Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Few Words On The Nevada BLM Standoff

For now, it appears as if the Bundy family have won at least a temporary victory over the Bureau of Land Management and its SWAT team.

Yesterday, Clark County Sheriff Douglas C. Gillespie announced that the BLM would end their siege of the property of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy's home.

“We had a lot of fears. Individuals being shot, trampled. Individuals being run over on the highway. So it took a lot of resources, a lot of resources to associate with this,” Assistant Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said to KLAS-TV.He also stated that Bundy’s cattle would be allowed to graze on the disputed land that was the flashpoint of the entire episdode.

In addition, Bundy's cattle that were confiscated by the BLM will be returned to least the ones that weren't shot and killed. The BLM refused to release the number of cattle killed, saying 'they have protocols. and the information isn't available.'

Here's what ostensibly sparked this incident. Cliven Bundy's Mormon family have been ranching in this remote area of Southern Nevada since the 1870's. And his cattle have always grazed on an adjoining area of county land, for which he paid grazing fees. In a surprise move without any notice or right of appeal by Bundy, that county land was 'reclassified' by the BLM as federal land. The excuse behind this was so transparent as to be ludicrous. The BLM claimed they were trying to protect the supposedly endangered desert tortoise..even though the tortoise population has exploded to the point where the BLM admittedly has killed over 1,000 of them.

When Bundy refused to move, we saw the spectacle of the BLM moving in with SWAT teams, beating and abusing members of the Bundy family, confiscating Bundy's cattle and putting the ranch under virtual siege.

The real reason the land was reclassified is something that has occurred throughout the west..well connected pols want the region's ranchers and farmers out of business so they can gift the land to someone else for their own personal financial benefit.

The head of the Federal Bureau of Land Management is none other than Neil Kornze, Democrat Senator Harry Reid's former Chief of Staff. It's no exaggeration to say that Kornze has the job as a 'Reid appointment.'

The land Bundy was using and paying grazing fees on was in the sights of Harry Reid and his son Rory because it stood in the way of a $5 billion solar plant being built in the county by a Chinese company Reid was connected to, with undoubtedly an undisclosed amount of under the table cash headed Reid's way if he could get the land re-classified and the project moving.

Bundy is the last one left it what was once an area filled with independent cattl4e ranches.According to a statement he made recently, there used to be 52 other ranchers in the vicinity of his property not too long ago - and they're all gone.

As my friend Sara Noble relates at the Independent Sentinel, selling oil and gas leases to foreign buyers while refusing to let American companies drill and explore is another favorite trick of politicians like Harry Reid and his ilk:

Natural News reported that the Bureau of Land Management is in the business of leasing government lands to energy companies. Significant exploratory drilling is being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870′s. The “Gold Butte” area can be clearly seen in the map of areas drilled (purple demarcations).


Oil has been found in nearby areas but oil and gas drilling have worked alongside ranching over the years without a problem. Of course, if the government can lease the land on which the cattle graze, it will be lucrative for them.

In July 2011, the federal government agreed to allow China to buy up 600,000 acres of gas & oil fields in Texas. This is the same administration that would not allow new drilling; kicked Shell out of Alaska after billions of dollars of investments; shut down most offshore drilling; and tried to shut down Texas oil fields on the remote possibility that it might harm a tiny useless lizard that was most often known for being road kill.

The acreage takes in the Gold Butte area where Bundy grazes his cattle.

Once that story broke, mainly on Drudge and new media, ( and I have to give the usually suspect InfoWars a hand here) the stench was so bad that the BLM removed documents from its website showing that the move to kick the Bundys and their cattle off of the land was because their presence 'impeded development of solar energy' on the land.

And it was then that the BLM backed least for now. The next move will probably be lawfare by Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department paid for by your tax dollars in an attempt to bankrupt Bundy.

This is the natural fallout from the abuse of eminent domain that started with Kelo v. City of New London, where 'conservative' Supreme Court Justice David Souter was the swing vote that allowed government to seize an individual's private property because they felt like they could make a use of it that would do more to fatten Big Government's coffers.

