THOUGHTS ON THE CLIVEN BUNDY BULL CRAP
"I really don't want to write a lot about Cliven Bundy's war with the Bureau of Land Management, but too many people are repeating nonsense about "government tyranny" and ignoring a simple truth: I own that land. So do you. Yes, it's really that simple. This isn't about herds of cattle, or desert tortoises (“[who, according to Bundy] eat the cow manure … it’s filled with protein”); this is about one man's flagrant disregard of the rule of law and apparent inability to manage his own affairs. He's been thumbing his nose at authority for decades now — enough is enough.
"Since the early 90s we've known that Cliven Bundy is just a lousy rancher who can't seem to keep his cows on his own property. Yes, it's really that simple. For years, ranchers in the area applied for, and were granted permits to graze their cattle on federal lands (think of it as a kind of subsidy — or nearly free feed — a way to maintain the herd [and Cliven's paycheck] before driving them to market). But he never owned that land — you did. Me, too. And whether or not you agree that America's natural resources are a treasure to be preserved for future generations — all of us agreed a long time ago to send representatives to Washington to mediate these kinds of issues for us — to determine what's best for the majority of Americans — and then pass laws, which we all need to obey. Law — and ORDER.
"Cliven is a scofflaw. Yes, it's really that simple. Cliven's cattle aren't just illegally wandering around federal lands, either — they've damaged golf courses, private gardens and community gardens over the years, too. And what's really sad, are the reasons people are giving for supporting Bundy in his decades-long disagreement with the feds. Asked why she brought her kids to an armed standoff between gun-toting militia members and federal employees in body armor (attempting to enforce a court order), one woman said "I’m a good mom,” my kids are "learning about the Constitution.” No, sweetheart — they're learning that personal greed is okay — as long as you have armed thugs standing behind you, threatening violence. Hey — it works for bank robbers, right?
"I should go looking for any one of hundreds of quotes from big-name conservatives, who defended the "collateral damage" and loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan (or Israeli missile strikes into Palestinian neighborhoods); they tried to place the blame on "terrorists" for hiding among the women and children. “We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting," said former sheriff Richard Mack, "it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.” I'm sorry, DICK — WHO'S gone "rogue"?
"The Bundy's have been working that hardscrabble piece of the desert since the 1880s — and it's easy to see how losing those grazing permits would change their business model. Cliven's neighbors adapted, or found other uses for their land; but the Bundy's didn't even consider it. Since 1995, Cliven Bundy has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties for his illegal activities — and more for the costs associated with rounding up the herd. He pleaded his case, unsuccessfully, all the way up to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Along the way, he claimed the U.S. government didn't have 'jurisdiction' — because he is a “citizen of Nevada.” Evidently, he tried appealing to a higher court, too (by including Bible quotes in some court documents) — all to no avail.
"One of his neighbors said "I feel that the rule of law supersedes armed militias coming in from all over the country to stand with a law-breaking rancher, which is what he is." Yes, it's really that simple. If you listen to media coverage about this event, someone will eventually use the phrase "state's rights" — but Nevada's laws are clear on the subject: Bundy is a freeloader, trespassing on government land. Those armed men (hiding behind the womenfolk) are all guilty of domestic terrorism — and I hope they do time in federal prison. Fox doesn't talk much about the pipe bombs that have gone off in U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management offices — now do they?
"I think we'll be damned lucky to put this madness behind us absent casualties. According to Cliven's son, "we won the battle … the war has just begun.” Right. Perfect. Y'know — Tim McVeigh packed ammonium nitrate fertilizer and nitromethane racing fuel into 13 plastic barrels and used it to kill 168 people (including 19 children) in his "war." The Oklahoma Constitutional Militia targeted the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics in their "war" (but thankfully were apprehended by federal authorities before anyone died). Remember Joseph Martin Bailie's "war?" Probably not — the fuse on his ammonium nitrate bomb sputtered out and died before ripping through an IRS office in downtown Reno. This is why we HAVE federal offices to deal with these nut-cases; they're not patriots — they're  mostly angry, right-wing, misinformed libertarian zealots with guns.
"The Aryan Republican Army, the Militia-at-Large of the Republic of Georgia, the "Viper Team" of Arizona, the "Phineas Priests" (anti-Semitic Christians), West Virginia's Mountaineer Militia, the League of the Silent Soldier, the antigovernment Sons of Liberty group and members of the "Army of God" are all waging "war" on our federal government. That's why we ask those who work for us — you and me — to swear an oath to protect us from ALL our enemies — both "foreign and domestic." I really don't care if we never collect a dime in fees or penalties from the Bundy's — or sell off cattle we find wandering around on OUR property. Just do me a favor — understand that anyone who talks about Cliven Bundy's "rights" — is an idiot. Yes, it's just that simple — and so are they.