High-Pocket Pickpocket

Roll 'em, roll 'em, roll 'em. From the Bundy Ranch Web site

Roll ’em, roll ’em, roll ’em. From the Bundy Ranch Web site

Woody Guthrie was a favorite of my father’s. They both suffered through the Great Depression, and Guthrie’s music struck a sympathetic chord. Given the chance, I would vote this one to be the national anthem:

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

This land really was made for you and me.

Only some of us have taken to much to heart the “my land” part.

Showdown on the range: Nevada rancher, feds face off over cattle grazing rights

By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Sat April 12, 2014

(CNN) — A 20-year dispute between a Nevada rancher and federal rangers over illegal cattle grazing erupted into an Old West-style showdown on the open range this week, even prompting self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. “tyranny.”

What began as a legal fight between longtime rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has escalated as Bundy kept his cattle on the federal land, and the government has responded by beginning roundups of the livestock.

A confrontation teetered on violence Wednesday when Bundy family members and dozens of supporters angrily confronted a group of rangers holding Tasers and barking dogs on leashes near Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Federal officials say a police dog was kicked and officers were assaulted.

Bundy’s family has been grazing cattle on the disputed piece of public land since the 1800s. The government allows private entities to use public lands for commercial purposes on a fee basis. The trouble with Bundy began in 1993 when the government changed the rules for grazing in this area, and Bundy quit paying the fees in protest. From all appearances, Bundy is getting a lot of support from locals and from out-of-towners who share a disdain for government regulations:

This week, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval told the bureau of residents’ criticism of the roundup.

What Sandoval said he found “most disturbing” was the BLM’s use of a “First Amendment area” that confined protesters to a designated area.

Such an area “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution,” Sandoval said. “No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.” 
In response, federal officials are allowing the protesters to gather on public lands as long as they don’t impede the roundup, said Lueders, the BLM’s director in Nevada.

Bundy is digging in for a long fight.

I did a short Internet search on the Bundy Ranch to get an idea of the financials involved, but there was not much in the top three inches of the search area. Lacking complete details, I fall back on the sums in the public record. Bundy has not paid grazing rights in 20 years, and the unpaid bill now amounts to $1.2 million. This makes for an interesting business model. Like all other ranchers, Bundy sells his cattle on the open market, and in this free-market world he goes head to head against other business operations. Only, Bundy has an edge on the competition. His operating expenses for the past 20 years have been reduced by $1.2 million.

And this money is your money, this money is my money, from California, to the New York island. This money was meant for you and me. But Bundy has kept it for himself. He’s a corporate pickpocket. He’s got hundreds of people supporting his case, and at the same time he’s picking their pockets. What a guy!

And, for the moment, he’s winning:

Feds end roundup, release cattle after tense Nevada showdown

By Ralph Ellis and Michael Martinez, CNN

updated 10:54 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014

(CNN) — A tense, weeklong showdown appeared to end Saturday between the federal government and supporters of a Nevada cattle rancher battling the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over grazing rights on federal land.

The BLM stopped rounding up rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle and returned about 300 head of cattle to the open range to avoid the potential for violence, according to the BLM and CNN affiliate KSNV.

The Old West-style controversy — centering on a family that has been ranching in Nevada since the 1800s — drew armed militia groups from across the country to the cattleman’s side this week, especially after a YouTube video captured a tussle teetering on violence between rangers and protesters.

So, for the moment, Bundy has the money ($1.2 million) and the cattle. And I’m left wondering, where’s my share. After all, this land is your land, this land is my land, and Bundy has left the game with my 0.4 cents. What do I need to do to get it back? I may just have to write of this loss and skip my vacation trip this year.

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2 thoughts on “High-Pocket Pickpocket

  1. Pingback: Betting on Bundy | Skeptical Analysis

  2. Pingback: Majority of One | Skeptical Analysis

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