And Big Government's kleptomania applies, also, to all other resources. For instance, in California, there's a drought, mainly because a lot of the water that used to make the state's Central Valley one of the greatest farm areas on the planet has been locked away due to environmentalist lobby's concern about a fish called the delta smelt. The area is now filled with fields, orchards and farms that are now fallow because they're no longer viable without the water the taxpayers of California paid to harness, and a surprising amount of that once private land has now been 'reclassified' for projects like the bullet train to nowhere. or the ridiculous express train to Las Vegas, something Senator Reid also has his claws into.

In California, there's plenty of water for San Francisco, Silicone Valley, Los Angeles and other places where the coastal,Blue voting elites hang out and do business. It's the other parts of the state that are beinbg his with a 'water shortage.'


UCSPanther said...

It is all about control.

Nicolae Ceasescu, towards the end of his reign, forcibly rounded up all the rural dwellers he could find and relocated into the cities so they could be under his thumb.

Elise Ronan said...

Problem is that eminent domain is a reality.It is enshrined in teh Consitution and SCOTUS has held that as long as there is a public good involved and you are paid for your land then the govt can take your property. My question is what lawsuits have been filed by Bundy? Bundy meanwhile hasn't paid his grazing fees (over 1 million dolars) claiming the land is his bc his ancestors grazed cattle on it for 4 generations. Sorry but that is really not how it works. Yes its a federal land grab, but Bundy is not some unawares innocent also. This event is not something that happened in only a few days either. This problem has been going on for quite awhile.The show of force is by BLM is new. But not really unexpected either considering how the situation has been deteriorating.

And yes Reid is corrupt and there is financial motivation behind it. But that is also what happened with the railroad and every other govt project including the highway system and now they can confiscate your land to build a mall too. There is always money involved or it wouldn't happen.

Rob said...

Here's the difference, Elise.

Eminent domain as defined by legal codes and precedents (I don't think it's in the Constitution per se, unless you're referring to the taking of private property without due compensation, which is a big part of what the Civil War was actually about)always referred to the taking of private property for public use, i.e a railroad, a school, a power station, a freeway, etc.

What Kelso did was to allow corrupt politicians to seize private property and gift it or sell for below market prices to private corporations or individuals for private use or for private profit.

That's very, very different, and I'm surprised you don't appear to see that. Actually according to the precedent Kelso set, land in public use..a school, for example..can be turned over by politicians to their cronies for private use either for free or for a below market price. An example is the notorious Boston Islamic Center, a jihadi mosque where the Tsaernovs hung out.It was built on publicly owned land belonging to the City of Boston worth $1.2 million that was mysteriously gifted to the Islamic Society of Boston free of charge by Boston's Mayor, Democrat Tom Menino.

What happened in this case is that Harry Reid was involved in a plan to gift a huge amount of federal land to a Chinese solar manufacturer, through his biggest campaign donor Harvey Whittemore and Reid's son Rory.

Whittemore is now a guest of the feds for illegal campaign donations and other crimes, but the Reids still stood to make a bundle personally on this if it goes through.

So Reid had his hand picked appointee as head of the BLM arbitrarily 're-classify' this land from county land to Federal Land in order to gift it to the private Chinese company, something that's been done to a whole host of other farmers and ranchers in the West. Without that grazing land that Cliven Bundy had been paying grazing fees to the county to use for generations, he would have been forced out of business because he would have had to cut his herd to a point where the ranch was unsustainable.

I'm afraid we disagree a great deal on what we consider 'public good' Elise. I don't consider what happened to the Bundy family business as usual, but tyranny.

louielouie said...

Elise, my comment is filled with generalizations, so you may disregard it as you chose.
the BLM was formed in 1946 to prevent a repeat of the dust bowl days. as the dust bowl days were partly caused by the feds gifting of land that couldn't be farmed, you can say here, "i'm with the gov't and i'm here to help".
the BLM had a cooperative relationship with farmers/ranchers in the west.
along about 1980, or so, this relationship changed to advesarial. why? i don't know.
there were 52 farmers/ranchers then, using these public lands. when this change of relationship came about, the BLM began using the range fees to put the ranchers out of business. specifically how? i don't know. but once one went down, it was said the others saw the writing on the wall, and became easy targets. mr. bundy stopped paying his fees because he saw they were being used against him. he offered to pay his fees to the county, but they refused.
to read locals take on this, mr. bundy has filed lawsuit after lawsuit.
it goes something like this, elise. i shoot you dead. in front of witnesses and the district attorney and the judge. my defense?
your honor, i've got a $5 billion dollar deal coming in. but it will only come in if i am not in jail. is there anything you/we can do for each other?
now it's your turn elise. how much time will i spend behind bars?
this has been going on for years in the west.
what my question is, is why the sudden shift to forcibly remove them? why the no-fly zone? why shut off cell phone service?
eric holder was janet reno's assistant during the waco seige. that lead to the murrah building bombing.
imo, mr. bundy is not the one that should be the focus.

