On Respect for the Law and Respectable Laws

If we are to live in peace in a nation of laws, two things must happen. 1) Citizens must respect and obey the law, and 2) governments must make and enforce respectable laws. Every day Americans obey the laws that govern things from speed limits on the streets to keeping their lawn properly trimmed. Only a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of laws require the intervention of police and the courts. This is a wonderful thing and reflects very well on the character of America’s people. I think one cannot be a good citizen without respect for the law and for those charged with writing them and enforcing them . . .

But this social compact is beginning to unravel. The breakdown we are witnessing is overwhelmingly a failure of the government to make and enforce respectable laws. In the standoff between Cliven Bundy, his family, and the assembled supporters who ultimately induced a federal agency to back the hell off, I tried to suss out which side was in the right. I want to support the right side. When I go to a state park to camp out, I have to pay a fee. If I fish in a national forest, I need a license and I may have to pony up for admission.

On the other hand, if the park ranger comes along and confiscates my car, tent and cooler full of hot dogs because the Feds have increased the fees overnight, I’m going to be a bit pissed off.

As I understand it, in civil cases the standard of evidence is not “beyond a reasonable doubt”, it is “the preponderance of evidence.” On which party does 51 percent of the evidence say responsibility falls? That’s a mercifully low standard. I don’t think we could function as a society if every transaction, every dispute demanded that we know beyond a reasonable doubt.

A radio talk show host here in the Gateway City – Dave Glover – noted that when he first heard about the conflict, he immediately assumed the government was bullying a little guy. That says a lot. Glover isn’t a knee-jerk conservative like I am, he’s much more of a garden variety DJ than he is a pundit.

I’ve seen sketchy reports that Nevada’s senior senator Harry Reid is somehow tied to Chinese solar power company which in turn wants the land that Bundy is using for a multi-million dollar project. This sounds like a bad movie plot starring George Clooney as the crusading lawyer uncovering the truth. The problem is, I find it hard to not believe it.

The lawmakers and law enforcement agents of the Federal government are simply not respectable. Mustering militias may very well have saved rancher Bundy for now, but raising a regiment and mustering to the aid of a citizen carries with it a risk as well. If the real problem is the size, scope and power of the federal government, we simply must elect and support politicians who are willing to take it apart, and resist all the rent-seekers and freeloaders who depend on their influence with government to make their living.

I have five years of experience working on two unsuccessful campaigns for a truly decent guy. It is hard to get elected, not because of the fervor of our opponents, but the apathy of our allies. Until elected officials begin the bitter, decades-long task of dismantling the leviathan of the Federal government to levels we can live with – to levels we can respect – each armed, able-bodied, liberty-minded person should probably keep a week’s worth of food in their go-bag and be ready to muster. I’d like to think that there would not have been a Waco or Ruby Ridge at the Bundy ranch without the presence of hundreds of armed citizens, but I don’t.

comments

  1. avatar Gerald says:

    I have not followed thia case very carefully, but do I understand correctly that rancher Bundy has been grazing on public lands, and has not paid his grazing fees in over twenty years? Since 1993 to be exact? What leg, then, does he have to stand on? I seem to recall that there have been fees charged for using public lands in this manner for decades. What reason does he have for not paying the fees?

    1. avatar Esemwy says:

      As I understand it, it’s less straight forward than that. The ranch has blanket rights to graze their cattle on the lands from way back in the 19th century. The fees that were paid were to the BLM for the management of the land for the good of the area ranchers. The Bundys stopped paying the fees and have been in conflict with the BLM since they decided that the BLM was working against them rather than for them.

      All of that makes it a bit less clear who might be the bad guy in this situation.

      1. avatar Christine Guinn says:

        Bundy DOES NOT have “blanket rights” to graze cattle on the land. That is a fiction that was made up by Bundy. Clark County, NV records show that his family did not move to that land until 1948, and did not start raising cattle until 1954.

    2. avatar nobody says:

      from what I’ve managed to gather, he and his family have been using the land since the late 1800’s. it is state owned property (apparently) and does not fall under the jurisdiction of the BLM. the BLM imposed themselves into the area where bundy did initially pay the fees levied for use. further and as I understand required, bundy was obligated to ‘improve’ the land through building and maintaining his own roads, well systems, etc.
      at one point bundy’s view of the fee’s turned. he thought they were being used to displace other ranchers (for reasons unknown to me). of that, bundy refused to pay fee’s and has been fighting their assessment for the last 20 years through courts and arbitration. the various courts have consistently found against bundy, ruling him to pay for land use as well as fines levied against him to the tune of nearly 1M.
      I’ve read several reasons, mostly debunked, such as the Chinese solar farm where the land was sold for pennies on the dollar. I’ve also heard about the tortoise as well as some fracking operations sweetheart deal for land use. there has also been talk that there is a vast underground water supply that rivals the great lakes that can be used to replenish the Colorado river, thus improving land value down through texas. the significant rise in depth will now allow the Colorado to finally reach the gulf after years of drought. with time, this will bring the salt content down in both the atlantic and pacific, raising the freezing temperature of the water. this will reverse the melting of the polar ice caps, which will increase dramatically in size. larger ice caps will cool the water further, reversing the el nino and bringing about the end to the lengthy drought in the southern US.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        So in summation Obama was elected to reverse global warming and this is how he intends to do it.

        Got it, thanks.

      2. avatar Christine Guinn says:

        Bundy’s family did not move to Nevada until 1948. That fact is easily verified by looking at Clark County land records.

        Also, it is not state property. The land has been federal land since 1848, when the U.S. won it from Mexico in the Mexican-American war.

        Bundy had told a LOT of lies to try to support his position, but a little research shows just how wrong he is.

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      Bundy paid all his grazing fees until 1993, when the BLM reduced his allotment from 900 to 150 cattle. To save a desert tortoise that was not then, and is not now, endangered. The very same desert tortoise that the BLM is now “euthanizing” because they’re up to their hips in desert tortoises.

      Dissatisfied with the BLM and it’s new allotment, which would have put him out of business, Bundy offered to pay the grazing fee to the State of Nevada for his 900 cattle. The state refused his money and Bundy wouldn’t pay the Feds for 150 head when he needed to graze 900.

      Other ranchers also refused to go along, but they’re all gone now.

      The Feds got two judgments against Bundy in their kangaroo court, but Bundy is a stubborn man. And now he’s a stubborn man that the Feds will break by all means necessary.

      So I ask you — do you really think that this is about cattle, or tortoises? Bundy is the last cattle rancher in Clark County. All the rest have been run off by the BLM or bought out for cheap by moneyed interests.

      To be fair to the BLM, Bundy also raises melons on his ranch. I suppose that the BLM will let him continue to do that. If he’s nice.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        Ralph, I don’t know where you get the “900 cattle to 150 bit.” It does not appear in the record, not in the district court case in which Cliven appeared pro se as defendent, and not in the records and communications submitted for the record.

        Cliven did pay his fee for the ephemeral grazing permit for the period jan 1992 to Jan 1993. He refused to pay his fee for 1993. BLM sent him another form and informed him he would be granted a ten year extension of the lease, but subject to some restrictions. There was no flat reduction in cattle, but the lease was (and had been since he’s father’s first application in, it is believed,1952) an ephemeral lease, one which is extended with the express understanding that if there is not sufficient forage in BLM’s view you cannot graze any cattle that spring. (Who runs a substantial cattle operation with no ranch land other than an ephmeral BLM lease?)

        Cliven declared in communications to the BLM his belief that they, and the federal government generally, lacked ownership of the land in question, and its courts lacked jurisdiction. And so forth.

        Clive decided he was a citizen of Nevada, but not the United States. He submitted payment to Clark County, Nevada, professedly calculated on his prior-year BLM fee. The amount of money he sent was equivalent to a then-current BLM fee for 85 cattle, a fact recited in the 1998 District Court opinion. 85. $1.961.47 for the year. Clark County denied jurisdiction and returned his money.

        Cliven didn’t allege that his current permission included too few cattle. He did point out that if his cattle allocation was subject to preserving forage for, among others, the desert tortoise, he might later be driven out of business. But he negated the relevance of that reflection by denying the court had jurisdiction.

        It is clear to me that what angers many people is this little nugget from the affidavit of Rugwell, then Director of BLM Southern Nevada:

        “The public lands surrounding the former Bunkerville Allotment, with the exception of two small allotments where a limited amount of grazing is authorized, 1 have also been closed to all livestock grazing since 1998 and the 1998 Las Vegas Resource Management Plan (RMP) Record of Decision (ROD) designated the Bunkerville Allotment and surrounding public lands as closed to grazing. Cliven Bundy has held no authorization
        to graze any public lands outside the Bunkerville Allotment that make up the New Trespass Lands and does not currently hold an authorization to graze any public lands in the Gold Butte area (either within the Bunkerville or on the New Trespass Lands). As most of the public lands in the Gold Butte area are closed to grazing, any time BLM employees encounter cattle on the public lands within the Gold Butte area that are closed to livestock grazing, such cattle are known to be grazing without authorization.”

        A more elaborate statement of this is found in BLM correspondance obtained via FOIA request by, of course, a nature group:

        “In December, 1998 ,Clark County purchased the grazing rights to the Bunkerville Allotment for $375,000 and retired them for the benefit and protection of the desert tortoise. Clark County also purchased the range improvements at the request of the BLM. With the on-going trespass, Clark County inquired as to the rights of Cliven Bundy to be on the allotment. In a July, 2002 memo the LV Field Manager stated that the “BLM agrees with your position, Mr. Bundy has no right to occupy or graze livestock in the Bunkerville grazing allotment. Two court decisions, one in Federal District Court and another in the Circuit Court of Appeals, fully supports our positions.” Clark County’s purchase of the grazing rights and the retirement of those rights was and is a principal part of the mitigation required under the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (“CCMSHCP”) and associated Incidental Take Permit, which allow for the destruction of habitat and “take” on 145,000 acres of private land in Clark County. To date, approximately 78,260 acres of take have occurred.”

        That last bit is, of course, where the smell comes in. Clark County bought out the ranchers. It wasn’t the feds. And the County has been using it as “offset” land under their environmental management agreement with…the feds. Harry!

        I don’t agree at all the Cliven had acquired a right to graze that ever existed apart from the ephemeral leases he previously had. In fact, I’d want to see if the family maintained any grazing lease through the 20’s and 30’s.

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          -Put more bluntly, in 1998 Clark County bought up all extent grazing leases on the Bunkerville Allotment for $375,000. Then it cancelled those leases, receiving approval for that good deed to be counted as Clark County’s fulfillment of a deal that would let it approve development which would, oh, “destroy habitat,” “take,” on up to 145,000 acres of fragile desert land…. “To date, approximately 78,260 acres of take have occurred .” So somebody, laugh, is on the take, and it ain’t over.

          Clark County bought up and then extinguished the leases. Then the county set about approving various projects in the desert. Half of it is done. But…Cliven is still on the allotment, and not with 85 cows, or 150 cows, but variously (counted by air) 900 or 720 cows. And they aren’t just within the allotment, but found well beyond. Well, at least Tom Collins is on Cliven’s side….

        2. avatar John says:

          Good overview of the issue, very comprehensive.

    4. Google is your friend. It’s not quite as simple as you have initially read.

      Never mind the jack boot tactics, 1st Amendment zones, and the death threats made by government officials.

      1. avatar Christine Guinn says:

        Neither side is completely in the “right” here. The BLM used some rather heavy-handed tactics, but Bundy has a 20 year history of not paying the grazing fees, and making up lies, such as his mythical “family claim” to the land from the 1870s, (never mind the fact that his family didn’t move to Nevada until 1948.)

    5. avatar neiowa says:

      Before you start spouting about what you admit you know nothing about, do 5min of investigation.

      Author of this has a fair analogy with his park/camping idea if he adds that the park is STATE owned and the fed ranger is waltzing in.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        If you are hunting waterfowl in a state park the Federal Fish and Wildlife police (game wardens) can waltz in and check to see if you have more than three rounds in your shotgun and if you do confiscate your shotgun and arrest you.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Of course, that’s only possible if the State Fish and Game wardens haven’t slashed the Fed’s tires.

      2. avatar Sambo says:

        I really, really, wanted to be on Bundy’s side in this. All of my friends are, and I find the jackbooted actions of the BLM completely par for the course for a federal agency.

        But it’s not State lands. Never was and isn’t now, and that makes all of Bundy’s arguments moot. In court, the BLM sucessfully argued that that territory was ceded to the US from the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico deeded it to the US. It was retained as US Territory upon Nevada becoming a State, in accordence with the Nevada Constitution;

        “Third. That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States; and that lands belonging to citizens of the United States”

        The case is solid against him. It’s not a Stave vs. Fed issue as Bundy claimes, amplified by the fact that Nevada and Clark County has been solidly behind the BLM, with even the local Sherrif’s office volunteering to help round up the cattle.

        I wanted to get behind this, but the reality is is that neither side is really the good guys here.

        1. avatar JPD says:

          “In court” What a hoot. Let’s see. One government body,the BLM, bringing a case against a citizen…..to another government body. Guess who wins. This action takes place thousands of times across a day in this country. Who do you think judges (and yes, brainwashed juries) give the most attention to? The government side, OF COURSE. The brain washing has been going on for a hundred years…..pretty effective so far.

        2. avatar Sambo says:

          “In court” What a hoot. Let’s see. One government body,the BLM, bringing a case against a citizen…..to another government body”

          So… what? Should we disband the government? Are you advocating anarchy?

          And of course it’s a corrupt kangeroo court if you don’t agree with the verdict. Obviously.

          Like I said, the Nevada Constitution and Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo render Bundy’s arguments moot. Barring some kind of actual legal claim that Bundy has on the land, he’s got no right to it. You claim a corrput system because you don’t like the outcome, not because you have a reasonable argument.

  2. avatar Col. Angus says:

    It isn’t only the ridiculous number of laws and their selective enforcement that is the problem; it’s also the even more ridiculous number of regulations, rules, rulings and administrative actions that are all-too-enthusiastically enforced by beligerent bureaucrats. And it’s the fault of congress for allowing the laws they pass to be “interpreted” by these govenment stooges because they’re too lazy to write tight, precise laws that are clear and specific….and of course the presidents who actually sign them into law.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Indeed – it is very difficult to be a law-abiding citizen when the day after tomorrow you are suddenly subject to dozens more regulations.

      1. avatar bozo says:

        I believe I read somewhere that the average citizen is up to 7 per day (breaking laws).

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      Two points:

      First, Tim, there is another civil-action standard of proof, “proof by clear and convincing evidence.”

      Second, and more sympathetically, there is an enormous problem with federal regulation over agricultural and rural homestead land (think EPA…): The typical U.S. voter today is responsible for and liable for nothing but a condo or small suburban house, or nothing at all (a rental unit). Congress can pass laws from dreamy to draconian regulating rural land without upsetting in the slightest 80% of the nation’s voters. That is a serious problem. Take “free flowing water.” The restrictions on diverting or damming free flowing and drainage waters is enormously burdensome in rural life. Ah, but the cities? They’ve already set up the theft of water from remote mountain streams, nearby rivers, and distant reservoirs built with huge dams. It really is a “close the door behind you” political reality, selfish as can be.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Right on target! And that theft will become even more painful during the predicted drought this Summer, as cities squabble over available but dwindling supplies.

  3. avatar DonS says:

    On the other hand, if the park ranger comes along and confiscates my car, tent and cooler full of hot dogs because the Feds have increased the fees overnight, I’m going to be a bit pissed off.

    If Bundy has been grazing his cattle on federal lands without paying the required fees, then a more appropriate analogy might be:

    “the park ranger comes along and confiscates the fish I caught, my fishing pole, and tackle box”.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I don’t think that Bundy would have stopped paying if the BLM hadn’t cut his allotment from 900 cattle to 150. He wasn’t the only rancher who stopped. He’s just the only one who’s left.

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        I’m still waiting for the investigative piece on the other ranchers the feds/Harry Fing Reid drove out.

        1. avatar Liberty2Alpha says:

          This.

          Where the fvck is this?

        2. avatar ropingdown says:

          The others weren’t driven out. They sold their leases to Clark County for $375,000 total. Don’t know if they got Vegas condos on the side…. All of the leases were “ephemeral” leases, which are very insecure. If the BLM doesn’t think there is enough forage in the spring, the grazing lease holder cannot graze ANY cattle that spring. You have to have adjacent ranch land to make ranching on an ephmeral lease economically safe.

      2. avatar ropingdown says:

        From where do you get the 900 number. The first case mentioned 600. 900 is what Bundy runs now, a feat only made possible by the fact that he lets his cattle graze on adjacent lands which were not even part of his long-ago lease.

        With 140 acres of irrigated melon field and cheap field labor, I doubt Bundy ever made most of his living from the 600 cows. I could be wrong, of course, but Bundy sure doesn’t put many numbers out there.

        I would never take sides in a local conflict without much more information from the supposed victim. People aren’t siding with Bundy because the law is on his side, or because of his economics. They don’t know the law or his economic situation, and he ain’t talking about his economics.

      3. avatar ropingdown says:

        There’s something else I’d like to know about the Bundy’s. Cliven is the 3rd generation, according to his daughter. I’d like to know what happened to the other kids in each generation. How many got pushed out for pennies in classic mormon primogeniture style? Or was there a vast Bundy land-holding that does not appear obvious in the land records?

