Friday, April 11, 2014

Bundy Vs. BLM: BLM-Rancher Standoff In Southern Nevada Continues To Percolate, Cliven Bundy's Daughter Speaks Out

The dispute between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and 67-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in the Gold Butte area of southern Nevada, just 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, continues to percolate. This is of interest to us in Alaska as well because of similar previous abusive treatment of local residents on the Yukon River by the Feds. Now it appears that militia activists, state lawmakers in the region, and even U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) are getting involved; hundreds of militia activists from locations as diverse as New Hampshire, Florida and Texas could show up in person. On the Oath Keepers’ Facebook page, those planning to make the trip are instructed to bring cameras and film everything but not to wear military camouflage or openly carry rifles. The Alaska Citizens Militia is actively following the situation and is concerned about the possibility of another Waco massacre. The Las Vegas Sun published examples of reaction from prominent sources such as the Drudge Report.

CNN reports the latest BLM response, noting that in removing Bundy's livestock from public lands, the park service and land bureau are carrying out two U.S. District Court orders from two different judges. The National Park Service claims that cattle have been grazing in trespass on public lands in Southern Nevada for more than two decades, that the BLM and NPS have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially, and that impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is the option of last resort. They add that Bundy has also failed to comply with multiple court orders to remove his cattle from the federal lands and to end the illegal trespass. Late on April 11th, BLM State Director Amy Lueders said there is so much security because Bundy has said he would do whatever it takes to win the battle.

Artificial "First Amendment areas" set up by the Feds to restrict protest have attracted fire from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. Already there has been one physical confrontation where one of Bundy's sons, Ammon Bundy, was Tasered (video below), and two other people were detained. Another son, 37-year-old Dave Bundy, was arrested by BLM agents on April 6th while filming roundup activities in an area that had been closed to the public; he was released from custody the next day, having been charged with failure to respond to multiple requests to leave, as well as resisting arrest.Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins poured gasoline on the fire when, after a conversation with Darin Bushman, a Piute County, Utah, commissioner, Collins reportedly said Utahns are “inbred bastards” and if they come to Clark County to support Bundy they “better have funeral plans.” Collins also allegedly told Bushman that they should mind their “own (expletive) business.”

Background: From The Blaze comes this story. The fight began when Bundy stopped paying the BLM’s grazing fees in 1993, arguing in court filings that he had no obligation to pay the agency because his Mormon ancestors had worked the land decades before the agency was formed. Complicating the issue is the fact that the land was declared off-limits for cattle in 1998 after it was declared a designated habitat for the federally-protected desert tortoise. That same year, a judge ordered Bundy to remove his cattle. He refused to comply. Bundy claims he owes roughly $300,000 in back fees, but the federal government says it’s around $1.1 million, and the BLM could try to bill Bundy for the estimated $3 million in taxpayer funds it may take to remove his cattle from the public land. Out of 900 cattle, 500 are owned by Bundy, and 352 have already been rounded up.

However, we have even more background from another source. The following explanation from Shiree Bundy Cox, identified as a daughter of Cliven Bundy, was crossposted to the LDS Freedom Forum; I've broken it into paragraphs to improve readability (after the jump):

I have had people ask me to explain my dad's stance on this BLM fight. Here it is in as simple of terms as I can explain it. There is so much to it, but here it s in a nut shell.

My great grandpa bought the rights to the Bunkerville allotment back in 1887 around there. Then he sold them to my grandpa who then turned them over to my dad in 1972. These men bought and paid for their rights to the range and also built waters, fences and roads to assure the servival of their cattle, all with their own money, not with tax dollars. These rights to the land use is called preemptive rights.

Some where down the line, to keep the cows from over grazing, came the bureau of land management. They were supposed to assist the ranchers in the management of their ranges while the ranchers paid a yearly allotment which was to be use to pay the BLM wages and to help with repaires and improvements of the ranches. My dad did pay his grazing fees for years to the BLM until they were no longer using his fees to help him and to improve. Instead they began using these money's against the ranchers. They bought all the rest of the ranchers in the area out with they're own grazing fees. When they offered to buy my dad out for a penence he said no thanks and then fired them because they weren't doing their job. He quit paying the BLM but, tried giving his grazing fees to the county, which they turned down. So my dad just went on running his ranch and making his own improvements with his own equipment and his own money, not taxes. In essence the BLM was managing my dad out of business.

Well when buying him out didn't work, they used the indangered [sic] species card. You've already heard about the desert tortis [sic]. Well that didn't work either, so then began the threats and the court orders, which my dad has proven to be unlawful for all these years. Now their desperate. It's come down to buying the brand inspector off and threatening the County Sheriff. Everything their doing at this point is illegal and totally against the constitution of the United States of America. Now you may be saying," how sad, but what does this have to do with me?" Well, I'll tell you. They will get rid of Cliven Bundy, the last man standing on the Bunkerville allotment and then they will close all the roads so no one can ever go on it again. Next, it's Utah's turn. Mark my words, Utah is next.

Then there's the issue of the cattle that are at this moment being stolen. See even if dad hasn't paid them, those cattle do belong to him. Regardless where they are they are my fathers property. His herd has been part of that range for over a hundred years, long before the BLM even exsisted. Now the Feds think they can just come in and remove them and sell them without a legal brand inspection or without my dad's signature on it. They think they can take them over two boarders, which is illegal, ask any trucker. Then they plan to take them to the Richfeild Aucion and sell them. All with our tax money. They have paid off the contract cowboys and the auction owner as well as the Nevada brand inspector with our tax dollars. See how slick they are?

Well, this is it in a nut shell. Thanks.

Here's an 18-minute video where Cliven Bundy personally makes his case: