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.
Let’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 Teabaggers, 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 simply 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 Governor 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.
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. 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.
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.” 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.
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. 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.