        1. avatar Christine Guinn says:

          Bundy’s family moved to Bunkerville, NV in 1948, when Cliven Bundy was 2 years old. His family has no history on the land dating back to the 1870s, like Bundy falsely cliams.

    2. avatar Dave Ki says:

      Don S“the park ranger comes along and confiscates the fish I caught, my fishing pole, and tackle box”.
      But were you tazed and shoved down in the process? After paying county fees?

      1. avatar Christine Guinn says:

        Did you kick the police dog before getting tazed, like Ammon Bundy did?

  4. avatar William Burke says:

    Everything was accomplished without violence or pointing of guns on the side of Bundy and his steadfast supporters.

    The only ones to point guns were the BLM federale thugs.

    1. avatar Larry says:

      Not exactly correct according to TV news videos, we had snipers aiming from hiding behind the Feds. Or is that different because the Feds didn’t know it?

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Video or it didn’t happen.

  5. avatar tdiinva says:

    Very good piece.

    As I said in the earlier postings I think Cliven Bundy ran a masterful PSYOP campaign that convinced a lot people to to back him up. I wanted to be unambiguously on his side but looking over the facts I reluctantly had to side against him. The Feds played right into his hands by mustering armed force against him. The government has ample nonviolent ways to have dealt with the problem.

    The reason the BLM charges ranchers to graze on public land is because since “we” all own it nobody really owns it and if nobody owns then the land will be ruined. Bundy didn’t want to pay for the use of Federal land. If he were a hunter we would call him a poacher.

    There is a bigger issue here than just Bundy’s selfishness. The Western States have been battling the Federal government for years of the ownership of land. A majority of most states west of the Missouri River are owned by the Federal government. This denies tax revenues and fees from the states. If the states were given back their land then they could sell it to ranchers and farmers. Had Cliven Bundy been allowed to buy that land he would have taken care of it instead overgrazing land he felt he should have for free.

    1. avatar Blake says:

      Yeah, Bundy got well inside governments information OODA. Then, government doubled down on stupid by resorting to same playbook they used at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

      Whether or not you agree with Bundy, government was unable to do anything other than show up with overwhelming force. If this is the only thing our government knows these days, then we’ve got problems well beyond issues we have with the way Bundy handled things.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        government was unable to do anything other than show up with overwhelming force

        Government is force, and nothing but force. But in this case, the G did not show up with “overwhelming” force, just a lot of force. The guys on the other side of the line had enough force to resist, and the Feds wanted to get home in one piece.

        1. avatar Dave Ki says:

          Seems they backed down a little easy though, kinda like a dry run to see what kind of response would happen.IMHO.

        2. avatar ropingdown says:

          It’s no sweat off the feds’ backs. BLM has (for better or worse…) statutory authority to remove trespassing cattle. They’ll demonstrate to a court that that removal was indeed opposed by armed force at Clivens’ encouragement. They’ll reduce most of their claims for fees, damages, etc. to a money judgement and hand it off for collection. That is what a private creditor would do. I see no reason to thing BLM will do differently.

          The “history” of the Bundy family and leases, “purchased rights” and so forth, number of cattle grazed in many of the past decades, appears to be wildly exaggerated. On the other hand, Cliven definitely has friends and family connections in the area, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      As to federal ownership denying states taxes and fees on the vast dry grazing lands, I find that a spurious argument. Certainly any income earned by ranchers operating herds within the boundaries of the states is taxable by the state. The federal government (and taxpayer) has long borne a net cost for the grazing activities.

      From one point of view the federal ownership of the land may appear limiting to the economies of western states. I’ve seen too many projects and businesses carried out on leased federal land to believe that is such a hardship.

      The problem with federal ownership, of course, is that federal policies change. Simple ‘public land’ and national forest have increasingly become of great ‘interest’ to voters from both coasts who wish to see every bit of the ‘wide open spaces’ returned to its natural condition. “That can be accomplished by passing a federal law, can’t it?” Yes, it can. But often enough those laws impinge on historic uses. So how does an interest group push conversion of federal land to “National Monuments” “Wildlife Regfuge” and so on without western support? After all, the west has enormous representation in the U.S. Senate, on a per capita basis. The answer is simple enough: Hunt around for senators in places like Nevada, Colorado, and Utah that have as their power base developers or urban districts. Offer accommodations to these senators and their clients. Success! You get support for your back-to-nature restrictions on large swathes of what was once grazing land from the western senators with an urban/suburban power base.

      In the case of grazing leases I find the arguments against federal leases worse than unconvincing: The closing of Open Range and the system of Grazing Leases was welcomed by ranchers when it was created. It answered the very obvious “tragedy of the commons” problem, in which neighboring ranchers pushed too many cattle out into the nearby “open range,” until no one’s cattle had enough to eat. Throw in a brutally cold winter (1886-87) on top of very thin cattle, and you get a bunch of broke ranchers eager for a new system, the federal Grazing Lease system.

      Bundy’s lived with that system for generations, happily. Not until the 150 head restriction appeared did Cliven decide “federal law doesn’t apply here. They do not really own the land. The U.S. constitution does not allow land ownership…” and so forth. That’s all a bunch of convenient fantasy. He became a free-loader when what he should have done, if he was in the right, was appeal the limit to 150 head as arbitrary and capricious. I’m not certain it was, looking at the land.

      The Bundy’s have the habit, in polemic, of referring to the Bundy grazing land as if it included all the grazing lease allotment land for those leases that had been bought in from fifty other ranchers. That is not the legal result of the negotiated grazing lease buyouts. They never had the lease right to 600,000 acres.

      It’s fairly easy to accept the Bundy’s arguments if you just go with their wholesale in-their-minds redefinition of terms and re-writing of laws. I don’t go with that and so do not agree with their notion that Cliven was in the right.

      1. avatar DonS says:

        “The U.S. constitution does not allow land ownership” [Bundy’s and/or supporters’ argument?]

        I’ve seen that argument and have wondered how it reconciles with the text of Article IV, Section 3:

        “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States“.

        (And, just to make sure I’m consistent with myself… quit inserting apostrophes when making “Bundy” plural 🙂 Hi Prairie Patriot!)

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          Why omit it? It is optionally correct to add the apostrophe to make plural a name ending in a vowel plus ‘s’.

        2. avatar Ed says:

          To ropingdown: Although widely used, pluralizing a proper name ending in a vowel by adding an apostrophe and an “s” has never been correct, optionally or otherwise.

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        If the closing of open grazing was “welcomed” by ranchers, then why were so many ranchers in Nevada the last to sign onto the Taylor Grazing Act, waiting a decade or two after the passage of the TGA?

        I know many of the guys in central Nevada. I’m guessing you don’t, and therefore you don’t know the history from the private sector about the hard-line tactics the government used to force graziers to “voluntarily” sign up for these modern restrictions. If I might use a legal term for what the feds did (in hindsight) it is “fraud in the inducement.”

        There was a clamor in other states, where the sheep vs. cattle wars became violent, and where big, out-of-area money for an end to “open grazing,” but that clamor wasn’t there in Nevada in quite the way advertised by the BLM today, and it wasn’t there the way they claim in much of the Great Basin (which stretched out to eastern OR, southern ID and western UT).

        Want to see what era the TGA was part of? Go back and look at the other acts passed in 1934 having to do with ag. In particular, look at the Agricultural Adjustment Act, wherein FDR’s men came around to farmers and ranchers, pressured them into signing over the livestock, only to see it shot and buried in a ditch? Horses, pigs, sheep, cows… they all went under the gun. Thousands upon thousands of acres of cotton, wheat, etc were burned or plowed under, all with a token payment from the feds for doing so. Many farmers were plenty pissed off about this, but what were they to do? FDR’s men would show up at your front door with guns and paperwork in hand, ready to shoot your livestock that day.

        That was the era of the Taylor Grazing Act.

        The AAA, by the way, was ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS in ’38.

        The TGA, which is what the ranchers signed onto to let go of their prior rights, was basically over-ridden by the FLPMA, which should have required a re-negotiation of the ranchers’ interests, but the Feds considered it a done deal. Hence my assertion of fraud by inducement. The ranchers signed onto TGA, they got FLPMA.

        Want to keep discussing the history of the western graziers here?

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          The AAA, by the way, was ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS in ’38.

          Notice that this was well after the harm was done. Also, WW II was on the horizon, so the Feds needed to be able to support the livestock and crops to feed and clothe the armed forces. Everything is connected.

        2. avatar ropingdown says:

          I’d absolutely like to continue, because I learn much from it. I did read through every record I could find of interactions between BLM and Bundy beginning in 1992, including correspondence, affidavits, the orginal 98 hearing opinion, etc. I think almost everybody in each of the Bundy-related posts on TTAG hasn’t read the details of 92-94 those of BLM or Bundy.

