The Ranch Davidians

Grazing controversy shines floodlight on growing distrust of government

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We don’t know who’s right in the case of the Nevada rancher vs. the federal government. But we do know that the government is losing the public relations battle, and for good reason.

The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside Bunkerville, Nev.   JASON BEAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JASON BEAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside Bunkerville, Nev.

When the government moved to seize Cliven Bundy’s cattle for his failure to pay grazing fees on public land, a growing group of supporters came to his defense – literally. On April 12, after a tense and heated standoff with them, heavily armed federal agents released the cattle back and retreated.

The situation was eerily reminiscent of past ill-fated federal standoffs, such as Ruby Ridge and Waco, where federal agents raided the Branch Davidian compound and 76 people died.

This situation is different, though.

Whether right or wrong in their actions, the Bundy family can’t be caricatured as a cult or a danger to anyone. And the family’s predicament has ignited a firestorm of anti-government fervor, particularly in the West. Bundy backers traveled miles to show their support and face down the feds. Conservative locales in cyberspace and on the radio dial crackled with anti-government rhetoric.

The thing is, we suspect the government and media elites, if they’re paying any attention to this powder keg at all, likely don’t get it.

The West, thanks to geographic and ideological distances, has always had an arm’s length relationship with both government and media. But the flashpoint in Nevada can’t be dismissed as cowboy rebelliousness. There’s plenty of sympathy for their position around the country.

The Eastern elites probably have no clue why, either.

They doubtless have no idea how poorly the federal government is viewed today – despite all the evidence in polls and surveys. After being spied on by the NSA and targeted by the IRS and having jackbooted federal agents show up to tell them how it’s going to be, folks – good, hardworking, taxpaying, God-fearing people – are tired of being abused.

As a practical matter, whether the Bundy family is in the right has ceased to matter. Like any other civil rights hotspot, all it needed was a spark.

Nor does it help that the Obama administration is so loath to deal with illegal immigrants in such a manner as it has the Bundy family. The government can’t secure the border – and is even insisting on amnesty for the illegals already here. But they send armed officers to crack down on American ranchers? Outrageous.

And the manner in which they’ve done it is just as galling. As The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted in a recent editorial, to tamp down protests, government officials “closed off hundreds of square miles of public land. They’ve closed roads. And they prohibited protected assembly and expression across huge areas of Clark County. They even took the step of creating ‘First Amendment areas’ – where no federal official or contractor directly involved in the roundup would ever have to see protesters.

“You see, even peaceful protests can be intimidating to government types. If government types feel slightly threatened, they arm themselves to the teeth. When they arm themselves to the teeth, they’re far more likely to view a peaceful protest as cover for an attack on the government. And if they believe someone holding a sign or a camera might also have a gun, agents are more likely to hurt someone. Thus, the government suspends the First Amendment as a public safety measure: Citizens are denied their rights to peacefully assemble and engage in political speech because the content of that expression might be ‘intimidating’ enough to make government agents overreact and hurt them.”

The problem is, inside the government it is impossible to consider the possibility that the government can ever do any wrong.

We don’t know if the Bundy family is the best rallying point. But the support they’ve gotten from angry citizens is evidence that the government has a much bigger problem on its hands than a few head of hungry cattle.

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jwynn9154
44
Points
jwynn9154 04/20/14 - 04:13 am
8
20
You don't know who's right?

Really? Let's see. Bundy grazed his cows on public land. He refused to pay lease fees. He owes the owners (us, the people) as very significant sum of money. Do you get it now? He's a THIEF!!!

The conservatives supporting this guy have jumped the shark.

gaflyboy
5330
Points
gaflyboy 04/20/14 - 05:18 am
17
4
It's all so simple isn't it?

There could be a better focal point for the growing problems exposed here, but the problems have been exposed nonetheless. The Bundy argument is that they’ve grazed this land since before the BLM even existed. In fact, after the US acquired the land, they encouraged local ranchers to use it this way.

So what’s been exposed?

1- The federal government says it was to protect an endangered tortoise, which they had been “protecting” then decided to kill, due to budget cuts. The tortoises and cows have cohabited the land just fine for over a hundred years.
2- Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (king of Nevada) pretty much confirmed his rumored involvement when, as soon as things started to calm down, he inflames it again by calling the citizens involved “domestic terrorists”. Perhaps he does want the land for his sons Chinese solar farm deal.
3- The government apparently doesn’t recognize the Constitution as they set up First Amendment Areas. This area was already set up. It’s called the United States.
4- The BLM did this during calving season. Was it to ensure that not only would Bundy lose some cattle as payment for his debt, but also to ensure he was put out of business entirely?
5- Most disturbing, is that the government showed up to collect a debt with armored vehicles, sniper rifles trained on photographers and pushing unarmed old ladies to the ground. Just like many other US bureaucracies, the BLM should not have their own SWAT team anyway. That should be left to police and if necessary the National Guard.

