April 13, 2014

"As the movement grew by the day, and demonstrators rallied together, bonding by campfires at night..."

At the Cliven Bundy standoff...

I'd like to hear more details of the bonding by campfires. I'm not commenting on the underlying dispute between rancher and the Bureau of Land Management, but I'm interested in the culture that develops within a protest movement because I observed, first hand, during the Wisconsin protests of 2011, how anti-government ideation swirls within an insular protest group that is camped out together around the clock.

I also see a similarity between the Bundy standoff and the Wisconsin protests in the government decision to back off, seemingly to avoid exacerbating the intense emotions and giving the protesters more to protest about.

ADDED: Meade, proofreading for me, laughs when he gets to the line "I'd like to hear more details of the bonding by campfires." He says: "I don't know if you meant that to be funny." And I say: "Yeah, in a way, I did. I mean, I'm thinking of campfire songs and ghost stories... but about the government."

The Wisconsin protesters had their songs...

89 comments:

betamax3000 said...

Janet Reno would know how to handle this situation.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The fundamental difference is that the Bundy protests and militia were based upon natural rights.

The anti-Walker protests were merely an exercise in raw political power.

cubanbob said...

I see a political calculation in the government's backing down for now. Another Waco situation would be bad optics for the Democrats in this election year. Next year Bundy will find himself in jail.

Ann Althouse said...

Bundy has been out of compliance for 20 years. What difference does it make if they get him today or tomorrow or next year? The govt made the point that he's in violation.

Oso Negro said...

I suspect that the anti-government sentiment among the people who support the Bundys has been marinating a tad longer than the time they spent around the campfire together. And the optics? Check out the images of the cowboys converging on the underpass at Powerline:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/standoff-at-bundy-ranch-ends-with-photo-of-the-year-so-far.php

Those aren't protesters, those folks came to get the cattle back.

Oso Negro said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
Bundy has been out of compliance for 20 years. What difference does it make if they get him today or tomorrow or next year? The govt made the point that he's in violation.

Perhaps next time they will use coup sticks to make their points instead of tasers and German Shepherds.

Michael K said...

There is a growing belief, and not just by "militias," that the federal government is out of control. This is not just Obama as it began during the Clinton administration. First was the travel office, a minor matter but an indicator. Then the Rose Law Firm billing records that mysteriously appeared in the White House family quarters. Then Elian Gonzales and finally, the Waco standoff and massacre where all the ATF agents killed were shot by other ATF agents.

To be fair, the trend began under George Bush with The Ruby Ridge disaster where Randy Weaver was entrapped by ATF agents and then his wife was killed by them in a shootout.

There is a lot of interest in the militarization of police in the country.

I don't think there will be a violent revolution but it could happen if enough major mistakes are made.

Michael K said...

"Bundy has been out of compliance for 20 years. What difference does it make if they get him today or tomorrow or next year? The govt made the point that he's in violation."

If you read the material, you find he stopped paying rent when the area was reserved as a tortoise habitat. The BLM took 100,000 acres out of use.

The whole situation is another Harry Reid corruption story and maybe the BLM guy, a former Reid staffer, thought it was getting too close to the truth. After the election, if Reid is still majority leader, and he will be until the new Congress, the BLM will go after Bundy.

Tank said...

The WI protests were not anti-gov't. They were anti-Walker/Repb.

garage mahal said...

Oh please. Deadbeat anti-government rancher who won't pay taxes like everybody else, supported by gun nut militia types is the same as librarians and teachers peacefully protesting a recently passed law stripping them of bargaining rights?

Wayworn Wanderer said...

Interesting quandary here.

I'm satisfied that Bundy has had a fair hearing, even though the feds are morons for putting a tortoise ahead of people.

Still, the lunacy of the BLM having its own police force is evident. Setting up a "first amendment area" in the middle of nowhere is even more insane.

I would argue that the government is as equally insulated from reality as the protesters are.

mtrobertsattorney said...

It sounds to me like there was some rustlin' going on by Big Government. And rustlin' is a very serious violation of the Code of the West

mtrobertsattorney said...

It sounds to me like there was some rustlin' going on by Big Government. And rustlin' is a very serious violation of the Code of the West

T J Sawyer said...

Wise members of the media covering this story should probably be carrying radiation detectors. The location is about three quarters of the way between the Nevada Test Site and St. George, Utah, which regularly had radioactivity raining upon it in the 1950s killing livestock.

Perhaps the BLM is trying to secure the land to hide cover up some evidence still remaining of this government fiasco.

