Tag Archives: Bundy Ranch

Cliven Bundy: How Can We Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?

Bundy Riders

Let’s Talk Nevada covered the adventures of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) in Mesquite, NV complete with pictures, and an interesting exchange:

“Cliven Bundy’s son, Ryan, stated there is no place in the U.S. Constitution that allows the federal government to hold land and he asked Paul what he would do to correct that problem. Paul agreed that public land should belong to the states and local governments, but that private ownership is best.”

Tricky Answer: The notion that the federal government may not own land, (pretty well covered by Article IV, section 3, clause 2 if we want to get specific about it, put to one side for the moment) – Notice that Senator Paul really didn’t answer the question.  What Bundy 2.0 wanted was reassurance that his outlandish right wing theory was correct, but what he got was pure corporate libertarian-speak. The candidate didn’t say he would actually do anything about the reversion of public domain lands, to the state, to the locality, or to any other public entity. He merely recited the corporate mantra that private ownership is always best.  If Bundy 2.0 was listening carefully, the response could easily mean that corporate interests would be able to purchase land and then charge users (ranchers) for the use of the property.   If for-profit entities were in charge, does Bundy 2.0 believe they would be under any compulsion to perform  land management activities other than that which would enhance the corporate bottom line?  Re-seeding? Noxious weed control? Grazing management? Would Bundy be able to evade paying for land use under corporate control, as his father has tried to avoid paying grazing fees?  And, if a higher bidder came along – would Bundy be looking for grazing property elsewhere?

But wait, there’s more:  There was more than a question from the audience.  Politico reports:

“The encounter came after Bundy attended an event for the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign at the Eureka Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. When the larger group dispersed, Bundy said, he was escorted by Paul’s aides to a back room where he and the Republican 2016 contender spoke for approximately 45 minutes. (“There were no scheduled meetings at Senator Paul’s stop in Mesquite. He spoke to many people who came to this public event, none for 45 minutes and none planned,” Paul spokesman Sergio Gor said.)”

Cliven Bundy seems to have picked up the point about state ownership, “The state already owns the land…”

“The Nevada rancher said that he had expected only to have an opportunity to shake hands with Paul and make small-talk. He was surprised when campaign aides found a private room and allowed Bundy, his wife and son to speak with the candidate for the better part of an hour.

According to Bundy, the two mainly discussed federal land oversight and states’ rights, in addition to education policy — a theme Paul brought up in his speech.

“I don’t think he really understood how land rights really work in the western United States,” Bundy said. “I was happy to be able to sort of teach him.” [Politico]

How nice of Mr. Bundy to be so “educational?”  He doesn’t claim ownership, he claims “rights.”  Bundy 1.0 apparently understands that private ownership means private responsibilities – for fire prevention and fighting, grazing management, re-seeding, and maintenance – and he doesn’t want to pay for these.  He’d like the state to do it and let him put his livestock on the ground for free. Because? Freedom. Freedom as in Free loader.

Reprise:  Little wonder the Rand Campaign staff was anxious to tell us that the session between the Bundys and the candidate wasn’t “scheduled.” The candidate has already had to back away from Mr. Bundy once before:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” Bundy told supporters shortly after the standoff, according to video footage captured by an onlooker. He recounted a time he drove past public-housing in Las Vegas “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom.” [Politico]

Thus much for any outreach to African American voters? So, are the Bundys “in tune with” the Paul Campaign? [MSNBC]

And even more:  Last June two Las Vegas Police officers were gunned down by anti-government extremists.  Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were assassinated and the motivation was reasonably clear:

“…a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a Nazi swastika the couple placed on one of the police officers they ambushed Sunday at a pizza restaurant. They pinned onto the other officer’s body a note saying something to the effect of “this is the beginning of the revolution,” Second Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters.” [CNN]

Later reports said the Millers were too much even for the Bundyland bunch, not necessarily because of their views, but because of Jerad Miller’s criminal past.

“Jerad Miller was eager to support Bundy, who was confronted by federal officials after years of refusing to pay grazing fees. On April 9, he wrote on Facebook:

“I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter. This is the next Waco! His ranch is under seige right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something. I will be doing something.”

I was out there but they told me and my wife to leave because I am a felon. They don’t seem to understand that they are all felons now for intimidating law enforcement with deadly weapons. So don’t tell you that they need people. We sold everything we had to buy supplies and quit our jobs to be there 24/7. How dare you ask for help and shun us dedicated patriots.” [MJ]

And here comes another Rand Paul connection:

“Jerad Miller’s Facebook “likes” include the NRA, American Patriot Media Network, Support the 2nd Amendment, The Patriot Party, Rand Paul 2016, Ron Paul, the Washington Examiner, Legalize Weed, Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, American Crossroads, and Allen West.” [MJ]

Granted, any campaign gets its share of whackies. However, the Millers were making connections which the Paul campaign isn’t avoiding: Guns + Ultra Libertarianism + Candidates who espouse the connections between guns and ultra-libertarian views.  And, if one Paul campaign in Nevada could create chaos, there were some people imagining what a second one could do to the state’s clout in national elections.  (AB 302, SB 421, 2015)

The Ron Paul Campaign, which made the 2008 Republican state caucus such an interesting debacle for all to watch unfold, could be the prologue to a 2016 version of chaos created by Rand Paul’s version?  Efforts to convert Nevada’s caucuses into primary elections failed in the latest session of the Legislature. [Ralston]

In Nevada it’s hard to find room to wield a fly swatter without slapping at least one Tea Party enthusiast.  However, with that enthusiasm comes some perilous ground:  Association with dead beat rancher and resident racist Cliven Bundy; Association with the circumstances that left two police officers murdered in a Las Vegas pizza parlor; and, Association with one of the most controversial (but entertaining for Democrats) presidential season caucuses the Republicans have ever convened.  However, there are 496 days until the next presidential election so the GOP could find ways to skirt the impact of the Paul campaign in the Silver State.

