when Republican states hand over public land, the three House bills also exempt any private owners from following any environmental laws and protections. Republicans, particularly the Mormon Republicans pushing the land-grab legislation, are not even attempting to conceal why they are on a crusade to seize public and government land; including the nations’ national parks, rivers and streams, wilderness areas, and National Forests.
The three Mormon-Koch land-forfeiture bills were discussed in a House Natural Resources Committee meeting on Thursday. Since the Mormon Bundy thugs are incarcerated, they were duly represented by Mormon Republican thugs who are intent on seizing federally-owned public land, National Parks and Forests, and wilderness areas for the Koch’s mining, logging, and oil enterprises.
The first bill was designed by an Alaska Republican, Representative Don Young, and although not a Mormon, his close affiliation with the Koch brothers’ American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is as renowned as his notoriety for being one of the most corrupt members of Congress. Young’s bill allows “any state in America to seize control and ownership of up to 2 million acres of federally-designated, and protected, national forests to be handed off to mining, logging, and oil corporations.”
Within the Young bill, like the Mormon bills, are prohibitions on environmental regulations and laws that the Kochs consider oppressive government interference in private citizens’ lives. It is noteworthy that Young’s bill, like the others, specifies “national forests” in particular because they are typically in the National Parks system the Kochs want to mine, drill, and clear-cut log in.
A second bill written by Mormon Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) gives states direct control of over 4 million acres of nationally protected forests nationwide for clear-cut logging, as well as a blanket exemption from all state and federal environmental laws and protections. Notice that like Young’s bill, there is absolutely no attempt to conceal the Republicans’ reason for seizing the public’s land is the express purpose of completely denuding the landscape.
The third bill, this one written by another Mormon representative, Chris Stewart (R-UT), immediately cedes authority over, what the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance estimates is, 6,000 miles of right-of-ways on federally-owned. public lands to Utah Mormons. Like the other Mormon “land-seizure” bills and the Mormon Bundy’s land grab motivation, Stewart’s is for the expressed purpose of “corporate development in federally-protected wilderness areas;” only without any federal environmental protections or restrictions. Federal oversight over its own lands or protections is not any part of the Mormon “manifest destiny” to seize land for what LDS founder Joseph Smith “prophesied” was the Mormon’s mythological “Deseret” nation.
This idea that the American people have to give up their public land, including National Parks, Forests, and Wilderness Areas to private enterprise, although extremely unpopular with the people, especially in the Western states, has also been championed by Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and so-called ‘moderate’ John Kasich. But no-one should be surprised because the three Republican hopefuls are also Koch acolytes and ALEC alumni; but they are not Mormons.
Now this is not to say that all Mormons support giving America’s public lands, national parks, wilderness areas, or National Forests to the Koch brothers, but thus far it is primarily Mormons pushing the land grab. A land grab that is suspiciously similar to the “manifest destiny” prophesied by Mormon founder Joseph Smith after receiving a vision from a “celestial being.”
Republicans support seizing federally-owned public land for the mining, logging, and oil industry as recompense to the Koch brothers for buying them control of Congress. There is little doubt that at least one, and more likely all three, of the land-grab and transfer to corporate-control will pass the House and probably the Senate as well; it is the price Americans have to pay for not voting. At least the people have a firewall in President Obama’s veto pen.
One thing is certain, if any American thought they were going to get a slight respite from the anti-government mindset promoted by armed insurgents in Nevada and Oregon because the Bundy Mormons are in jail, they were mistaken. It was never about the Bundys or patriots or revolution; it was always the Mormon-Koch crusade to seize the American people’s public land.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.