Right-Wingers Rage Against Big Gov’t Over Illegal Cattle Grazing

John Banks holds up a banner during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call "trespass cattle" that ranc... John Banks holds up a banner during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher) MORE LESS
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A dispute between a Nevada cattle rancher and the federal Bureau of Land Management became a flash point for anti-government sentiment this week, as conservative media hyped the showdown and protesters gathered on the federal land in question.

Here’s the skinny from Reuters: Rancher Cliven Bundy and BLM have been feuding since 1993 over Bundy using federal lands to graze his cattle. BLM says Bundy stopped paying fees and ignored requests to remove his animals. Bundy says that his rights to the land pre-date those of the federal government.

So federal authorities have begun seizing Bundy’s animals. That perceived government overreach drew as many as 1,500 protesters to the land on Friday, according to Reuters, with groups like the Southern Nevada Militia warning that their cause is “a last stand for American independence.”

Fox News characterized Bundy’s action as “illegal grazing,” but conservative media have still gone all-in with their coverage.

“HEAVILY ARMED FEDS SURROUND NEVADA RANCH,” read the top line on the Drudge Report Saturday, which has been heavily monitoring the situation. It then dubbed the conflict an all-out “range war.”

InfoWars, the online home of conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones, openly wondered if the showdown would become another “Wounded Knee,” equating the scenario with 1890 massacre of hundreds of Native Americans.

“Ripples of Nevada Range Showdown Spreading in West,” was the headline at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.

“BLM Won’t Say if They’ve Euthanized Cows in Ranch Standoff,” the Washington Free Beacon warned.

“Nevada Ranch Standoff Escalates, Questions about Reid Arise,” the National Review Online intoned.


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  1. Interesting that this twerp thinks his rights pre-date those of the government, in the government. Public lands are in the commons and are managed in the best interests of all citizens, not just a few.

    In this case I stand with Ed Abbey.

    The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagle and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and grama grass with tumbleweed, cow shit, cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies – and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West."

    – Edward Abbey

  2. That land belongs to everybody, but he gets to use it for his private profit? I’d really like to hear this SOB explain just how he derives his “rights” to use this land that belongs to everybody.

  3. Mr Bundy hasn’t a legal leg to stand on since he refused to up hold his end of the lease. He axed his standing himself. End of story. No judge will side with him.

  4. “…illegal grazing…”

    Once upon a time, the Republican Party stood for law and order. Now it’s devoted to cheating, lying, and stealing, rationalized by hatred of the United States of America.

  5. Had just the same thought. I wasn’t clear whether this is some sort of original rights argument - that his inalienable right predates that of government or whether this is an issue whether the federal government’s claim to the land is somehow recently. Maybe another way of putting it is whether his argument is ideological or factual.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

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