Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bundy ranch, Feds and the "Rule of law"

I just couldn't not put something down here related to the Bundy ranch issue in Nevada. I had all but given up on this blog for several reasons but maybe this is just the thing to spark me. Before I make a few points about this post please look at this map of Federal land ownership in the USA and tell me if something does not smell to high heaven in the Western USA?

1. I don't know everything about this issue, I have learned a LOT about our Constitution, our nations history and some really interesting politics the last few days. Especially the enumerated powers of Congress in the Constitution.
2. This is my OPINION based on MY view and from the information and the facts I have gathered.
3. This is not about Republicans or Democrats. If I were the Dad to these political parties I would knock their heads together, spank their asses and tell them as much as I love them they better get their shit together yesterday. Then I would knock their heads together again!
4. I am going to say a few things, I might even say a few "bad" words. You are just going to have to take it, or you can leave angry, or you can go f*ck yourself. Isn't freedom wonderful?
5. Just for troll control, the Bundy family, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) nor anyone else paid for this blog. I am not here to defend either party in particular.
6. There are many twists to this whole issue, I think this will be a discussion point for some time. I could never post one blog and expect to capture ALL the particulars in this case. I will say there are distinct and different "rights" effected here. Property rights but not just land ownership, but water rights and forage rights as SEPARATE rights in this as well.  

So earlier this week the Federal government through the BLM moved into Nevada. Northeastern Clark county Nevada near the Utah/Arizona border. This is harsh desert country, just by the pictures of the cattle and terrain from this area I know a large part of the US cowherd could never make it in this rugged environment. I only own 1 cow that I think might make it in this harsh environment.

 Cows are way tougher than folks imagine, but these girls are special to what a mother cow is. The issue is they claim a Mr Cliven Bundy has been ignoring court orders for years and not paying grazing fees. From what I gather he has not paid these fees since 1993. There is some contention of whether he owes these fees to the Federal Government or the State of Nevada and if he has paid the state of Nevada.  
His family has been grazing these lands since the 1870's but in about 1993 the Federal Government cut his grazing allotment from around 900 cows to 150 cows in response to the Endangered Species listing of the desert tortoise. Now my issue with the Endangered Species Act is for another blog at another time. I will say it is a law with great intentions but very little real or practical use and a terrible level of success. The number of species listed and then removed because of non threatened status is less than 1%. Only our f*cking Federal government would use a system since 1973 with a 1% success rate and NOT change it! These restrictions do not just apply to public property but PRIVATE property as well. Now back to the Bundy situation.  Mind you this is on 600,000 plus acres so each cow in his original allotment had 600 acres to graze on. With his reduction this meant 1 cow for over 4000 acres! Just for perspective I run around 200 cows on 500 acres. Yes my ground is much more lush than the Nevada desert but still that is a massive dispersion of cattle given the acreage. 
So the BLM with a private contractor and a contract worth close to a $1 million dollars started to confiscate (steal) Bundys cattle from these disputed lands. They gathered around 400 head over the last few days. They used helicopters and there are reports of over 130 head dying from heat stress but I admittedly cant confirm that at this time. The BLM did admit it killed at least 2 bulls because they were scared, weak chickenshits, er I mean for their safety. Sorry, but if you pay $1 million to some "professional" cowboys they better expect some rank bull gathering as part of the deal! Whatever the case at a time of record cattle and beef prices it is DISGUSTING that these animals were wasted. Especially given the fact we have many hungry people not only here but around the globe. The BLM ran  into several issues as they found out they couldn't just send the branded cattle to Utah without a health certificate by a veterinarian and a brand slip signed by the owner which was Mr Bundy. The federal government seems to like to cite "the rule of law" but seem to want to ignore laws when it fits their purpose. 
So over the last few days many people who saw this as a Federal government overreach headed to Nevada. On Friday video was taken of armed BLM agents throwing a unarmed 57 year old mother and cancer survivor to the ground. As more people arrived, many that were armed, the federal government faced a dilemma. How much force could the Federal government exert without the American people seeing it as an out of control government state of affairs. 
So lets play devils advocate here. Lets say this is all about "enforcing the law" Could the US government be better invested in civil litigation to recover what they say are $1 million in grazing fees than spending over $3 million in deployment of Federal thugs and contractors to STEAL cattle they dont legally own? Lets look at that $1 million in grazing fees for a moment. I doubt the cows run on this land year round but again devils advocate. 900 cows X 12 months X $1.35 a month (Federal grazing fee set by the 'Law' so many quote) X 20 years = $291,600, not quite the $1 million the government and media portrays is it? 
Now lets add that this desert tortoise they say is "endangered" is the reason for this, it is so endangered that the Federal government is going to euthanize many of them? Sounds absurd right? Well not to the federal government. "Federal funds for a Nevada-based desert tortoise conservation center are running dry and wildlife officials plan to close the facility and euthanize hundreds of tortoises that were once classified as “endangered” and are currently considered “threatened.”Read about this here 
Now to add one more twist to this saga lets look at what Nevada Senator Harry Reids son was working on as recently as 2013 for this land area.

