Bundy Ranch. The underlying issue. Too much federal land

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Officials from nine Western states met recently in Salt Lake City to discuss ways to take back control of federal lands within their borders, saying the feds mismanage it. Utah lawmakers have passed a resolution demanding the federal government cede title to federal land. This not a fringe movement. It’s going mainstream in the West, propelled by the highly visible Bundy Ranch confrontation.

“What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,” [Utah House Speaker Becky] Lockhart said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The West historically has never had much use for or trust in the federal government. Part of this is due to the huge amounts of federal land in those states, especially BLM land. People who live on the East Coast often don’t  understand, because there is virtually no BLM land where they live. So, the issues doesn’t exist for them. However, they are quite real in the West.

Nonviolent, unarmed resistance at Bundy Ranch backed off BLM

Crazed, heavily-armed Bundy Ranch protesters. Oh, wait...
Crazed, heavily-armed Bundy Ranch protesters. Oh, wait…

At a crucial point at Bundy Ranch, unarmed protesters on horseback rode down to confront heavily-armed BLM, who then pulled back their forces. That’s right, the protesters were not carrying guns. Among those opposing BLM were mother-daughter Utah farmers Symbria and Sara Patterson, “pillars of the local food community in Cedar City Utah.” They don’t even own guns. And were at Bundy Ranch because they are tired of intrusive government regulation, like having to comply with meaningless federal “organic” food regulations when their own standards are much stricter or having bleach dumped on their food because it was transported across a state border. (BTW, I used to live in Cedar City, know the Pattersons, and can vouch for their reliability.)

BLM, by all accounts, treated the cattle horribly.

Sara chimes in. She milks the family cow, as well as several goats, and says she was appalled at how the cattle were treated by the BLM. “The conditions in the corrals were disgusting,” she says. “There was no water. There were dozens of dogie calves separated from their mothers. The cows were all full of milk because they had been separated from the calves. Two cows had died, and two more had been crippled and had to be killed.”

Unarmed nonviolent protest worked at Bundy Ranch.

Symbria believes that violence is doomed to fail. The government has air power, surveillance, and lots of technology. “This isn’t like it was in the American Revolution,” she says. “They could slaughter us.”

She instead uses the examples of the horsemen who confronted the BLM.

“I asked them if they didn’t have guns,” she tells me. “One man said, ‘Oh, we have guns, we just chose not to bring them.’”

That, she says, is why the protest succeeded.

Harry Reid (and son) plan for solar power NOT near Bundy Ranch

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Sen. Harry Reid’s son is involved in plans with a Chinese company to build a huge solar plant in Nevada. The ethics of this may well be stinky. However, contrary to reports widely circulating, the site for the project is nowhere near Bundy Ranch.

Bundy Ranch is in Bunkerville, near Mesquite, close to the Arizona border. The solar project is planned for Laughlin NV, which is south of Vegas, 177 miles from Bunkerville.

I do indeed like a good conspiracy involving crooked politicians. However, I’m just not seeing one here with Reid trying to grab land near Bundy Ranch so his son can make a bundle.

Bundy Ranch. Does government see us as the enemy?

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Is the overreaction by the feds at Bundy Ranch a symptom of an out-of-control government that no longer follows the will of the people? That’s the question posed by a small news site in St George, Utah. In my view, the government has a right to take Bundy’s cattle, considering he hasn’t paid in twenty years. Lots of other ranchers do pay. However, the militaristic response by the government with 200+ weaponized troops, armored vehicles, helicopters, and that obscene “Free Speech Zone” scares plenty of people in the area. The West has always mistrusted the feds (often with good reason). This throws gasoline on the fire.

The mask of benevolent bureaucracy slipped earlier this week in the simmering range war near Bunkerville, Nev. It’s getting tougher to pretend that the federal government is our servant in any real sense.

The real face of government was revealed when government sharpshooters trained their rifles on unarmed families who were peaceably videotaping and taking photos outside of a designated free speech zone. Government agents then threatened, intimidated, and arrested a man for refusing their orders to leave.

Our government is forcibly saying free speech only exists in a fenced-in pen in the desert and not outside of it., clearly showing their contempt for our rights and the Constitution. This is not a partisan issue. To my knowledge the first ‘Free Speech Zone’ was at the Democratic Convention in Boston in 2004.

This is a question that goes far beyond the Bundy’s land use situation.

Are we morally bound to obey a government that is no longer abiding by its foundational principles and limits?

My friend DJ Mitchell says:

From NSA spying on its own people, to SWAT-style raids on dairy producers, to a skewed tax code that favors the rich, I believe our government has lost its way. It no longer listens to its people, and it has no interest in local issues or voices.