Read, for example:
http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/utah_today/radiationdeathanddeception.html

Fen said...

What difference does it make if they get him today or tomorrow or next year?

Brush off. You need to up your game, Hillary:

"Rumor has it that Reid wants the land for a giant solar farm that would be supplied by a Chinese company and, presumably, subsidized by the federal government. Reid’s son is apparently a participant in the deal."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/standoff-at-bundy-ranch-ends-with-photo-of-the-year-so-far.php

traditionalguy said...

Rustling this rancher's cattle is only redistributing originally Government owned land back to Washington DC so a absolute power Bureaucracy bullies can redistribute it in Green Energy fantasy scams run by Democrat donor insiders.

This tracks what the British Parliament and King George III were starting to do in the King's North American lands in 1770.



Mark said...

Why, one gets all these brokeback mountainy thoughts with the campfires and cowboys bonding.

Michael said...

Althouse
"Bundy has been out of compliance for 20 years. What difference does it make if they get him today or tomorrow or next year? The govt made the point that he's in violation"

But then we are all " out of compliance" arent we? As the rules change daily at the whim of bureaucracy, or the president, we are all migrating towards out of compliance.

The desert tortoise, of course, has survivred a few hundred head of cattle, or the tramping feet of a hundred workman erecting giant solar farms in the desert.

Just comply and all will be well

James Pawlak said...

Those citizens at the Nevada affair are supporting the ideals of the revolutionary founders of the USA; Those at the Madison riots were supporting the revolutionary ideals of the 1918 Red Guard in Moscow.

Carl said...

Yeah, this is just the ABC dhimmies' unsubtle attempt to mock legislating the old-fashioned way, via direct citizen action. They're bonding! Over campfires! How cute! Like boys at summer camp. When they grow up, they'll remember that bonding with great fondness -- the secret handshakes, the singing, the NO GURLZ!!! clubhouse signs, tee hee...

Journalists are like that. They've stewed in fake outrage and posturing so long they are incapable of recognizing real anger.

A sterile and decadent tribe. It's no wonder they're dying out rapidly.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you read the material, you find he stopped paying rent when the area was reserved as a tortoise habitat. The BLM took 100,000 acres out of use."

It's the government's land. The govt made the rules, and he was out of compliance.

I understand that Bundy didn't like the rules, but that doesn't work as an argument that he doesn't need to follow them like everyone else.

Fen said...

I understand that Bundy didn't like the rules, but that doesn't work as an argument that he doesn't need to follow them like everyone else.

Sure it does. Like many lawyers, you have a blind spot in thinking the law is the last restort. If the laws are unjust, it doesn't matter what some court says. Violence is still an option. Always has been, always will be. Doens't matter how many corrupt lobbyists and lawyers you gather around you.

cubanbob said...

"If you read the material, you find he stopped paying rent when the area was reserved as a tortoise habitat. The BLM took 100,000 acres out of use."

It's the government's land. The govt made the rules, and he was out of compliance.

I understand that Bundy didn't like the rules, but that doesn't work as an argument that he doesn't need to follow them like everyone else."

When the government attempts to enforce every rule equally to one and all I'll take that argument seriously.

Ann Althouse said...

"Violence is still an option. Always has been, always will be."

Yeah, I remember how the Wisconsin protesters got to imagining they were overthrowing the govt, Egypt-style, but at least they had the decency to forgo violence.

I don't think the Bundy group was advocating violence, but, as I said, I'd like to know more about the culture that was developing.

When you talk about destruction… count me out.

Anyway, your condescending tone toward me is pure jackassery. Everyone knows about resorting to violence. You're putting yourself in the category with al Qaeda and the KKK and the worst of the worst, and you act like you're proud of it, like law and order is only for lawyers.

MadisonMan said...

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870

No wonder he wants his cattle to graze there. It conveys near-immortality on them (although I don't see how he makes a profit if he hasn't sold cattle since at least 1870).

Reid's participation in this needs to be advertised more.

garage mahal said...

It's the government's land. The govt made the rules, and he was out of compliance.

And it's a Ronald Reagan tax to boot.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Bundy has been out of compliance for 20 years. What difference does it make if they get him today or tomorrow or next year? The govt made the point that he's in violation.

And here is where I depart from a disturbingly large percentage of my fellow conservatives; I agree with you 100%.

If Bundy chose to no longer pay the BLM for grazing rights, that's fine, but he also chose to continue to graze his cattle on land he didn't own and had forfeited grazing rights to. So Bundy is in the wrong.