Elise Ronan said...

Actually the 5th amendment was always understood to be a leash on eminent domain. It was not something that you had to mention as it was an inherent part of British common law. And as with all amendments in the BoR it was meant to curtail federal government power. Remember the colonists were coming off a system where the king could just take your land away for any reason and not pay you for it.So to demand just compensation for land that was a big deal. It later became more than a "property" right when the 5th amendment was expanded. (read Federalist Paper #10 where property rights are discussed. If you can stay awake its very interesting look at how the founding fathers view property.)

Whether we like Kelso or not it is the law unless Congress does something about it. Since Congress has not, the fed govt is free to follow that ruling. I also didn't say I didn't see what the issues in Kelso were, I said it is the law of the land.

However, in the Bundy case, as I mentioned, this did not happen over night. It is my understanding as I said before that this issue has been going on for quite awhile. Bundy had legal recourse. Did he take it? Did he take it and loose? The reality is that you cannot decide you can go into federal land and do as you please. It does not matter that his family grazed on that land for 4 generations. It does not matter that he spent a huge amount of money on that land. The rules have changed and he needs to challenge the rules in a court of law. Would a court uphold the BLM and the ridiculous turtle infatuation? Not necessarily. Citizens have sued the fed over land issues before and won quite handily. But that is the recourse in our country.

While you detest Harry Reid, as any thinking person should, he is not the first politician to be a slime ball and he will not be the last. (Lets talk railroad and the evil men that created our RR system shall we?) Additional issues are : where is the governor of Nevada? What happened to state's rights? Is this a federal exercise of power above and beyond their rights? Actually it is a fascinating federal law question.

That being said, Bundy and his family are very lucky right now that they are not arrested. Bundy allowed his cattle to graze on public land without paying the fees. There was no court injunction against the BLM and there was no legal proceedings under way. The BLM was under its right to go and take the cattle for past payment of fees and because they were on government land. That they gave them back doesn't mitigate the reality that under law they were right. I submit that the reason BLM backed down is because of the publicity but also because of the scrutiny about Reid's association with the BLM. Speculation of course but other than that it makes no real sense for the fed to come in with that much firepower and back down just because of a few ranchers with guns.It was a public relations nightmare in the making and Reid didn't want to be at the center of that fiasco.

One more important point that everyone seems to be missing here: taking up arms against a member of the government of the United States is insurrection. On that course the Bundy's are very lucky, along with everyone that joined with them, that they didn't end up in prison charged with taking up arms against the government of the United States.

FY we don't disagree or agree on "public good." I am only stating the law as it exists. I am not certain I consider this tyranny per se, but an outgrowth of an expansive federal government system being manipulated for the benefit of one man and his family. If it were tyranny the Bundy family would all be either dead or in prison never to be heard from again.

Rob said...

The reason the Bundys aren't dead or in prison is two fold.

First, they had lots of help from armed men who were willing to make a stand, and who knew the terrain a lot better than the feds did.

And second, because of Harry Reid's involvement.

Right now, none of the three big networks are even mentioning Reid's involvement in their news stories. That came out on Drudge and on FOX.

Had there been another Waco or Ruby Ridge, aside from the fact the casualties would not have been one sided (as one of the local cowboys commented, they had the feds surrounded, not the other way around) and a number of embarrassing questions would have come to light..not good, not with the midterms coming up.

I see that your stance has shifted just a bit now that I mentioned the difference between standard eminent domain and Kelso. That's fine, but let's also remind ourselves that Kelso is not the 'law of the land' as you put it but merely a legal precedent that could be overturned quite easily.

And those 'evil men that created our RR system' ? I sense just a tinge of anti-capitalism there. The men who built our railroads across a wilderness certainly made their money, but they also risked their capital to do it, gambling that was mostly wilderness in the 1860's and 1870's could be transformed and developed.Can you imagine how slowly the country would have developed without them? And let's remember that those railroads, unlike Reid's solar company were designed to be used by both business and the public. They were a public benefit like a road or a dam. Your comparison doesn't hold water the way I see it, Elise.

