I have hesitated to write about the Feds vs. Bundy Ranch until now. There has been so much reported about this situation that it has been difficult to gauge what the truth is about the land involved in this fiasco. Would this situation have even happened if Dirty Harry Reid wasn’t wanting to do a land grab so his son could finalize a deal with the Chinese and make a fortune? Not likely. After all these years of dispute between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, why now did they decide to swoop in with a small army of federal officers and helicopters in an attempt to get Bundy off the land in question? Of course everyone knows the answer now that the truth has come out about Reid & son, the head of the BLM (who worked for Reid for 8 years) and the Chinese. Their multimillion dollar deal to put solar panels on the land hit a snag when Bundy refused to go quietly into the night. The initial claim that it was all about protecting an endangered tortoise was quickly exposed as a lie. The BLM might as well have claimed that it was a YouTube video that made them do it since their excuse was just as ridiculous as the claim that a video caused the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Is Bundy a scofflaw who was getting what he deserved for not paying the grazing fees? That argument has been put forth, even by some conservatives. Some claimed that Bundy admitted in depositions that he knew his cattle were grazing on federal land illegally. Did he? I’m not sure, but I’ve reached the opinion that it doesn’t matter. While even a few conservatives wrote that the people who responded to help Bundy were nothing but “dupes.” I take great exception with that. I’m not stating that Bundy should be allowed to get away with violating the law, if in fact that’s happening, but there are more important issues that have come from this and those issues should be of great concern to every American. The tactics of the federal officers, the decision to deal with Bundy the way the BLM did, the attempt to limit where First Amendment rights could be expressed and the behind-the-scenes deal that Harry Reid made are all matters that are of far greater importance than whether or not some cattle were grazing on the wrong grass.
I believe the reason that so many responded to Bundy’s aid and stood against armed federal officers didn’t so much have to do with the land, the grazing or the bogus tortoise claim but was provoked by the thug tactics of the armed BLM agents and their attempted theft of Bundy’s cattle. While the BLM did have a court order authorizing the seizure of the cattle, from all I have read it appears the Bundy family’s claim to the land goes back almost 150 years and that the BLM’s claim of control over the land is without merit. Fortunately, the BLM realized they bit off more than they could chew and backed down from the armed citizens who arrived to stand with Bundy. The cattle were released and the BLM vowed to continue the fight against Bundy in court. But what they left behind says a lot about their thug tactics. It’s what I would expect from the neighborhood shakedown mob who vandalizes a store when the owner refuses to pay ‘protection.’
Fox News – The federal agency that backed down over the weekend in a tense standoff with a Nevada rancher is being accused of leaving a trail of wreckage behind.
Fox News toured the damage — allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management — which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau’s hired “cowboys” also killed two prize bulls.
“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week,” said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. “So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they’re a better steward?”
The BLM and other law enforcement officials backed down on Saturday in their effort to seize Bundy’s cattle, after hundreds of protesters, some armed, arrived to show support for the Bundy family. In the end, BLM officials left the scene amid concerns about safety, and no shots were fired.
The dispute between the feds and the Bundy family has been going on for years; they say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees — and long ago revoked his grazing rights over concern for a federally protected tortoise. They sent officials to round up his livestock following a pair of federal court orders last year giving the U.S. government the authority to impound the cattle.
The feds, though, are being accused of taking the court orders way too far.
On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that “illegal structures” on Bundy’s ranch — water tanks, water lines and corrals — had to be removed to “restore” the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.
However, the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to “seize and impound” Bundy’s cattle.
“Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks … desert environment, shoot cattle,” Houston said.
Bundy’s friends say the BLM wranglers told them the bulls were shot because they were dangerous and could gore their horses. One bull was shot five times.
But Houston said the pen holding the bull wasn’t even bent. “It’s not like the bull was smashing this pen and trying tackle people or anything,” he said. “The pen is sitting here. It hasn’t moved. No damage whatsoever. Where was the danger with that bull?”
Plus he said BLM vehicles appear to have crushed a tortoise burrow near the damaged water tank. “How’s that conservation?” he asked.
Whether or not Bundy’s claim of rights to the land is legitimate or false, what this federal agency did when he wouldn’t cooperate with them is downright scary. Their treatment of him and his family, what they did to his land and his animals when it was obvious their plans were being thwarted, and their attempt to rope off a patch of dirt and label it as a “First Amendment Area” are fine examples of the tyranny we have come to expect from a federal government that seems to consider Americans as subjects rather than citizens. The fact that so many responded to Bundy’s aid, armed and ready to take on federal officers, is a testament to the anger many feel over a federal government that has become too powerful, too controlling, way too big, unaccountable, and to be blunt, downright evil at times. I shudder to think the bloodbath that might have occurred if those in charge of the BLM hadn’t decided to throw in the towel before any shooting started. I will give them a very small amount of credit for that.
But what of the next time? Harry Reid has vowed this isn’t over. Will the BLM be back at the Bundy Ranch? And what of the next time the BLM or some other federal agency decides it wants to descend upon a family in full combat gear, ready for battle over land? The men and women who responded to Nevada with weapons were successful in getting the BLM to back down. But the next time something like this happens it could easily go the other way. The bloodbath that was averted in Nevada could just as easily become reality the next time armed citizens stand against federal thugs.
Cliven Bundy is being called a hero by some for standing up to the federal government. I don’t think he is a hero or completely innocent. But, the government is certainly the gang of thugs here and Harry Reid is their king.