All of the conspiracy theories in the world do not change those basic facts.

Fen said...

Anyway, your condescending tone toward me is pure jackassery.

Right back at ya.

Your position is that an unjust law is still law, so game over. My point was: no, there are options beyond an appeal to SCOTUS. If the Law is corrupt, then violence is justified.

Comparing that to the KKK or Al Queda is just moronic.

Fen said...

BTW, if you feel my tone with you has changed, its because of the comment shutdown/meltdown last year. You had presented yourself as a champion of free speech and had a wonderful commentariat.

Then you trolled them. For page view hits? Whatever. You broke that trust and damaged what faith I had in you as a "clean" operator.

EDH said...

Why isn't it call "civil disobedience"?

garage mahal said...

Butcher the cows and jail the anarchists. We've been carrying this freeloading Taker for waaaay too long.

n.n said...

Could he argue on the basis of equal treatment? For example, the "green" industries of solar and wind destroy protected and endangered species, including our national bird, the bald eagle; but, nary a word is spoken of their violations. At least not in polite company. I wonder what the fee is for threatening and destroying endangered species.

Paco Wové said...

"he stopped paying rent when the area was reserved as a tortoise habitat."

Why did he do that? (Genuinely curious; media reporting on this has been unusually uninformative.)

Michael K said...

"Butcher the cows and jail the anarchists. We've been carrying this freeloading Taker for waaaay too long."

I suspect you will get your wish once the election is over. Harry Reid has some serious graft to collect from the Chinese.

holdfast said...

I find comparing this to the Occupy movement to be interesting.

Occupy had rather inchoate, even incoherent, demands which could really never be met. These Nevadans had very specific, concrete demands.

Occupy members armed themselves with a wide variety of mostly improvised weapons (including glass jars of urine), caused a fair amount of property damage and some injuries. Many of the Nevadans were armed to the teeth, and yet this protest was completely violence free. Of course, with both sides toting so much firepower, the consequences were rather manifest to the folks on both sides.

holdfast said...

To the Prof's point, this law is not so manifestly unjust that it should be disobeyed, but we are overdue for a conversation about the gross amount of land that the Feds are taking out of use, especially in the western states.

Hagar said...

The Bundys are legally in the wrong, though I believe it is about a grazing fee, not "rent," and certainly not taxes.

However, I think it remarkable that no commenter above, including the Professor, has commented on the reports that the Bundys are backed by the governor and attorney general of Nevada as well as the local sheriff, who apparently was the one who negotiated the BLM withdrawal.

I think this is very interesting and wonder if the State of Nevada may have in mind to intervene with some arguments on the state's behalf.

Mark said...

What reports of support, Hagar?

I just looked through every story I saw and didn't see a reference. Is there anyone relevant on record about this?

Michael K said...

For some of the Bundy facts CNN say this:

Bundy's dispute with the government began about 1993 when the bureau changed grazing rules for the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area to protect an endangered desert tortoise, KLAS reported.
Bundy refused to abide by the changes and stopped paying his grazing fees to the federal bureau, which he contends is infringing on state rights. His family has been ranching since the 1800s, before the U.S. Department of Interior was created and endangered species became a federal issue, he said in an interview with KLAS.
"My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley ever since 1877. All these rights I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water. I have been here longer. My rights are before the BLM even existed," Bundy told the station.


The Endangered Species Act has been greatly expanded and used by Democrat administrations to block resource use. Hugh Hewitt, whose law firm does ESA law hasn't weighed in yet. That should be helpful.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Is Harry Reid Involved? Seven Answers to Seven Questions You’re Probably Asking Right Now About the Nevada Rancher Situation

Here are the seven questions. I suggest you read the article for the answers.

7. Does Sen. Harry Reid have a connection to the Bureau of Land Management?

6. Is Harry Reid working with the Chinese to force the Bundys out?

5. So Who Owns the Land in Question?

4. Did Mr. Bundy ever recognize federal authority and pay grazing fees?

3. Is the Bundy cattle fight really all about a desert tortoise?

2. Were the ranchers really chased off and forced into bankruptcy?

1. Did the Feds Overreact?

Sorun said...

It's the government's land. The govt made the rules, and he was out of compliance

It's better to call it "public land", which it is. There are ranchers out there who feel entitled to use public land simply because they've done it in the past.

Fritz said...

I wonder how the tortoises survived the vast herds of American Bison?

Paco Wové said...

"What reports of support, Hagar?"

Here, kind of. Lots of politician-speak involved.

sydney said...

