Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

I warned you that Cliven Bundy's ranch was the wrong hill to fight on over property rights and the role of government ownership on western lands.  And I was right.

This kind of thing should not come as a surprise.  This is a guy who simply did not want to pay his rent, and used the catch phrases of liberty to try to get sympathy.  I could find about a thousand far more sympathetic examples of folks screwed over by government land use regulations -- e.g. people whose puddle in the backyard is suddenly a wetlands that they can't build on.  But for some reason Conservatives all rushed to pile on this one example.  Stupid.  The media can probably be counted on to hide the unsavory back stories of Occupy Wall Street supporters, but there is no way they are going to do so for a "hero" of the right.   The BLM almost bailed Conservatives out of their stupid support for Bundy by their execrable on-site management of the raid, but Conservatives are now getting what they deserve for jumping in bed with this guy.

  • herdgadfly

    Agreed. If we need a cause to support, the 90,000 acre land grab by the BLM, redefining the border between Texas and Oklahoma along the Red River. That land is deeded to private citizens.

  • alanstorm

    So, because he makes racist remarks, his other arguments - which have nothing to do with race - are invalid? Not buying it. Do you demand that anyone you support in any way be perfect?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/376488/bundys-racial-rhetoric-kevin-d-williamson

    You might want to get off that high horse befoore you fall off.

  • http://ommag.blogspot.ca/ OMMAG

    Thanks Coyote .... you were right and it has nothing to do with anything but Bundy's BS claims. Everyone who jumped on that bandwagon is a sucker.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    He's also lied about how long his family has been on the ranch.

    He claims his family has been on the ranch since the 1870s, but Clark County property records show that the Bundys bought the ranch in 1948.

    http://www.8newsnow.com/story/25301551/bundys-ancestral-rights-come-under-scrutiny

    Bundy is a liar as well as a racist.

  • marque2

    So I don't get this. If he bought the ranch, why can't he use it?

  • bigmaq1980

    There clearly is clumsy heavy handedness in how the government is proceeding on this, to a level that is well beyond necessary. That is worth making a case about.

    That said, the facts are not at all clearly on Bundy's side (there seems to be more to it than either side would have us believe) - see my other comments to Warren's original post.

    Warren is right. Conservatives and Libertarians have to pick their fights well, or they lose all credibility, even if they are on the "correct" side of the issue.

    Same thing happened with Martin vs Zimmerman. Zimmerman was definitely not the racist the media and opportunists made him out to be, and he deserved support against that, especially as he was about to be railroaded....but, he was far from any hero, and his supporters at the time ignored or aggressively downplayed facts that might suggest so. He was tried for murder when he should have been tried for gross negligence, given his idiotic behavior. He deserved jail time for that, and probably would have, except for the liberal zealots over-reaching well beyond what the facts supported, and lost big time in court. Both sides just came off looking hyper-partisan.

    Piling on for the sake of political opposition, or opportunism is wrong, as it encourages hyperbole, and intentional ignoring/obscuring or cherry picking of the facts to make the case blacker or whiter than it really is. This is what loses credibility, and loses ground for Conservatives or Libertarians on the bigger war of ideas.

  • gitarcarver

    The issue is he was grazing his cows on "disputed" Federal land or
    land that is managed by the BLM (depending on what and who you
    believe.)

    (Under the best of circumstances with lots
    of vegetation (which is not Nevada) you can put 1 to 2 cows on an acre
    of land to graze. At best, that means that given the entire ranch was
    devoted to grazing (which cannot be true because of the home and outlier
    buildings) Bundy's land could support 160-320 "udderly" wonderful
    bovine type cows. Yet when the BLM pulled out, they released over 400
    cattle of Bundy's. Bundy's ranch cannot support the number of cattle so
    he was grazing them off ranch and in another area.)

    To
    me, this whole fiasco is a case where people and the internet are
    looking for one "hero" or one group to back. They are looking for a
    "silver bullet" solution where they can fire at one side or the other.
    The problem is that it doesn't appear to me that either side is perfect
    in this mess. Bundy has no legal or moral claim to the land he wants
    his cows to graze upon and it does seem that the BLM overreacted a bit.

    I am firmly of the belief that both sides were, are, and remain in the wrong.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    The issue is not about Bundy using his own land. The issue is about Bundy grazing cattle on land owned by the Federal Government without paying grazing fees.

    He claims he has the right to do so because his family had been grazing cattle on that land since the 1870's nearly 80 years before the BLM even existed. However the truth is that the BLM was created in 1946 and his family didn't even buy the ranch that is adjacent to the Federal lands in question until 1948. His entire claim to having a right to graze cattle on the federal land without paying the grazing fees is a pack of lies, which explains why he has repeatedly lost in court.

