Cliven Bundy Wants Freedom to Graze His Cattle on Federal Land, Free, But Pay None of the Upkeep and Take No Responsibility

Posted: November 12, 2014 in bat-s**t-crazy, politics
Tags: , ,

I wrote about the Cliven Bundy affair back in May, when (short-short version) the guy owed the Federal Government, $millions for letting his cattle graze on public land, and then there was a showdown at his ranch between the federal government and Sovereign Citizen militias from all over the country. He was a right-wing darling until he opened his mouth and said that blacks were better off as slaves. Bundy owes more money than all other ranchers combined.

Then it fell off the media radar, until mid-September. Here’s why he owes the money:

The standard grazing fees on BLM lands are just $1.35 per cow per month, while a 1998 court order required Bundy to pay a whopping trespass fee of $200 per month per cow. That was later modified to $46 per day that Bundy’s livestock continued to graze on federal lands.

Remember: Bundy’s theory here is that not only has his family grazed their cattle on the land since 1877, but that he doesn’t even recognize the Federal government’s right to any claim:

<blockquote Bundy's claim that the land belongs to Nevada or Clark County didn't hold up in court, nor did his claim of inheriting an ancestral right to use the land that pre-empts the BLM's role. "We definitely don't recognize [the BLM director's] jurisdiction or authority, his arresting power or policing power in any way," Bundy told his supporters, according to The Guardian.

His personal grievance with federal authority doesn't stop with the BLM, though. "I believe this is a sovereign state of Nevada," Bundy said in a radio interview last Thursday. "I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing." Ironically, this position directly contradicts Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution.

[…] Two decades after Nevada's founders proclaimed unswerving obedience to federal authority, Cliven Bundy's family first settled the land where he and his supporters now make their heavily armed stand against federal power. It's doubtful even the Nevada Constitution will change their minds—if legal and constitutional arguments could persuade the militia movement, there might not be a militia movement.

So, feds = bad, and no right to land; Bundy = good and has claim to land. That’s his entire legal argument (which was rejected by the courts, is rejected by the Nevada Constitution, and rejected by the Federal constitution). But that’s his argument.

In September this year:

The headlines this time don’t quite tell the complete story, other than WND did not deem this either important enough to have their own writers write about it, or they considered it not a good view of Bundy and didn’t want to promote it, but still felt the need to at least let their readership know about it.

What happened is that a woman hit a cow on I-15. She was injured, her passenger was injured, and her car was injured. It was Bundy’s cow. The woman “filed suit against Bundy, who she claims “recklessly, carelessly and negligently allowed his cows to enter onto Interstate 15 through an area where he had no grazing or other rights.””

A problem is: “Bundy said Wednesday that technically he is within his rights to make a claim of his own against Beck. “The person whose car hit that cow is liable to me,” he said.” (source)

Probably after he realized that he just admitted it was his cow, he backtracked, and hence the third WND headline, that Bundy now says he never saw any evidence the cow was his. So not only is he not liable because he doesn’t know if it was his (despite saying that the driver is liable to him for damages), but even if it were, either the state which maintains the fences or the federal government which maintains the highway is liable.

So, Bundy wants his cake and your cake too: He shouldn’t have to pay for the maintenance or upkeep of federal land he uses, and so when something is damaged by his property because of a lack of that upkeep which he won’t pay for, it’s the upkeep agency’s fault in totality and not his because they should’ve been maintaining it with the funds he’s not willing to pay.


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