The son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Rory Reid, is the primary representative for ENN Energy Group, a Chinese energy company seeking to build a $5 billion solar panel plant on a 9,000-acre Clark County desert plot in Laughlin, Nevada.  Hmmmm, so odd

Wow, so this is an interesting little nugget here isn't it?  So again I play the devils advocate. Is a country and government (The United States of America) that is $17 Trillon, yes $17 fucking TRILLION in debt doing the best it can by spending in excess of $3 Million to confiscate (steal) cattle that it does not legally own? Is the deployment of Federal agents (aka welfare thugs) the best strategy and idea in this case? 

Folks I love the USA. I think there is still a lot of opportunity in this country for those willing to make something of their lives. I like to salute the flag and think somehow we are a special country.  I cannot however be convinced that our government is not super sized and out of control. Both major political parties are to blame here, as are the voters. Sure you can cite the "rule of law" but its funny that those on both sides of the political aisle are all for "law" until they are reminded Obamacare is the LAW or Citizens United is the LAW.

 Has Cliven Bundy made some mistakes? I would say yes, as a fellow rancher I know how hard headed we can be because we feel our contribution to a hungry world is important and none of us are perfect. I am glad his family have had their cattle returned to them and the BLM thugs have went home link.. Cows return home  
Sadly while cattle prices are high Mr. Bundy will be forced out of business if he sells off his cattle as he will be if he is not allowed to use this land that produces little or NOTHING without his grazing and management. Yes we need some laws, I am just not sure why 20 million plus people are in this country "illegally" get little notice but a rancher converting solar energy into food gets the hammer. BTW I am pro immigration reform, it is a touchy subject with no perfect answers. 

What I do know to be true, this country needs more COMMON sense, and LESS Federal government. I know if the BLM is a Federal agency "in charge of managing public land" they should not need K9 dogs or AR 15s to do that job. I know that "our" government spent way more in money and personnel on a cattle rancher in Nevada than they did in the Benghazi, Libya killing of Americans.  I know that the Federal government "owns" FAR too much land in the west no matter how you interpret the "enclave clause" of the Enumerated powers. I know that US citizens excercising their 2nd amendment rights by carrying firearms are NOT terrorists. I end this with a Thomas Jefferson quote, "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Just make sure you are wearing your seatbelt in this country if you quote old Thomas. Need I remind anyone that George Washington, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Edward Snowden and the American Revolutionists were "Breaking the law" of their time. 

So my Cowman music selection for this post is Chris Knight "Go on home" which sums up what I feel about not only this Bundy situation but often life in general which makes it hard to blog regularly. Lyric RICH! Respectful comments and discussion are encouraged, and as always, thank you for reading.

"dont go online i dont watch tv
cause i know all im gonna see
is something stupid goin on
stupids in the water these days
they're gonna drink it any way
til they dont know right from wrong

yeah laugh if you want to
call me a backwards fool
but i aint takin this ride
ya'll just go on ahead and go
let me out by the side of the road
all i wanna do is go on home