  • marque2

    Thanks for the explanation.

  • marque2

    I think the issue is that the US government manages way toouch land out west and it should be given to the states and to the people. But yes Bundy is a flawed person to hold as a leader of the movement.

    But then - this argument that he said something racial doe not prove or disprove his claims.

  • TM

    That Jesus guy really ought to stop hanging out with those prostitutes and tax collectors....

    Not saying Bundy or his supporters are jesus, but if we stopped caring or defending issues and rights when the people we were defending were scumbags, we'd be travelling awfully fast in a handbasket and wondering why the temperature is getting so warm.

    Bundy's personal political views should have nothing to do with the merits (or lack thereof) of his fight with the government.

  • gitarcarver

    marque2,

    While what he said does not prove or disprove his claims, it sheds light on the type of person he is. Whether in a legal courtroom with a judge or the courtroom of public opinion, character matters.

    It is facts that prove or disprove his claims and those facts aren't on his side.

  • gitarcarver

    I'm sorry TM, but I think your analogy to Jesus and "sinners" is clumsy at best.

    With the woman at the well, Christ condemned the pharisees for doing the same thing that the woman was accused of - sex / prostitution outside of marriage. After the pharisees had disbursed, Christ told the woman to "go and sin no more."

    He did not excuse her sin because of the hypocritical actions of the others.

    Bundy's political views do matter because they are the basis of his fight with the government. That is not to say that some of his points and those of others are not accurate and should be addressed, but rather that Bundy has some cleaning up in his own life and own world to do.

    It is difficult for me to give unconditional support to a guy who claims the government lied when he himself is lying as to the underlying facts of his claims.

    It is difficult for me to support his claims that he wants the government to follow the Constitution when he himself will not abide by that same Constitution.

    It is difficult for me to support a guy who says he doesn't want to pay grazing fees but avail himself of the land. (And those fees are set below market value that other land owners would charge.) In short, it seems that Bundy just doesn't want to pay what he would have to pay the State of Nevada or a private owner would charge.

    Bundy and a lot of his followers are making the classic mistake of pointing a finger on his hand at others and forgetting that when you do that, there are three other fingers pointing back at you.

    Bundy is unwilling to "go and sin no more."

  • Che is dead

    I don't know anything about Cliven Bundy, but I am familiar with the racist scumbags that infest the MSM.

    Unedited Tape of Bundy Emerges, Sheds Light on 'Racist' Remarks
    http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/unedited-tape-bundy-emerges-sheds-light-racist-remarks

    Bundy's Black Bodyguard: 'I Would Take A Bullet For That Man' (VIDEO)
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cliven-bundy-bodyguard-take-a-bullet?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tpm-news+%28TPMNews%29

  • TM


    It is difficult for me to give unconditional support to a guy who
    claims the government lied when he himself is lying as to the underlying
    facts of his claims.

    It is difficult for me to support his claims
    that he wants the government to follow the Constitution when he himself
    will not abide by that same Constitution.

    It is difficult for me
    to support a guy who says he doesn't want to pay grazing fees but avail
    himself of the land. (And those fees are set below market value that
    other land owners would charge.) In short, it seems that Bundy just
    doesn't want to pay what he would have to pay the State of Nevada or a
    private owner would charge.

    None of which has anything to do with Bundy's sins of saying racist things. Again, Bundy's claims should live or die on the merits of those claims, not on whether or not he thinks "unclean" things.

  • Jim Sweet

    "Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear..."

  • mesocyclone

    I fully expected Bundy to indeed be a racist clod. Then, I just watched CNN's hit piece on Bundy, and he doesn't seem racist to me. He's being taken out of context. He sounds Libertarian. His comment about "better off as slaves" was a hypothetical after a discourse on the very bad impact of welfare on blacks.

    He also made an anti-affirmative action argument by saying that Martin Luther King didn't want Rosa Parks to sit in the front of the bus, but rather be able to sit *anywhere* on the bus, just like anyone else, with anyone else.

    Don't believe what you hear on this, without hearing it from the source.

  • gitarcarver

    Character matters.

  • Peter Bickford

    I guess bringing out the sharpshooters didn't work, so the character assassination and the well-worn race card have been brought to bear.

    Look, my sense is very much along the lines of Victor David Hanson and John Hinderaker on this one: the guy doesn't have a legal leg to stand on, but it's alarming to see gangs of SWAT forces swoop down on a guy where a property lien would have done the job just as well. On a gut level, it feels like bullying, and I appreciate that the whole matter does raise questions about how much of the land ought to be held by the federal government, and whether enforcement of the law is so selective right now as to make the law seem very arbitrary indeed to frontier types.