When you read the reports on this, even at Breitbart News, it is pretty clear that the Bundy's are on the wrong side of the law. They exhausted all the legal appeals and lost, then the law moved in to take their livelihood away. But, we seem to have reached a point in this country where people who once respected the government and it's laws no longer do. When you have a President who rules by executive order, a Justice Department that selectively enforces laws, a Congress that uses parliamentary tricks to pass an unpopular, massive transformative law without debate in the midnight hours, and a Supreme Court that redefines the meaning of words to justify this new law, how can you expect people to respect the rule of law?
If this stand off had happened 10 or 15 years ago, the law would have won. There would not be the sympathy for the ranchers we see today.

jacksonjay said...

Campfire bonding brings to mind cowboy beans and Blazing Saddles!

Ann Althouse said...

It looks like Gov. Sandoval's statements were about protecting the safety and the free speech rights of the protesters.

Aside from that the state doesn't have to help the Feds enforce federal law, and the state's withholding support is a legitimate check on federal power, part of constitutional law.

Fritz said...

To the Prof's point, this law is not so manifestly unjust that it should be disobeyed, but we are overdue for a conversation about the gross amount of land that the Feds are taking out of use, especially in the western states.

An interesting map of the percent of federally owned land by state.

http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/map-owns_the_west.jpg

Nevada is 85% owned by the Federal government, and the state with the largest percentage by far, exceeding even Alaska. In contrast, only about 5% of Wisconsin belongs to the feds, and only 2.8% here in Maryland.

Fen said...

“I was one of those public officials who were told to back off at one point because of concern for violence,” a former National Park Services official said in an op-ed.

See? Gov shows up in their usual para-military attitude. But this time, they are met by hundreds of armed citizens who warn they will return fire if the Gov Goons start shooting.

Result? No Randy Weaver wife shot down like a dog. No children screaming as they are burned alive by incendiary flechet rounds of CS gas.

The *threat* of violence by an armed citizenry halted Gov abuse.

Bruce Hayden said...

7. Does Sen. Harry Reid have a connection to the Bureau of Land Management?

One of his former staffers runs the BLM, and he controls their budget.

6. Is Harry Reid working with the Chinese to force the Bundys out?

Probably not directly, but his oldest son Rory apparently represents them in this matter.

5. So Who Owns the Land in Question?

The Feds.

4. Did Mr. Bundy ever recognize federal authority and pay grazing fees?

Yes - until the BLM took so much land out of grazing to protect the turtles.

3. Is the Bundy cattle fight really all about a desert tortoise?

Tokenly - but mostly about the feds increasingly pushing ranchers out of ranching the land they have for better than a century. I think that the reality is that the turtles were only the excuse, because the feds use other ones in different places.

2. Were the ranchers really chased off and forced into bankruptcy?

A lot of them.

1. Did the Feds Overreact?

Duh?

Hagar said...

I don't think it is so much a concern about violence as about bad publicity and attention being drawn to the Reid family's operations.

Bruce Hayden said...

Here is part of the problem. The Homestead Act, enacted after the South seceded (which they had been blocking over getting slavery into Kansas), was designed with the water rich eastern mid-west in mind. The allocations were too small for the western plains, and far too small for much of the west to make money on farming and ranching. Starting shortly after the Civil War (or maybe even earlier), ranchers would own what they could through Homesteading, and then run their herds over the open land around them. Which most of it in the west, esp. NV. It was tokenly federal, though not much cared for for another century or so.

From Bundy's point of view, he and his family have been making beneficial use of that land for well over a century now. Pretty much, that is the only thing that the land in question has been used for since white men started settling in the area, and it has been continually used for this purpose for almost that long by these people.

But the feds, under pressure from city dwellers in CA and the east coast, have pushed a lot of ranchers off of the land their families have ranched for better than a century for their own reasons. Most, of course, have never seen this sort of land in person, and have no conception of its value, or that much of it in NV is bone dry. I think part of it is environmental Utopianism on their part, and part just that they want to preserve it for posterity. This isn't just BLM, but also at least the Forest Service, doing this. As noted, Bundy's family are the only remaining ranchers in all of Clark county that is bigger than 3 states, and almost as big as New Jersey. The others have been pushed off the land by the feds, when they made it harder and harder to ranch the public lands that their families had ranched for the previous century. And, the land they own isn't nearly big enough to support them ranching (thanks to the east coast thinking behind the Homestead Acts).

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think it is so much a concern about violence as about bad publicity and attention being drawn to the Reid family's operations.