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Bunkerville’s Unwanted Tourists

The old saw is correct — company and fish should both be out of the house after three days — meanwhile back at the Bundy Ranch:

“The BLM left weeks ago, but the militia is sticking around so no one gets any funny ideas. That means Bunkerville residents now have to deal with a bunch of armed people around its roads, schools and churches. Some are understandably scared. Also, the militia have set up checkpoints on the roads, where residents have to prove they live there before being allowed to drive on. That’s just inconvenient. Bunkerville wants them out.” [Wire]

Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV4) wrote to Clark County Sheriff Gillespie to encourage local law enforcement to evict the ‘militia’ group(s) from Bunkerville:

“We must respect individual constitutional liberties, but residents of and visitors to Clark County should not be expected to live under the persistent watch of an armed militia,” the letter reads. “Residents have expressed their desire to see these groups leave their community…I urge you to investigate these reports and to work with local leaders to ensure that their concerns are addressed in a manner that allows the community move forward without incident.”

The remnants of Bundy’s Brigade of Brigands appear to be those who stayed put in the face of “an imminent drone strike” compliments of the Department of Justice.  The rumor, easily understood in the perfervid imaginations of the anti-government, white battalions of Internet conspiracy theorists and chain E-mail readers, sent some of the Defenders of Free-To-Be-Dumb out of the picture (The Oathkeepers) to the dismay of the Die-Hard-For-Internet-Rumors militia members like Ryan Payne. [C&L]

Payne is a 30 year old resident of Philipsburg, Montana, and member of the “West Mountain Rangers,” and “Operation Mutual Aid.” [LVRJ]  The “West Mountain Rangers” hasn’t been on anyone’s radar — much less the target of any drone strikes — and may be the spawn of the older “freeman movement” in Montana. [Niewert]

So, what have we learned?

#1. We’ve learned that conservative reaction to armed men is really different depending on the color of the skin under the camo or balaclavas.   Consider that on May 2, 1967 twenty six armed members of the BPP went to the California state capitol in Sacramento to gain national attention (or notoriety); they were protesting the proposed Mulford Act, which would have limited permission to carry loaded firearms in public, in reaction to the BP Police Patrols. Bobby Seale and five others were arrested during the protest.  The Mulford Act passed and was signed into law by California Governor Ronald Reagan, becoming part of the state penal code.  Reagan would change his tune in the 1980’s joining the chorus of 2nd Amendment enthusiasts in line with NRA admonitions regarding “gun control.”  [See also TO, May 3, 2014]

#2. There are still among us some seriously disturbed individuals who, willing to believe anything which supports their fantasies, are ready to confront local, state, and federal authorities.  Some of them took aim at federal officers in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to force a live-fire confrontation.  We’ve seen these characters before.  As original as they’d like to believe they are, they aren’t all that much different than Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.   Hindsight offers a clear view that rather than apologizing for the inclusion of ‘militia’ recruitment of former military personnel in the Homeland Security Report, then Secretary Janet Napolitano should have stood firm on behalf of that warning.

#3. Gun bullying is real and should not be encouraged.  The bully-boys at the Bundy Ranch ought to be classified in the same category as the gun packing protestors in Dallas, TX in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, [AJAM] or the idiot who thought it appropriate to display his holstered gun at a Forsyth County (GA) park for all to see, where parents halted a baseball game for six years old children because the little players were afraid. [WSBT] Gun bullies are even available at your local fast food restaurant, as witnessed by terrified Jack in the Box workers who thought they were about to be robbed. [DallasE] It seems not to have occurred to the moronic ‘protesters’ that some signage might have been a good idea.  And, now we have some residents of Bunkerville, NV who are getting a bit of gun bullying in their own back yards.

Where from here?

The question is a tricky one for the residents of Bunkerville who are disturbed by the alleged check points and other inconveniences.  Armed confrontation seems to be precisely what the bully boys want — to go down, flaming, in glory, like the doomed charge of Pickett’s Confederate troops.  Like the defenders of the Alamo. Like the valiant on Bunker’s Hill. Like they’ve been checking out too many movies from Netflix.  They will dwindle. There is no glory to be gained from a judicial response to yet another demonstration of Cliven Bundy’s unwillingness to admit it’s the 21st century and court orders are court orders.

What will happen is that the characters will be identified. The publicity they sought will also garner them files and profiles with law enforcement agencies.  Their records will be checked for outstanding warrants, unpaid child support, misappropriation of benefits, and all manner of other felonies and misdemeanors which they’d prefer to  remain unnoticed.  They’ve already associated themselves with an obvious racist. They’ve already incurred the mockery of the more sentient.  In short, they’ve already lost. They just haven’t figured it out yet.

The law abiding members of the Bunkerville community are correct to complain about having to serve as the backdrop for this farce.  And, the test of wills and ideology may be determined if the Clark County Sheriff’s Department (the entity Bundy claims to respect) takes the lead in removing these unwanted visitors.

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