Archive for April, 2014

Bundy cattle, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Jaywalking and enforcing the law.

“We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it.”

– Senator Harry Reid talking about Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy.

Used to be that elected members of Congress would stand up for their Constituents when they have a problem with the Federal Government. Based on the statement above, it seems that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid views his job differently.

 “There is a vast amount of discretion that a president has — and, more specifically, that an attorney general has,”
– Attorney General Eric Holder testifying before Congress regarding the enforcement of Federal laws. 

Seems that Sen. Reid and Att. Gen. Holder need to get on the same page. Holder has been responding to criticism that the Administration and he in particular have been very selective in which Federal laws they enforce when it comes to illegal immigration statutes, criminal marijuana laws, the Defense of Marriage Act and other measures.  Holder has been arguing that some laws do not need to be vigorously enforced due to conflicts with State law or changes in Federal court rulings.

Reminds me of the enforcement of Jaywalking in downtown Los Angeles. When visiting our daughter who was in college in central L.A. as I was about to cross the street against the light a passing pedestrian yelled at me, “Don’t do it! The cops fine you for Jaywalking here! They are very serious.”

As someone who grew up in New York City I found this baffling. There’s no way to get around town in Manhattan in a reasonable amount of time on foot unless you Jaywalk. New York City’s Finest recognize this fact –  at least when I was growing up – and ignored the pedestrian traffic violation thousands of times a day. A New York cop would tell you, “I got better things to do.” I thought that LAPD should have “better things to do,” as well.

Attorney General Holder seems to be expressing the NYPD view when approaching some of the above mentioned laws. (I disagree with him on some but not all of them.) Given that attitude, it begs the question:

Why was the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) willing to spend, according to a Washington Post timeline of the Bundy cattle controversy,   over $1 Million in a cattle roundup? Yes, according to the BLM Bundy had run up $1 million in unpaid grazing fees – over a period of decades – now the BLM was going to spend that amount in a several day round-up?

Some are pointing to connections to Senator Reid’s son and a Chinese energy company with designs on the land as the real reason and connections to a BLM director who was a Reid staffer. Accurate or not, it still does not seem right at all that a Nevada senator would take a position against a citizen of his home state in favor of the Federal government when it comes to the rancher’s private property – his cattle.

For now the BLM has stood down. Senator Reid says it is not over. Meanwhile Eric Holder is explaining to Congressional oversight that the Executive Branch has a “vast amount of discretion” in enforcing laws. All while stalling on releasing information regarding Fast and Furious – a case where US Federal Border agents were actually killed.

Listen to the New York Cop – seems to me all of these Federal law enforcement personnel “have better things to do.”

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