I think that the fed withdrawal was suspiciously close to the disclosure of the Reid family involvement in the whole matter. Hours, if that. All it would have taken would have been a single phone call to the head of the BLM, a former Reid staffer, and the BLM would have backed off, and with them, the rest of the feds involved.

The optics were not good for the Reids. The feds appearing to be rounding up the cattle due to complaints from the Chinese solar panel company represented by Rory Reid about Bundy's cattle interfering with their solar panels. Thank goodness for the Bundys, and probably the rest of the ranchers there, that Rory lost his bid for the governorship three yeas ago to a Republican much more sympathetic to the ranchers. Imagine if the Reid family had both the feds and the state police and National Guard on their payroll.

Sorun said...

"I wonder how the tortoises survived the vast herds of American Bison?"

Bison are a grassland species. Desert Tortoises are a desert species. Their historical ranges don't even come close to overlapping.

Sorun said...

"From Bundy's point of view, he and his family have been making beneficial use of that land for well over a century now."

Yes, but our values change. Grazing cattle in a desert is stupid. If it was his own land, fine. But it isn't.

One argument loggers made to cut more of the remaining old growth in Oregon is that logging is their heritage. There are good reasons to cut down trees, but that's not one of them.

Bruce Hayden said...

I should have added:

The feds appearing to be rounding up the cattle due to complaints from the Chinese solar panel company represented by Rory Reid about Bundy's cattle interfering with their solar panels purchased partly with money provided them by Harry Reid in tax credits and Stimulus money. Win-win for the Reids, and the Chinese.

Michael said...

All of this is of a piece. The BLM with their military style weaponry and tough guy tactics. The public land becoming the property of the Federal Govt. We elide from safe to slaves pretty quickly. The language manipulated to make the nonsensical make sense. The land is the Federal Govt.s, you see, and like all landowners they get to make the rules. Right?

It is clear that the rancher is in the legal wrong. Another zany throwback to the days of self sufficiency and freedom on top of being a scofflaw. But, alas, there is a certain crazy strain still in evidence in America that is suggesting that perhaps the almighty Federal Govt. ought to back the hell down.

And it did.

Hagar said...

If the Bundys have not been paying their grazing fees since 1993, but still have 900 head out there, there obviously is, and have been, more going on than what is being reported on.
And as Bruce Hayden points out above, beyond the comprehension of eastern flatlanders.

I will bet there will be some restictions placed on the Executive's ability to establish parks, wildlife reserves and whatever at will in the next administration.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Listen, you can go on and on about turtles, water, Harry Reid, Chicoms, Agenda 21, common core, nuclear waste sites, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, space aliens, and how much Moochelle spends per vacation(s).

The fact of the matter is, he stopped paying the grazing fees while continuing to graze his cattle on land he didn't have grazing rights to. And he did so for 20 years. He broke the law, and he lost in court. Repeatedly.

Paul said...

How about that "First Amendment area"? You okay with that too?

LarsPorsena said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Violence is still an option. Always has been, always will be."

Yeah, I remember how the Wisconsin protesters got to imagining they were overthrowing the govt, Egypt-style, but at least they had the decency to forgo violence.

=============================

Decency had nothing to do with it.

Hagar said...

According to Fox News this P.M., violence indeed very much was a possibility in this standoff. Fox had a clip of fringe militia types with sniper rigs who - unbeknownst to the ranchers and folks down on the county road - had positioned themselves up on the highway overpass.

Another odd thing about this affair; NBC and CBS seem to not have heard of it. Now how - or rather why? - can that be?

Craig Landon said...

This is a pretty good run down of the property nuances.

Hagar said...

That is a bit odd too. I would think militia types would be up on the adjacent cliffs rather than in plain sight on what appears to be a major highway.
Perhaps the Fox crew just assumed they were militia, but actually wer Feds?

ken in sc said...

The feds own 90% of the land west of the Mississippi. I guess we should be grateful they let some of us lease some of it. I say privatize that land homestead style or sell it out right. The proceeds could pay off part of the national debt and the land would be a perpetual source of local real estate taxes.

Why do we need a BLM? This land ought to belong to the people or the states. The BLM does not do anything in South Carolina as far as I know. Why does it do anything in Nevada? It seems like just a source for corruption of politicians.

Fen said...

"I don't think it is so much a concern about violence"

Maybe. My experience is that once goons realize they are being overwatched by snipers, they get real civil real quick.

Bruce Hayden said...


Listen, you can go on and on about turtles, water, Harry Reid, Chicoms, Agenda 21, common core, nuclear waste sites, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers, space aliens, and how much Moochelle spends per vacation(s).