    And heck, let me do my little bit to try to chip the edge of the race card a bit while I'm at it: About 20 years ago, I was getting my hair cut in England by some guy, and making the requisite chit-chat. I heard he was an expat from South Africa, and I think I must have offered the standard "gee isn't it great that apartheid is gone" line, only to be shocked when he argued that for all its weaknesses, the old system was way safer than the chaos which followed, and that the blacks had really messed up the country in terms of crime and corruption.

    This was non-PC, racial opinion to be sure, but at least it kicked off an actual conversation between the two of us. By not immediately dismissing the guy as an ignorant racist, it allowed us to actually talk about the substance of the position--something Bundy is apparently such a yokel that he must have thought was possible to do in 2014. Was Bundy right? I sure as heck won't be the guy arguing that side, but I miss the days when people could actually openly discuss the ups and downs of the ways different racial groups were operating in society.

  • gitarcarver

    While there are those who say his comments were racist is going to be judged by the listener. However, even taken in context they show a remarkable lack of understanding of history.

    Does he really think that people were better off when a man and a woman were paired together like breeding cattle instead of by their own choosing? Does he really think that going back to a time when teaching blacks was outlawed as compared to today is a good thing? Does he really think that blacks not being able to vote is a good thing? Does he really think that unemployment insurance is worse than getting whipped for not working?

    Bundy has tried to walk back his comments on "slaves" by saying he was not talking about 1843, but 1943. Seems like he missed the message on the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.

    Part of Bundy's complaint is based on the history of the land and his alleged ownership. When a man is so ignorant of history, one has to doubt his claims. When he spouts off things such as when his family bought the land that are factually false, he has to lose credibility.

    Whether Bundy is a raving racist affects his credibility and character to some extent. Whether he is ignorant of history affects it more.

    Coyote is right - this is the wrong guy to hang the hat of "freedom vs. an oppressive government" upon.

  • mesocyclone

    He is the wrong guy as a spokesman, because the race issue is so badly twisted in the US that one has to be utterly precise to say anything other than the absolute modern orthodoxy. That someone making his musings can be misunderstood even by people who agree with his general sentiment is testament to the distortion in modern American discourse.

    But once again, we see a label applied to him that is incorrect. He does not appear to be at all racist. He's just a lousy spokesman.

    It's easy to step back and dissect his remarks - taking his musings as if he was trying to make an exact point. But that's disingenuous - do you really think that he imagines slavery as being a good thing? He's just using it as a way to measure the horrible impact of statist policies, not a precise comparison.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "But then - this argument that he said something racial doe not prove or disprove his claims."

    But his claims are untrue and can be easily proven untrue without reference to his racial statements.

  • marque2

    You are right - so why bring up the racist angle - which we now know is bogus and amounts to character assassination by the leftist media?

    Let the facts of the case stand on their own. However, he might be a bit like Snowden. He did something wrong but what he did brings up a greater evil.

  • Dry Heat 13

    FWIW:

    HOAX EXPOSED: Full Clip Of Cliven Bundy’s Non-Racist, Pro-Black, Pro-Mexican, Anti-Government Remarks Vs. NYTimes’ Deceptively Edited Version « Pat Dollard
    http://patdollard.com/2014/04/shock-hoax-exposed-full-clip-of-cliven-bundys-non-racist-pro-black-anti-government-remarks-vs-media-matters-deceptively-edited-hoax-version-see-that-cliven-bundy-is-actually-an-advocat/

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "You are right - so why bring up the racist angle"

    1. Character maters.
    2. The left will use it to hammer anyone on the right who supports him. Ignoring it or trying to pretend it doesn't matter won't help the cause in any way.

    "he might be a bit like Snowden. He did something wrong but what he did brings up a greater evil."

    Going there doesn't help your case any. I strongly disagree that this is true of Snowden, much less Bundy. 80-90% of what Snowden revealed was legitimate foreign intelligence operations. His revelation of the domestic surveillance was a cynical afterthough to try and claim whistleblower status. However, if he truly intended to be a whistleblower, he could have revealed the domestic surveillance without revealing any of the legitimate operations.

  • Rick Caird

    Including you who jumped on the NYT bandwagon of misinformation and misdirection.

  • Rick Caird

    No, the issue is the BLM on recently required grazing fees and, worse, cut back the number of cattle he could graze to a level that would put him out of business. The BLM wants that land for a Harry Reid project.