          Which brings up the FLPMA, definitely. Bundy’s gripe wasn’t about any “900 down to 150” permission change. That never happened. What got Bundy going, and it is very clear from the correspondence, is the whole “multiple uses” mandate of BLM (et al) under the 1974 FLPMA. To begin with, his lease was ephemeral. He saw, probably correctly, that on very marginal grazing land full of various critters, “multiple use” very well could have put him out of business. I think his neighboring ranchers understood that. But what did Bundy do? Decide and assert that the land did not belong to the U.S., and that he was not subject to U.S. district court jurisdiction, nor was the land.

          Bundy had not had approval to graze any 700 or 900 head back in the 80’s and 90’s. He paid as though he was grazing 85 or 90 head…until he stopped paying.

          The battle, war, call it what you will, is definitely going to be fought on the “threatened species” list and the extent of “multiple uses.”

          On the other hand many Americans don’t trust the D of the Interior….for failing to protect resources. “Of the agency under Bush’s leadership, Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney has cited a “culture of fear” and of “ethical failure.” Devaney has also said, “Simply stated, short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of Interior.”

          I’m not a novice dealing with the ecology extremists. I had 74 acres of mature spruce and pine forest (was about to cut some of it…) slapped with permanent nature preserve status because…what? Because a number of trees within the 74 acre area had had a rare fungus on them, a fungus the government wanted to preserve! It becomes a sort of permanent growth on the tree. (Not in the U.S., BTW.)

        3. avatar 16V says:

          I understand ropingodwn’s views from a modern perspective, which assumes the gov acted in ‘good faith’ and assumes that “voluntary” was something other than coercion in the face of ultimate financial/legal ruin.

          The reality is, of course, a bit less clear cut. Much like the hundreds of Indian Treaties abrogated on “National Interest” the story of Nevada ranchers being forced out by hook or by crook is rather common, once you know the history.

          Bundy is a highly imperfect totem, and we should have had serious resistance back when statist filth Bush II instituted his PutinSochi ‘Free Speech Zones’. But we didn’t, so frankly, I’ll take a slow awakening any day over a coma.

        4. avatar ropingdown says:

          Thanks for the presumption, but I do not assume government acts in good faith. Government is where people go to try and get the force of government, the guns, prisons, courts, on their side against their enemies or rivals. The rich want the poor constrained. The city people want farmers to stop using water. Banks want to become more risky by regulation and reduced reserve requirements and greater leverage, while still be backstopped by the credit of the U.S. taxpayer. The farmers, they said, farm the fields. Then the railroads farm the farmers. And so on.

          I learned more about government by reading a thorough history of the creation of America’s railroads than from any other source. I live about two miles from the farm of Thompson, recording secretary of the constitutional convention. Someone asked him to write a history of the convention. He replied that he would not “because if I did the nation would realize what a group of scoundrels they were.” But my kind of scoundrels, I suppose. There are worse in the world.

  6. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

    Here’s another issue that shouldn’t be overlooked. Is it possible to peaceably dismantle the leviathan that the government has become? Are the special interests so many and is the bureaucracy so entrenched that they won’t give up without going to arms? Hasn’t the government already shown via the IRS persecution of conservative organizations that it will violate both the letter and the intent of the Constitution to maintain the status quo?

    1. avatar Col. Angus says:

      Not only is the bureaucracy entrenched, it’s now armed to the teeth.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      That, IMO, is the most important question asked in the history of this Republic.

    3. avatar ken says:

      Thomas jefferson already answered that question long ago.
      “what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith,

  7. avatar jwm says:

    I just thought of this last night. In my youth in farm country most, if not all, of the farmers got subsidy’s from the fed.gov for not growing certain crops and other reasons.

    I heard that Bundy raises crops, melons I believe, on his 160 acres he has rifhts to. Has anybody checked to see if the Bundy ranch recieves any sort of fed.gov subsidy? Other than the obvious one of grazing rights at bargain prices?

    1. avatar DonS says:

      the farmers got subsidy’s
      Warning: grammar nitpick (and only because I’m abnormally sensitive to apostrophe misuse)…

      The plural of “subsidy” is “subsidies”. Not the singular possessive “subsidy’s”.

        1. avatar DonS says:

          Yeah, really. But I only thought to mention it because, a mere 3 days ago, we had this: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/04/daniel-zimmerman/anti-anti-gun-agitprop-contest-entry/

          (I did preface my post with “Warning: grammar nitpick”, hoping that those who don’t care about such things would not waste their time reading further.)

        2. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Yeah. It’s called English grammar. It differentiates those who can make a meaningful remark from others who cannot.

        3. avatar WayneMHK says:

          You know, if the only chance I have to make a positive impression and have someone take me seriously is whether or not I know the difference between your and you’re, or the plural of “subsidy”, then the answer is, “Yeah, really.”

      1. avatar Jay Williams says:

        Most people posting comments on the Interwebz couldn’t possibly care less about how well they write, which is why most of them write at about a 3rd-grade level.

        Unfortunately, I am cursed with noticing every single error.

  8. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

    Gerald, There is a really good YouTube video about the history of Cliven Bundy and the BLM. Browse around therealTrippleB channel. You should be able to find it.

    1. avatar Maineuh says:

      Yep. That is a damn good piece.

    2. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      Careful, TrippleB is persona non grata ’round these parts. The rank-and-file will get all uppity on you.

      1. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

        Don’t know anything about problems with TrippleB but I thought the video was very instructive. Was there anything misleading in it?

        1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          Not at all, TrippleB is a good friend of mine. He even visits TTAG on occasion (when I get all ragey about an article, mostly) but he doesn’t post much. Some disagreements with some folks, something something echo chambers.

        2. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          Actually, Trip and I have never discussed why he doesn’t post on TTAG often. That was speculation on my part and probably not accurate. All BS aside, he may just prefer to lurk.

  9. avatar Peter says:

    Don’t forget that in the American West, it is very often about water rights.
    I have not seen to much about how they play into this situation but any history of California reveals a very bitter battle between urban and rural areas over water, that battle continues to play out today.

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      That battle ended well over a decade ago, and the central valley lost.

      1. avatar DonS says:

        So, now the central valley is drilling for it. Little or no state-level control of groundwater.

  10. avatar BDub says:

    Follow the money.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Every time.

  11. avatar Rick Testa says:

    I still don’t know the whole background of this conflict, but even if Bundy is totally wrong about his claim, I think it’s instructive to just think about this:

    Did the government send armed men to deal with the bankers/financial “wizards” who screwed up our fiscal/monetary system over the past few years? Or do they not do that to their friends/supporters? Another Ruby Ridge, geographically isolated, would not be the PR problem that armed arrest of the “wall street wizards” would be.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “Did the government send armed men to deal with the bankers/financial “wizards” who screwed up our fiscal/monetary system over the past few years?”

      A very good point.

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      Put aside the question of them “screwing up the financial system,” since the government, congressmen, senators, and presidents took a large part in making that happen.

      Just look at the cases in which the SEC and DoJ identified massive money-laundering and fraud felonies, but admitted that they could not take the cases to trial because a conviction would mandate removal of BOA and then Wachovia’s banking licenses…thereby “bringing down the banking system overnight.’

      They did, however, fine Wachovia a huge amount. All they want from Cliven is the fees and costs. And he doesn’t even want to pay those. So even the Wachovia defense wouldn’t serve his desires.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Don’t forget that Insider Trading wasn’t illegal for Congress until last year when world+dog found out that said congresscritters were enriching themselves by doing what is now illegal for everyone, not just the proles.

    3. avatar Larry says:

      I don’t recall them sending a 200 man SWAT team to arrest the dipshit who deliberately stole 50 billion thru a pyramid scheme over 20 years. I bet this standoff cost more than Bundy ever owed, it is about POWER.

      1. avatar John says:

        But, Madoff wound up in jail.

    4. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Another Ruby Ridge, geographically isolated, would not be the PR problem that armed arrest of the “wall street wizards” would be.

      Chalk that up to the always awake and watchful Internet. Ruby Ridge may have gone the same way as the Bundy standoff if the Internet was around and ubiquitous at the time. Think about it – how and when did you hear about Waco or Ruby Ridge. How detailed and timely was the reporting? Today it’s nearly instantaneous. Whole different environment.

    5. avatar Christine Guinn says:

      Did the bankers, etc. declare a “range war” against the government? Bundy did. (Sent a letter to the sheriff in March, demanding protection and declaring a “rage war” against the government.) When someone declares a “war”, you’d be foolish not to take them seriously.

  12. avatar Model 31 says:

    Fees for using public land…
    Have we actually come across a public welfare requirement the Feds will not borrow or print money to cover?
    I guess it really isn’t about the fee for using public land.

    1. avatar B says:

      The fee is to try to *stop* people from using the public land. It kind of pisses off the government when it inadvertently supports activities that make more money than it takes in. Thats why it sold the GM stock for cheap after stealing it from pensioners and gave away the Panama Canal.

