Commentary Uncategorized

Bundy, Militia Extremists At It Again


*This is an initial response to a continuing and evolving situation. Bundy & his comrades are now demanding that the Hammonds’ sentences be cancelled and that the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge be surrendered by the federal government and handed over to ranchers, drillers, and timber operators.

Armed protesters take over federal wildlife refuge in Oregon

Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher, scofflaw, and cheat Clivon Bundy (where do these people get these names?), is in the news again, chasing the media spotlight to rural Oregon, where he is attempting to re-create the hoopla and hysteria that arose back when Clivon Bundy and his family rallied up their bug-eyed militia brethren in response to the federal Bureau of Land Management’s astounding insistence that the Bundys pay the fees that they had incurred over decades of grazing their cattle on public lands.

I’ve written about the elder Bundy here and here before.

Now, the younger Bundy is throwing his influence with the militia and conspiracy set to rally wackos and misanthropes to another exaggerated cause, protesting sentences imposed upon an Oregon father and son ranching duo, Dwight and Steven Hammond, after they admittedly set a series of fires on public lands over the course of nearly a decade.

“This will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come and be housed here,” self-aggrandizing, self-appointed spokesperson Ammon Bundy said. “And we’re planning on staying here for several years.”

Bundy said they will be “bringing the lands up and getting the ranchers back to ranching and the miners back to mining, putting the loggers back to logging, where they could do it under the protection of the people, and not be afraid of this tyranny that has been upon them.”

The Hammonds, Bundys, and their supporters would have us believe that this is all a government set-up calculated to somehow wrest control of the Hammonds’ considerable acreage. Their main defense is that setting fires is a legitimate land management strategy (which it is) and that the Hammonds, in setting these fires without permits, are nevertheless innocent because they don’t agree with the law. In short, they’re saying that because they know better than the BLM staff who denied them permission, their breaking the law should be permitted.

*Update: Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son, Steven, 46, the Oregon ranchers at the center of the protest, rejected the Bundy federal building takeover, according to CBS News.

They are expected to report to prison Monday to begin serving their sentences. “Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family,” their attorney, W. Alan Schroder, told KOIN

This is like getting a speeding ticket for going 84 in Kansas and, despite having seen the 75 mph speed limit sign, contending that the ticket–and the law that determines the speed limit–is invalid because we know that we could have safely driven 90 or more. For most of us, this is an absurdity. We may still break the law, but we understand that we’re doing just that and while we may bitch and moan up a storm about it, when we’re caught we take our medicine.

The subset of anti-government extremists who flock to these “causes” fail to recognize–or refuse to admit–that use of public land is a privilege, not a right. The great irony is that the ranchers who enjoy heavily subsidized access–gaining exclusive access to vast parcels of taxpayer-owned lands at a fraction of the price commanded by private landowners– to commonly held land are often the first to decry the “entitlements” others receive. Some, like the Bundys, simply refuse to pay at all, daring the government to try and collect, tangling those collections up in litigation, and ultimately throwing a world-class hissy fit that ends up with pseudo-solider redneck snipers peering through their scopes and public employees sent to uphold the law.

Men like Bundy and his seditious, criminal father wrap themselves in the flag and brandish the constitution at one momentthen turn and say they refuse to acknowledge the authority of the same when it suits their rhetorical purposes. They have this twisted idea that, somehow, because they fatten themselves at the public teat, for pennies on the dollar (again, which men like the Bundys often refuse to pay), and wear a goofy hat, they are somehow greater and better Americans than those of us who respect the rule of law and pay our own way.


Balled of Cliven Bundy by Stephen Colbert




Cliven Bundy A Thief, Not A Hero

Redneck TeaBagger Hypocrisy

Federal land managers say “escalating tensions” led them to release all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

iwent1Let’s look out to Nevada for a moment, where Bureau of Land Management officials recently backed off an effort to round up and remove around 900 head of cattle owned by a anarchist rancher who had refused to pay grazing fees for the rights to have his animals there.  A fellow named Cliven Bundy stopped paying his grazing fees to run his herd on public land way back in 1993, citing his refusal to acknowledge the authority of the federal government and have continued, over the past two decades, to graze his cattle on public land despite a succession of court judgements against him.

When Bureau of Land Management officials finally moved to confiscate the Bundy cattle in lieu of over a million dollars in unpaid fees, Mr. Bundy and his family rounded up a herd of gun-toting friends and supporters to threaten and intimidate the government employees sent to enforce the law–and a horde of Jason Bean, APTeabaggers, many of them armed,  and militia-types rushed to the scene, eager for confrontation.  They prayed, they rode horses around to let photographers take some iconic-flavored images while the national anthem played in the background. I heard nothing that indicates any of them saw the irony in waving the flag of a nation they have chosen to defy and disrespect, the flag of a people from whom they have chosen to steal.

Because it is stealing.  A nation is, ultimately, an agreement among individuals to share the benefits and responsibilities of a community, and part of that responsibility includes paying a fair share.  While I understand that from time to time individuals may develop hardships, when a prosperous rancher chooses not to pay fees for the use of land that all of us own together, and continues to to do so for twenty goddamn years it’s not a matter of poverty or protest.  This guy Jason Bean 2, APsimply knows a good score when he sees one.  And here’s the truth of it: for two decades Mr. Bundy got a free ride on the backs of fair-minded, tax-paying citizens, including you and me–and lets’ be clear, grazing cattle isn’t like letting your dog run at the park: cattle leave a huge impact on the land, and ranching is a business; Mr. Bundy and his family have made a good living off public land.  But now, when he’s finally run out of luck, when it’s time to face the music, Mr. Bundy resents having to carry his own water, so to speak.

Worse still, craven conservative lawmakers in Nevada, Arizona and nearby Utah–sensing a chance to score valuable points with the lunatic fringe– have moved to defend Mr. Bundy, along with the usual, cynical muckrakers at Fox News and the like, framing this as an issue of freedom (for Cliven) against a increasingly tyrannical federal government.  The w2-ranch-a-20140414-870x602Governor of Utah had a hand in the mess when he forbade the confiscated cattle to enter that state, and the Governor of Nevada condemned the BLM outright, saying “”No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans. The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly.”

Which is rich indeed.  These same people make a hobby of railing on about lazy or cheating welfare recipients and alleged public assistance frauds, all the while backing a man who has audaciously and contemptuously continued to steal on a magnificent level

Some fault lies with the BLM here.  Letting this go on for two decades has created in Mr. Bundy and people like him an expectation–a sense of entitlement.  They’ve come to regard their constant thievery, and the total lack of accountability, as a right, a privilege, a matter of freedom.  The guns have a lot to do about this.  All of the US agencies responsible for situations like this learned to tread lightly around gun-toting individualists following the twin tragedies at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, TX years ago–learning that aggressive authoritarianism and weapons-wielding wacko extremism don’t mix.  But what do you do when all non-confrontational avenues have failed–and twenty years of the Bundys thumbing their noses at legal and bureaucratic efforts to hold them to their responsibilities is pretty obviously a failure.

Mr Bundy, had this to say: “”I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing,”  This isn’t exactly true, as Nevada’s constitution specifically acknowledges the authority of the federal government, but from what we’ve seen he doesn’t waste much time on truth.

Mr Bundy belongs in jail.  He is a practicing anarchist, and thus far more insulting to our society than those kids who wear masks and break windows while playing at some juvenile idea of anarchy, and has practiced sedition (incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government) in inciting this confrontation as a smoke screen to obscure his crimes.

However, if Mr. Bundy doesn’t admit that America exists, why not return the favor by revoking his citizenship and deporting the entire Bundy family?   If our way of  life is such an affront to their sense of freedom.  I mean, I don’t get to pick and choose the taxes that I pay, or the laws I follow, but this is the great irony of the extreme Right.  They condemn and preach deportation for millions of hard-working immigrants who are desperate, DESPERATE to be a part of our nation, because these people are supposedly taking from “real Americans” while simultaneously refusing to meet their own commitments–which  results is exactly the same damn thing.  I’d much rather have a hundred dawn-to-dusk-working Mexican immigrants in my community than a handful of bitch-ass rednecks waving AR-15s and Gadsden flags around, whining about their “freedom.”

But that’s just me.


from Wikipedia:

United States v. Bundy

The case of United States v. Bundy played out over many years in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. It involved court orders, injunctions, and notices. Bundy argued that the land belongs to the state.[3] The court ruled that the land on which Bundy was grazing his cattle was indeed owned by the federal government, that he had not been paying to use it as he should have been, that Bundy and his cattle were trespassing, and that the government had the right to enforce the injunctions against trespass. The court found that Bundy repeatedly violated the court orders and continued to have his cattle trespass.[3][4]

Legal actions 1998 to 2012

United States v. Bundy “arose out of Bundy’s unauthorized grazing of his livestock on property owned by the United States and administered by the Department of the Interior through the BLM and the National Park Service.” According to the case, “On November 3, 1998, the Court issued an order permanently enjoining Bundy from grazing his livestock on the former Bunkerville Allotment (‘The Allotment’), and ordering him to remove his livestock no later than November 30, 1998, and pay damages to the United States in the amount of $200 per day per head for any remaining livestock on the allotment after November 30, 1998.” The court stated that “[t]he government has shown commendable restraint in allowing this trespass to continue for so long without impounding Bundy’s livestock.”[4] On September 17, 1999, after Bundy failed to comply with the court’s earlier order(s), the court issued another order directing Bundy to comply with the 1998 permanent injunction and modifying the trespass damages owed.[3][4][5]

Legal actions 2012 to 2014

The cattle expanded into additional public lands over the years. In May of 2012, the United States again initiated United States v. Bundy,[a] seeking relief for Bundy’s trespassing on a new set of additional lands not covered by the original 1998 ruling. On December 21, 2012 the United States moved for summary judgment in this new case. This motion was granted in an order signed by Judge Lloyd D. George on July 9 2013. The ruling permanently enjoined Bundy and his cattle from trespassing on the Bunkerville Allotment, the Gold Butte area, and parts of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.[6] Another order was issued in October 8, 2013, stemming from the earlier 1998 civil action against Bundy. The orders allow the United States to protect the land from Bundy and to seize any of his cattle that remains in those areas.[4]