    Second, you have not shown that cattle were not grazing on that land since the 1870's. But, you also need to be aware there were no grazing fees 100 years ago. Then, in 1992, the BLM reduced his allotment to 150 cattle. That is not enough cattle to profitably ranch. So, the allotment offered was actually no allotment since it would put him out of business. Remember, too, Bundy had paid his grazing fees up until 1992.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "No, the issue is the BLM only recently required grazing fees and, worse, cut back the number of cattle he could graze to a level that would put him out of business."

    1) You have an odd definition of recently considering Bundy was paying grazing fees prior to 1992 (over 20 years ago).
    2) When your business is dependent on the Federal government, that is the risk you run.

    "The BLM wants that land for a Harry Reid project."

    There is no evidence to support this claim.

    "Second, you have not shown that cattle were not grazing on that land since the 1870's."

    I don't need to. All that needs to be shown to falsify Bundy's claim is to show that his family wasn't grazing cattle on that land.

    "Then, in 1992, the BLM reduced his allotment to 150 cattle. That is not enough cattle to profitably ranch. So, the allotment offered was actually no allotment since it would put him out of business."

    Again, that is the risk you run when your business is dependent on access to government land.

    "Bundy could easily be correct in saying the cattle were grazing there since the 1870's"

    Bundy didn't just say that cattle were grazing there since the 1870s. He specifically claimed that his family was grazing cattle there since the 1870s.

  • Rick Caird

    Recently, compared to the 1870. You have an odd definition if you want to omit anything prior to the grazing fees. The family business was dependent on the Federal government until after the BLM was created. But, you are right. Never trust the Federal Government. I am glad to see you have finally come to the recognition.

    There is plenty of evidence the family was involved in a solar project that would fit quite nicely on that land. The idea also fits the modus operandi of the corrupt Harry Reid who has made his fortune in surreptitious land deals and insider trading.

    Once again, you come back to how untrustworthy the Federal government is particular when prodded by a corrupt Harry Reid. Good thinking.

    Finally, if you go back and actually read what I wrote (or do a little research), owning the farm in 1948 and grazing since the 1870's are not mutually exclusive. Go back and read what I wrote and your error will be very obvious.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "The family business was dependent on the Federal government until after the BLM was created."

    The BLM was created in 1946, the Bundy family bought the ranch in 1948. There was no family business until after the BLM was created.

    "Finally, if you go back and actually read what I wrote (or do a little
    research), owning the farm in 1948 and grazing since the 1870's are not
    mutually exclusive. Go back and read what I wrote and your error will
    be very obvious."

    That those two things are not mutually exclusive means nothing. Why don't you go back and do some research on what Bundy has actually said. His claim is specifically that the Bundy family was grazing cattle on that specific land since the 1870s. The property records clearly show that the Bundy family was in no position to graze cattle on the land in question until 1948.

  • Rick Caird

    Let me explain it to you again. Prior to buying the ranch in 1948, there was no requirement for off BLM land facilities. So, there is no reason to doubt Bundy's claim of grazing the cattle on that land prior to buying the ranch. You are assuming that there was no grazing on the BLM land prior to buying the ranch. But, you have no way of showing that.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    For your claim to be even remotely credible and worth considering, you must first show how the Bundy family could have gotten cattle on and off the land in question without trespassing on another ranchers land.

  • TM

    Not when it comes to the rule of law. The worst scum of the earth has just as much right to equal treatment under the law as the greatest saint. Bundy's case should be evaluated on its own merits and his character should not enter into it at all.

  • Rick Caird

    I do get tired of going over the obvious with you. Since prior to the mid 1940's there was no requirement to be able to house the cattle off the BLM land, there is no need to even consider your question. There would have been no need to trespass.

    Do your own research. I am finished doing it for you and then having to explain and reexplain what are obvious deductions to most people.

  • gitarcarver

    Yes, the worst scum on the earth does have as much right to equal treatment under the law. That is not what I am saying. The fact of the matter is that even in a courtroom, when a person lies or distorts the truth, that person's character comes into play.

    The Bundy case is being evaluated on its own merits. The problem is that Bundy and his supporters are lying in order to make Bundy more sympathetic.

    Character matters.

  • gitarcarver

    He apparently believes that slavery is better than what African Americans are able to do today.

    That is reprehensible

    His "musings" don't make him a racist, but the lack of thought and historical knowledge hurts his case.

  • mesocyclone

    I disagree. He's using a common rhetorical device - a strong contrast - to make his point about the negative effects of welfare on its recipients. That is not reprehensible - it's done all the time by both sides.

    What is reprehensible is the hysteria over the slightest perception of racism. It reeks of thought-crime and Mao's Cultural Revolution.