So, you apparently think it irrelevant that the Reid family apparently is financially benefiting from the moving the ranchers off the land their families ranched since before statehood, so that a Chinese company can make money on a solar farm, likely at least partially funded by American taxpayers?

Harry Reid grew up dirt poor in that part of the country, and if you see it, there is a lot of dirt, and very little water. He and his family are all now multimillionaires, and they have done so primarily it two ways. One is influence peddling. This four sons and his son-in-law are all attorneys in Nevada, and at least three of them are senior partners in the three biggest law firms in the states. And that is what they sell - influence. Regulatory practice and lobbying. Look them up on their law firm web sites. They don't practice intellectual property or municipal bond underwriting, or any other esoteric specialty, and aren't known to be all that good in court. Just influence.

The other way is through sweetheart deals that arise because of Harry Reid's power in D.C., such as buying land, and then steering federal money to build a bridge that runs right by the land they bought so cheaply.

There have been a couple of articles recently about the Tony and Heather Podesta divorce (e.g. The Influence Merchants of Venice). The amount of money influence is buying in D.C. has risen to vulgar proportions. Besides the Podestas, you have both AlGore and the Clintons rising to be centimillionaires since leaving office with relatively little. And, who should be surprised, with trillions of dollars flushing through D.C. every year. That is really our money that the Reids, Podestas, Clintons, and Gores are piling up in piles so large that normal families could live for eternity on the interest. And, yes, Harry Reid, the second most powerful man in Washington, D.C., is small potatoes when it comes to this sort of corruption. He probably thinks that he has earned it by his public service, steering the country into ObamaCare, seemingly permanently increasing the unemployment level, etc. But, as the ranchers have pointed out here, this has a personal cost to some, in their case, destroying the lifestyle and livelihood that their families have had since before statehood.

Michael The Magnificent said...

So, you apparently think it irrelevant that the Reid family apparently is financially benefiting from the moving the ranchers off the land their families ranched since before statehood, so that a Chinese company can make money on a solar farm, likely at least partially funded by American taxpayers?

Unless you can prove that Reid somehow went back in time and caused Bundy to stop paying the grazing fees AND continue to graze his cattle on land he didn't have rights to graze them on, then yes, 100% irrelevant.

There have been a couple of articles recently about the Tony and Heather Podesta divorce (e.g. The Influence Merchants of Venice). The amount of money influence is buying in D.C. has risen to vulgar proportions. Besides the Podestas, you have both AlGore and the Clintons rising to be centimillionaires since leaving office with relatively little. And, who should be surprised, with trillions of dollars flushing through D.C. every year. That is really our money that the Reids, Podestas, Clintons, and Gores are piling up in piles so large that normal families could live for eternity on the interest. And, yes, Harry Reid, the second most powerful man in Washington, D.C., is small potatoes when it comes to this sort of corruption. He probably thinks that he has earned it by his public service, steering the country into ObamaCare, seemingly permanently increasing the unemployment level, etc. But, as the ranchers have pointed out here, this has a personal cost to some, in their case, destroying the lifestyle and livelihood that their families have had since before statehood.

Ah, so the conspiracy theory widens! Maybe Reid paid Podesta to build a time machine that Al Gore used to travel back 20 years, whereupon he used a mind-control machine built by the Clintons that convinced Bundy to A) stop paying the grazing fees, and B) continue to graze his cattle (for 20 freeking years!) on land he had now had no rights to graze on? That, or it's also 100% irrelevant (hint, it's irrelevant).

You know what really disturbs me about this whole thing? That garage is right, and that my fellow conservatives have collectively gone bat shit crazy.

I am not on garage's side, or Reid's side, or Obama's side, or Clinton's side. I am on the side of God and truth, and the truth is Bundy is guilty. Nothing you have provided refutes that basic fact.

Quaestor said...

I'm thinking of campfire songs and ghost stories...

Climax of a classic scary story realized for the Bundy supporters' campfire: We've traced the call. It's coming from a BLM cell account, and it's coming from INSIDE your house!!

Quaestor said...

Bison are a grassland species. Desert Tortoises are a desert species. Their historical ranges don't even come close to overlapping.

Not meaning to be argumentative, but what the heck are Bundy's cattle eating? If it's grass then it's not desert, is it?

RAH said...

These people did not bond over campfires and songs. It was over a common enemy. Watch the video of the town hall meeting of 4/9 . Every one of the residents knew that being shot by federal snipers and being attacked in their homes was a real probability.