Let's also recall that the Bundys were paying grazing fees to Clark County. The feds weren't interested in collecting grazing fees, and that gibberish is simply another excuse like the tortoises. They wanted the cattle gone from that land to give it to Reid's Chinese solar company.


Elise Ronan said...

To say that I am anti capitalist means u really have no idea who I am. The evil railroad men brutalized ppl if they didn't get off their land. People were burnt out and murdered, by the Pinkertons and the RR men paid off local lawmen to help out. This is history. Don't whitewash it. That it was for the public good creatin the RR doesn't change the facts of how it was done.

Second, you didn't explain anything to me about Kelso that I didn't already know. My opinion didn't change. You r reading something that isn't there . Kelso defines public good and that is the law.

Third and most i'portantly, when SCOTUS rules it is the law of the land until Congress changes the law or amends the Constitution. It is not just legal precedent, which can be sited in argument , it is the only legal precedent that does not get questioned unless SCOTUS changes their own mind. Ex: seperate but equal was the law Of the land according to SCOTUS until the Court changed its mind.

now the Bundys: apparently they have lost every legal challenge they have brought. They have not paid their grazing fees to the Feds. Law says they have to. They're done.

Rob said...

Elise, respectfully I think both of us are going in circles here.

I'll finish by reminding you that the Supreme Court doesn't make law any more than any other judges do, much as some of them would enjoy doing so.

That's the job of legislators, and judges merely rule on disputes over those laws. Trust me, there really is a difference between law and a legal precedent.

Also, the term 'public good'(or more properly, 'public usage) has a specific meaning, and Kelso didn't change that. It merely allowed government to seize property for something that wasn't public usage.

If you support that and like the idea, fine. But there's nothing in Kelso that mandates public usage or even public benefit per se. It simply (by one vote) allows government to take property to suit its own perceived benefit.

Elise Ronan said...


Being a lawyer,and someone schooled in constitutional and civil rights law, I am quite well aware of the legislature making law and legal precedent from a court. However, what you are forgetting is that SCOTUS does make law. Take the Right to Privacy for example or the use of the Commerce Clause to validate civil rights legislation. Brown vs Board of Education does come to mind as well as Roe v Wade. When SCOTUS rules a law invalid they make law as well as precedent. That is their job. It is called legislating from the bench and they are very adept at it.

FYI- I don't think we are gong around in circles at all. You just disagree with me and are trying to invalidate my argument. I am not letting you.

Did you read the latest reports. The ChiComs have nothing to do with Reid's desire for the land. That deal fell thru years ago. It is something else entirely but still having to do with green energy.

Rob said...

When I say we're going around in circles, Elise, it means that it's quite clear we have entirely different views on this subject.

Just to give one example, your insistence that the SCOTUS 'makes laws'. You're welcome to think that, but what they in fact do is to rule on the constitutionality of existing laws and define their application.

For instance, Brown ( or actually, Brown I) merely revised the meaning of laws based on Plessy vs Ferguson that allowed 'separate but equal' facilities. They didn't make new law.That came later, with legislation. The same is true of the other examples you mention, all of which were either followed up by new laws or by legislators ignoring,amending or rescinding existing ones. It's legislators who react to the SCOTUS in making new laws or ignoring existing ones.

The job of SCOTUS is not 'legislating from the bench' according to our Constitution, although you obviously disagree, and appear to like the idea of them doing so if you agree with the social agenda.I don't deny that they've done so on occasion, but it is wrong and judicial overreach, as Justices Scalia and Thomes have mentioned more than once occasion.You and I are not going to find common ground here, I'm afraid.

The same is true of the situation of the Bundys. You agree with Harry Reid and the feds that they're criminals who should be prosecuted and that they should lose their land rights because 'hey, that's how business is done and besides, Kelo is law.'

I see Kelo as an unconstitutional warping of eminent domain, being used here by an unscrupulous politico with federal support to feather his own nest. And I'm leaning towards siding with many Americans who are increasingly wondering what their obligations and actions should be in the face of an increasingly lawless tyranny.

What we have here is a disagreement between friends, and one that isn't going to be resolved. So yes, we're going around in circles.