Riverman1
93575
Points
Riverman1 04/20/14 - 05:27 am
17
5
Federal Rustling

Historically, land in the public domain has been open range. For the feds to charge ranchers exorbitant fees for their cattle to graze is wrong. Seizing the rancher’s cattle was rustling reminiscent of “The Johnson County War.”

The Bureau of Land Management with their SWAT team is yet another example of a federal agency that has its own armed force. It’s ridiculous the way these bureaucrats descend on citizens with fire power capable of subduing the military of some small countries. Tear the label off that mattress and you may experience a midnight battering of your door with “agents” of some description coming after you.

Riverman1
93575
Points
Riverman1 04/20/14 - 05:47 am
18
5
2nd Amendment At Work

Come to think of it, we just experienced the wisdom of our forefathers at work with the 2nd Amendment. They wanted the amendment to protect against tyrannical government. When the Bureau of Land Management armed force was confronted by armed citizens, they backed off. Thank you, writers of the Constitution.

Rhetor
1082
Points
Rhetor 04/20/14 - 06:22 am
9
17
Outrageous and not patriotism

1. Lawbreakers are lawbreakers. If you don't like the law, then vote in new representatives to change it. If you engage in civil disobedience, do as MLK, Jr. did and accept the legal consequences.
2. When a well-off white guy cheats the taxpayers to line his own pockets, you think it's patriotism. When a poor black woman cheats the taxpayers to feed her children, why isn't that patriotism, too?
3. Riverman1, the founders did not advocate violence against the government that they created. The militias' purpose was to suppress insurrection, not to cause it. The right wing's massive collection of fake founding fathers quotes, most of which were fabricated in the last few years, does not change that. Read up on the Whiskey Rebellion if you want to know what the real George Washington thought about this sort of thing.
4. Bible says thou shalt not steal and it also says to pay your taxes.
5. By the way, happy Easter. Maybe it's better to think about this great religious holiday than to praise thieves and lawbreakers.

Gage Creed
19397
Points
Gage Creed 04/20/14 - 06:49 am
14
5
From a left leaning Obama supporter...

"5. By the way, happy Easter. Maybe it's better to think about this great religious holiday than to praise thieves and lawbreakers."

That actually made me laugh.... Does this apply to Lerner? Holder? Obama?

younameit
224
Points
younameit 04/20/14 - 06:56 am
14
5
Dancing Around the Issue

This isn't a repeat of Ruby Ridge or Waco, and the First Amendment issue is secondary. Instead, this is about a hard-working, silent majority that patiently shakes its head in disgust as our President and his minions demonstrate unparalleled incompetence in their "sandbox" of domestic and foreign affairs, and a disdain for our judeo-christian heritage and our constitution; but which silent majority reluctantly leaves their workplace and their families and spring into action when "all the President's men" experiment outside their "sandbox." We're a patient nation but, unbeknownst to the pathetic pretenders in Washington, we know we can only allow them certain latitude before they impact our ability to repair the damage they wreak. The Nevada range is outside that latitude.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 04/20/14 - 06:59 am
1
8
Just wondering

Why is Easter so very layed back and Christmas is so very hectic and commercialized?? I would bet that when Christmas is MAXED OUT with commercializum, Easter will be next!

effete elitist liberal
3191
Points
effete elitist liberal 04/20/14 - 07:28 am
11
15
Get a spine, Mike!

"We don't know who's right...." "Whether right or wrong...." "We don't know if the Bundy family is the right rallying point...." Why don't you take a stand, MR, instead of waffling to avoid offending your right-wing readership. When he grazes his cattle on public lands without paying the legal fee, Bundy is stealing from all of us. He wants for free what the vast majority of western cattle ranchers pay for. That makes him no different from the "welfare queen" who expects a government "handout." Bundy is little more than a welfare king on the range. To elevate him into some Tea Party folk hero is non-sensical and pathetically craven.
Mike, get a spine!

ymnbde
10662
Points
ymnbde 04/20/14 - 07:34 am
11
4
Harry Reid, Harvey Whittemore, and a tortoise named boo

corruptin' and O'profitin off the land
Harry Reid Harvey Whittemore and Coyote Springs
how much do we know about this man?
is anyone in this administration honest?
Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State
not even a grazing cow...
it does take bravery to write editorials against these modern day Mussomeanies
thank you

ymnbde
10662
Points
ymnbde 04/20/14 - 07:37 am
15
4
oh, and rhetor your race baiting is so last century

it isn't effective anymore
this liberal government and its education department
are the biggest racists left in this country

Bodhisattva
7188
Points
Bodhisattva 04/20/14 - 07:52 am
7
16
Enjoy your vacation in sunny Cuba