I have been reading about Nevada law . Appears that BLM was supposed to manage the lands to help ranchers. When the BLM changed to trying to run out the ranchers they violated their purpose so Bundy stopped paying grazing fees that were for for helping the ranchers. His money was not going to the original purpose. Also turns out jurisdictional authority rests in the Sheriff not the BLM agents with guns.

Bundy paid the grazing fess to Clarke County instead. He felt the land belonged to Nevada so paid the correct owner. Under the Constitution the federal government is prohibited from owning land unless it is for government purpose such as forts and buildings. Not just to hold open land for nothing.

The mineral and water rights were left to the states not the federal government There is a real question if the land grab by the feds is legal.

Donna B. said...

I got my first close-up view of BLM/Forest Service use and abuse of public and private ranching/timber land in Colorado when I was 5 years old in the 1950s.

My 2nd close-up was the "land grant wars" in New Mexico in the 1960s when I was a teenager.

Two very different scenarios and two very different responses by the federal and state governments.

Though I've moved east since then, I still have family that runs cattle on public land out west.

Bundy is both right and wrong, but the Federal government is more wrong than right from all I've been able to find out.



Trashhauler said...

I doubt very much that people gathered to await a possible firefight with government agents would sit around singing songs, a la the Occupy bunch.

That's the difference between the Left, who know they don't face any harm from their opponents and the Right, who understand they can easily become actual targets.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ah, so the conspiracy theory widens! Maybe Reid paid Podesta to build a time machine that Al Gore used to travel back 20 years, whereupon he used a mind-control machine built by the Clintons that convinced Bundy to A) stop paying the grazing fees, and B) continue to graze his cattle (for 20 freeking years!) on land he had now had no rights to graze on? That, or it's also 100% irrelevant (hint, it's irrelevant).

I think that you missed my point, that there is the appearance that the push for this roundup and eviction was at the behest of Harry and Rory Reid, in order to make the family a bit richer. Not on the Podesta, Clinton, or Gore level, of course. Rory Reid's clients were complaining about the cattle, and something had to be done. We don't know what they did, or if they needed to do anything, and probably never will, at least as long as the Dems hold the White House and the DoJ. We do know though that the BLM director is a protégé of Harry Reid, and beholden to him for his job.

The reason that I brought up the bigger picture, the obscene amounts of money being siphoned off through influence peddling, is that it is part of what is fueling both the standoff, and the growing discomfort with government, and esp. our federal government.

The ranchers there either had already lost their land to the BLM, or figured that they were next. That isn't paranoia - that is reality. There never were that many ranchers in Clark County, because it is so bone dry, and each ranch had to ranch huge amounts of territory to make a living. But, in the last couple of decades, the feds have driven all but the Bundys out. And why? For a tortoise that the BLM is now killing? Or, just because a bunch of eastern city dwellers just want them off the land?

A lot of people, and not just Nevada ranchers, think that the federal government is no longer our servant, but rather, our master. And, that is why the resentment seems to build almost every day. That the plutocrats, from Harry Reid through Tony Podesta, are making obscene fortunes just fuels the rage.

Fritz said...

"I wonder how the tortoises survived the vast herds of American Bison?"

Bison are a grassland species. Desert Tortoises are a desert species. Their historical ranges don't even come close to overlapping.


Seems to depend a little on what range maps you use. If you use this one, they just overlap:

http://www.bisonbelong.ca/en/history_na.php

Sorun said...

"Not meaning to be argumentative, but what the heck are Bundy's cattle eating? If it's grass then it's not desert, is it?"

I don't know what they're eating. Technically, Bunkerville, NV is in the Mojave Desert. Maybe they're eating whatever they can find in (figuratively) unlimited acreage.
Sage, or a grassy sprout here and there? Look at photo the that goes with Althouse's link.

I've read that Bundy is the last rancher in that part of NV. That's a clue that something's wrong.

Kirk Parker said...


"I am on the side of God and truth"

The hell you are, Mr. Torquemada.

Sorun said...

ken in sc: "The feds own 90% of the land west of the Mississippi.

From this link:
"Federal land ownership is concentrated in the West. Specifically, 62% of Alaska is federally
owned, as is 47% of the 11 coterminous western states."

It's gonna be pretty hard to get to 90% based on this, Ken.

Kirk Parker said...

Ken in SC,

You've got it wrong: the situation with federal land ownership in the west is bad, but not quite *that* bad.

See here for the true figures--e.g it's "only" about half of the land that's federally owned.