    2. avatar John says:

      If the public land can be freely used, then the cattle raised on the public land are property of the public and can be freely taken.

  13. avatar Dave s says:

    by reducing the number of cattle that can be run on the ranch, the BLM has essentially made it impossible for the rancher to continue to earn a living.

    Without a good reason to do so, related to the carrying capacity of the land, this would be a violation of numerous agreements between BLM and the ranchers.
    Since all other ranchers have been shut down, it would seem impossible to make a land management argument for reducing the number of cattle grazed by the remaining rancher in the area.

    Given that set of facts , you need to look at the political motivations of the BLM in taking this land, livelyhood and legacy from this ranch family.

    To be forced into a battle for a way of life, to defend hearth and home, this gets down to the basic freedoms that we expect to enjoy here. It would seem that a level of resistance is to be expected here.

  14. avatar Bravo says:

    Bundy and the other ranchers had over-grazed the land for a century. This resulted in invasive grasses moving in that the cattle and deer don’t eat and allowed pinyon and juniper to grow out of control. What was once good grassland has deteriorated badly. The pinyon and juniper that now dominate the 4 Corners area are not natural in present quantities. They rob huge amounts of water from creeks, contribute to soil erosion, and become a fire hazard. The old school ranchers were bad caretakers of public land because they “felt” it belonged to them and court order be damned.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Careful… you’re threatening the narrative that says the feds were just screwing with Bundy for (a) no reason or (b) some silly solar conspiracy.

      1. avatar ken says:

        watch this:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSEa-Z9SAqU
        and then say that the “solar conspiracy” is “silly”. I dare you.

    2. avatar Dave s says:

      I Take it you have never managed land.
      There are always compromises to be made and practices improved.

      Water isnt robbed, its closely regulated by law. Look at the Klamath Falls Basin issues in Oregon.

      Looks like the BLM has deliberately forced people out, in violation of the Multiple use Principles that founded the agency.

      If one use is eliminated at the cost of others, it does amount to a taking or seizure of the land. It is also a political decision.

      A compromise isnt what folks are looking for at this time.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        DaveS, if you are claiming that the pumping of ground water is successfully controlled by the feds, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

        You didn’t reply directly to any of Bravo’s assertions.

        It’s definitely time for us to find and drag out the administrative records from the BLM 1993 decisions, provided Cliven pushed to develop the record via administrative appeal.

    3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “Bundy and the other ranchers had over-grazed the land for a century. This resulted in invasive grasses moving in that the cattle and deer don’t eat and allowed pinyon and juniper to grow out of control.”

      I would be interested in a citation…

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        You can actually look at the land today (well, as of three or four years ago) via the available aerial photos.

        But I’d like a citation. Time to put in a call to BLM. Frankly, if Cliven wants support, he should bring out the records from his administrative interactions with BLM.

        I’m just going to say it: If Cliven wants support, not just “Militia” guns around, he should offer up the full record from the original BLM meetings, and the facts alleged by BLM to support their ruling.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Pinyon and juniper don’t grow in the low desert in Nevada.

          Want to try again?

        2. avatar ropingdown says:

          DG, I didn’t mention Pinyon and Juniper! I suppose I could mention Cheatgrass, though.

          I’m just going to guess that those many ranchers in central Nevada that you are friends with would never handle their grazing lease renewals or annual instructions the way Cliven did. He turned down a second chance to renew. He started giving BLM contractors on the land Constructive Notice to remove themselves, as though he still controlled the land.

          On the one hand people on the site (tdiinva, looking at you!) claim Bundy is rich. On the other hand we see he acted pro se in the district court in 1998. What? What rich person would do that?

          Obviously Clark County in the person, particularly, of Commissioner Rory Reid, were all over the Bunkerville Allotment like a fly on sht, ready to make it the place where they could provide the compensating land to fulfill the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (“CCMSHCP”) and associated Incidental Take Permit. It FASCINATES me that a county’s plan to fulfill federal demands for MSHC could be fulfilled by a measly purchase of grazing rights and an overblown claim that they were “saving the desert tortoise.” Put another way, the BLM could very well, on their own, have cranked back the amount of graziing on the land. They didn’t need Clark County’s help. Ahhhhh, but they did need the good will of Reid’s former staff advisor, then the Primary Deputy Director at BLM, now the Director, and needless to say, the goodwill of Reid, himself. Interior, through FGS and BLM, gave Clark County a sweetheart deal, shredding the intentions of the regulations they were to enforce. The destruction of the “take” on private land far exceeds any benefit conferred on the desert tortoise by Clark County and the Reids. This still deserves some Washington and Nevada attention.

    4. avatar neiowa says:

      Stop with the Sierra Club BS. WHEN/WHERE in Utah did you find HUGE amounts of water to rob??

      1. avatar Bravo says:

        Water is robbed when rainfall that used to reach creeks and flow to rivers is instead taken up by large, thirsty trees that did not historically exist. The cattle (and deer) don’t graze on pinyon/juniper (nor bufflegrass and all the other invasives) so the trees get bigger and crowd out the native grasses. With a suppressed fire regime, as is common on rangeland, what was once savannah becomes an altered landscape that allows less water for rivers and a degraded habitat for large animals, including cows.

      2. avatar Jus Bill says:

        In the deep aquifer.

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          Yep. Pumping water up for the cattle (or crops) versus ‘for people’, is a battle like “cattle versus sheep,” isn’t it? I watched this in southern Spain more than in the U.S. west. When a careful investigation was done about 12 years ago of a large section of desert/cattle land, the government found an unbelievably elaborate black market water system in place, wells and pumps where they were forbidden, instant pipelines to neighboring ranches, water trucks….and disappearing ground water. I don’t know if excessive or illegal pumping is as common in the western U.S. I know it exists. It doesn’t get me too stirred up though, since I see cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles constantly seeking their next 100K of thirsty residents.

          People, if I haven’t said it before, are no damned good. Except me and you, of course.

  15. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I look at it this way, Bundy isn’t 100% right, and he isn’t 100% wrong. There is a lot going in between he and the BLM. I think the gov was prevented from going full retard by the massive response against them. Bundy used information operations masterfully to gain support for his cause while the BLM shot themselves in the foot with first amendment zones, dogs and tazers.

  16. Of all the commentary I heard and read about this, the comments posted here on TTAG from actual cattle ranchers in that part of the country were the most enlightening. None of them had much good to say about Bundy, who is known as a fervent anti-government guys, particularly the Federal government. Ironic since were it not for the USA, which owns the land he claims he can use for free, laws be darned, there would be no Nevada to begin with.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Paul, I am not sure he wanted to use the land for free, what he wanted was to use the land as agreed upon way back when. If he had rights from the late 19th century, those rights had value. Even if the BLM had every right to reduce the amount of cattle that could be grazed on the land, they reduced the value of his allotment by nearly 80%.

      I have no doubt that Bundy is a crusty old coot, and probably manipulative as hell. That said, the Feds need a bloody nose (or hundred), and it’s hard to feel sorry for them.

      1. Hi Tim,

        I don’t feel “sorry” for the FEDs, but based on my research and reading and the informed opinion of ranchers in the know, I do not feel this was a case where a man was being persecuted by the Federal government. That’s my take on it, but I appreciate your take on it too.

        The “First Ammendment Zone” was the most bone-headed of the moves the BLM made.

        But I don’t think much of Bundy’s big stunt either.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          Why? They learned the “First Amendment Zone” BS from that filthy statist retard POS Bush II. We should have been hanging them for treason then. That we didn’t has emboldened them.

        2. avatar John says:

          To be fair to Bush (choke), the concept of “first amendment zones” goes back to the Vietnam War protests of the 60s, and didn’t get really popular until the 90s.

      2. avatar Christine Guinn says:

        Tim,

        Bundy didn’t have rights to the land from the 19th century, (as he claims.) Bundy’s family did not move to Nevada until 1948. This is verified through Clark County land records.

  17. avatar donny77 says:

    “If we are to live in peace in a nation of laws, two things must happen. 1) Citizens must respect and obey the law, and 2) governments must make and enforce respectable laws.”

    I would like to add a third, ‘3) Governments must follow the laws in the same manner they expect the People to follow them.’ A lot of people have talked about Bundy ignoring a court order. Has Washington D.C. changed there policies following Heller? Has Holder suffered any consequence to being in contempt of Congress? Has David Gregory been arrested for being in possession of an illegal 30 round magazine on national TV? Hard to respect laws when they Government does not respect them.

    We praise Connecticut and New York gun owners for civilly defying “assault weapons” bans, yet turn around and say Bundy is just a leech getting rich off public land in spite of a court order. Am I the only one that sees hypocrisy in that statement? Just think about that before you throw Bundy under the bus. I don’t know the man, and I wouldn’t know if I could take him on his word, but I find myself trusting my government less and less each day.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      I see the hypocrisy and I agree with the argument. If the feds won’t follow their own laws then why should anyone else? They feel free to disregard the laws whenever they see fit.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “I would like to add a third, ’3) Governments must follow the laws in the same manner they expect the People to follow them.’ ”

      Indeed – if the law is to be respected it needs to be respected by all. If congress, or an agency cannot live by a law or regulation, then neither should we.

    3. avatar ropingdown says:

      What laws did the feds not follow in the Bundy matter? I know what laws Bundy decided should be ignored or denied any existence. Which, though, did the feds ignore?

      There’s no 2nd amendment right to grazing on federally owned land. The Bundy family wasn’t there before the federal government.

      I do think cattlemen ought to be as politically active as they can manage. Obviously.

      1. avatar donny77 says:

        As I recall in school, the main opposition to the Bill of Rights in 1789, was that those opposed feared if they spelled out any rights, people would assume any not declared did not exist. Instead they argued that these are common sense, so they don’t need to be written down. They were right on both parts. Just because it isn’t in the Bill or Rights doesn’t mean its not rightfully protected.

      2. avatar ken says:

        Just FYI, to threaten murder, to sic attack dogs on unarmed persons, and to throw grandmothers with cancer to the ground, are ALL ILLEGAL! Its a very old and simple rule called “felony assualt”. Just search the words “felony assualt in us law” and you will see…

  18. avatar Dave s says:

    I worked for the USFS in the 70s At that time the philosophy was moving away from multiple use toward preservation. That is contrary to the mission of the agency which was conservation and multiple uses/production from the lands. The change in philosophy of the managers from an industry based approach to an environmentalist approach has been rather obvious.

    If the ranchers can show a pattern of bias by agency policy I would be much more sympathetic to the rancher.

    And to make it a law enforcement action instead of putting liens on the property and waiting is not a wise move unless you just want the people to fear ALL federal agencies and keep us in our subservient place.

    1. avatar B says:

      51 ranchers down to 50 and 900 acres down to 150 seems like a pretty big bias.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        I also read in one of the reports that the BLM destroyed the water pipelines and watering tanks [called leasehold improvements] that Bundy put in at his own expense. If true, that impresses me as petty and vindictive vandalism.

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          “In April2008, the BLM also cancelled Mr. Bundy’s range improvement authorizations for the former Bunkerville Allotment and that decision was upheld on appeal by the Interior Board of Land Appeals…. Mr. Bundy has not complied with that decision and trespass investigations discussed below indicate that he continues to use those improvements.”

          After Bundy refused to remove the cattle 1994-2007, BLM finally got around to telling him “oh, and by the way, your right to pump and store water on the land is over, too.”

  19. avatar Burnout says:

    “On the other hand, if the park ranger comes along and confiscates my car, tent and cooler full of hot dogs, calls in snipers on hilltops to cover me, calls in helicopters, K-9 units, and a whole lot of other armed people dressed in war gear and carrying Assault Weapons (real ones), and acting in a manner which greatly exceeds the situation, because the Feds have increased the fees overnight, I’m going to be a bit pissed off.”

    There, fixed it for you.

  20. avatar Pete S. says:

    I have a hard time siding with Bundy. When I go hunting or fishing I have to pay for a license that helps fund management of the land. I can only take fish of a certain size in a certain number, so the water doesn’t become over fished. I can only take a certain # of deer too. Do I like these fees and regulations, not really. However, without them the land would quickly become over fished and hunted. He should have paid his fees and complied with the regulations like pretty much everyone else does. The federal government does a whole lot of stuff that I find objectionable and I just sent them a large check to continue those activities, but I still pay my taxes like a responsible person.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      I have a lot of sympathy for this point of view, but dammit, the Feds have run themselves into a deep, deep hole of goodwill and understanding. There was a time I more or less believed in the professionalism and general benevolence of Federal agencies. Now, not so much, and when I have to choose between two assholes, I find myself siding with Bundy.

  21. avatar Dozer says:

    Bundy isn’t 100% clean in this, but neither is the Government.

    And this wasn’t a case of some cult with a leader proclaiming to be the second coming, nor a so-called white supremist. This was a rancher in Nevada, with a little published running fight with the feds — BLM.

    But the turning point, was when the feds showed up to take the cattle, and they set up their First Amendment zone. That was the first thing people could relate to and understand. the second and real game changer, was US GOV snipers perched on a hill pointing, or people believed they were, rifles at people taking pictures and video.

    That is when it got real. That is when the average person said WTF? a bunch of twig pigs, racoon rangers, possum police have snipers and they were pointing their rilfes at american citizens who held a camera.

    It was an optic of a government out of control and the militarazation of law enforcement.

    from there things progressed rapidly. Using snarling dogs against people and the BLM fubared the optic of the event.

    We shall see where it goes from here

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      +1

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “But the turning point, was when the feds showed up to take the cattle, and they set up their First Amendment zone. That was the first thing people could relate to and understand. the second and real game changer, was US GOV snipers perched on a hill pointing, or people believed they were, rifles at people taking pictures and video.”

      Agreed – this could be about the time I said “fvck the feds.”

  22. avatar Maineuh says:

    Excellent piece. A topic always worthy of discussion.

  23. avatar Mercutio says:

    The people have the right via jury nullification to refuse to find defendants guilty of an unjust law or unjust application of a reasonable law. Time to read up and make sure you’re in the jury pool.

    1. avatar Christine Guinn says:

      If you express that belief, you will NOT be in the jury pool. If you try to enforce that belief, the judge will remove you and seat an alternate juror.

  24. avatar gej88 says:

    You either support civil disobedience in principle or you don’t. Supporting the specific cause is a different matter.

    1. avatar Steve O says:

      Exactly.

  25. avatar Skyler says:

    The problem is that the only ones seeming to report on this in any depth are those lunatics at InfoWar and us will generally believe that they are wrong. Because they almost always are and because I despise anyone who thinks the US government blew up the World Trade Center and the pentagon in a new world order conspiracy.

    1. avatar donny77 says:

      I don’t know if the Government blew it up. What I do know, is the evidence I have seen with my own eyes does not jive with the official story. What I do know is that a steel structure building has NEVER collapsed like WTC Tower 1, 2, and 7, except under controlled demolition. What I do know is that despite a steel structure building NEVER having collapsed in this manner, no investigation was done in order to improve building standards. We have spent 5 weeks looking for a plane in the ocean, and we did no investigation on a freak building failure with the evidence right in front of us!

      1. avatar Christine Guinn says:

        Because before 9/11 there had never BEEN a building collapse like the WTC that was NOT caused by a controlled demolition. The ammount of prep work, (placing explosives), that would be required to being down a structure like WTC would be too massive to go unnoticed. It’s simply a ludicrious conspiracy theory.

        1. avatar Ken says:

          The enormous amount “prep work” that you so simply dismiss as not worth even thinking about, turns out to be quite easy to hide, IF you happen to be the owner(and so in complete control of security) of said building. But it requires slightly more thought, and the desire to find answers to questions, than simple dismissal to see that deep…
          Its quite a lot easier to dismiss than investigate isn’t it? But it is always more profitable to investigate.

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      What does the WTC have to do with the Bundy Standoff? Try to pay attention please.

      1. avatar ken says:

        it is relevant. It shows a certain pattern of behaviors inconsistant with law. Its all a rich tapestry….

  26. avatar Michael B. says:

    Wrongs were committed by both Bundy and the federal government, but the government handled it poorly. People are tired of being pushed around and having unaccountable authorities sticking guns in their faces. I believe that the presence of hundreds of armed citizens prevented the federal troops from behaving violently because they knew there’d be a price to pay if they did so.

    The only check on their behavior and power were the brave men and women out there on the line.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      No, the real check on their behavior was the phone call from Washington to tell them that their every move was being reported on the Internet and if they don’t stop behaving like storm troopers the BLM’s budget might be cut and some high level bureaucrats might lose their jobs due to adverse public opinion.

      Notice the hue and cry over the rumor that cell service was cut. In this day and age all news is local news to someone, not necessarily someone local.

      1. avatar H.R. says:

        Exactly. A bloody shootout involving a hundred civilians and a bunch of Feds is going to look horrific on the Internet. Add in the rumors surrounding the whole thing and no matter how it played out, it couldn’t have been good.

  27. avatar Publius says:

    I respect laws that have actual purposes. Hell, even things that have a valid purpose and aren’t the law, I respect (such as recycling). Laws against murder, theft, rape, polluting rivers and streams – those I respect. Laws that exist only to create criminals of people who’ve hurt no one, I do not respect.