Thieves, tax evaders, sovereign citizens, militias? This is who the Chronicle wishes to back? Did I miss the editorial support for Occupy Wall Street, who protested against those who were bailed out with taxpayer money and walked away without even a slap on the wrist for crashing the economy? They were completely "lawless". Sovereign citizens have gunned down law enforcement officers for simple traffic stops. In this state militia members are on trial for a plot to disperse Ricin, an attack with WMD's (real ones) on our own citizens. So the Chronicle wants to hitch it's horse to right wing crazies who kill Americans and plot to kill more. So the paper, its editorial staff, and obviously its owners have gone from right wing zealots to treason. The hate and insanity over having a black President has finally gone too far. the GOP plots, even before the inauguration to say no to everything, even their own bills, if it might help the nation but make the President look good. They turn against their own citizens over the health care law strictly over party no matter how much damage it does to the people of their states. Now this. They back the crazies that hate the government so much they plot and kill. You have lost your minds. Never again even claim to have any concern for this country or its citizens. You've shown your hand. You're in bed with domestic terrorists, and giving them comfort and support on your editorial pages. How in God's name you can sleep at night I'll never understand. Just remember: Y'all were big backers of The Patriot Act. Supporting domestic terrorism can have it bite you in the back side.

nocnoc
49129
Points
nocnoc 04/20/14 - 07:54 am
17
2
Let me draw another parallel that many seem to of forgotten.

Federal Government as a DOMESTIC TERRORIST.

August 1992
Under a Liberal Democrat (anti-gun) President with documented Socialist leanings. The Fed's, DOJ and ATF setup Randy Weaver (Ruby Ridge) by selling him a shotgun with the gun stock shaved down about 1/2" below minimum length. Then internal memo's stated phase 2 was started, the arrest. UN-Announced on his land the armed Agents killed his Dog because it was barking a warning, Killed his Son and later a sniper killed his Wife as Randy and his wife attempted to place their sons body in the storage shed while unarmed. The FBI agent in charge was found Guilty and place in jail. Several ATF agents lost their jobs and more that one also went to jail. Because of MEDIA attention and independent journalists and a few Idaho State Police that refuse to follow the "official" story line. Randy Weaver SUED the FED's for damages and won.

April 1993
Under a Liberal Democrat President with documented Socialist leanings, the DOJ/ATF/IRS/NG/FBI/DOD raided Waco over supposed Class 3 Firearms violations. But turned out they had a Class 3 license. The Fed's then started a Media war to win the public over. Then it became "to save the Children". When it was all over the FED's actions resulted in 25+/- dead children a long with 50 adults. When they could have arrested the leader downtown in Waco many times.

Now jump forward to our latest Liberal Democrat (anti-gun) President Administration and 4 years of history with documented Socialist GOALS.

Could you trust the FED's?

The Standoff Guardians likely save 100's of lives.

Yet a documented Senator with Socialist leanings calls them
"Domestic Terrorists"

Before the Fed's try again they will need to bring in Electronic suppression aircraft and/or Electronic suppression measures to circumvent any documentation of their next raid.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/20/14 - 07:57 am
15
2
"Lawbreakers are lawbreakers.
Unpublished

"Lawbreakers are lawbreakers. If you don't like the law, then vote in new representatives to change it."
Rhetor, AG Holder told the states AGs if they did not like a law they did not have to enforce it. He picks and chooses which laws to enforce. Rhetor, are you for Holder being fired for not upholding all laws?

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/20/14 - 08:17 am
12
4
"The hate and insanity over
Unpublished

"The hate and insanity over having a black President has finally gone too far."
bod, it is very sad but I'm sure you really believe this. I hope your mind was not poisoned like Obama's was. Obama's mind was poisoned by 'Frank' Marshall Davis when Obama was a teenager. Marshall was a racist, communist and child molester.

deestafford
31801
Points
deestafford 04/20/14 - 08:18 am
16
4
Here are few facts..

The Bundy family has had grazing rights on that land since 1873.

Bundy is willing to pay the grazing fee to the state of Nevada whom he believes should own the land. By the way, it's more like $300K rather than the $1M some say. If it were about the grazing fee the government could have put a lien on the cattle.

This is not about the tortoise. As has been said the government killed some because they were unable to take care of the. The cattle and the tortoise have coexisted for over one hundred years. Bundy lost two prized bulls and a number of calves by government killing action.

The government wants the land to allow a Chinese solar company to build a solar farm there. Guess whose son is involved in the negotiations? Right! Harry Reid's lawyer son! The same corrupt Harry Reid who lives in a $1 million suite at the Ritz Carlton in DC. Not bad for a not well off man Search Light, NV who went to DC as a member of Congress.

Bundy is the last rancher in southern Nevada. The other fifty something have been forced off their land starting back in the early 1990's by the federal land grab.

