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



Chad Cunningham said...

I am sure Mr. Bundy has made a mistake or two through this ordeal in the last 20 yrs. But the fact is, we all have to pick a place to make a stand or our government will have every thing. Including our way of life and livelihood. As for us, it is water. DFW and Austin need to water their lawns. I hope ranch dressing taste good on the clippings, it might be all they have to eat some day.

Ld4th said...

From what I've read,the Bundy Ranch has been paying grazing fees to Clark County, who he claims owns the land he grazes his cows on. My take is the BLM, a part of the Dept of Agriculture, has serious control issues, even trumping other Federal Law Enforcement organizations, such as the Border Patrol, whom they can prevent from pursuing illegal aliens beyond a certain distance from the border. Our family ranch in the Klamath country of Southern Oregon, east of the Cascades, has had significant challenges with Federal agencies that want to take away grazing rights on a whim, not just to "protect" certain endangered species. I'll get into a long tirade about that, and water rights issues on another post, but suffice it to say, I believe the BLM was simply testing the waters and/or on a training mission. They wanted to test the public's reaction, or the resolve of a test rancher and whatever support he could muster from friends, neighbors, or so-called "patriot" militiamen. They got that part, and were probably a bit surprised. Secondly, they had a training session for their armed guard. But more than anything, they now have a tactical advantage, with knowledge of how to approach any similar situation in the future. The Ag Dep't is one of the most powerful organizations within the Federal Government and they have the political backing to prove their point.

Susan Heaton said...

Yes, the government has a control issue!
Americans have had this issue since the beginning of time. It's time America wake up and admit some truths! Whether it affects you or not, america needs to stop living in denial of what is slowly progressing in our government today. They are taking more anad more of our rights, as an american citizen, to live in "a land of the free"! Over time, our government have changed laws to accommodate them. For an example, they have changed the search and seizure law to allow the law officers easier access into our homes, our vehicles and our private lives. Yes we have freedom of speech but now theres a huge list of exclusions to that"right" that "we the people" are expected to know or we could go to jail!!!! To lock you up in an area no larger than most peoples bathroom, strip you of all the priveliges you have grown accustom to, not to mention your dignity, then "control" your every move, allowing some power freak junkie, free reign over you. Taking away life as you know it. Yes, America is making changes, and we are standing by (in denial) while our government slowly turns us into "America, the land of the controlled" !!! Yes, if it isnt already too late, it is time to be Americans, stand up and say "NO" we are not allowing this anymore, not in my America!

fellow farmer said...

I think it's ridiculous to try to take someone's cattle, especially with so much unnecessary force that animals are lost, but I also have to admit I just don't understand why this rancher feels he doesn't need to pay grazing fees. Whether it's wrong or right that the government owns so much acreage, you still have to pay for what you take. Those of us who own our land/barns/pastures pay our taxes and our mortgages and those of us who rent acreage for grazing pay rent/grazing fees, and we all have to pay for the feed we feed to our cows, so it seems only fair to me that this rancher, too, pays his bills.

Anonymous said...

To fellow farmer: Bundy did not withhold grazing fees until BLM reneged on their agreement. Bundy inherited the grazing rights from his father, grandfather when their were no grazing fees. Those grazing rights were "acquired" before there was a BLM or any other "Agency".
Bundy agreed to start paying a reasonable grazing fee if the BLM would use it to improve the water and grazing quality (indirectly improve the land) which is what a trustee is supposed to do. According to Congress and the states enabling acts that is what BLM, USFS etc. are
(trustee's) The BLM started using his grazing fee's to try to get him off the land. Remember, grazing rights are property right as much as land is. Bundy attempted to pay the grazing fee to Clark county but they returned the money to him. That was what they should have done because they have no control or jurisdiction on or to the land and no way to legally accept the money (Polititians being Pols, would have kept the money if they could have figured a way to do so"legally".The lands remaining after statehood ,public domain, was to be transfered to the settlers under land patents and what wasn't was supposed to have been returned to the states. Which
wasn't done. So BLM put Bundy in a vise. Continue to pay the fees which they would use against him to "destroy" his grazing rights or not pay the fees and they could accuse him of not paying and make him lose that way. As they had other ranchers all over Nev. Check it out. The situation with Bundy was by the BLMs own creation. Bastards.