  28. avatar eugene says:

    “a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves”. edward r. murrow. It seems this is not about cows or turtles or grazing laws. We are looking square into the face of an out of control police state that cannot tolerate any kind of resistance. The fascists in the ruling class and their minions in both the republican and democrat parties are not done with the Bundy family. They have, however, given us a glimpse of our future and the futures of our children and grandchildren. I suggest The Rutherford Institute and A government of Wolves for interesting reading.

  29. avatar jimbthepilot says:

    “Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence.” ~ John Locke, 2nd Treatise on Government

  30. avatar Russ says:

    So remember boys and girls…If you break federal law, the boys in white hats will come down on you, your wife, children and grandchildren just so they can strike fear in the hearts of all you God fearing, patriotic tax paying American sheep…cause we all know most of you watch only main stream media which will avoid at all cost, to question the moral failings of Harry Reid (he’ll decide what’s legal).
    I Don’t think the Feds have constitutional jurisdiction here…certainly not the BLM…follow the money trail.
    Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal…Martin Luther King Jr.

    1. avatar John says:

      “I Don’t think the Feds have constitutional jurisdiction here…certainly not the BLM”

      Article IV, Section 3:
      “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States“.

      Federal Land Policy and Management Act
      “The Federal Land Policy and Management Act, or FLPMA (Pub.L. 94–579), is a United States federal law that governs the way in which the public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management are managed. The law was enacted in 1976 by the 94th Congress and is found in the United States Code under Title 43.

      Congress recognized the value of the public lands, declaring that these lands would remain in public ownership. The National Forest Service, National Park Service, and now, the Bureau of Land Management, are commissioned in FLPMA to allow a variety of uses on their land (of greater concern for the BLM, who is the least restrictive in terms of uses) while simultaneously trying to preserve the natural resources in them. This concept is best summarized by the term ‘multiple-use.’ ‘Multiple use’ is defined in the Act as “management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people.” FLPMA addresses topics such as land use planning, land acquisition, fees and payments, administration of federal land, range management, and right-of-ways on federal land. FLPMA has specific objectives and time frames in which to accomplish these objectives, giving it more authority and eliminating the uncertainty surrounding the BLM’s role in wilderness designation and management.”

  31. avatar Russ says:

    So remember boys and girls…If you break federal law, the boys in white hats will come down on you, your wife, children and grandchildren just so they can strike fear in the hearts of all you God-fearing, patriotic tax paying American sheep…cause we all know most of you watch only main stream media which will avoid at all cost, to question the moral failings of Harry Reid (he’ll decide what’s legal)
    Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal…Martin Luther King Jr.

  32. avatar Anon says:

    The Feds will let it cool off then move in with overwhelming power. If Bundy resists in any way, they will kill people.

    I used to respect the FBI, after Ruby Ridge any respect was gone.

    The ATF is a small agency under pressure. They thought Waco would make them look good. . . . They believed their own propaganda, they were no Rambos. I no longer respect them.

    The military blew it in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not the troops but the leadership, the senior leaders (politicians) went along with Bush and now Obama. I’m not sure senior military leadership ever understood those wars. All they had to do was read the American Revolutions history. Or perhaps they could have read about Viet Nam. How could they when Petreus was getting his apple polished and the follow on commander has thousands of emails to his girlfriend while he was commander in Afghanistan. DOD issued a report saying his involment with her did not affect the war effort . . . . . Oh really?

    What’s my point?

    Add the NY SAFE Act to this list and you get senior leadership of this country is in the s$$ts, bad leadership, bad laws and bad governing will lead many of us to completely ignore law and leadership.

    Over time, the populace will start ignoring all laws and leadership.

    This is the decline of the United States.

    It’s sad.

    Empires do not last.

    Just sayin’

  33. avatar Nor'Easter says:

    Who was right or wrong with the Bundy stand-off (legally) barely matters. It just brought to a head the many years of continuous harassment-by-regulation by the BLM and their many erudite schemes for “managing” the endless acres of deserts, rocks and forests they control in the West. The ranchers, herders and their other fellow sufferers have had it with all this and are “acting up”. Unfortunately the only way to get the attention of these bureaucratic little emperors.

    This is exactly how the American Revolution began. An elite (and effete) assembly in far away London, suddenly discovered that America had grown rather wealthy and sassy, decided to dabble in various methods of taxation and social engineering. Unlike the more timid BLM, the Brits decided to press the issue and we all know how that turned out.

    The Bundy’s and their stalwart supporters – whatever the merits of their opinions on the legalities of public land use – deserve our praise for sticking their necks out for what is right. Their refusal to surrender to intimidation and the “Bull Conner” meets “3 Stooges” tactics of the BLM are entirely laudable.

    This site is often filled with sarcasm over the forthright actions or opinions of those considered unsophisticated enough to naively stand up for their principles whatever the cost. Using discretion and good sense is generally fine but you’ll never win this fight by cleverly dodging the never-ending restrictions the grabbers come up with or pretending your AR was dropped overboard, they’ll close in on you one click at a time until there’s nothing left.

    Like the Minutemen, we need people to stand their ground. It won’t be easy, there were about as many Minutemen killed on the 19 of April as Britons – and many more were to follow.

    Fortunately we are not quite at that point yet. Unlike the Patriots, we have many paths left besides armed confrontation – if we’d only use them! It’s true that in some areas we don’t have the numbers but we should have the dedication, willpower & energy to prevail.

    Other minorities and interest groups have won not only their “rights” but a status which resists any criticism whatsoever, by relentless dedication to their cause. Our inability to pull all this together drives me to despair. All successful “movements” of this sort have 3 main prongs. Legal, Lobbyist and Activist. We have two; Legal and Lobbying – which are well covered by the NRA, many state organizations and others such as the GOA.

    What’s missing is the “Activist” element without which we will limp along as victims and little else. Aside from a fairly respectable rally in Albany, NY last January most other opportunities for “acting up” i.e. commemoration dates of various Revolutionary War Battles demonstrating the vital role played by the armed populace in securing and maintaining our freedom have come and gone. Aside from a few uncoordinated activities, nothing really massive happened and it looks as if nothing much will happen this summer either.

    Sadly, as long as we concentrate on counting ammo in our basements, correcting each others spelling and being wise-guys I’m afraid that – like the Aussies and British – we will learn our lessons too late.

  34. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The “rule of law” in the US is now dead. It’s pushing up daisies. It is no more. It is bereft of life. It is an ex-principle of civil society in the US.

    Why?

    What else can be said when the president and AG of the US decide, for reasons of pure political expediency, to selectively enforce their own landmark, name-brand legislation, ie, Obamacare? On the one hand, the Obama administration wants to claim to critics and detractors “It’s law, get over it.” On the other hand, for reasons of pure political convenience, they delay enforcement of some provisions (eg, the employer mandate), selectively enforce others (eg, being lenient on states that have implemented their own exchanges – poorly) and enforcing still some others (subsidy mandates).

    Then we have supposed law/regulation being selectively enforced by the IRS for purely political reasons against both groups and individuals. We have a former IRS employee who wanted to claim Fifth Amendment protections, yet she’s shot off her mouth dozens of times about dozens of facts. The SCOTUS has ruled that if you’re going to claim Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, you need to announce that you’re going to do so, then STFU. Once you start relating any information about the case under investigation, the SCOTUS has ruled, you’ve basically waived your Fifth Amendment right. The AG would like to claim otherwise. The SCOTUS remains silent on the issue, even though it is a recent ruling.

    Then we have a federal law on the books about recognizing marriage as being between a man and a woman. If the POTUS and his bootlickers don’t like it, they should proposed overturning the law with another law. Instead, they choose to completely ignore it. It’s still on the books, but now it is politically inconvenient to actually recognized such.

    We have billions being stolen from investors, pension funds, mutual funds and the like by investment bankers. When their schemes are discovered, they’re universally able to escape any prosecution by paying off the SEC and getting the SEC to allow a judgement “without admitting guilt,” so the same frauds remain on Wall Street to perpetrate their schemes again…. and again. If Bernie Madoff hadn’t given himself up, the SEC would never have caught him. Jon Corzine is still walking the streets, despite clear and unequivocal wrongdoing that carries criminal penalties. Why? Because Corzine is connected. He’s a made man in Democratic circles.

    This is the stuff of third world counties. Ivy League lawyers and MBA’s have decided that “It is good to be king, or at least in the king’s fraternity at Harvard” and they no longer care about the law in the slightest. Law, so these elites think, is for the riff-raff, the unwashed masses, the little people.

    I see no reason any longer for any mere citizen to care about the law either. We’re progressing rapidly down the broad strokes contained in a little tome scribbled by some dude named Edward Gibbon. We’re somewhere before the point where Caligula comes on the stage, but we’re well on our way towards expecting him. His modern day doppelgänger is doubtless already born and either at an Ivy League school, or has recently graduated from one.