What maybe the good coming out of this is now a number of western states are meeting to work on getting their state land from the government. This was an on going effort before the Bundy situation.

The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to own vast partials of state land. It should be turned over to the states who are better knowledgeable and carry more for the land than bureaucrats in DC. The states should also run the national parks in their states.

itsanotherday1
48290
Points
itsanotherday1 04/20/14 - 08:19 am
5
2
Bundy needs to follow the

Bundy needs to follow the law. He has been ruled against in a court of law twice.

The Federal Gov. needs to go through normal collection processes; lien his real estate and collect when it changes hands.

As someone said; no matter how silly the greenies are with tortoises and snail darters, elect people with the power and common sense to change the law.

localguy55
5477
Points
localguy55 04/20/14 - 08:22 am
12
2
This administration has

This administration has wasted billions of dollars on stimulus, hundreds of millions on failed green technology, turned their backs on illegal immigrates crossing our boarders, turned their backs on our brave vets, fueled the flames of race division and class envy, and they go after a Rancher for alleged failure to pay grazing fees.

The Bundy Family may owe money to the government, but to do what the Feds. did, has the feel of a tyrannical out of control and dangerous Federal government.

There are other ways that the Feds. could have taken, but they wanted a show down to flex their muscles and show the general public who's in charge.

Do you hate this administration yet, or does it take them killing Americans on American soil before you get the picture of what we are up against.

My prayer today is most of you get it and will show up in November to change, at least some of this government.

localguy55
5477
Points
localguy55 04/20/14 - 08:25 am
9
1
Happy easter all.

Happy easter all.

historylover
18184
Points
historylover 04/20/14 - 08:25 am
7
15
Billy Morris

I have read your paper since the time I could read. I have not always agreed with the editorial staff over the years. But never did I expect to see you allow an editor to write such anti-American rhetoric as I have just read. You have always been considered a leader. Why are you not leading this editor out the door onto the street where he belongs?

localguy55
5477
Points
localguy55 04/20/14 - 08:28 am
14
4
Historylover

Really.....you don't what you are talking about.

historylover
18184
Points
historylover 04/20/14 - 08:38 am
5
13
localguy55

I have read your comments. How funny that you assume you know what you are talking about and take the time to tell me I don't. I am sure you did not fair well in debate class as this is not a valid retort.

historylover
18184
Points
historylover 04/20/14 - 08:40 am
5
12
localguy55

You consider the comment below to show that YOU know what you are talking about? Get a clue!

"This administration has wasted billions of dollars on stimulus, hundreds of millions on failed green technology, turned their backs on illegal immigrates crossing our boarders, turned their backs on our brave vets, fueled the flames of race division and class envy, and they go after a Rancher for alleged failure to pay grazing fees. "

nocnoc
49129
Points
nocnoc 04/20/14 - 08:45 am
14
1
Mundy Taxes vs Fed's expenses

Figures run from $300K to 1.1Million that the Fed's say Mundy owes them.

Then they waste likely used 1/2 that amount to twice that amount deploying a Battle Force ready armed Unit trying to collect it?

No wonder the Fed is in Debt.

deestafford
31801
Points
deestafford 04/20/14 - 08:45 am
14
4
Of course there is a simple way for Mr. Bundy to keep the feds..

Of course there is a simple way for Mr. Bundy to keep the feds off the land he wants for grazing----call it "Ben Ghanzi". Nobody from the Obama administration ever goes to a place with that name.

gaflyboy
5330
Points
gaflyboy 04/20/14 - 08:47 am
9
2
historylover 04/20/14 - 09:40 am

Which of those statements are untrue?

Gage Creed
19397
Points
Gage Creed 04/20/14 - 08:51 am
7
2
Blatherskite...

Editorial page?... opinion piece?... it seems the concept evades many.

historylover
18184
Points
historylover 04/20/14 - 09:00 am
5
10
Gaflyboy

All of those statements are untrue as I'm sure you all know. Facts beat out made up media statements always.

Gage Creed - yes I agree this is an opinion page, but that is the reason so many of us have taken the time to respond with our opinions as well. I do agree that the concept evades many, but I am not one of them. I just disagree with the Chronicle's staff on this one.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/20/14 - 09:03 am
13
4
"This administration has
Unpublished

"This administration has wasted billions of dollars on stimulus, hundreds of millions on failed green technology, turned their backs on illegal immigrates crossing our boarders, turned their backs on our brave vets, fueled the flames of race division and class envy, and they go after a Rancher for alleged failure to pay grazing fees. "
historylover, that statement is true

historylover
18184
Points
historylover 04/20/14 - 09:05 am
5
10
Cite your source

edcushman just cite your factual source and I'll accept the statement as true. The fact is, you cannot prove what is not true.

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