Perhaps you misread the accurate statement "93% of federal land is in the west"? Then, too, it's not 'west of the Mississippi', it's 'the west' starting at the Rockies; all of the west-of-the-Mississippi prairie states are *not* included in that figure.


Jason said...

Althouse just equated Fen and the ranchers with Al Qaeda and the KKK?

There must be a gay marriage angle in here somewhere.

Paco Wové said...

If Bundy didn't pay rent, then... well, he didn't pay his rent.

If I didn't pay my rent, I would not expect things to turn out well. It wouldn't matter if I didn't feel like the landowner deserved the money.

I understand that western ranchers may have legitimate grievances about the effects changing Federal policy direction (screw the people, save the tortoise) have had on the ranchers' livelihoods. That is a separate issue.

Sympathy levels: low.

Hagar said...

Why were the Bundys (and others?) able to continue to run cattle in this area for 20 years despite not paying their grazing fees?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Then what caused the immediate emergency requiring calling in rangers from all over the west with military gear and helicopters to round up and dispose of the cattle?
I saw a report that the BLM has paid $965,000 so far for this operation. Why?
If I were younger, I think I could have gotten up some cowboys to round up and herd them out for less than a 10th of that.

And who in his right mind uses helicopters to round up cattle anyway? That will run the weight right off them and spook them for life making them hell to work with.

This BS must have been managed from Washington; the local BLM managers would surely know better, even being Feds.

Jason said...

http://jpfo.org/articles-assd04/blue-state-resistance.htm

Hey, look, Professor! Al Qaeda and the KKK are infesting the blue states!

Jay said...


Blogger garage mahal said...

Butcher the cows and jail the anarchists. We've been carrying this freeloading Taker for waaaay too long.


And yet the Obama staffers owing almost a million in back taxes get to report for duty "helping" America each day with nary a concern by a silly little hypocrite such as you.

Shocking.

Phaedrus said...

According to the Breitbart compilation the land connected to Rory Reid is over 20 miles away from the disputed Bundy tracts.

Further, Bundy has moved cattle into areas that he never, ever had any agreement to graze in addition to the land he did have permission but failed to renew more than 20 years ago.

Finally Bundy is quoted as having said “I believe this is a sovereign state of Nevada,” Bundy recently told a radio reporter. “…I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But, I don’t recognize the United States Government as even existing.”

All of the noise created by scary words like militias, federal land ownership, Waco, Ruby Ridge is just noise generated by the Bundy supporters to support his side of the dispute.


Æthelflæd said...

Phaedrus said, "All of the noise created by scary words like militias, federal land ownership, Waco, Ruby Ridge is just noise generated by the Bundy supporters to support his side of the dispute."

Perhaps so. The BLM saw fit to mostly leave Bundy alone until Harry Reid's guy was confirmed in the senate. Color me skeptical.

Regardless of the personal merits, or lack thereof, of Mr. Bundy and his legal case, the fact remains that the Feds and their SWAT team tactics (whether with the BLM, ATF, or DEA, for misdemeanor, nebulous, or even non-exist offenses) are increasingly seen as being out of control by the public, both left and right.

I can't help but wonder if this will be seen later as a black swan type of event.

Andy Freeman said...

> Grazing cattle in a desert is stupid.

Stupid cattle haven't figured out in 100+ years that they can't live in Clark county. Stupid folks raise said stupid cattle and sell them to smart people who think that food comes from stores.

Hagar said...

The definition of desert is anywhere with less than 10 inches annual precipitation.
Almost all of New Mexico south of La Bajada is officially desert.

The Bundys are bit off their rockers in their notions of U.S. history and land ownership rights, all right, but that has become somewhat irrelevant in this ruckus. Quite rational people are backing the Bundys, and I think that is a very interesting development.

It was blatantly illegal to throw all that tea into Boston harbor too, and the reason the "mohawks" did it was not what your high school textbooks told you.

Jason said...

Sorun: Grazing cattle in a desert is stupid.

Grass grows in deserts, dumbass.

It's not all frigging Laurence of Arabia's Anvil of the Sun, you know. The deserts are teeming with life. I've seen it in the Mojave, In Nevada, Arizona and in Iraq.

You need to get out more.

Seeing Red said...

"It's the government's land."

So is your home, constitutional professor. Did u ever think that citizens would sue for their 3rd Amendment rights against quartering soldiers in their homes? Police kicking you out of your home possibly using it as command central if there's a stand-off in the neighborhood?

What about the land grab that Kali is going for? Why don't you post about what is going on in the greater SF area?

Part and parcel.