    We’re too late to hope for change by using non-violent means, and it is just a bit too early to start killing people for sport and profit. This is the most inconvenient time in the collapse of a society…

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      I object only to the impression you give that elites flaunting the law is a recent phenomena. It was an ancient saying that “laws are spider’s webs for the poor, webs which the eagle tears through without trouble” for as was famously written, “the law in its majesty forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges.”

      All the “Founding Fathers” stuff is interesting but overdone. The Whiskey Rebellion, for example, was essentially a protest at the fact that large producers paid a lower per-barrel excise tax rate than small producers. George Washington proceeded to aid in crushing the rebellion. Who were the largest producers of whiskey paying the lower rate? George Washington was among them, at the very top.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Elites have always said “let them eat cake” and other such stuff. Yet, this time is different: Never before in our nation’s history (or the whole of human history) has there ever been such a brazen and vast transfer of wealth to the elites as there has been since 2008 and the financial collapse of the housing sector and capital markets. I’m hardly the stuff of the OWS bunch of loons; I trade and invest enough in capital markets to see how the transfer of trillions of dollars of wealth has been carried off without so much as a gun stuffed into people’s faces and a “your money or your life” choice issued.

        Most people thumping the “public lands” washtub don’t seem aware that SecTreas Geithner has hypothecated those assets as collateral on the national debt shortly after taking office.

        1. avatar John says:

          The OWS “bunch of loons” were standing up to a corrupt government and crony capitalism, without any support from the self-appointed militia “defenders of freedom”, three years ago.

        2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          The “solution” always proposed by the OWS people is (drum roll) more government.

          Many of the “occupy” types still think that Barney Frank was “taking on the bankers.” What a hoot that is to think about.

    2. avatar rlc2 says:

      I agree with this.

  35. avatar H.R. says:

    That is a valid point. The number of changes and shifted deadlines with the ACA should have involved several acts of Congress, but the administration is comfortable changing the law in its own.

    Whether you agree with the ACA or not, you definitely shouldn’t agree with an executive branch that behaves like all three branches at once.

  36. avatar Dan says:

    It’s good for American’s to obey the laws…..it’s better if those laws are reasonable, just and deal with
    REAL issues rather than create criminals out of citizens. But NOTHING changes, NOTHING improves,
    NOBODY will receive justice till EVERYBODY on BOTH sides of the issue are 100% accountable under
    the exact same laws. As long as badgemonkeys, DA’s, politicians and petty bureaucrats exempt themselves from obeying laws and force the taxpayers to fund the settlements for their criminality and
    misconduct what the law books do or do not say is irrelevant.

  37. avatar tdiinva says:

    I saw this article on Powerline this morning which gives a good summary of why we should sympathize with Cliven Bundy for the right the reasons:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/why-you-should-be-sympathetic-toward-cliven-bundy.php

    1. avatar rlc2 says:

      Thanks, was looking to see if this had been shared-

      I said at the beginning of this, that there is more than meets the eye, and I especially want to thank ropingdown for the deep detailed research on grazing, and Dyspeptci on the background on water rights, as I think these are intertwined as well.

      It looks to me as if Clark County has some history – and of course, Dirty Harry Reid and his son’s fingerprints are all over this. Don’t believe that environmental impact reports and bio studies are pure as the driven snow, either. The abuse of the “take” permits in exchange for mitigation elsewhere- ie the swap of making land 35 miles to the north ok for solar plant building by the Chinese, in exchange for making desert land safe for tortoises by putting them on Bundy’s land is part of the story.

      Keep digging- and thanks again TTAG for posting this story, and another reminder of how we’d NEVER get this kind of insightful deep information and analysis in the StateRunMedia. Read a couple of the interviews of Sharryl Atkinnson lately, notably ABC, for more on why. Like Dys has pointed out- the game is rigged, and has been for some time.

  38. avatar Delbert Grady says:

    Why couldnt this Ted Bundy have a respectable job, like community organizing, or political think tanking, or programming computers to spy on US citizens? Why must he insist on poisoning the children with his cholesterol laden beef cattle? Why are his rogue cattle trying to kill all the turtles?

    Hairy Reed needs to send in his BLM brownshirts to wipe out this brazen lawbreaker and all his followers, to make the point that violence against turtles is wrong, and that a vegan life is a safer life.

    As a liberal Democrat I am getting fed up with Obamas tepid incompetence where he cant even stage a decent Waco, like my personal god heroes the Clintons.

    1. avatar rlc2 says:

      Heh. You forgot the sacred undies part…

      All irony aside, one could read up on whats happening to Mitt Romney’s relatives south of the border, to see how this plays out in another 10-15 years.

  39. avatar Montana Dan says:

    All of our rights are at stake here and I hear a lot of BS about the “Law”. The “laws” were passed by federal and state “representatives” of the people. Those representatives do not account for all the people and they are not infallible. “Laws” are supposed to be created to enhance and propagate civility, peace, prosperity, and happiness among the citizens. Some laws are restrictive in nature to preserve or protect people, places, or things so that we safeguard these resources from ourselves and preserve them for future generations. However the laws as I see them right now are not there to enhance anything for anyone, except for the federal and state agencies at work here. That’s WRONG.

    People don’t uproot themselves and travel halfway across the country armed and willing to throw down for a man they’ve never even spoken to without a damn good reason. This whole situation looks, feels, and smells wrong. The fact that the government is actively seeking to harm citizens with overwhelming force over a law that does not enhance the lives of the people is wrong. When laws like this exist and the people assemble “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”, they can choose to do so peacefully or forcefully and I honestly can’t say that responding as a collective with force is the incorrect choice. Violence is the most firm way of saying NO and in this scenario Bundy and his supporters rallied to say no to the enforcement of laws that do not represent them.

    In short the “Law” doesn’t matter here. Enough people have come together to express their dissatisfaction with the “Law” and the enforcers of said “Law” that it is irrelevant. Laws serve us, LEA’s serve us, the government serves us! So when “We the people” assemble “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” and force the BLM to back off I have no problem with it even if Bundy is on the wrong side of a “Law” nobody agrees with.

    1. avatar Delbert Grady says:

      Who voted for the BLM? NOAA? EPA? We dont get to vote for these faceless bureaucrats, but look at the regulations i.e. LAWS they are dumping onto US everyday.

      Even a strong Conservative like Ted Cruz couldnt dismantle these alphabet agencies if elected. I support Ted Cruz completely but the reality is these agencies can only be disrupted with a catastrophic economic breakdown, because they are too big for even a committed politician to dismantle. Maybe rein them in a little, but not eliminate them. Which is why Obamacare is here to stay in some shape or form.

    2. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

      Well put. Much of how people have responded to this situation is a result of state indoctrination through the MSM. The principles involved in this issue, as so well presented by you here, have been so badly obfuscated by that indoctrination that most people should be declining to comment due to ignorance.

      1. avatar ken says:

        WELL SAID! HEAR, HEAR!
        (I get the parlimentary channel now)
        Joking aside, all excellent points. The MSM says Bundy is an outlaw, and the sheeple repeat it. The MSM says he is guilty, and the sheeple repeat it.
        Never mind the old “guilty until proven innocent” bit, that’s just a part of that moldy old constitution that’s so useless. We have trial by MSM now…..
        Also lets just ignore United States v. Estate of Hage, yet another case of the BLM and a Nevada rancher(now deceased) wherein a FEDERAL JUDGE found that the BLM engaged in a “literal, intentional conspiracy” against Nevada ranchers to force them out of business, according to U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Jones.
        They ignore all other reason(so like the statists), why not ignore some more?
        Like this video:

  40. avatar ken says:

    I see a lot of speculation about this situation but very few facts.
    For an unemotional apprasal of the facts and background just watch this video on youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSEa-Z9SAqU
    It will take eleven whole minutes out of your lives, but in the process, it will clear up a lot of the disinformation that we have all been subjected to. And also take a lot less time than arguing about which side might, or might not, be at fault….

  41. avatar ken says:

    Everybody posting on this page should take eleven minutes to watch this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSEa-Z9SAqU
    Seriously.

  42. avatar GS650G says:

    If I were to choose between a man who works the land for a living and a bloated agency, I’m going with the man.
    I find it incredible Harry Reid called for the rule of law to be honored in Bundy’s case when he has failed to follow the law for years. It’s against the law not to produce a budget and his Senate has done that for years.
    When the dust clears we will see what the truth is. I suspect BLM has misappropriated the grazing fees for every except land improvements as required. As usual, follow the money.

  43. avatar Tyson says:

    If the BLM is so worried about fees why have they never paid the Hage family, that they did the exact same thing to in Nevada? The Hage family won their court case..

    at=0

  44. avatar ken says:

    Interesting, is it not, that the video about Harry Reid’s illegal conections to the Bundy situtation
    that I repeatedly recomended was so quickly taken down? State censorship, like in Cummunist countries, simply doesn’t exist in these United States, Oh noooo…. DOES IT?????

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